where is the church going in the 21st century?

Ok.  So, that’s a pretty diplomatic title for the series of discussions (aka “can of worms”) I hope to open up in the next few weeks.  I hope that you will join me and throw in your input.  To put it in more bluntly, one might ask:

“Is the church broken?”

I have heard some say that it is.  At first blush, I might want to agree.  But, I just can’t.  Not because I’m convinced that church as we know it is find and dandy, but, because of something that happened about a year ago…

I was in prayer — at our church, as a matter of fact — praying for the church, at length.  And, suddenly I had to stop, as I felt the the voice of Jesus, with such tenderness, yet with great strength say to my heart:

“My Church is not broken.  It’s under construction.  Won’t you help me build it?”

It was disarming to say the least.  A total paradigm shift in my thinking and my attitude.  Sure, things are not all good and well in the Western church — but Someone is very interested in us, and has intention to bring us into the fullness of His plan.  Not only that, He’s looking for those who will help Him. 

I guess that’s kind of where this discussion comes in.  I’ve been pondering, praying –whatever you want to call it — about the state of “church” for a while.  And, I’m not sure I have any solid answers.  I’m not just talking about the particular church that I’m a leader in.  I’m talking about ALL of us, at least in the western world (those in the East seem to have something good that we don’t — but, that’s another topic). 

Many of you have been invited into this exploration.  Thanks for reading this far!  Please stay with me!  Here’s what I’m hoping we can do:  I want to ask some questions, pose some ideas, share some of my opinions (they may not all be right!), and then ask for YOUR feedback.  I am by no means writing this thinking that I have all the answers!  I’m looking for some people who are willing to throw in their two cents and honestly wrestle with things with me.  Can we do that?  I only ask that we try to stay constructive and not do too much blaming.  But, by all means, BE HONEST.  I’m planning to post a couple of times a week.  So, all I need from you is about 10-15 minutes to read, digest, and post your thoughts.  I’m really pumped about this!  But, if I can’t get a good number of you to join in, it will be a bust. 

 So… my first thoughts to ponder and questions:

In this discussion of “what’s wrong with church”, there are usually two sides of the conversation.  On one side are many well-meaning church leaders trying to figure out why all of their hard work seems to be producing so little.  On the other side are the church-goers (for lack of a better term) who faithfully attend and who talk vigorously amonst themselves about what is good, bad, or could use improvement.  Unfortuntatlely, these two camps hardly talk to each other about these things.  The leaders look to the latest church growth method, or to the church where the Spirit seems to be moving, or to the church down the road that seems to be “working right” – all in search of the answer that will “fix” things.  The faithful begin to look for a church that feel will better “feed them”, where they “fit in better” or where they feel it’s being “done right”.  Even more unfortunate is that in each group, there can be a tendency to criticize and place blame on the others for all the problems (“If only the people would do more….”; “If only the leaders would be more . . .” etc.).  We all have the solution (or, so we think), and believe that if “they” (the other group) will get their act together, the problem will be solved.   

I don’t know if we’ll truly solve all the problems or change the world in this discussion, but, who knows, what if we can? 🙂   At least maybe our eyes will be opened a bit more by seeing from one anothers’ perspectives.  And, maybe can we move towards productive, constructive change.   I will admit there are some churches/ministries out there that seem to be doing very well, but, by and large, the Western church does not seem to be happy and healthy.   

I hope to tackle some crazy, intense questions like,  “What IS church?”  “What’s the purpose of church?” “Why do people go to church?  Why do people leave church?”  “Should church be concerned about being culturally relevant?  If so, how much is enough/too much?”  “How does Jesus feel about this church that bears His name?”     

So, my first questions for you to answer:

How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)?  Why?

What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

What do you dislike about church as you know it?       

16 thoughts on “where is the church going in the 21st century?

  1. Dear Jesse,

    I like the topic and am glad you included me.

    How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?

