We get calls fairly regularly at the church office, from people who are looking for financial help in one form or another. Sometimes it’s help with gas, sometimes prescriptions, groceries, rent, a bill, diapers or clothes for their kids…you name it, we’ve been asked for help with it. Our practice is to refer the majority of these calls to an awesome guy in our community who manages a ‘compassion fund’ that a group of local churches contribute to.
So this lady called the church office, wanting this man’s number. Christine answered the phone, and as Christine has a habit of doing, entered into a conversation. She wasn’t content to just give her the information and hang up the phone (like the other pastor would have done).
At some point in the conversation, Christine invited this woman to church, and the response was basically “No, I was hurt by the church a long time ago, so I’m never setting foot in one again.”
Basically, “I don’t want anything to do with you, your community, or anything you stand for…just give me your money and leave me be.” I guess I can give her points for honesty.
There was more to the conversation, but let’s examine that sentiment, because I think it’s pretty widespread when it comes to church, and God, and the journey of faith. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had where this comes up, often for legitimate reasons, sometimes for petty reasons…sometimes because the individual is seeking healing and wholeness and restoration…often because they’re not.
And I’d just like to point out the fact that in the circles I run in…nobody has more reason to be bitter, wounded, and cynical towards the church than us pastors.
For us Pastors, the church is it. The church is literally all we’ve got. So when things suck at church…for a pastor, things suck everywhere.
Unfortunately the church is made up of people…and the thing about people is, wherever 2 or more are gathered…eventually both are going to get hurt.
So spare me the ‘I was hurt by the church, so I’m never going to set foot in one again’ line.
I’ve been there. It’s an excuse, and what it sounds like to me is the avoidance of something in your life that you’d be better off facing.
You’ll always be welcome in my church…but if you’re more interested in nursing your grudge than staring it down, then maybe it’s better for everyone if you do stay away.
Because my church is a place for
the confrontation of complacency.
It’s where demons go to die.
It’s a house of struggle
as much as bread,
but I will not force you to enter in,
because only those who have chosen
to enter this house
have what it takes
that pain and see the rugged
beauty that is this beast.
I am a pastor.
I have wounds you know nothing about.
and made all the more beautiful by
this thing you so
Here’s that number you wanted.
I wish you all the best,
and by the way,
tell that monkey on your back that he knows where to find us.