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Thread: do you dread going to church?

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    do you dread going to church?

    This is an issue that has arisen for us.

    There are times, I believe, when we do need our toes stepped on, or do need to participate in that which spiritually feeds others but not ourselves.

    But do you as a whole, week in and week out, dread church?

    Or does it lift you up and prepare you better to face the week?

    Do you see dreading church as a good thing or bad thing?

    We are muddling through evaluating some things, and reasons for dreading church include the sheer length of the service, the boring rabbit chasing, and the constant being made to feel God is totally disgusted with us as a congregational whole.

    It is taking us deeply into studying the whole philosophy of the worship service. Do we do it appease or please God, or is it God's time to feed and prepare us? Should it be the joyful highlight of the week as we celebrate grace, or should it be a mournful time of repentance? Or both?

    Give us your insight on the philosophy of worship as we struggle through this. (Let's not get into a worship war. The same music can be used in either theology of worship.)
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    If you are constantly made to feel God is disgusted with you, I'd be out no matter the worship philosophy.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    But do you as a whole, week in and week out, dread church?
    Yes, but my wife says I have to go because I'm the pastor.

    (Yes, I know it's a VERY old joke, but I couldn't resist.)

    Wilson
    "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)

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    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    I'm with Hans--I would get out of there immediately!

    The theology of worship is a topic I've spent a lot of time studying and thinking about, and one of my favorite topics. The most helpful book I've ever read on the subject is The Worship Architect by Constance Cherry. It left me with a deep appreciation (and longing) for the beauty of a worship service which is a conversation between God and us.
    Thanks Susan Unger, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Being in a "church in crisis" has made me dread church. Our transitional pastor arrives time in June. I tell myself just hang in there.... and pray LOTS!
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    Being in a "church in crisis" has made me dread church. Our transitional pastor arrives time in June. I tell myself just hang in there.... and pray LOTS!
    ... and June can't get here fast enough, no?
    Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~ Stella Adler
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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina Stevenson View Post
    ... and June can't get here fast enough, no?
    Yup. It's a strange feeling, I tell ya, when I crave summer's arrival.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov
    Thanks Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Bob Carabbio's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Can't say I particularly look forward to it, but I certainly don't DREAD it. Jerry always brings good messages, as soon as the "music" portion gets out of the way. It's to the point, however, that I expect nothing out of attendance, and since my Board term has ended, it really just gets down to BEING THERE, and financially supporting it because that's where I'm supposed to be.

    Simple as that.

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    Host Photography Forum Dana Grant's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    If you are constantly made to feel God is disgusted with you, I'd be out no matter the worship philosophy.
    I agree. I would run, not walk, to the nearest exit and never return. There would be no question. And ESPECIALLY if I had my children going to church with me.
    Thanks John Kennedy, Gina Stevenson, Todd Erickson - "thanks" for this post

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    Host Gen. Disc. Forum David Pettigrew's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    Being in a "church in crisis" has made me dread church. Our transitional pastor arrives time in June. I tell myself just hang in there.... and pray LOTS!
    Why is your church in crisis? Has it been given that designation officially by the district (which is a real thing) or just descriptive of how you feel about it?

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    Senior Member Roy Richardson's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    speaking as a layperson who has left a church with feelings like this and as a pastor, I cannot tell you strongly enough to make sure that what you are experiencing is not related to sin in your own life. It may be that God is moving you to a different place. It may be that the church is not being the church. And it is possible that some of the problem is within you. I say that not to condemn, but because I have seen people who left, and the same issues followed them to their new church and they were miserable. It is an introspective process of searching one's own heart with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It takes time, prayer, openness and a heart willing to be led by God.

    After all of that, we still left, and the issues that we were most troubled by split the church a couple of years later. And then I had to resist the urge to gloat. Many of my friends were spiritually damaged in that process and it pained me.

    Make sure that God wants any move to be made. Take your time and seek His face.

    I really can't stress that enough.
    Thanks Jim Chabot, Todd Erickson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    This is an issue that has arisen for us.

    There are times, I believe, when we do need our toes stepped on, or do need to participate in that which spiritually feeds others but not ourselves.

    But do you as a whole, week in and week out, dread church?

    Or does it lift you up and prepare you better to face the week?

    Do you see dreading church as a good thing or bad thing?

    We are muddling through evaluating some things, and reasons for dreading church include the sheer length of the service, the boring rabbit chasing, and the constant being made to feel God is totally disgusted with us as a congregational whole.

    It is taking us deeply into studying the whole philosophy of the worship service. Do we do it appease or please God, or is it God's time to feed and prepare us? Should it be the joyful highlight of the week as we celebrate grace, or should it be a mournful time of repentance? Or both?

    Give us your insight on the philosophy of worship as we struggle through this. (Let's not get into a worship war. The same music can be used in either theology of worship.)
    I'm not going to try to tell you that it's your fault or that you just need to grin and bear it. But I do think that your attitude and mindset do effect how the service "is".

