Archives For Church

Every leader is a story-teller, and every church is living a story—whether they realize it or not.

The story you tell about yourself rises from your vision for the world, and it largely determines the way people respond to you. You are enacting your perception of a larger conflict, a story of either victory or defeat.

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The good news is that you can choose your own story. Here’s how.

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“I love Jesus, I just don’t like church.” Anyone who has ever been part of a local congregation has probably felt that way. Christianity in its abstract form is a beautiful faith based on the perfect life of Christ. In reality, it’s a bunch of imperfect people, doing their best to follow a high calling while stepping on each other’s toes almost constantly.

It is challenging to be part of a local congregation. That may be why so many Christians are quitting going to church.

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Most recently, Donald Miller expressed a similar view, saying, I think, that he simply doesn’t connect with God through the things we usually do at church, namely singing, preaching.

I have felt that way myself.

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Super Bowl XLVIII was a huge disappointment to the faithful in Denver and the legion of Peyton Manning fans everywhere. The Seattle Seahawks trounced the Broncos 43-8.

This anticlimactic result isn’t unique. The Super Bowl is always a letdown, no matter who plays or wins. That’s inevitable, given the spectacle it has become.

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Many people find church a frustration too, and for exactly the same reasons.

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People need a place to belong before they are willing to believe. For most of my life, I have thought about disciple making in exactly the opposite way.

First, I thought, people must come to accept Jesus as the son of God, their savior. Only then can they really understand who Christians are or feel at home in the church.

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In other words, I believed the church was for insiders only.

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Actor John Cusack made a splash recently with this statement about Christianity, which appeared in Vanity Fair:

Let’s go with Jesus. Not the gay-hating, war-making political tool of the right, but the outcast, subversive, supreme adept who preferred the freaks and lepers and despised and doomed to the rich and powerful.

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I love that.

We are beyond weary of seeing Jesus used as a hammer to bash others. We are heartsick at this other thing Christ has become. It’s time to get back to Jesus. Just Jesus. The real Jesus.

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Nobody likes the term church shopping, but nearly everyone finds themselves looking for a new church home at some point. Undoubtedly, there are some who swap churches too casually, applying the same consumer mindset to worship that they do to buying groceries or appliances. But many are driven by some legitimate need such as relocation, a major life changes like marriage, or unresolvable conflict.

For years I swore I’d never become a church shopper, but when Heather and I got married and began blending a family, we found ourselves doing exactly that.

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