Church Sucks!

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Church Sucks Mr. BeanNot too long ago, a family entered our church lobby looking fairly stressed. Having had a few fights on my way to church over the years, I understand the potential for family tension on the way to worship. It also seems that Murphy’s Law is extremely active when people are on their way to something that’s good for them.

As I smiled and said, “Hello” to this family, one of their kids (a junior high boy) said under his breath, “Church sucks!” From the look his mother gave him, I suspect he was grounded for a long time following that comment. Unfortunately, the dad almost winked at him as if to say, “I understand how you feel son; I don’t want to be here either!”

As you can imagine, this is not a great confidence booster for pastors.

You see, for pastors, church is like the Super Bowl, except it happens every Sunday. We love it! We’re excited to connect with our community of faith. We look forward to investing in the lives of people we love. So when they don’t show up, or worse yet, they show up with an attitude, it’s hard for us to understand.

Sure, at times I’ve left after a service and thought, that sucked, but that feeling is reserved for those times when I felt like I’d bombed. Generally, however, church refreshes my soul, and I leave thankful for what God did in our midst.

Guitarist on stage for background, soft and blur concept

So what’s going on? Why the growing attitude by some (many?) about Church?

  • Perhaps some have developed a consumerism mentality. For them, church is about being entertained or having their needs met. So if they don’t like the songs, the volume, the message, the room temperature, or whatever, they get irritated.

  • Perhaps some are too busy, and other things matter more. They’ll show up only if their kids don’t have a soccer game, they’re not up too late on Saturday night, their favorite sports team isn’t playing, it’s not too cold or snowy (you wouldn’t want to die on your way to church!), or it’s not too nice and sunny (why waste a gorgeous day inside?).

  • Perhaps some have convinced themselves that they don’t have to go to church to be a part of the Church. They think: I’ll watch it later online, or I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.

  • Perhaps their church really does suck and is a waste of time.

(Congratulations if you’re still reading this blog! Hopefully, that means you care about this thing called the Church of Christ.)

Leaving Me Church

Can I suggest a few things for your consideration?

1.    It’s not just about you.

Of course, every pastor hopes you will be blessed and personally encouraged at church, but what if that song you dislike is a favorite of someone else and just what they needed? The message on any given Sunday may be “old news” to you, but what if it’s just what Dr. Jesus ordered for someone else?

By the way, when a church tries to be everything for everybody it rarely is anything good for anybody.

Here’s a radical idea: What if you went to church praying, “Jesus, what can I say or do today in church to demonstrate what You have done for me, and how can I be a blessing to others today?” What if you went with a serving attitude rather than worrying about what you’ll get out of it? Isn’t it more blessed to give than to receive?

old man looking scared or crazy

2.    Church should involve sacrifice.

For hundreds and hundreds of years, the Jews understood coming to the tabernacle or temple as an act of sacrifice. It cost them time, energy and money to participate in worship. Sometimes they traveled great distances. And they always brought the best of the best to offer in grateful sacrifice to God. King David once said in 1 Chronicles 21:24 (NIV), “I will not . . . sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (VOICE), “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Some might argue that Jesus was talking about the kingdom, not the church. Uh . . . He created the Church and without a doubt He and His followers would absolutely include the community of faith in God’s kingdom.

Frankly, when we place other things, other activities (like choosing sports over church) or even more sleep above gathering together as His bride, we are simply not putting His kingdom first. People make time for the things and activities they value most.

I Believe Baseball Kid

3.    Being a Christian involves being in community.

Yes, church is more than just an hour on Sunday. And yes, I suppose you can be a Christian without going to a church service. But going to church matters. You truly can’t and shouldn’t do your faith alone.

We need each other. We need to sit next to others who are very different from us yet have the same Spirit inside. We need to join our voices together in song and praise. We need to be refreshed and refueled by the teaching of the Word through the pastor God has placed in our lives. We need to serve others. We need to understand that God never condones isolation. We need to prioritize in our lives the gathering of the saints. We need to make church not about our convenience but all about a sacrifice of love for the One who sacrificed His all for us.

I don’t care if you meet in a home, a garage, a tent, a stain-glassed cathedral or a former K-Mart! But if all of the above is not happening in your life on a regular basis and in whatever church you’re a part of, then you’re missing it.


By the way, if your church actually does suck, then find one where you can whole-heartedly engage, and stop making excuses for staying in bed on Sunday.

For the first century Christians, and even in most of the 20th century, church was at the center of community for believers. Instead of attending 2-3 times a month, the first church worshiped daily (Acts 2:46-47). I, and maybe many of you, grew up attending church 2-3 times a week.

