Confessions of a recovering church kid

I have a problem.

I love the Church, but I’m not the biggest fan of the weekend church service.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of the weekend service, but I don’t love how it’s actually done a lot of the time.

Growing up I went to a traditional Pentacostal church. Each week had a few songs, then the choir would sing, followed by a prayer for the offering. While the offering was taken up, someone would sing their special song of the week. Then we’d have a sermon finished by the altar call where I rededicated my life to Jesus every other week. After that we’d file out and shake the pastor and his wife’s hand as we left.

I went to church every Sunday morning, most Wednesday nights, and the occasional Sunday night. I played trombone in the church band, did puppets for children’s church, and was on the mime team.

Stop laughing.

Please?!

At least I was good.

At some point around the time I was 16 I got tired of going to church. I had no problem with Jesus, but I didn’t notice anything different about the people I went to church with. The teenagers who were a little older than me were no different than the kids who didn’t go to church. The adults were judgmental and two faced.

There didn’t seem to be a point in going to church. 

So for the next five years, I didn’t go.

It wasn’t until my world got shattered that I willingly stepped foot inside a church again.

Now, almost eight years later, I’m back to having trouble getting excited for church.

The church I walked into that summer day was different. They were part of a movement that used pop culture and rock music to reach people like me. The pastor preached in jeans and a tshirt while the greeters wore shorts and flip flops. Nothing about that church screamed traditional Pentacostal church.

It was different.

I needed different.

Like all good things, the pieces that made that church movement so appealing eventually became abused. Churches started going too far with their desire to be relevant and started focusing on being cool and outdoing each other. Because of that, we’ve seen a rise in traditional church elements the past few years.

The hymns.

The call and answer liturgy.

Even the ties and sport coats.

My problem is the traditions many churches love take me to a time when I didn’t love church at all. In fact, it reminds me of the hurt and confusion caused by the local church.

The traditions many churches love take me to a time when I didn't love church at all. Click To Tweet

I know this is a me-thing. And I don’t want (nor expect) churches to change because of my feelings.

But as we start a new year, I wanted to get this off my chest. I’m not writing this post hoping to get a ton of clicks or to start a debate about how the weekend church service should be. I know there are a billion different ways to do church which is why there are a billion different churches.

I’m writing this because I know there are people out there who feel like me. They fell in love with the Church at some point and are having a hard time staying in love with her today. To that person, I will say the same thing I say to myself:

Don’t give up on her. 

Don’t stop going and participating and engaging because those old feelings have returned.

No, the Church isn’t perfect.

But neither are we.

And Jesus hasn’t given up on either.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

PS – I’d love for you to take two seconds to rate this post below. It’s totally anonymous but it helps me improve as a writer and let’s me know what’s connecting with you the reader. Thanks a bunch!

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