How to Know it is Time to Leave Your Mega Church

How to Know When to Leave Your Mega Church

1. If and when your church has auditions for the worship team, you should leave.

I always used to think the “worship audition” phenomenon was just an urban myth, but I am sad to report I now have confirmation of it. Still, I can’t wrap my mind around how it happens. How, for example, do you tell a prospective worship team member her joyful noise was for another time? Her rejection probably gets prefaced by, “We have prayed about who should join our team and I am sorry but we have not chosen you.” In other words, “Jesus told us you suck.”

Can you imagine Jesus telling someone who loves Him and loves to worship Him that he or she is not good enough? Are we now in the dispensation of “the MegaCool Church”? Can you recall some biblical text that has eluded me that says: “All ye talented sing unto me, those who suck be quiet. Thus sayeth the Lord.”

I have watched the first baby steps of withdrawn, church-abused friends who begin to venture into the world with courage. I remember the first time I saw them with their heads up and the first time they made eye contact during a conversation. I get a little weepy when I imagine their monumental bravery in accepting an invitation to join a real worship team. I can only imagine the crushing blow of their earlier rejection by those who were their “brothers and sisters in Christ.”

2. If and when the primary focus of your church is on the 99 sheep that aren’t lost, you should leave.

When I was in seminary I was warned that if I were not careful, 10 percent of the church would require 80 percent of my time. That was incorrect: it turned out that 99 percent of the congregation distracted me from my true vocation — shaking the bushes for the 1 percent of the congregation who were lost and living on the margins.

To identify whether your church’s primary focus in on the 99 percent or whether it is on the 1 percent, ask for a meeting with your lead pastor. Tell him you want to help the church start a ministry to help the poor. If you get directed to someone else, wait three weeks and then call with this message for the senior pastor, “I just inherited a large sum of money that I am interested in giving it to the church, but would like to get together first to discuss it?” I bet you get that meeting.

3. You should leave your church if and when you start making excuses by saying things like, “I know something seems wrong, but…”

  • “I go for the kids.”
  • “I go because I love how I feel during worship.”
  • “I sense the pastor is too powerful and unavailable to most members of the church, but he is such a great speaker!”
  • “I feel like the church’s building and an emphasis on “growing” is costing the congregation too much
  • “I suspect the church’s ‘success’ has more to do with being cool than being Christian.”

4. If and when only success stories get told during services, you should leave.

When your church services only highlight success stories about the conquest of addictions or character defects, most of the people present will feel unusually sinful and disconnected from the rest of the congregation. That is because most people have ongoing, life-long struggles filled with countless setbacks. I have a friend, an amazing church leader and pastor, who asked for help from his church’s leadership when he was struggling with pornography. He was summarily fired. That broke my heart, because he confessed his sin as he should have done and he got punished for it. I’m sure other men with the same struggle at that church got the message loud and clear, and I suspect that rather than confiding decide to keep their secrets to themselves.

I could give more reasons for leaving the mega church, but I think you get the point. I have this sense that there are many people in pain who have no voice in their congregations. They are sitting on the edge of their seats on Sundays, burning inside to share about their lives, sensing that Jesus wanted more, that His all-inclusive way makes no sense to the outside world even though it is the only path to freedom. The way is narrow and unusual and it even seems stupid sometimes, but these people sense that it is still the right way. If only there was someplace they could be heard.

Is it time for you to go?

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59 Responses to How to Know it is Time to Leave Your Mega Church

  1. justmomtoo says:

    Well, I can atleast say that our church has a revolving worship team, and some of them can’t sing that well; others can. I do like the fact that everyone doesn’t sound like they are auditioning for American Idol.

    There is a Bhuddist temple of sorts around the corner from our house. It is open to the public for people to come in, be silent, and meditate. Perhaps the church should try that. I haven’t gone, but they do have staff there. I thought it would be interesting to see what they do. Given our neighborhood, I would imagine some homeless and colorful characters go in quite often, and apparently, they are welcome. In the Bhuddhist model, no one is upfront and center. Well, that isn’t the only example in which other religions/philosophies put Churchianity to shame.

