In a previous life I worked in the automotive industry. I remember being on a particular business trip where I got to hang out with a large number of people. Some of the people I knew but most I had never met before. On several occasions a handful of people mentioned they had heard I was a pastor. It is interesting to me how and when this comes up in conversation. I often wonder how that comes up about me when I’m not involved in the discussion.
The conversation usually goes the same way every time. They ask me what church I am a part of and what denomination we belong to. That is usually followed by a comment like, “I used to go to church but I don’t anymore” or “I was raised in church but haven’t gone in years”. I perk up at these comments because I have done quite a bit of research on why people leave church and I am always interested to know why they stopped going. This is the turning point in the conversation for me.
I have heard many reasons why people left or have stopped going to church. The reasons that crush me are “Churches just want my money” or “Churches are just filled with hypocrites” or “How could God let bad things happen to good people”. The reason really depends on the person’s experience, what they are going through at that moment or how exposed they were to church in the past.
It is at this moment where someone like me, someone devoted to the church and all it stands for, can make or break a conversation. It would be so easy to go on the defensive and then mount an attack! This happens all too often and just makes me cringe. When we do this it only justifies many of the reasons people have for not going to church or becoming a Christian. We have only confirmed their stereotype of a Christian when we get defensive and nasty. I’ve never seen anyone change their mind or their opinion based on being argued with and basically told they are an idiot. Would that change your mind?
Hey, I love the church! I will be the first person to tell you that churches are filled with hypocrites. Isn’t that the entire point to repentance? The world is filled with hypocrites too. It is the ones that step foot into a church that have identified this flaw and want to change. Believe me, I could point out all of the same flaws with people inside churches that you can. But when it really comes down to it church isn’t what people dislike. It is either the conviction they feel or it is that they have a problem with the people that make up the church. We all work with people we don’t care for every day. We don’t necessarily quit our jobs though.
“I’ve never seen anyone change their mind or their opinion based on being argued with and basically told they are an idiot.”Tweet This
It as this point in the conversation I like to focus on what the church stands for. Too often non-Christians or non-churchgoers get a dose of what Christianity is against. Let’s face it; churches have done more good in this world than any other organization. Who is usually the first one to respond to a disaster? The church! You might be surprised which organizations are Christian based. Here are some you have probably heard of: Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army and World Vision to name a few.
Well, now that I have said all of this what does the church stand for?
- The church stands for taking care of people in need.
- The church stands for changing lives.
- The church stands up for widows and orphans.
- The church is involved in the community.
And guess what? Even though you may think the people that make up the church are the problem every single good thing done by the church is done by the people of the church.