    I guess I am at about a 7, and that is purely because of the love I see among brothers and sisters. If I evaluate it based on our effectiveness or wisdom it would be down around a 3. If I evaluate it based on holiness, it would also be about a 3! I think we need to grow in all these areas, but I am glad that we have grace.

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

    The love and concern among Christians.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?

    The #1, ironically, is the LACK of love and concern that is too often evident. We have both love and then lack of it.

    P.S. My suggestion is that you keep all posts fairly short and directed so we don’t get overwhelmed. It is a big topic

  2. Jessie-

    First, just as Christ spoke to St. Francis of Assisi, “Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down”, He is speaking to you. ( More info on St. Francis here: http://americancatholic.org/features/francis/who_was.asp ) It’s interesting that the prophetic voice that spoke to you is almost verbatim to what the Lord spoke to St. Francis. His way of living this out was concern for the least, the lost and the lonely and to do it with simplicity. Such was Francis’s call and His obedience has resulted for much good for the Kingdom.

    Now, to answer your questions:

    Q: How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?
    A: I’m at a 10. I’m off the charts with this church. Because, there is an understanding among all of us that it takes all of us to make church happen. Until a few weeks ago, we didn’t have a place to call our own home. The church has always been about the people and not about the steeple (Rick Warren) and our church totally gets that. There is a passion for the Word of God and a zeal to do His will. I’m off the charts excited!

    Q: What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?
    A: Unity among the essentials about our mission (outreach) even though they don’t like the method. I believe there’s a healthy understanding that the church will not be able to do it all, fix it all, make everyone this or that. We come together to worship in spirit and in truth and to BE church.

    Q: What do you dislike about church as you know it?
    1) The tendency for the church to get cloistered in (monastery-like existence) instead of as a mission. It’s good to have fellowship (Gk: koinonia). A bishop I formerly served called the tendency “koinonitis” where the church can get ingrown because everything is being plotted and planned for the “already convinced” among us about the Gospel instead of those who have not yet heard the Gospel.

    2) For parachurch groups or ministries to divert time/attention/money/resources away from evangelism or the vision the pastor has for the church.

    3) Discord within the leadership team that gets the church off mission / vision.

    4) Lack of a clear vision for the church.

    That’s all that comes to mind for now.

  3. Wow, lots of intense thoughts. Lord help us to sort through and find your heart.

    How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?

    I haven’t been in a church building in quite some time, but the Church (body) I roll with I am very excited about. How about a 9.5ish, it isn’t a 10 because I think we lack diversity. I am that excited because I believe that the potential is so great. Where I see churches struggling to grow and take over territory (in the spirit or in the natural) and having self-imposed limitations and walls, I see us recognizing the open fields and territory surrounding us, and us already planning and expecting it to be ours.

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

    Many churches are like frozen dinners waiting to be put in the microwave (hit by Holy Spirit). A bunch of people (ingredients) got saved, and then got put in this freezer (church), they are preserving (mostly), but they haven’t really come out and had their aroma fill the dining room. They are pretty well prepared, all set up and in one place, and they are just one encounter from God away from being completely transformed. There are some churches who really know how to let their aroma fill the city or region they are about. But either way, there are a lot of churches that are one moment from significant breakthrough. I think that is good.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?

    There is very little understanding of who God is in the whole of the Church, and in most churches. Of course there is strongholds of the enemy and sin and whatever; where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. But I don’t see the Church, or many churches having the understanding of who God is to fight their own battles or create their own breakthrough. It seems that the church is simply waiting for “someone” to have a breakthrough and follow that (which is why we have denominations, churches following those who had breakthrough, rather than the path of the breakthrough-er, which is knowing God). So while different churches sit together trying to find out how to live better or good enough, few go on the journey to know God for real. He is yearning to be known.