    • zoggdog says:

      I think the reason the parable of the lost sheep is in the bible, is because Jesus thought that that sheep was valued, just like the 99. Unfortunately money means power & that seems to be the economy of the mega church. So the lost sheep (the poor, the addict, the mentally ill, the abused etc) is expendable, because he has nothing to contribute, except to hold up a mirror that makes the “together people”, uncomfortable. And that is, sadly, not conducive to church growth. I kinda think the Jesus I follow, wld suck as a mega church pastor.

      • Don’t limit your comment about lost sheep perceptions to just mega-churches. We might be surprised if we knew how some churches (and their pastors) “really” felt!

      • karlw says:

        great point! really size is not the issue at all. i remember when i began in a para church youth ministry in the 80’s that a popular model was to get the cool kids to come, and then you can have a big club. if you have a bunch of losers, cool kids will not come.

      • karlw says:

        mike, i love the “hold up a mirror”, so true! it is much like the city not wanting pan handlers, it makes them feel bad.
        thanks for the great thought!

    • karlw says:

      did you say other religions put us to shame? oh no you ‘did int’
      yes, sad that what was our uniqueness, our culture of ‘slaves and masters’ being on level ground is gone.

  2. stacymichelle says:

    In other words, “Jesus told us you suck.”<-haha. I am too tired to give much of a coherent response, but I wanted to comment and let you know that I am always reading your stuff, and thankful that your voice is out there. 🙂

    • karlw says:

      Remember, Jesus said “do not rest now, you can sleep when you are dead”
      oops, i forget that was a former mentor who kept telling me that.
      you are a much loved and appreciated voice also

  3. sounds like, “you know yer a red neck if…”

  4. Karla Webb says:

    I am really enjoying your blog, Karl. Glad you started it!

  5. I used to think God wanted me to stay in situations like this because He didn’t want me to be disloyal to the church. Now I’m quite confident that I’ll never darken the doorstep of another one of these places because I don’t want to be disloyal to Christ.

  6. Karl – great post – Yes to everything you shared. It is sad but true from my experience as staff at a mega-church. I was often encouraged to “try out” for the worship band…but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And in time, I realized that preferred the feeling of “oneness” that floods over me when I am standing and singing with the body – not at the body.

    I would add to your list by recommending the body notice

    1. staffing – if there church has a high turnover rate in staff, especially non-leadership staff or if staff are moved from one ministry area to another and eventually leave. This could be a sign staff is being bullied by leadership into submission.

    2. if the senior leadership comes out with a new program every 12-18 months – about the time the last program change finally takes root – it could be a sign leadership is not listening to the Holy Spirit but instead keeping up with the latest new trend in church programs.

    3. similar to Karl’s “only success stories” are shared – but expands to the people (the body) who are punished or shamed for expressing doubts or reservations about their faith or what is being taught. There may be a lot of “shoulding” on people.

    4. staff is treated like “employees” instead of partners in ministry and serving the body and as part of the body.

    And I’ll stop. Thanks for sharing

    • karlw says:

      you are brilliant, and what great thoughts to fill in the gaps of what i was trying to say. i have especially noticed the staff as employees and the shaming of those with questions. almost always, a person who questions what is happening behind closed doors is branded as a malcontent and quickly shown the door!

      • Brilliant, hmmm… as I am practicing “receiving” – I will simply say, Thank you.

        The code at our church for those who questioned (expressed doubts or differences) was “you are not a team player”. I had someone tell me his “director” told him he wasn’t a team player – and I counseled him to start looking for another job.

  7. trying again, lets see if this finds the problem,

  8. Mark Tracy says:

    LOTS of great comments here. One thing I’ve observed over the years, and what history confirms is that life is like gas escaping through thick mud. You see bubbles rise and burst again and again like liquid on a slow boil. From Ephesis, to the Reformation, from the great missionary movement, to dynamic evangelists, from the mega-church movement to . . . whatever; what we begin will eventually end. This doesn’t mean we should not begin things though.

