As many of you know, I have spent the last nine months searching for a place to plant my roots since I resigned the last church I served. When people find out I was once a worship leader and senior pastor, they look at me like I have sinned against God and something must be wrong with me. Because of my pursuit to find something more than a place to plant my rear end for an hour, my desires for a church have been very high. Because of the criticism that is prevalent within the denomination that ordained me, I have found some great pastors whose congregations possess the same religious spirit I (and God) abhor. Had I not prayed and seen that some churches exist that are healthy, I would have just settled into one of the churches that contacted me about employment or one pastored by a friend. The bottom line is that I must obey the Lord.
I have discovered that some of my friends who are de-churched are looking for the same things this ordained minister desires. Forget the stereotypes about these people going to hell in a hand basket. Here are some characteristics:
1. They tried the megachurch and long for authentic church. I had someone say to me this week that she’s not looking for lights and smoke machines. She tried that and wants the days when church was a genuine community of believers trying to please God.
2. They want something real. Forget the religious jargon that preachers use to impress people who aren’t impressed by it.
3. While they want programs for the family, they want simple church. Forget the frills. When it comes down to it, they want an Acts 2 experience with people they can share life with – brothers and sisters in Christ who are there for them at their worst.
It’s time to quit condemning these people. Jesus doesn’t hate them, and neither should we. That love just might help them find the church community for which they long.