  4. This is such an intense topic. But I agree with you Jessie (well, with the Spirit) that even though there are problems with the church, it isn’t time to abandon the cause. On the contrary, it’s time to build. The “church” society that Jesus came into was very broken, but he didn’t abandon it. He still went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He met the brokeness head-on, and in just the way needed (sinners with grace, Pharisees with rebukes).

    I wonder, too, just to muddy the waters, about the difference between a broken church and broken people in a church? Is the church broken? Or is it just full of broken people?

    How satisfied am I?
    I find this to be difficult because I’m now in a new role in a church that I grew up in. My heart loves this church because it’s home, but there are a lot of problems here and if I was not from this church, I probably wouldn’t want to be nearly as much as I do. All things considered, I’d say I’m a 7. I like what we do; I think it works. I see a lot of issues, mostly between people (which comes back to broken people vs. broken church). But I’m happy to be a part of this church

    What’s good?
    I like the people here. I like that we pursue the Word as it is, rather than watering it down to make it more appealing. I like that we have a variety of gifts that are used in a variety of ministries. The impact of our church reaches pretty widely I believe.

    What do I dislike
    Oh man, this is going to sound selfish . . . I don’t like our worship that much anymore. I used to love it. I think the people here would say that our worship is very “spirit-filled” but I think that’s just the residue of where we’ve come from. Being younger, I can look at our church and say, “yeah, but we haven’t been like that in a while.” Occasionally, we still have powerful worship. But often it seems rote. I (and this is a personal complaint wherein my selfishness will be revealed) also find our worship somewhat boring. I LOVE to worship. I’m a worship leader and worship is one of my great passions, but our church came out of the 70’s, and at that time they were really cutting edge, but they never moved on. I don’t think this church is a particularly appealing place for people my age (though cultural appeal is not necessarily a good gauge for church vitality). Don’t misunderstand here; we play contemporary songs. But our worship team members are all from that same era and they have this way of making ALL SONGS SOUND LIKE 70’S SONGS (I didn’t think it was possibly to make, say, Chris Tomlin sound like an oldies artist, but believe me, IT IS!). Then throw in the fact that they actually still DO 2 or 3 (or more) songs from that era every Sunday, and I begin feeling like our worship is old (read literally “old,” as well as figuratively – “stale, trite, overused, overdone, boring, etc”). This is the one area where I feel we need rejuvenated. But then again, Jerry would say that catering to a generation only increases the attitude of consumerism within church members. It is true that the church does not exist for me, and to say that church worship ought to reflect my personal preferences is at least naive (sinful??). Still, I can’t help feeling generationally out of place here.

    Sorry for the rant. I’m guessing there are some issues related to “church” in there that will be taken up separately later.

  5. Yo,

    I’m not really in a body at the moment. I’m on a journey right now to see what God is doing in Albany NY. I think in the past years God has definitely given me more of an appreciation and love for His church. Like the church at Ephesus or Thessalonica, the church at Albany. So as far as the last few weeks in the expressions of the body I went to the last few weeks weren’t exactly what I would normally go to, but I’m ok with that. There is kind of this tension in me. What is just me and my personal taste and what is stuff that God wants to break in and do?

    Lord whatever it takes make us one.

    The body I attended up until 3 or 4 weeks ago, I would rate a 8. God’s doing stuff, but it felt like there was so much more. It is such a fight to not get complacent. Breaking out of complacency I think can be a very uncomfortable thing for a body, because you are fighting against the complacency of each individual. People can be pushed somewhat though. It’s a weekly and even daily fight for a body.

    I like the worship and rotation of the message. The youth ministry is Awesome!

    Sometimes at least for me it felt to routine sometimes maybe the nature of my involvement. I think they could makes some more strides toward more body ministry especially the prophetic.

  6. 1) I am generally express myself better verbally than written but here it goes…rating currently about 6. Seems generally like we put in our time and leave. Although we seem to catch the wind of the Spirit from time to time. Why? Our passion for Jesus seems to be a Sunday thing rather than a lifestyle…but I do appreciate Andrews comment on broken people and I am definitely sure that includes me.