    Every great movement has it’s day, but they all fade eventually and give way to the next great movement. If it weren’t for people, churches would be just grand–but our human nature will never fail to get in the way of a good thing–including whatever new good thing we are into.

    One fact remains throughout however, and that is the Gospel of Christ. Somehow, this message and the powerful response to it keeps getting through to people in spite of our best efforts, often, to take the focus off of it and put that focus on the failings of others. Thank God. –John:17

    • karlw says:

      amen! (i can still speak it ole school!) mark you are so right, and part of what motivates me now is seeing in the generation behind us a new movement.
      i have peace with the great things done by the mega movement, but like all things it is time to wonder if something else is happening?
      i love the new testament value that the gospel (a kingdom now and to come) trumps everything.
      good long term view.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I never thought about how crazy that is to have to audition to worship. I don’t ever remember Sherwin having anyone audition for the worship team or choir. In fact, there were several off key singers in the choir, but they loved to sing and worship! Sherwin was always very gracious and and never asked anyone to leave. Therefore, he had 100 people singing in the choir.
    Love reading your blog!

    • karlw says:

      i do remember that, in fact i thought of him as i was writing. i cringe now as think of the folks i have hurt along the way when i was worried about how big i could grow a church.

    • BIll says:

      You were auditioning when you dang in choir!

      • BIll says:

        Sang is the work I misspelled! Anyway, he picked people out of choir he thought could sing. They also had to be living the life that goes with the faith. He did not let you lead if you had issues. He also was not a musician, he was a pastor that led worship and required talent around him to do the job. Before I was allowed to do a special, my band had to perform it for him for approval. He was very concerned about content and doctrine of the music. Still had to pass his approval to do it.

  10. Janelle Cook says:

    “Remember, Jesus said “do not rest now, you can sleep when you are dead”
    oops, i forget that was a former mentor who kept telling me that. I believe there is a verse in Psalms that says ~God grants rest to those He loves.

  11. karlw says:

    my friend bill has a different take, he was unable to post but he said i could post his email and my response:

    So, committees for Pastor searches are out as well? “He thinks he can preach, so go for it” regardless of his abilities to communicate God’s Word. I can only assume that music is not a talent God has gifted you with or you might have a different take on this subject. The reason we want to lead others in worship is paramount! The ability to do so in a God honoring way that allows focus on him is pretty far up on the list. It’s not about the worship team, but it’s not about a confusing “Free for all” either. God gave us different talents and for some, it is not singing on mic even if they think so. Thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents.
    Bill

  12. I really hated worship team auditions, and the sad people that it produced. And my ex-husband was seriously co-dependent with the worship leader. We were actually told that it didn’t matter what a musician believed if they could play well; it was a form of evangelism. There were some advantages to that. But The Refuge’s extreme inclusiveness for the worship team is challenging – although quite entertaining.

    But I disagree that you should leave a church when you have to start making excuses for it. Churches are full of and led by people. You’re going to have a long wait if you want one that is perfect. So I say it’s the same equation as the friendship lesson: Grace + Truth + Time = A Great Church

    • karlw says:

