Let’s face it. It’s not easy finding a good church home these days. Have you ever been sitting in the pew and just something didn’t seem right? And you start to wonder, “am I going to the wrong church”? Here’s 5 signs you may be going to the wrong church.
Number One. You Can’t Find Jesus There (They Aren’t Teaching the Gospel). This one may seem like a given, but unfortunately it’s not. Have you ever been to a church and felt the one person that was missing was Jesus? I have. I’ve sat thru service after service and never once heard the pastor mention Jesus. I’ve watched the music minister get up and perform all 10 songs off his new album, but no Jesus. I’ve heard more sermons about Satan and what you shouldn’t be doing, than about Jesus and what you should be. Lots of stuff from the Old Testament (Leviticus and Deuteronomy are always favorites) but not a lot of Beatitudes, Good Shepherds, Good Samaritans or Prodigal Sons. And let’s not forget all the talks about your finances, your addictions, your problem child, your sex life, but again, no Jesus. Let’s face it, if your church isn’t talking about Jesus, you’re probably going to the wrong church.
Number Two. Nobody Knows Your Church Exists. There was a church in our community that had been meeting and holding services for 60 years. And yet, when you mentioned this particular church to people who had grown up in the area, no one had ever heard of it. Talk about making an impact. It wasn’t. But, that’s a big problem. How is it possible that no one had seen this church in action at some point in the community? Even its own members weren’t talking about it. No witness. No ministries. No invitation. No impact. Compare that to another church in the community that started up just a year ago and meets in a school gymnasium. Over a thousand members in that time. Everybody is talking about them around town, including the kids. If nobody knows your church exists, you’re probably going to the wrong church.
Number Three. Any Time Someone Proposes New Ministries Or Idea, The Answer is Always The Church Is “Not Ready”. People bring a wide array of interests and talents into the church. Paul himself talks about our many gifts. Jesus picked 12 apostles who all were vastly different people. Diversity in the church is a good thing, right? But, have you ever noticed when you bring forward an idea for a new ministry or program, you’re always told, “we’re just not ready for that”. There’s plenty of room for the knitting club, pot luck dinners committee, the women’s club, the men’s club, but suddenly when you start talking about things like sports, theatre, contemporary music/concerts, youth dances, video production or other more modern ministries, suddenly you get the old “we’re not ready” answer. The problem with this mentality is that if people can’t use their talents inside of the church, they are going to go outside of it. Your church just becomes a 1 hour Sunday destination or not a destination at all. Your existing ministries will suffer and become stale, and you will never build a community of faithful believers. If your church is always “not ready” for new ministries, programs or ideas, you’re probably going to the wrong church.
Number Four. Church Leaders or Members Block You On Social Media. This is one of my favorites. Probably because it happens to me all the time. You’re going to church, you sit in the same row every Sunday, you start meeting some people who sit around you on a regular basis, you might even start going to some activities. So what do you do next? You find your fellow churchgoers on social media and send them a friend request. Sounds reasonable. We are a community of believers, after all. The body of Christ, right? But, what happens? They deny you. Or ignore you. Or block you. I know people that even the pastor has denied their request. That’s really not good. I’ve seen church Facebook pages that don’t even allow members to put comments. When this happens, almost 100% of the time, what you are witnessing is a church that is more of a social club or a clique than a church. So if the church is willing to take your 10% tithe but won’t be friends with you on social media, you’re probably going to the wrong church.
Number 5. There Are No Young People. Let’s be honest, if your church bulletin/newsletter is posting more obituaries each week than welcoming new members, your church is in trouble. Or if you look around the congregation and you’re not seeing teens, single young adults or families with toddlers filling the pews, you have got a serious problem. And worse yet, if you do see these demographics in the seats and the look on their faces is that they would rather be anywhere but here, your church is living on borrowed time. Young people are really the lifeblood of the church. They bring excitement and energy. And unfortunately, we’re losing them at the rate of 60-70% by the time they hit college age. I’ve been to churches where there are hundreds of teens and only 15 go to youth group. So if your youth minister, if you even have one, is getting up week after week and begging for teens to join in, I’ve actually seen this and it’s really sad, or the extent of your youth ministry is the Tuesday Bible study of the Saturday night round of miniature golf with pizza, or you have no programs for college age singles, you are probably going to the wrong church. Or a dying one.
What are some of your experiences with going to the wrong church? Let us know!