    2) There seems to be an awareness that there is a shift coming in the way things are done…in other words “a changing of the understanding and expression of christianity” as we know it today and that the return of Jesus and His Kingdom is imminent.

    3) Lack of emphasis on the importance and necessity of prayer except for when we eat or are in trouble…especially corporate!

    God said his house was a “House of Prayer” not a “House where we do a lot of religious stuff!”

  7. 1)My current church experience is around a 3. The church I have grown up in is the kind of church that always seems to stay safe in every area of connecting with God. I feel like there is a lack of true genuine worship within the body of the church. When I look around during worship, people hesitate to express the love I know they have for Christ. When I see broken homes and hurting individuals, I don’t sense the gifts God has given being used to become a body that builds up by encouragement through Christ. I am still young and go to other churches youth events and such, but even there the lack of connection through understanding and being confident with the feelings for Christ that people have, don’t seem to be there.

    2) It is good that the church realizes the things that it lacks. It is even better that some people rise up to the giant that so many people push under the rug and attempt to make a difference. I know I look at the good and bad, and since I see bad overruling the good, I give up and try to find somewhere better. I do know that almost everyone feels the same way. Church is a place where the lost as well as followers should go. It is a place where all should be accepted and be taken in by Gods love. Who are we to expect that to happen on its own? I was reading in my bible yesterday during my devotions, I saw this in the Message Philippians 2:

    “If you have gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made you any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have heart, if you care- then do me a favor: agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way tot the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

    In my mind, this has been my attitude towards the church. the thinking pattern of (if they get their act together then it would be solved) is not the way to go. I have felt the need for the church to give me something fulfilling. I wanted the advantage. But I did not realize that Christ sees us all as a body working together. If I want the church or my youth group to be a better place, I should enter into it. That way I wont have only the churchgoers point of view but the leaders as well. I know this cant be for everyone and I still am not exactly sure what i mean by that yet but it is one way i see how we should think of the church instead of being the way i was. (Becoming bitter and leaving)

    3)I dislike the feeling of “we cant do any better.” I know that through God, better is always an option. I don’t feel we have the right to accept God’s churches as broken. Jesus has forgiven us of all sins and we can come before God pure and holy… Starting over and helping God build up his church is something He would be pleased with. It would not only do that, but it would help heal every individual. What can help and heal people better than having a church that is a welcoming environment to grow in Him?

    There is so much more I can say but I don’t have time to look up all the verses lingering in my mind about the church and body of Christ….
    But to me, Churches have always been broken. They have had seasons just like you and me do. In the 21st Century, wow hard to know what will happen. I know that things are only going to get worse. What do we do what circumstances in our life are worse? We are better off with someone there cheering us on and fighting the uphill battle at the same time. With the church, the battle will belong to the believers sticking together, staying strong and in tune with the Holy Spirits voice.
    I was talking to my mom other day and we were talking about why people try to make politics and life issues like “someday they will get better and eventually we will be perfect” Well she made a comment like ” Well i don’t know why we try anyway, God DID say everything is going to get worse… why are we trying to make it so it wont?” I know that is a stupid comment to make but in a way there is some truth. trusting God with what His plans are for all of us are the best. Do we think God left out the plane for our churches? I don’t think so.

  8. Church is anyone who has repented and has the holy spirit dwelling within. This particular church has fine examples in their leaders. The world has dramatically distracted Christians in just about every church one can enter in America today. It is difficult to find direction with all of the need out there. If we as Christians do not find the lords will it will be a difficult road ahead. I think the most important thing we can do is look at our personal lives and try and figure out what the lord is saying to us. Our burden should be light if we can do that. We must try and see past ourselves. The lord can only help if we do that.
    We need to distingush the difference between disappointment we have created and normal struggle that God puts in our lives to better focus on him. We need to become one body and one spirit.
    God is working and we need to let him work by not getting in his way. If anyone figures out how to do that then let me know.

