Have you ever wanted to tap out on church?
Some of you might know that I've been questioning a lot of things about church and what it means to really follow Christ. I've especially been questioning the way the church looks and acts in America. So for part of my search, I've started reading the book The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. At the end of each chapter, the authors give questions for reflection, and I'm going to answer those questions here. I am a little hesitant because I'm making my experience public to people that never knew the struggles I was having at the time, and I'm going to give my point of view on things that a few people might not agree with. What can I say except that I probably should have said this years ago! So here it goes...
Q.1 "Describe some times in your life when you've wanted to tap out on God and the activities of the church."
This question is easy for me. I instantly remember the time when I wanted to "tap out." Right after having Miss Firecracker, I felt God pulling me in the direction of the children's ministry at my church. I don't think anyone familiar with the situation at my church would disagree that organization was lacking at best and honestly, it was not a priority at all. This didn't make sense to me because our church had a lot of kids in proportion to our size. I knew from the beginning that I did NOT want to be in charge of everything for all eternity. I simply wanted to get everything organized and planned out so someone else could step in a take things to another level. I wanted to help set up a foundation on which to grow. The elders seemed thrilled that someone wanted to take up the job and so I started. I set up the class schedule including details like age breaks for each class, curriculum, teachers, extra events...you know the drill. I scheduled a meeting for all the families to come together so we could get an idea of what everyone wanted. One person showed. Three if you count that I held the meeting at another parents' house, and they were there. Undeterred, I pushed on and did everything I'd set out to do. Within a year I was frustrated and tired. By the end of the second year, I was ready to be done. I'd unknowingly made at least one parent very angry, I felt like I had no support from the church leadership, and the entire thing made me dread going to church.
I'd also started to really question how I felt about the entire concept of "children's ministry" anyway. Where in the Bible does one ever see age segregation in church? I get the concept of teaching kids on their levels, but I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with the whole thing. I talked to some people, and I never heard anything but "that sounds great!" or "we'll have to talk about that more" but nothing every came of it. When I finally quit, I sent all of the outlines, schedules, information...everything to the elders, and I heard nothing ever again. Not a word, not an email...nothing. No one took over really, things just continued on. I wondered if the whole thing was pointless. Had I wasted my time? I'd spent 3 years cobbling together some kind of basic children's program for kids and families that already knew all the answers anyway. This is when I wanted out. I didn't really want to be at church, I didn't want to be involved in anything because somehow it just seemed like a distraction to what I was supposed to be doing. When did CHURCH become a distraction from my purpose as a Christ follower?
Don't take this too far though. I LOVED my church! I loved the people there! Somehow though, I felt like we'd all lost our way a little bit, were going through the motions, were convinced we were right with our theology and that's all that matters. And I wanted to tap out.
By the way, I know my description above is very short and lacking in a lot of ways. I only gave what seemed relevant to answering the question. I admit I'm still very hesitant to get back into the swing of church activities. And this is one of the reasons why I'm reading this book and really looking at what the Church is supposed to be. I don't want to waste any more time on "church" things that aren't really God things. Since I'm not convinced that I am a good judge of the two right now, I think it would be better for me to stay out of the way until I have a better understanding.
And that was the first question. I can't imagine what will come out next! I'm writing this out because I keep hearing the same sentiments from different people. We all seem to know that something isn't right, but we're not sure what that something is. So let me know what you think. Am I just WRONG? Selfish? Judgmental? Did you get this concept years ago, and I'm behind the curve?