Posted on March 01, 2022
Reasons Why A Church Member Might Be In This Situation
1. This is the only church with similar theological convictions within driving distance.
2. The church member grew up at the church and wants to stay but realizes the church needs to revitalize.
3. The church member “married into” the church through family ties or their spouse was already attending that church before being married.
4. The church member is also a staff member of the church.
Whichever reason the church member falls into, there are 7 ideas that will encourage the church member who is more than ready to revitalize, but the church leadership isn’t ready yet or wants to revitalize differently.
Have you ever seen a cruise ship or cargo carrier try to turn around? I live in Portland, Oregon and am constantly driving across the bridge over the famed Columbia River Gorge. It is a massive river which has been used for large shipping carriers ever since it was discovered. The ship’s captains must be very careful when they turn the ship around as the water level, the proximity to other ships or land, and the crew’s readiness all play a huge part in when/where/how he can turn the ship. I can tell you from watching those ships, when they do turn, they turn VERY slowly. The bigger the ship, the longer the turn takes.
Our churches aren’t too dissimilar. When a church member wants to make a change, they tend to zero in on that one area. After zeroing in it can seem like such a simple change! Just do this and this, then batta-bing batta-boom we’ve revitalized! Simple right?!
But the pastoral staff or elders have to consider how that change will affect the church holistically. As the “ship’s captains”, the elders are responsible for when/where/how they turn the ship. They are accountable for the aftermath and potential fallout of revitalization. The church leadership would not be fulfilling their calling if they did not take the time to count the cost of revitalization.
Sometimes we make membership decisions based on what we perceive in front of us and not what is actually happening.
Think of the last time you were stuck at the back of a long line at a red light.
You may see the light turn green up ahead, and even see the cars at the front starting to move forward, but it takes a while for the line to get moving so that you can push the gas pedal on your car.
This is nearly always what happens when the church leadership wants to revitalize. Only, the church member can’t always see the pieces already in motion because they come in forms of staff meetings and emails. It is very possible that the church leadership already has plans to make changes and is currently in the process of setting the stage for that transition.
I would highly encourage any church member to schedule a time to speak with your church leadership and simply ask some questions. Where do you see our kids ministry in 3 years? Does the church need any help with administration or leadership for the small groups program? Are there any areas where my spouse and I can contribute to the church?
Write a list of your questions. Truly strive to not deviate into making suggestions or comments unless the leadership asks for your perspective or advice. Remember the goal is for your to understand where the church leadership currently stands in the “line” of revitalization. It is very possible the line is already moving and you just can’t see it yet.
This speaks to our fundamental reasoning for joining a church, the primary issues.
Ideally, church members join a specific church because they believe in the doctrine and mission of that local church. We will almost never find a church that is our version of perfect when it comes to all the secondary issues such as music, dress, and kids programs. But we should not join a church that does not align with our doctrinal beliefs.
Secondary issues are essentially not what matters most, yet they can often be the determining factor of whether a church members stays at that church. They are preferences and it’s nice and convenient when our preferences align with those of others, but if we must choose between a church that preaches sound doctrine, but has outdated secondary methods, and a church that is progressive, up to date on all secondary methods, but preaches weak or unbiblical doctrine…which would we choose?
When secondary issues take priority over primary issues when selecting a church, we’ve lost site of what matters most.
When we focused on everything at once that needs to be revitalized, we can become overwhelmed, frustrated, and disenfranchised with the church. This can apply to our places of work as well.
We can’t fix everything at once, and as we will read, we are not responsible to fix anything at all. BUT we can make a difference in the area of our gifting!
Maybe your frustrated with the outdated building and you are great at finding deals. Ask the church leadership if you can contribute some references for where to find carpet, chairs, or renovation materials. Maybe your frustrated with the lack of or unorganized small group program and you have the gift of administration. Offer to volunteer some time each week to help administrate the program.
Once you find an area to help in, focus on making that area the best you can under the leadership of the church. Try your best not to focus on everything else. When Satan try’s to whisper in your ear to get you thinking about everything else that you believe the church should update, stop his whispering by thanking God for the opportunity to help the church grow in the area where you are helping.
Thank God we church members do not have the responsibility for the church and pressure that comes with it!
At the end of the day, the church leadership are who answers to God about how they are leading the church to reach your community. We church members only answer to God about how we are serving in the church and how we are reaching our personal community for Christ.
For some personalities, they feel that it is “only right” for them to speak out about changes they perceive as necessary. And it would be a travesty if a church member had a skill set that could help the church and they chose not to contribute that skill set to help make the church better.
However, so much of our ability as church members to help revitalize comes from having the right heart attitude and how we approach the conversation. Walking into the offices with a long list of what is currently wrong with the church will only greatly discourage the church leadership and make them a bit cautious the next time they see you approaching.
Imagine your co-worker scheduled a meeting with you at work and then proceeded to read aloud a list they had assembled of how they believed you were failing or at least not measuring up to their expectations for your position….even if they said everything super nice with a smile sprinkled with reassuring compliments throughout, you might feel like the whole meeting was a bit audacious.
When tempted to request a meeting like this, refer back to Idea #2, and remember that you are only accountable for yourself.
For everything there is a season; patience for the season.
How many of us have gone through a season where our child is sick, our spouse is depressed, our finances are depleted? In most cases, it was a season. It may have stayed around longer than we would have liked, but it did end.
So many of us have a multi-year plan for our lives. We may plan to stay in this church for X number of years and that plan plays a large part in why we as church members might feel strongly about when/where/how the church revitalizes. The decisions the leadership makes will affect our weekly worship service, our small group/ability to form community, and our children’s spiritual development.
It’s hard to watch a church that you love or want to love seemingly dying in front of your eyes. It is possible that the leadership is going through a season of listening to God’s direction for the next season of the church.
Focus on one step at a time, one Sunday at a time. Do your part as a church members to encourage revitalization by making your area of ministry within the church the best you possible can. Continue to encourage visitors and invite friends and co-workers to attend.
For more on this topic, read the blog post “How Quickly Everything Can Change”.
So I'll probably get haters for these last two...but here goes.
I believe part of the church member’s frustration with secondary issues is that culture, sometimes the church, and especially the Devil himself, have directly or indirectly promoted a few of false expectations.
1. Myth - The Church is the only place to be fed spiritually.
2. Myth - The Church is the only place you can truly worship.
3. Myth - The Church is the only place you can serve.
The church is a phenomenal place to engage in Bible study, to worship God through song, and to serve either in the church itself or through local outreach. There are many methods by which a Christian church member can grow in their walk with Christ. Some church members prefer Bible study, worship music, or service over the other; but all are ways to grow and we should each partake in each method to mature spiritually.
However, The Devil would LOVE us to limit our walk with Christ to Sunday only. He would love all church members to believe that the church building and staff were the only place we are able to grow spiritually. It’s the same as saying you can only exercise if you go to the gym. While the gym definitely has many tools, equipment, and experienced trainers that can greatly help a person become more healthy and strong, we each understand that it’s the actions that we take at home and the choices we make throughout the week that will make or break our journey to physical fitness. The same goes for spiritual fitness and worship.
If your issue is the church’s music on Sunday morning, here’s a pro tip: listen to the music that speaks to your heart and worship while getting ready and while driving to church. This simple act can set you’re heart in the mode of worship while also releasing the church from your expectation to be fed in the exact way that you prefer musically.
Original article: https://www.ideanetwork.church/post/7-encouraging-ideas-for-frustrated-church-members
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