  9. How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?

    Hmm. This is hard for me to answer, I’d say that our church is moving towards something way better then what it is currently at. So right now I guess maybe a 7, but potentially our church is heading towards straight 10s. I have faith that God is bringing us into something way way better than we know, or expect of even can anticipate if that makes sense.

    Also, I went away to college and went to a church on the campus that I was at and the atmosphere was way way different. Obviously because it was on a college campus. There are times when I long for that kind of passion and that kind of body, and yet at other times i see the value in a diverse church (as far as age and maturity goes). So yes at times I really miss the church I was at and other times I am so grateful and blessed to be where I am.

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

    I like the fellowship, the growth, the variation, the knowledge and wisdom. I think something real and amazing happens when a body of people gather together. Sometimes when I am not as focused on God as I should be and I go to church with a rather distracted mind and spirit seeing focus and excitement in other people sometimes wakes me up and snaps me out of my selfish mindset. I like the accountability and the fact that there are people from different places in life all under the same roof and they all bring a different perspective to the table. I kind of wish there was more room for this to show itself then what is available in a normally scheduled church service if that makes sense.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?

    I really really want to say that what I dislike in no way is a reflection of how i feel about the church. I LOVE CHURCH! I always have! though there are PARTS i know could be stronger, my view of church is very positive… just to throw that out there 🙂

    I think the church lacks diversity. I think it lacks growth. I think it is very stagnant and at times looks down upon change.I think we as a church need to not be so worried about what the church service looks like and more worried about being led by the spirit. There are so many processes for everything. I think the church lacks flexibility and in turn is not outreaching. I feel like church should be more of a discussion, more of a gathering of believers to encourage each other then a lecture or structured planned event that happens weekly. I in no way am saying that structure and stability are bad things. I just think we need to find our structure in our faith in God rather then in a strict amount of time… I don’t know if these ideas that are in my head were just properly voiced, but if any of that was not of God or true I just pray that it would be thrown to the side and separated from the good. I don’t want to so sound like i have a negative view on church… like i said earlier I love church I just know there are bigger and better things God wants to pour into us and we need to be willing and ready and open to the change.

  10. Wow! You certainly are going after a lot in this blog. You may want to go one question at a time. All answers are off the top of my head, so you may not agree, and they may not be very well stated, they are just my first instinct answers.
    What is church?
    A group of people who support each other in their spiritual journey, and are reaching out to get others to join them who also need help.
    What is the purpose of church?
    Answered in the previous question, but to be more specific…go ye therefore into all the Earth…and make disciples of all nations. And if you don’t have a support structure for the people who are doing this, it will all fall apart
    Why do people go to church?
    Geez…hundreds of reasons. Some are on their last leg and are desparate, some are on the weight loss program…to get a friend off their back, some are trying to find answers, some are trying to learn from it, TONS of reasons, but in the United States of America, I would say 95% of the people who attend a church do it for one reason…duty. Nothing more, nothing less. They go because their parents went, and their grandparents went, and it’s just “what you do.” The baby boomer generation was the first to realize this, they rebelled, and we got our movements in the 60s and 70s. Less people now than ever before are going out of duty now, but most who go only go because it is part of their culture and have no “deeper reason.” Francis Schaffer’s book “How Should We Then Live” covers this topic extremely well. I would suggest it if you want a full answer to this question.
    Why do people leave church?
    Again…TONS of reasons. Basically, they have no deep relationship with other people of the church to keep them there when things go wrong or when life gets crazy or whatever. This is the main problem with going out of “duty” or “because your parents did.” One needs a deeper reason AND a relationship with someone else there. Relationships are the glue. If a lot of people are leaving, look there.
    Should church be concerned about being culturally relevant?
    Well…yea…you have to relate to the people who are listening, or they will turn you off. Anyone who has done any public speaking can tell you that.
    If so, how much is enough/too much?
    Simply DO NOT contradict the Word of God as it is written in the Bible, but always attempt to be relatable.
    How does Jesus feel about this church that bears His name?
    What church? the worldwide “church” as a whole? He would obviously be happy with some and I’m sure would wish some didn’t use His name, because they are giving Him a bad one.
    Again, you are tackling a lot in one message, so those are my “off the top of my head first response answers otherwise I would be here all night answering these questions” answers.