      no doubt church is an asylum run by the inmates! i suppose there must be a continuum, but at some point maybe it is better to not have to try so hard and find a new place. it is always a hard moment when someone decides to leave their church.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Cant go back to sleep, thinking about your blog. From a paritioner’s point of view: It’s been five years since I moved and had to leave the church I still love, which is a “mega church”. I have finally found a church that I like, particularily the pastor and his messages . The area that is lacking for me is the worship service. For me, it’s the choice of songs, some move me to worship, too many of them don’t and I don’t see the congregation being moved by it either. Some times I think there should be a whole separate service just for worship, heart fealt, glorifying worship where the music is not live but played from cds by great Christian artists past and present. I could really get into that! But I love a good worship service. There was another church I was attending until a woman sang during the worship service who was obviously tone deaf. That was the last time I went there and I wondered why they let her sing, was it not to affend her by telling her no? So they sacrificed an entire congregation’s time of worship to avoid the offense of one? I don’t know. I had never thought of the fact that a church might hire a musician based on his or her talent and that whether or not they are a Christian was not the deciding factor. To me, that church is thinking of serving their congregation and trying to give them the best of what’s out there, and hey, if they hire an unbeliever, who know’s, that person might gain their eternal salvation because of it. That, to me, sounds more like the 1 percent. What about the 1 percent who come in to a church because they are drawn by the music? In fact, I am of the opinion that it is the music that draws people in to a church. Of course they are seeking out God but how can they get to know about God if they get turned off by a self-seeking worship service? Meaning, you got the pastor’s wife’s cousin, and then there’s the lady that know’s how to put on the guilt trip if you don’t let her up there, and grampa wants to play his steel guitar and so on and so forth. I think “mega” churches are “mega” wonderful because they draw in “mega” people and Lord knows there are “mega” people dying without God in their life and God’s will is that not any perish but all come to repentence. Mega churches certainly aren”t for everyone and that’s why there are all kinds of churches. Wasn’t it Paul who said something about being everything to everyone? Look at the diversity of preachers on TV. Some look absolutely rediculous but you know there are people they are reaching with the gospel that no one else can. People need to stop being offended and trust in God when they are not chosen. So for me, I prefer a “mega” church, you know, heaven is going to be the ultimate mega church!

    • karlw says:

      i see what you mean, and from a mega church perspective it makes sense. i suppose it is difficult for me to envision church as something that happens when 99% of the people are facing forward. the stage is the focus of church, and what goes on that stage.
      i am grateful you have found a place that fits for you. thanks for your perspective.

  14. Thanks for your post. It would be funny if it wasn’t so true. I am victim of this type of church mentality. Called to youth ministry (have served youth for nearly 10 years) I spoke some truth, and unintentionally stepped on toes, and have been told that I can serve in any ministry except for student ministries (7th-12th grades)…makes no sense. I posted about this church mafia mentality here, http://seasonsofrefreshing.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/church-mob-mentality/

    • karlw says:

      it seems in the church it is the one strike and you are out rule. it would help so much if even bad decisions were couched in humility, “we could be wrong about this, but for just this little while we think…” versus the certainty that God has spoken.

  15. Anonymous says:

    eternity will be refreshing

  16. gloworm says:

    Thanks for a great post. Fabulous insights. I, too, am a megachurch dropout. In spite of risking being labeled “rebellious and bitter” — here’s our reasons…
    Was it because my husband was nominated to be an elder, but was taken off the list by the elders before the congregation even got to vote? No, he didn’t want to be an elder anyway. But then we felt like rebels because we knew he would have been disqualified because we have wine with our dinner.
    Was it because we couldn’t hear ourselves sing and my husband’s ears buzzed because the worship music was too loud? No, these things only made us sit outside the sanctuary on a bench until it was done. But then we felt too stupid to walk in for the sermon so we just sat there and watched the pastor deliver his messages on the TV screen by door #2.
    Was it because there’s a huge push to get into a small group? No, who could be against connecting over sermon discussions for heaven’s sake? But then we felt like reclusive oddballs because we think small groups can easily trick many people into thinking that “feeling connected” is discipleship.
    Was it because the elderly seemed a bit marginalized while there is “an outrageous effort” to reach out to kids? No, for goodness sake, children are precious blessings (most of the time). But then we felt like whiners because we didn’t want to be shuffled into a nice new chapel with all the other “old people” (over 50) only to watch the sermon on a big screen.
    Was it because “big names” are highly acclaimed and accomplishments are highlighted? No, we understand that “big names” draw people in. But then we felt as if we “little names” were absolutely insane to refuse to be relevant, to actually let go of our relevant selves – our very capable “religious flesh” that is quite efficient in building things and showing things just to prove to everyone that we are really doing big things for God.
    Was it because I was the only woman in a huge church who teaches a “mixed” group (of both men and women)? No, it only made us giggle, knowing that I was “grandfathered in” and “okay” just as long as my husband exerted his authority over me by his mere presence in the room. But then we felt like radicals because we’ve thrived in a mutually submissive marriage for 30 years.
    Was it because most of the ministries divide people according to social status? No, we understand that people like people who are just like them. But then we felt like social misfits because we believe in intergenerational ministry, where singles, young couples, widows, and divorced people actually enrich each other’s lives.
    Was it because we didn’t really know any of the pastors and they didn’t really know us – even after 12 years? No, it’s unreasonable to expect a handful of pastors to know thousands of people. But then we felt oddly embarrassed while trying to worship an all-powerful God while bodyguards with guns protected the pastor (and us, I guess).
    Okay. . . I’ll quit. Thanks for listening. Yep, hard to leave friends, but I don’t miss “it.”

