|Who Is the Bride of Christ?|
The comments made in this post are the culmination of suppressing thoughts and feelings about local churches, church leaders, and really the systems of organized churches - not the Body of Christ!
I love Christ and His body... but oh so often the local churches are not reflecting Christ and the teaching of the Bible.
In every local church good things are happening but so are bad, hurtful things... and the hardest part of dealing with most local churches is that leadership and paid staff never seem to listen to members who see differently, having experienced the hidden side of the organization from the outside, not the inside.Believe me, the view is very different.
If leadership had a sincere desire to prayerfully listen and try to seek God when committed followers of Jesus come to carefully and respectfully try to speak up.... the local church would be better for having members that care enough to speak. But way too many local churches just want to crush and silence any voice that is not "rah, rah" cheering anything and everything the church does. Members should not be afraid to speak... but the atmosphere at most local churches creates a place where only "yes" people speak. Who wants to be outcast-ed, ignored, viewed as a problem, told they are not unifying, threatened to be dealt with by leadership, or told to go find another church? Hello? Nobody... so I wonder why pastors, leaders, staff hear so little feedback for regular, weekly, committed families.
Frustrated. Gripe. Want to Explode. Fear of retaliation or excommunication. Is that why so many are afraid to speak up? How long? How long will 'followers of Jesus' tolerate sin and be silent? Caution. Be careful. Don't want to be labeled divider. Unity. Pursue unity and shut up (I mean, keep your mouth shut). Leave, if you must, (I plead with you leave... you have been told before... leave... but for the love of Christ, don't speak up... don't stir dissonance. Go quiet in the night. We seal our lips in one accord. We obey leadership - after all God put them over us. We give up accountability, authority of the body, membership self-governing. Who are you or who am I to speak up? We didn't go to seminary, did we? We aren't qualified in the eyes of man.
What does it matter... changes wont ever happen anyway, at least not at a local church.... church politics gets in the way.
Normally, I am free flowing. I say what I think. Expressing my feelings and opinion - just getting it out.
But "Church" is a touchy topic - more like a lightening rod - if you expose what goes on inside - you will get burned - you will be toast!
The Bible says the Church is the "called out assembly" of Jesus followers that have counted all the cost of losing it all and still chose to be in. I am -without a doubt- a follower of Jesus, a redeemed daughter of the King. I am all in - and desire to hold nothing back from HIM.
But I struggle - I always have since I have been a Christian - with church politics.
What's that? To me, what I am talking about is the good ole boy/gal network. Commitment, personal growth, accountability, heart .... that is not what counts. If you are in the inner circle, (a childhood friend, a family member/relative/recommended, or a former church/college/seminar pal) YOU ARE IN! And grace abounds to this group. You mess up - hey, that's OK, you're only human - forgiveness and absolution is extended. You lie - most of the time, it can't be proven anyway so no one will believe another's word (even a bunch of "out" other's words) about you - you get a pass. You blow budget - that could happen to anyone - just some bad decisions, you will learn.
But what reeks in this little church politics game is all of this 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. grace, forget-about-it, another-try, simply-growing, and boundless-trust.... is not freely extended to everyone - that is not the no-body members of the church. Partiality - you bet! Money speak loudly - sure does! Got the connections - right school, right friends, right job, right property, right upbringing.... well, we can find a ministry job for you with lifelong security unless you don't "play the game" and be "one of the team".
No church is perfect. No Christian is perfect. Mercy, I will never be... far from it, perfect. And I am not looking for perfect - never have and never will.
Who has a voice but is never heard? Who speaks inside but utters not a word? Who prays and cries? Who is sincerely, but disregarded? Who never makes the cut? Who is discounted? Who is discarded? Who is deemed unusable, nonredeemable, unchangeable, a big problem? Who is not selected, not called, not wanted, avoided? Children of God!
Who would do this to a child of God? The Church!
But I can't stand "the blind eye" and special treatment leadership gives to the special ones.
Once... understandable. Twice... probably working in areas I can't know or see. The benefit of doubt is due.
But when it comes to hurting families, individuals, young people, older people - over and over and over.... when other people are NEVER given a single chance to minister in the church in the area that God has created them... or in any capacity for some reason or another. Why do so many 'familiar' friends, family, connected people get the red carpet and the life-time guarantee.... and so many others get the cold shoulder, out-cast, untouchable status, never considered, never interviewed, never taken seriously. I have seen it so many times.. people ignored, overlooked, demoted, pushed to the outskirts.
When you are in the inside group of a church it is so hard to see what is really happening, you probably believe I am just griping and making all of this up. It can't be that bad...you would know about it... you would see... you would hear. Face the fact, everything looks great from your view, you dream big with God and mountains move. Everyone you "know" is enjoying life in the church, so much excitement. You have your ministry, you get asked to fill in for others, you guest speak/sing/etc. Christian life is happening and you are smack in the middle of the activity. You hear from God, you get an idea, you want to try something, and you are told, "go ahead give it a try." Your voice is heard and you see God moving through you and those you love.
But the outside view, is so different.... And God sees it. He wrote about it in the Bible through Paul in the Epistles to the church.
This isn't a denominational problem. It might be a church as a business organization problem. Hundreds of thousands to million dollar budgets create a corporate like atmosphere: jobs to be secured, friends and family to help out. It is only natural... for this to happen. Have you ever seen a church that posts open positions, seeking any member to apply that is qualified? Do all the people that sign up to serve get to fulfill their calling in the area God designed them to work in the body? Do some people never hear back? Do some people never get asked? Are some genuine children of God not wanted by the local church? Sadly, yes, yes, yes! Do you think this makes Jesus cry?
God is Supernatural! We are all heirs! We are all equal at the foot of the cross. No one in God's eyes is in the "chum" crowd. Everyone single person who believes Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross a bloody death for their sins and rose from the dead to conquer the penalty of death to win ultimate victory over Satan and his demons - everyone that believes these things and chooses to be an obedient follower of Jesus as their Master (Lord) is IN.
Help me. What is wrong? I have been attending church about 25 years as a Christian.... so many different locations, denominations, leaderships.... but when it gets down to it - church politics reigns.
Oh, God help me. I love the church - the people - the called out body of believers - the bride of Jesus... and I most certainly love You. Why then do I get sick of the actions - the politics - inside churches? Oh, God help me. Let's face it thousands and thousands of people calling themselves Christians can't be seeing nothing wrong. As I said, "please God, help me see." I don't want to be sick of local church.