  11. These are only personal opinion of the modern church as a whole, and your experience may be completely different from my own. I am attempting to not single out a particular church group.
    How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?
    2 – There is no life. If one would read John Eldrich’s books like Epic, Journey of Desire, or Wild at Heart, most churches in modern times have leaders (not just the elders or pastors, but anyone who has influence in that organization is a leader) who John Eldrich would call “posers.”

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?
    Many are starting to realize this and are trying to make changes. The problem is that it involves a complete paradigm shift, and many are not willing to do that. Leaders have to make a complete change in thinking, not beliefs, but thinking on topics like leadership and such.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?
    Let me start with a positive. In my church experience, there is a lot of knowledge among the leaders of the church. They know a lot about the Bible, but there is also a lot of knowledge among professors on college campus’s, and the students are a whole lot more excited about the football team than the gaining of knowledge.
    There is also a disconnect among the people. Relationships hold things together when times get tough or busy. Not exciting services, not cool buildings, not even relevant and well prepared and well delivered sermons that keep people interested for and hour. Relationships. What I don’t think a lot of people get is that you have to TRY and WORK HARD at starting and making relationships. They don’t just happen because a bunch of people are in the same room once or even 3 times a week. They happen when you go through stuff together. Here’s the kicker…in the U.S.A., there is not a lot to go through, life is pretty easy. THATS why churches in places with not NEARLY the resources we have grow like crazy. Personally, there is ONE person who I know cares a lot about me that has kept me at the place I’m at. Relationships.

  12. Ah yes, this question is crucial. I may, after this “audacious” post, have a barrage of stones slamming into me. [I am not here to have a fight, just as a disclaimer.]

    Before I head into these semi-murky waters concerning the three questions you have posed, there are two questions BEGGING to be asked here. First: What is church? Define it. Secondly: What is the purpose of the church? I see that someone before me addressed these, but I will also answer these questions for the sake of the comment’s development.

    The LOCAL church, as defined by scripture, is a gathering of believers. It was created to enjoy fellowship with believers and to also grow in the truth of God’s Word. In other words, the immediate, “sunday morning church” (or however often you meet with believers in your church) is for believers to be discipled. If your church is not encouraging you to grow closer to God through studying His Word and also laying God’s truths out you from THE BIBLE, then it has missed its purpose. First step, make disciples within the church, second step, send them out. I would wholeheartedly agree that we are to GO into all the WORLD and make DISCIPLES of every NATION!! We should be all about extending the message of hope and salvation to the world. So there you have it, the purpose of the church.

    And just for the record, since I gave my definition of the LOCAL church, the church as a WHOLE is every single christian believer in the entire world that make up the body of Christ.

    mmmmmk, so now the questions have been answered. So I have a question to add to these that might answer them: Is the church about us… or God? So therefore, whether we are satisfied or not, we need to realize that God is the one behind the church, and that we are a part of the problem. We all are human, and we all mess up. The failures you see in your church are your fault as well, UNLESS… you are modeling the change you wish to see in the church.

    There you have it. Model it. Nothing will change unless someone does something. BUT keep in mind that church is not all about the music or the style of preaching or the gossip circles that form… it’s about GOD and HIS PURPOSES. We need to stop being selfish and start reaching out. We need to stop complaining and be proactive. If you don’t like something in your church, first determine whether or not the issue is serious (by which I mean drag out your bible and look to God through prayer and studying the Word). Then, if it is biblically serious, lovingly approach the leaders of your church with a solution. Stop complaining.

    listen, feel free to reply to this. Go before God and pray, study your bible and look for solutions to the problems within your local church. I agree wholeheartedly on a lot of the comments made in this discussion, but I also am disappointed that our generation is one that would rather criticize than lovingly correct and accept.