    I'll be as vague as is tactful in some of these details, so I apologize if it seems like I'm the bad guy.

    Our church services are on Thursday evenings following a dinner at 6pm. A good deal of our congregation either lives in public housing or is in the lower level of the blue collar world. I leave an engineering job around 4:20pm, drive to pick up a single mom and her kids who are public charges at 5:30pm and then drive to church, getting there at 6pm. I'm usually exhausted after a day of work, the drive with irritating drivers on back roads and then I get into a car with someone who irritates me. (This woman had some education paid for by the church yet she refuses to work, she's giving her kids $100 sneakers and getting a new phone all the time, yet I'm just trying to make my rent.) But I love her kids and I don't want to see them miss church.

    Church is usually disrupted a few times by kids running around or by one or more of our congregants with mental or emotional issues interrupting the service with long irrelevant stories or wisecracks. My son and daughter often require me to escape to the back of the church to change a diaper or give a scolding to. Our pastor, although an amazing man, gives sermons way below the level I'd like and the songs we sing are more of Steven Curtis Chapman than to my more Charles Wesley liking.

    After church I help clean up any mess or leftovers from dinner. A quick vacuum before jumping back in the car and driving the mom and kids home, hearing them fight in the car and trying to get a small semblance of sound theologizing into the conversation. I usually get home around 9pm.

    On church nights I can barely get up the energy to read a few books to my son before I want to collapse in bed. I rarely get lunch or breakfast cooked on Thursday nights and end up eating out for lunch the next day.

    I can't wait for the next Thursday. I love my church. I love being there. But if I sat down and made a pro/con list of the evening I wouldn't be able to find a sufficient number of reasons to go.

    I'm not trying to project this on to you, but I used to dread going to church. I complained to my wife that the music was too shallow, the service too disorderly, the level of the sermon was too juvenile and the food bland. I kept telling her I wasn't getting anything from going, that the church wasn't feeding me. She did the right thing and told me to shut my face, that the church wasn't about me.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Since you asked about philosophy and theology, the sooner we can get over the notion that the church is an organization to which I choose to belong (and to leave) and start understanding the local church as a family the better we will be. Worship is a weekly family reunion. It is the time we gather as the family regardless of the things that might otherwise divide us (politics, philosophy, theology, race, gender, age, economics... dare I add sexuality?) to be united in Christ. In our unity we both celebrate God's grace and receive it. We pray and we praise. We tell the gospel story in word and deed. We remember his death, proclaim his resurrection and look forward to come again. We are filled and empowered and transformed by the Spirit. We are sent. You know, as I think about it, sometimes I really like being with my biological family. Sometimes they really get on my nerves. But they are my family. And we must remember that water is always thicker than blood!
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

    - Bryan Stone Evangelism After Christendom

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    Senior Member Roy Richardson's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Since you asked about philosophy and theology, the sooner we can get over the notion that the church is an organization to which I choose to belong (and to leave) and start understanding the local church as a family the better we will be. Worship is a weekly family reunion. It is the time we gather as the family regardless of the things that might otherwise divide us (politics, philosophy, theology, race, gender, age, economics... dare I add sexuality?) to be united in Christ. In our unity we both celebrate God's grace and receive it. We pray and we praise. We tell the gospel story in word and deed. We remember his death, proclaim his resurrection and look forward to come again. We are filled and empowered and transformed by the Spirit. We are sent. You know, as I think about it, sometimes I really like being with my biological family. Sometimes they really get on my nerves. But they are my family. And we must remember that water is always thicker than blood!
    Forget what I said and just listen to Eric.
    Thanks Peggy Gray, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Your question reminds me of the baptist churches I grew up in.

    The worship would end, and the pastor would launch into his three point sermon, with numerous stories and meanderings, and every sermon was about a new sin we were committing that was leading to us disappointing God that we needed to surrender...

    I don't go to churches like that anymore. They crush the life out of people and imprison them in guilt and ancedotal fears.

    As a whole though...I'm not sure what it would take to look forward to church. I haven't looked forward to church my entire life, it's just that thing we do on Sundays. I'm working on a few things, personally, that may change that, but we'll see.
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer, Kevin Rector - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    I appreciate all replies, and don't worry about stomping on my toes.

    The first thing my family considered was personal sin as a possibility. However, no, we don't really believe we are to blame for the number of drug addicts in our town, gang members, or the fact the church hasn't been growing fast enough. It is growing, we live among and work with the druggies and the gang bangers. Shoot, we started some of them going to this church! If you hold to free will, we do the best we can and are always open to doing better, but in the end we can offer the gospel but you cannot force anyone to take it! Three things hold us to this church: theology, the fact it does reach out to the one's often left out by the church growth movement, and solid Bible teaching for all ages.