    • karlw says:

      I feel for you. my time in a mega- church was brief (long story short, you apparently cannot be the teaching pastor if you do not think that building a multi-million dollar building is what Jesus wants, plus other stuff related to being more diverse and inclusive)
      but i can relate your insight. here is one way to articulate it: the church in america would make sense if it were in fact trying to be a business. but a church?
      my post today will cover the male dominance issue…
      thanks for your response.

    • Sherry says:

      This church you speak about sounds just like mine. Maybe all mega churches function the same way. Oh yes we have choir and worship team try outs and the congregation is told not to try out if you cannot sing. We even have the body guards. I am struggling so much. I keep staying because I keep telling myself its my own heart that is the problem. I beginning to believe that’s really not the case and that these are legitimate concerns.

      • karlw says:

        it is the epitome of a dilemma! we feel called to belong and be loyal, which we are, but yet we want to see change and that is good?
        it is the exact same with a family. some families can handle the conversation regarding their dysfunction (all families are dysfunctional, no different with church families) but some cannot. those who cannot talk or even acknowledge the issues are no less families, but we may need to figure out where we go to get those kinds of needs met. they will never be met in an environment that prohibits the discussion.

  17. gloworm says:

    thanks karl! you are really encouraging. and I just read your butt-headship comments to my husband (not a butt-head). love it. keep up the good work

  18. Frankly I think it’s a great idea to consult with Jesus about who he wants on his worship “team.” We might be surprised at who is included and who gets to sit on the bench. We might even have to turn church around and put the bench on the platform and the “team” in the auditorium -or on a mountainside.
    Hmmm. While we’re at it we might ask him about the type of worship that blesses HIM.

    • karlw says:

      what! and lose the people who “just love the music”? how would you grow? what would happen to the budget?
      yes, you bring up such a great picture of what could be, but perhaps the system is more broken than we think.
      blessings

  19. Bob says:

    Great article, but I have a bit of an issue with the fourth point. Depending on how bad your friend’s “struggle with pornography” is, the decision of the Church leaders may be justified. If his struggle was simply the temptation to visit on pornographic websites, perhaps the sacking was too harsh. If this was a serious problem and your friend is constantly on pornographic websites, he is no longer fit to lead the church, as leaders of the church must be “above reproach” as 1 Timothy 3:2 says. Though we do not expect our leaders to be perfect, they must be (through the grace of God) of a higher moral standing, something which is not too demanding those who have walked with God for a long time.

    Also, I do not intend to presume as to what exactly happened to your friend. It is an incredibly brave thing to confess your sins to the leadership, despite knowing the potential causes. However, if his problem was extreme, a responsible pastor would know that he is no longer fit to lead and minister to others and should (in my opinion) leave his post, and maybe even tell the congregation of the reasons and from there help set up a support group for men or something along those lines. That would encourage the confessing of sins, raise awareness about the problem, and provide a launching point to finding solutions.

    • karlw says:

      thanks bob, and good points. but in this case i do not think it was at the level of total abandon
      to the sin. i guess it is a tough call, but in this case it was more about the church leaders unable to handle a tough scenario with inclusion, when exclusion seemed the easier way out.
      thanks for the help on keeping it balanced
      karl

  20. Hi Karl,

    I might beg to differ a bit on the “Worship auditions” point. I have been a worship team member in a variety of churches and mainly left those churches when I had to relocate to another city/country. For the most part unskilled musicians have been more harm than good to the whole worship experience. I agree that the heart of the worshipper is of utmost importance but I believe that even the scriptures talk about the importance of skill in the whole worship experience.

