April 18, 2007

What Makes It Worth It?

Posted in Christian Life, Family, Mission, Personal, The Church, Thoughts at 5:54 pm by Dan Barnett

I want a lot of feedback on this one please.  I have a couple questions that I would like help with.  It would help me a lot in some things I am planning in ministry.  Please be honest and open.  If you’re uncomfortable with people knowing your name please put a fake name but a real email address.  I’m the only one who sees the email. 

1. Have you ever felt “left out” by the church?  In what way(s)?

2. Do you ever find yourself feeling inferior(for lack a better word) to other Christians in their knowledge of the Bible or biblical principles?

3. If you don’t go to church, what are the top three reasons why?

4. If one thing could change about your growing up in the church(if you did), what would it be?

5. In what way(s) has the church “failed” you in your Christian walk or search for answers/truth?

6. What makes the difference between a successful church and an unsuccessful one?

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6 Comments »

  1. Jori said,

    1. Have you ever felt “left out” by the church? In what way(s)? My whole jr high and higschool life. I shouldn’t say all of highschool, for sure my freshmen year. The way in which I was left out is the cruelty of kids.

    Do you ever find yourself feeling inferior(for lack a better word) to other Christians in their knowledge of the Bible or biblical principles? Sometimes, there are things I don’t understand but then I ask my hubby or my pastor

    3. If you don’t go to church, what are the top three reasons why? I do go to church, however if I didn’t go to church, it would be becuase of clicks, other people making me feel inadequate and lack of learning.

    4. If one thing could change about your growing up in the church(if you did), what would it be? The kids. The kids were awful, I had one youth pastor who didn’t tolerate it and tried to nail it before it became a problem, but then the kids were nice in front of him and TERRIBLE behind his back. I had gone to that youth group since Jr. High (I was a sophomore?) So, I left, got my license and went to a more accepting youth group. Which for what it’s worth the youth pastor there was not as neat as the other pastor (I really didn’t care for him at teh new church) but the kids were fantastic and quickly became my closest friends.

    . What makes the difference between a successful church and an unsuccessful one? SUCCESSFUL- are people being led, building relationships and growing FEELING LOVED and ACCEPTED, seeing Christ.
    UNSUCCESSFUL- they aren’t.

    I can’t answer the other question as the church has never failed me. People within the church may have been jerks but the pastors, and other people and GOD has never failed me.

    Jori

  2. Becki said,

    1. When Sienna was born, only one person from church came to visit us {& it was only because she worked at the hospital}. There was a death in the church the same week, so everyone was focused on that. I personally know someone else who goes to that same church who was going through some pretty serious issues & not a single person called to encourage her. To me, that is failure.

    2. Yes

    3. We do now, but went sporadically for awhile. I would say the top 3 reasons were: 1. Felt burned out by our last church experience {it was almost like we needed to de-church for awhile} 2. Did not feel connected & had a hard time getting connected at our new church 3. God wanted us to really “desire” church again

    4. I didn’t grow up in the church, but from an outside perspective, I am shocked at how many kids/people who did are so untrained Biblically. There are plenty of exceptions. Also I think it’s harder for those church kids to make their faith their own & really appreciate it, when it’s kind of been handed down from their parents.

    5. I guess it would have been nice if my last church had offered a Bible interpretation class & maybe even things on church history & fundamentals of our faith. Seems very basic to me.

    6. If this isn’t a loaded question, I’m not sure what is.
    Successful: where there is an overall PASSION for Christ among the congregation; the church is growing personally & adding new members/converts; the leadership is constantly reevaluating the needs of the people/community & adjusting to best serve those needs

    I guess unsuccessful would be the opposite of all those things.

  3. Alicia said,

    1. Have you ever felt “left out” by the church? In what way(s)?
    You know what, honestly thinking about this I have to say that no I have never felt left out by the church, now I do think around jr. high I sort of felt we were all pushed down to the bottom of the list and can see how that could affect kids that age who sooooo need support I feel more than any other age!! I was affected by that, but I feel we had in our church a fantastic high school youth group that helped me come back from those things, and yes even though we had cliques(who doesn’t) I had friends at church who really cared about me and supported me and I hope they would say the same of me.

    2. Do you ever find yourself feeling inferior(for lack a better word) to other Christians in their knowledge of the Bible or biblical principles?
    Sometimes yes, I don’t think that I have felt it so much in my church home as much as with a few people outside of our church though.

    3. If you don’t go to church, what are the top three reasons why?
    Well since I do go to church I can’t really say for sure, but I do know that one reason I have not wanted to go was burn out and feelings of hopelessness in my own life, not nessarily because of anything the church family did, although I have to say when these feelings were made known in trials that me and my family have gone through our church family was there in big ways!!!
    I do have to say though that I have visited some other churchs that have not been welcome at all and hearing some of the preachings (as far as based more on what they “interperatated” the bible to say versus what the truth is), And I feel I saw a lot of hypocritical people in one church that I was familiar with in highschool and even some in my own home church (me being one of them at times!!), I could understand why someone wouldn’t go if that was there only experience!!