    Church is not about you; it’s about you being taught and then making a difference. Change churches if you don’t like it, but realize that no church will ever satisfy you if Christ is not the motivator in your life.

  13. How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?

    I am satisfied with my current church experience right now, probably at about an 8 on the scale. There is a wonderful balance between the worship and sermon. They are seen as equally important in the service. The worship is a nice blend of modern songs and hymns. The sermons are challenging on a practical level and move us to reach out to those who don’t know Christ in our lives. I go to church in a college town, so I don’t feel the community members and college students connect very well, because the college students have full schedules during the week and can find it very hard to really get involved in the church outside of coming to the service on Sundays.

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

    Churches are wonderful places for Christians to fellowship with one another, praise God for who He is, and be challenged from His Word to go out and reach the world for His glory. It is good that the body of Christ is not all the same and are blessed with a variety of spriritual gifts that can be used to advance the Kindgom.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?

    As I mentioned earlier, I feel like there is a great generational gap in some of our churches. I think older people can learn a lot from the younger and vice versa, but I’m not quite sure how that should happen. I also do not like that the Word of God is compromised in many fellowships, which is very sad to see. This leads to the body of Christ not caring for those outside the church walls. I also feel that, on the whole, we are not very welcoming to the outside world.

  14. Sorry this took me so long to reply to but I have been really liking what i have been reading from others in response to this posting.

    How satisfied are you with your current church experience (scale of 1 to 10)? Why?

    I am about a 4. I can see a current Church with too much religion. But I can see it about to blow up like mega extreme. So CURRENTLY I don’t like what I see and hear from some churches and I LOVE what I see and hear from others.

    What do you see that is good about church (in whatever form you know it)?

    Well, the Church community that I have at MSU is rocking my socks clean off. There is SOOOO much room to grow; yes that is true but we are fighting for it. God is taking me back to just Him and me by burning off ALL of the unnecessary and adding to me all the absolute necessary and showing how the He designed the Church. What He has shown me shocked me but it excites me more than anything.

    What do you dislike about church as you know it?

    Well, I very much detest hierarchical systems where one man is running the show. I heard from a pastor once that he didn’t want to be too friend-like to the congregation in a personal “on the same level” way because that would divert the respect and order of the church, which is completely ridiculous. I don’t like the spiritual pride passed down by a spirit of religion. to kind of touch on something you mentioned in the Italicized paragraph, the communication gap between leadership and congregations can be bridged by leadership getting off their high horses and realizing that they are no different than anyone else and that there should be no “gap” on any level. It honestly seems like both parties view each other from completely different levels. It has become a political position to some. I want to make this example because God does this thing where He teaches me EVERYTHING using EVERYTHING. I see gifts in people all around me just blowing up, I LOVE IT. Andy is one of them that i especially have gotten to see over the years. He is an Apostle. What a gift eh? one might think that he should start churches and travel and write letters of rebuke and encouragement. What does he do differently than everyone else? Nothing. He is walking with the Lord in the way God formed him to. I see his gift operating heavily at the prayer room. There is a foundation that he is laying there. He has no idea what he is doing, it just happens cause the Lord formed his heart that way.(what I mean is that he doesn’t understand everything he does or why he does it, he just knows God told him to.) Paul shared his short comings with the people he taught. He was one of them. Some pastors can’t share those intimate things with those they teach because then people might not trust them if they knew they knew they were human. I think the church has taken a “form” that was put in place during Emperor Constantine’s era and are playing church in all the light they have. Which is why I am excited about the upcoming explosion of the apostolic ministry.

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