Monday, October 15, 2007

Walking away from church.

Well I have finally decided to stop going to church after just over a year in the same church, not having been committed to any church for a few years.
There were two things which made me make the decision:

1. Having been on holiday and then unwell I had not been at church for a few weeks so I did not know that there was going to be an induction for the new minister. Nobody told me and after it had happened and other people had told me about it I asked the church secretary who said it was my own fault for not being at church to hear about it.

2. Last week the new minister preached a message that the church is mainly about new people not existing members and that this was where our future lay. That was afair enough point, but I had a few issues (one of them being about corporate fasting) and someone suggested I speak to him about it after the service. He refused to engage with my questions and said I just had to accept by faith that what he was saying was correct. I then asked him how fasting could work as a lever to persuade God. He replied that fasting showed God that you were serious about what you were asking him for, to which I replied "well surely God would know that as he knows whats in your heart, and is that not the same argument used by some christians for self flagellation?". He then said he had to go and speak to a new person who had come along and just left me and my friend standing there. Maybe I am just too forthright.

The thing that surprises me most is how other people in the church can think that this sort of behaviour is proper.When I trained for the ministry I was taught that the way to deal with difficult questions was to buy time by arranging to see the person later or to be honest and say you needed some time to go away and think about it. he just walked away.

I felt quite hurt with the dismissive way it was dealt with and the comments from other people since, that the newly saved are more important. That may or may not be true, but I felt deeply hurt that I was being expected to agree to things without there being any reasonable explanation for them and without any attempt to convince me - just accept and do it.

My doubts and my drifting away are probably more difficult to deal with than a new fresh person so in some ways its understandable from a purely marketing point of view, but stopping the significant churn in church members should be getting addressed as well IMO.