    Last week we were visiting a different church. Service was shorter and so I could focus on the service and not entertaining a very bored child. I freely admit I liked the music better, and it was a blend of contemporary and traditional. But that alone would not woo me there. The preaching was solid--shorter, pithier, stomped my toes aplenty, but also left me with the solid conviction Jesus Christ is the answer and He still moves mountains. I don't think as a whole the church I visited is as involved in community outreach, in serving the poor, or as in evangelism. But there were some downright holiness whooping moments as folks seem to be getting excited about doing just that.

    As to the concept we aren't free to leave when a church doesn't fit, but are called to it, I disagree to the amount that we are in process of discerning if we were actually called by God to this church or if we just chose it. Also, maybe we were called to it initially but are we still?

    I will admit that I don't agree that we are to just grin and bear whatever goes on at the local church. Sometimes we are and sometimes we need to fix it or move on if it cannot be fixed.

    But we are finding we are getting lots of doses of law but no gospel.
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    I appreciate all replies, and don't worry about stomping on my toes.

    The first thing my family considered was personal sin as a possibility. However, no, we don't really believe we are to blame for the number of drug addicts in our town, gang members, or the fact the church hasn't been growing fast enough. It is growing, we live among and work with the druggies and the gang bangers. Shoot, we started some of them going to this church! If you hold to free will, we do the best we can and are always open to doing better, but in the end we can offer the gospel but you cannot force anyone to take it! Three things hold us to this church: theology, the fact it does reach out to the one's often left out by the church growth movement, and solid Bible teaching for all ages.

    Last week we were visiting a different church. Service was shorter and so I could focus on the service and not entertaining a very bored child. I freely admit I liked the music better, and it was a blend of contemporary and traditional. But that alone would not woo me there. The preaching was solid--shorter, pithier, stomped my toes aplenty, but also left me with the solid conviction Jesus Christ is the answer and He still moves mountains. I don't think as a whole the church I visited is as involved in community outreach, in serving the poor, or as in evangelism. But there were some downright holiness whooping moments as folks seem to be getting excited about doing just that.

    As to the concept we aren't free to leave when a church doesn't fit, but are called to it, I disagree to the amount that we are in process of discerning if we were actually called by God to this church or if we just chose it. Also, maybe we were called to it initially but are we still?

    I will admit that I don't agree that we are to just grin and bear whatever goes on at the local church. Sometimes we are and sometimes we need to fix it or move on if it cannot be fixed.

    But we are finding we are getting lots of doses of law but no gospel.
    Theologically speaking (at least for me if no one else) I don't actually see the difference.

    (But I know what you mean)
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    I appreciate all replies, and don't worry about stomping on my toes.

    The first thing my family considered was personal sin as a possibility. However, no, we don't really believe we are to blame for the number of drug addicts in our town, gang members, or the fact the church hasn't been growing fast enough. It is growing, we live among and work with the druggies and the gang bangers. Shoot, we started some of them going to this church! If you hold to free will, we do the best we can and are always open to doing better, but in the end we can offer the gospel but you cannot force anyone to take it! Three things hold us to this church: theology, the fact it does reach out to the one's often left out by the church growth movement, and solid Bible teaching for all ages.

    Last week we were visiting a different church. Service was shorter and so I could focus on the service and not entertaining a very bored child. I freely admit I liked the music better, and it was a blend of contemporary and traditional. But that alone would not woo me there. The preaching was solid--shorter, pithier, stomped my toes aplenty, but also left me with the solid conviction Jesus Christ is the answer and He still moves mountains. I don't think as a whole the church I visited is as involved in community outreach, in serving the poor, or as in evangelism. But there were some downright holiness whooping moments as folks seem to be getting excited about doing just that.

    As to the concept we aren't free to leave when a church doesn't fit, but are called to it, I disagree to the amount that we are in process of discerning if we were actually called by God to this church or if we just chose it. Also, maybe we were called to it initially but are we still?

    I will admit that I don't agree that we are to just grin and bear whatever goes on at the local church. Sometimes we are and sometimes we need to fix it or move on if it cannot be fixed.

    But we are finding we are getting lots of doses of law but no gospel.
    If it were me, I think I'd be back for a second visit. While I do envy those who have stayed in one church for their entire lives, grin and bear it isn't worth it. Better off to stay home.

    You say that the music is good, the preaching is decent, the people are excited and the service is shorter? I'm sold.

    I have to say that when you describe a situation where the service is both unenjoyable and long, I'm hearing grin and bear it. This sounds like things aren't working and the leadership is now doubling down on a failed plan.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  19. #19
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: do you dread going to church?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Pettigrew View Post
    Why is your church in crisis? Has it been given that designation officially by the district (which is a real thing) or just descriptive of how you feel about it?
    Designation by the district. We are the real thing...plus it is how I and others feel about it.

    As for why, I'll pm you.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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