    4. If one thing could change about your growing up in the church(if you did), what would it be?
    I think I would have to sort of agree with what Becki said, I speaking for myself didn’t learn to look into truth for myself, I based a lot of my beliefs off of just believing my pastor and my parents! Although I learned a lot and am truly blessed to have been a child who was able to grow up in the church and in a christian family, I do wish I had learned that early on instead of just figuring it out now.

    5. In what way(s) has the church “failed” you in your Christian walk or search for answers/truth?
    I don’t know that the church has failed me so much as I have failed myself. To many times I was thinking why aren’t you giving me something I can work with or why aren’t you helping me praise (the whole “give me” mentality) When in reality I learned that I had to come to a place where God needed to be the center of that, and when I have done that he has shown up no matter what is being taught or what praise song we’re singing.

    6. What makes the difference between a successful church and an unsuccessful one?
    I think it is a church that has open arms to everyone that walks in the door and helps them feel accepted. I think it should have teachings that speak truth from the bible and ways to apply it to our lives, helping us to have a relationship with Christ. I also believe it needs to be finding ways to bring in unsaved and ministering to them! A successful church has a vision that is of God and God alone and the church family who is attending needs to be a big part of reaching and praying towards that vision! It needs to be above all a prayer based church!

    On a side note if I may ;0) I have really appreciated it when those that have not agreed with our vision (of our home church) realized it and made it a choice and found ways to leave not being bitter or angry or talking badly about the church and the people in it, but chose to accept it for what it was and find a place they felt at home! I have experienced some newer people that have come to our church recently that when asked why they left their other church, they just simply chose to say “we were not one hundred percent ok with their beliefs” and “We just didn’t think it was for us anymore” and left it at that. I was very impressed in the way you(dan) and your family handled your own situation in the end, and am so glad God lead you to a place to call home!!

  4. Hollie said,

    1. Have you ever felt “left out” by the church? In what way(s)?
    Personally I have never felt left out by the church. As some of you who read this know that I could have very well felt “left out” or for lack of better words “cast out” by my church. In fact, I have never felt such an outpouring of love from God’s people, and I must say that my pastor was a key part in showing His (meaning God’s) love to both Jeremy and I!

    2. Do you ever find yourself feeling inferior(for lack a better word) to other Christians in their knowledge of the Bible or biblical principles?
    I think there are times when we all feel inferior in our knowledge of the Bible, HOWEVER, I will be bold enough to say that there are certain people that I know that try and make it a point to make others feel inferior of how much they know about the Bible. Whether they will admit to it or not!!!!

    3. If you don’t go to church, what are the top three reasons why?
    I do go to church so I guess I really can’t answer this question. I will take a guess as to why some people never darken the door step of a church… see the second half of question #2!!!

    4. If one thing could change about your growing up in the church(if you did), what would it be?
    Honestly… I really don’t know on this one! I guess I will need to think it over some more and get back to ya on it!

    5. In what way(s) has the church “failed” you in your Christian walk or search for answers/truth?
    I can’t speak for all church’s, I guess I am just very blessed to be part of a church that has people and pastors who really, and I mean really, have a heart for those who are lost and broken! I don’t know where I would have been without my church. I will, however, agree with Alicia. When I have an “about me” mentality my whole attitude about everything really sucks!

    6. What makes the difference between a successful church and an unsuccessful one?
    For this one I am just going to say ditto to everything that Alicia said ;0)

  5. Dan Barnett said,

    I appreciate the comments so far. I would also like feedback from the guys. I know guys read this. I’m interested to see the comparison of how they see it as well. I would add a 7th question or an edit to 5. What is the one area you think the church in general, if not your own, is struggling the most, and how important is that area to the life/growth of the church?

  6. Becki said,

    I wrote out this long comment, but for some reason my internet connection went wonky & I lost it ;>( Basically the first thing that comes to mind that the “church” {in the broadest sense of the term} is struggling with is “watering down the gospel” & a pursuit of excellence in the things of Christ. {That is just the first thing that popped into my head.} I think we {as a whole} have allowed the world to influence us more than we influence the world. I think there is a tendency to “settle for the good” instead of sacrificing the good for the “best”. That was the gist of what I wrote. I think this is vital to the growth of the church. People should be able to tell by our decisions, thoughts, words & actions that we are different than the “world” & have something {Christ} to be desired. They shouldn’t think we are Christians just because we go to church on Sunday. I don’t know if I’m making any sense….


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