We haven’t gone to church since mid-January.
It’s now May.
We don’t have a lot of choices for English-speaking churches in Germany.
There’s the base chapel, which is pretty vanilla since they have to cater to a broad audience and abide by military rules. There are a few charismatic churches that just don’t appeal to us. There are a few very conservative churches that are just legalistic and cliquish.
I don’t want a rock and roll, laser show kind of church and it’s unfortunate that so many rely on these churchtainment distractions to get people through the doors.
We had attended a small general Lutheran congregation for the past year or so. Service begins at 8:30 in the morning. Do you realize how hard it is to get everyone up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and out the door to drive 20+ minutes to church by 8:30 AM? We did it though. We went to bed early on Saturday nights in order to get up early for church.
We probably won’t attempt to go back to a church until July or later. We’re moving back to the States this summer and I don’t have great hopes of finding a church where we’ll fit in.
Before writing this, I researched “Why Should I Attend Church“? Many of the answers were interesting and even shocking to me. I expect the typical “Because the Bible says so” answer, but “Because you’re single and may meet someone” takes the cake. I expect more.
I won’t lose my salvation. I still love Jesus.
I realize many will think I’m selfish for not dragging my family to church. I do feel selfish. We missed Easter.
After many years of trying to discover God in church, I’ve just had enough. I need a break. I need a break from Christians.
I can worship God – in the forest, at the beach, in a museum, while reading, while cleaning, while cooking, during meals, at the movies. I am amazed by His creation and by people’s creativity, love, and kindness.
I don’t like church.
I’m a leader. I’m a teacher. I’m a counselor. It’s hard for me to just sit back and be lectured to, read to, talked at…It’s especially hard for me to keep my mouth shut when the pastor, teacher, deacon, elder, leader, board member expresses false doctrine. It’s exhausting holding it all in because it doesn’t matter anyway.
As an introvert, I don’t like pot lucks, events, programs, VBS, AWANA, or Wednesday night service. I shouldn’t have to apologize for my personal preferences.
It’s very unpopular to be a Christian and not attend church.
But I think faith is a private thing between me and God. I don’t have to explain my reasons to anyone.
We stopped going to church for a variety of reasons:
New leadership. The pastor moved away to another calling. The interim pastor and his wife were less than welcoming. They are micromanagers.
Sinful behavior. My son’s Sunday teenage school teacher was in a sexual relationship with his girlfriend and this was apparently well-known and accepted by his and her parents, the homeschool community, and other church members. I was glad when he and his family moved away.
Sunday school. Sunday school wasn’t about Scripture or Christian living. It often took 30 minutes or more to corral people from the coffee and cookies into the three classrooms. There was no curricula. My three daughters’ teacher led inappropriate discussions about astrology and pop culture. The adult class often derailed into discussions better suited to the Discovery Channel or a New Age seminar.
I miss the organ music. I miss singing hymns. I miss the Eucharist. I miss the stained glass window behind the altar.
What we do instead of church:
Read the Bible
I read the Bible with my son and middle daughters most mornings and we have a little discussion about the passage. I write Scripture every day from monthly guides.
We read selections from Psalms, the Old Testament, and the New Testament, with writings from church fathers every evening with the Prayer Now app.
We have lots of books about church history. We love biographies about missionaries, martyrs, church fathers, and other important people impacted by their faith. We usually coincide our readings to our chronological history studies.
Act Out Our Faith
We look for opportunities to act out our faith. We practice kindness, empathy, and love. We learn about our fallen world. We pray. The church isn’t a building. We are the church.
We enjoy God’s creation on nature walks. We are fascinated by the creative plants, insects, and animals that God made just for our use and enjoyment.
Church should be more about discipleship and less about programs and opportunities to socialize.
We as a family came to the decision to take a break from church after many weeks of prayer. I am not encouraging anyone else to leave church.
We will seek a new fellowship after we settle into our new home.
If you feel led to pray for me, be careful that you are not cursing me nor my decision in your heart. Maybe look at yourself and your church and ask why people like me don’t feel welcome. You may not agree but you should not judge what you don’t understand. You don’t know my history. You don’t know the long and difficult road it took for me to even become a Christian. You do not not know the blood-like drops of sweat as I prayed over this difficult decision. Do not take Scripture out of context. Do not spew your hate and call it loving admonition.
If you still feel led to pray, then pray this:
Pray for church leaders.
Pray for pastors, Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, lay leaders, ushers, music directors, worship leaders, pastoral counselors…and whatever other titles of a church leader I may have missed. Pray that they have discernment. Pray they preach and teach Biblical Truth. Pray they are not swayed by the world. Pray they are not tempted by money, fame, media, or other people.
Pray for church fellowships to be loving, kind, welcoming, and careful with their words to newcomers and seasoned parishioners.
Pray for the parents who are raising children in this fallen world, trying desperately to navigate these tumultuous waters of postmodernism, sexual and gender revolutions, social media, integrity issues, and political scandals.
Pray for the children who are growing up in this 50 Shades of Grey kind of world, confusing sex and social media likes for love and truth. Pray they find godly role models to guide them to Truth and they become world-changers for His Kingdom.
You might also want to read my statement of faith post.
Linking up: Happy and Blessed Home, Life with Lorelai, Chic on a Shoestring, Create with Joy, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Wife Mommy Me, Momfessionals, Penny’s Passion, Katherine’s Corner, Lyli Dunbar, Sincerely Paula, Debbie Kitterman, Arabah Joy, Missional Faith, Crystal Waddell, A Books and More, Being a Wordsmith, Pam’s Party and Practical Tips, Creative K Kids, Coffee with Us, Resting Mom Face, The Answer is Chocolate, The Sits Girls, Blogghetti, Life of Faith, Our Mini Family, Pieced Pastimes, Thinking Outside the Pot, Spiritual Sundays, Counting My Blessings, This Momma’s Ramblings, DIY Adulation, Marilyn’s Treats, A Fresh Start, Inspiration for Moms, Lori Schumaker, Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth, Modest Mom, Donna Reidland, Curly Crafty Mom, The Mrs. Tee, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, MaryAndering Creatively, Simply Every, Teaching What is Good, LouLou Girls, The Dwelling Tree, April J Harris, Life Sew Savory, Let it Shine, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies, Messy Marriage, Holly Barrett, Jaime Wiebel, Mumma Scribbles, Plunge Deep, Meghan Weyerbacher, Sarah E Frazer, Purposeful Faith, Christian Blogger Community, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Journeys in Grace, Oh My Heartsie Girl W, Rich Faith Rising, Pat and Candy, Ducks N a Row, Savvy Southern Style, Gingersnap Crafts, Raggedy Bits, Our Three Peas, Wise Woman, Holley Gerth, Jessi’s Design, Becoming Press, Adventures of Mel, Classical Homemaking,