Sure, the culture has changed, but I humbly suggest that we still need the influence and encouragement that best comes through a community of like-minded believers. Frankly, we need each other now more than ever.

Let us consider how to inspire each other

to greater love and to righteous deeds,

 not forgetting to gather as a community,

as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other,

especially as the day of His return approaches.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (VOICE)

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27 Responses to Church Sucks!

  1. Church is a privledge and honor! Thanks to you, the Eastpoint staff, and Jesus : ).
    You are all loved!

  2. Hey Cousin,
    Can you hear my loud amen from clear down here in Salem?! You so expressed what I believe is God’s heart for us.
    Really enjoying your “Mr & Mrs” book. I bought for us and each of our kids for Valentines. With 8 kids that’s saying something! Appreciate your wise and honest words.
    Love you and believe in you!

  3. So, so true! I know when I start feeling grumbly on Sundays because something isn’t “my” way, I need to check myself. Church isn’t about me, though it benefits me. It’s about God. When we go with that in mind, it’s amazing how He meets us right where we are! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to share this with my readers.

    • Very true, Mel, LOVE how God meets us where we’re at…it’s His heart for us…all we have to do is let Him embrace us…and that embrace often comes through His body. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I used to have that attitude for many reasons in past years about Church. But now coming back to my faith one thing I have noticed with all the churches I have attended is that people are beyond broken a lot of them with burnt bridges within life alone. Most people want to feel that LOVE and if not, why not go spend time and money other than at Church. I once was this way but all it took was that one time to really be embraced by His LOVE. East Point and Kurt you guys are in a very tender place in my heart because that LOVE happened in that very building. Kayla and I are now striving forward with our Lords Will and I want you guys to know that your very much loved in our hearts. We where so broken then and through you and the Church by love we started to heal. Thank you! And in these times may we focus on love and Love alone for He is all we will ever need. May the Lord Bless you and the Church in these times of need.

  5. Good article. I have to say that a lot of this is due to the perception that the church has gained over the last probably 40 years or so. Mega churches have popped up and more and more we tend to think that the size of the church is directly related to the “successfulness” of it. But in Matt 18 Jesus says where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name there I am in the mist of them. So obviously Jesus makes it clear that size is not the key. But in John 13 Jesus says “they will know by the love you have for one another.”
    It seems in today’s 30 second society, “churches” have forgotten what “to love” truly requires. It’s a commitment to one another, through hard times and easy times. Today changing churches is like changing relationships. If it doesn’t work, find a new one.
    But if we can show the world who we are by the love we have for each other, then longing, empty hearts will be drawn to it like moths to light. And when someone wants to be part of something, it changes their attitude towards it. Church no longer “sucks”, it’s where you truly want to be. The perception of church totally changes.

  6. Kurt, your post will give insights to other communicators for Christ and also Christian poets and writers who want their poems and writings to draw people back to Christ and the church. To encourage other members of our Facebook group to read this, I’ll highlight your post on the Christian Poets & Writers blog May God continue to bless you and your ministry in Jesus’ Name.

  7. Hey Kurt! I know I haven’t been attending Eastpoint for a while, but I still love to read your blogs and hear from you. This is a great word, especially since hearing our pastor at Cheney Faith Center talk about church being the body of Christ and when we talk about it sucking we’re kind of telling God what He has for us just isn’t good enough, and we want more. Maybe that’s not what God has planned. It made me think about actually hurting God when I’m focusing more on being pleased with the service, when that’s not what the service is about anyway, it’s about praising God. So, thank you for sharing! You rock, Kurt!

    Sarah Hoaglan (Peyron)

  8. Church is a gift from God for the family of God. It is the church that Jesus is building and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.It is the place for us to go and have the chance to worship with other like minded folks and hear from Gods word. If we make a habit of doing this say 48 times in a year we will look back and see how this discipline has nourished us and changed our hearts and lives. We have given ourselves a chance to be around a group of people that are also trying to have a better life so we discover we aren’t alone in the challenges of life. We look back and discover through our connection to the church our needs are being met and we have the blessing of being able to give some of the goodness away because we now have plenty. I have never went to church and not come away better for it even when I didn’t feel like getting up the day.

  9. Thanks, Kurt! You hit the nail on the head!! (I can say that because my thick skull deserves to be hammered every now and then.)

    Jesus served, taught & worshiped in community … following our leader’s faithful example is (at least) as important now as it was 2,000 years ago.


  10. Dear Sir,
    You might actually be one of the good ones. They come so few and far between these days, however I have actively kept my children from church after a few bad experiences and when they were in their teens allowed them to go with friends as they wished.
    Unfortunately we have ministers who only want the money. They make it very uncomfortable for parishioners who do not give what the deem their time is worth even though factories in the area closed ect. leading to a slow economy and then there are the ones who use it to hunt children for their own unchristian vises. I suppose I do not have to mention here what those could be.
    And then there are those who wish to tell me how to raise my children while allowing their own to run wild which I do not appreciate. None of this has anything to do with the congregation or the lessons in Sunday school. Church isn’t like it was when I was a kid. We were a community and it was fun to go to church. Now it has become a chore.
    Thanks for your time

    • Hi Suzette, Thank you so much for your candid comment. I literally ache for those who have suffered abuse (of any kind) from the Church. My hope and prayer for you is that you will find a place of grace that will accept and embrace you as Jesus does. You are loved…

    • Suzette, as another pastor reading this blog page, I want to encourage you to ask the LORD to help you find a true, bible-based church. I agree there are many that are missing the mark, but also many that aren’t. A good pastor will be more concerned about your discipleship and your relationship with God than about your money or robotic submission to church activities. You see, we know that if a person is a healthy disciple and they are being drawn closer to Christ through our ministries, He will always lead us to give, pray, worship and serve without having to be pushed, manipulated or guilt-tripped into it. I think that’s the kind of pastor Kurt is, and I know its the desire of my heart as well. Don’t give up. God has a place for you to be nurtured and grow. And when you find it, you’ll love it. Will it be perfect? No, because it will have sinners as members and as leaders. But it will grow you, and you’ll see it as a gift from God. May God help you find a place like that.

  11. One thought does come to mind (because most of the good thoughts have already been spoken with such eloquence) and that is Jesus’ words from the Second chapter of Revelation. Jesus speaks of the good things The Church in Ephesus is doing. But He admonishes them about losing “the love they had at first”. Sandy and I have been to MANY churches in our 50+ years of marriage. We don’t think this church sucks because we have found what Jesus talked about….LOVE!!! We, as Eastpointers, are so very fortunate and Blessed to be able to serve a “church” that teaches what Jesus found so very important. Love. It is our responsibility to give away what we have received, and receive back that which we have given. We are the Church, and the Bride of Christ. Thank you so very much Kurt for leading a “church” that reminds us of that. Love you!!!

    • Great insight from Revelation, Jim. My hope and prayer…that love motivates all that we do for Him and others…including being an active and regular part of His Church. Thank you!

  12. Last summer I skipped a lot of church. We had moved and got busy with packing, unpacking and fussing in a new yard. All easy and convenient reasons to skip. And rather legitimate I would argue. And, although I wasn’t attending in person, I was listening online to the sermons, and also a few other churches. I got preaching all the time. By about September I started questioning if I should still be at that church. And even investigated a new church that was moving into town soon. I got nit-picky about things I noticed changing at my church on the few Sundays I did show up and they annoyed me, solidifying my thoughts to change and believing God was changing my heart to move me on. Then, for some reason, I attended a Saturday conference they had with breakout sessions all focusing on what’s going on, where they were headed, what God was doing. Made me rethink “where God was moving me.” I also went and talked with one of the pastors about my “concerns” and he was approachable, authentic and cool about it. Somehow I got the impression that it just might be better to actually talk with someone in the know there rather than let my own attitude and perceptions fester. Maybe I just might be wrong??! After the Saturday summit, and my talk with Pastor Jeff, I stayed home. (Meaning I did not change churches) I knew it was where God planted me.

    My point in all that is this, yes people can listen online to sermons and get their weekly dose of a bible teaching. Read their bibles and submerge themselves in nothing but Christian music-and those are good and important things to do. Or even listen to several churches and get something everyday. I did all those things. But, in my experience, that really just is not enough.

    Being on the other side, I can now see how slippery a slope it is to stay home and not be a regular attendee of Sunday church. I was doing all the right things…but my attitude was growing bitter and snickety, and self righteous.( and guess who was pushing those buttons in the bigger picture of things. Satan loves it when people choose staying home over regular church.) Mind you, I’m not a person involved in 50 different volunteer capacities or have a bazillion friends at church. I just show up. I sit near the front. There’s just something about actually setting aside that one hour and showing up. God honors that sacrifice of time. It’s a form of tithe, and i believe it honors and blessed Him in a way just staying home and doing all the same stuff just can’t do. Lengthy…but those are my thoughts from my experience.

  13. Love this! So many forget church is not a place to be entertained at our convenience. It’s a community which requires sacrifice,commitment and investment. Jesus loves his Bride, and so must we. Thanks for this reminder!

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