    Please read 1 Chronicles 25:7, 2 Chronicles 34:12 just to mention a few. As a worship leader myself and as a musician, I have allowed the faithful and eager brother or sister to join the team only to have a member of the congregation tell me how distracting it was to listen to them sing off key and sing loudest into the microphones as well. Personally, there are some times during the flow of the worship service I would want to play a certain song to move to another level in the worship but I am limited by my level of “skill” at that point and I hit myself on the head for not spending that extra 30 mins on my instrument during the week to improve on my God-given talent.

    It would be good if the “Mega Churches” could organise some kind of training program for the eager brother or sister to develop their talent if they really have one. But most times in a small church setting it is way too hard to do this due to limited resources where you have 20% of the congregation doing 80% of the work.

    I remember attending a Christian Campus celebration many many years ago and the very first item to kick off the event was the choir singing the Celebration Anthem, their singing and the words of the song brought me to tears. God’s presence was so strong when they sang and it was at that very time I decided to rededicate my life to Christ and give up my old ways for good. I was almost begging for an altar call so that I could publicly show my decision, that was how powerful that experience was to me. That choir certainly had auditions for its new members and they sang skilfully every time they came up to sing and about a year later, after going through some rigorous Christianity 101 classes, I also auditioned to join the choir and I was accepted. As a budding musician, before I got saved, I saw the excellence in their ministry and that certainly struck a chord in my heart, and all that coated with the power of the Holy Spirit that came through as they sang made their mission as a choir accomplished.

    I do agree on your other points and it hurts to see some churches around the world who get so distracted with “good ideas” rather than spending their resources on “God inspired ideas”.

    May God help us!

    • karlw says:

      thanks for your thoughts. i wonder if i would relax a bit about it if maybe it was even occasionally? the sweet person who wants to sing a solo, would it hurt on occasion? or if once a month it was the “beginning worship team” that led the service and prepared and learned how to do the next thing?

    • Hi, Nigel! I wrote a blog post about my opinion on the worship team audition topic. It’s at http://jvworship.blogspot.sg/2012/08/worship-team-auditions-why-have-them.html Let me know your thoughts on it? 🙂

      • Hi Junjie!

        Very good article exactly my thoughts on this subject and just like you, I have been through my fair share of musos and even worship leaders with attitudes and issues and like you said, in 10 mins you can “size-up” a persons motives and passions just through that simple audition experience. One other experience that I went through in one of the churches I attended was first for an audition as a musician and even though I had met the requirements to join the team, I was not allowed to do so until 6 months later which meant they give me time to settle into the new church, get to know other people, be assimilated into a small group, “have a life” besides just coming to church because you are playing on Sunday and that was one of the best experiences I can recall. That just helped to put things into perspective, confirming that I really knew why I was coming to church and what church was all about. For me I saw that time as a good sabbatical break that I really needed at the time but did not realise until I was in it.

        Keep writing and inspiring.

        Many Blessings on you and your ministry!

  21. Hi, Karl!

    Like Nigel above, I disagree with your point about worship auditions. I’ve written a blog post about it, based on how I understood your points. It’s at http://jvworship.blogspot.sg/2012/08/worship-team-auditions-why-have-them.html

    Let me know what you think? 🙂

    • karlw says:

      thanks Junjie, yo have really thought a lot about this and have a lot of passion for worship. I will admit, i had overlooked the verse from 2chronicles.
      what if this were the compromise- the “A” team plus on or two? the best i have seen is as a solo, it does not make it more challenging for a team and the joy of watching someone be so happy can out weigh the awkwardness of the off key sound.
      I am grateful for your help, you will help me stay a bit more balanced in my critique, to know that good people have thought about this and have a different conclusion. blessings on you

      • Junjie Huang says:

        I totally agree with your “A” team plus 1 or 2 concept, because it models the type of church life shown us in 1 Corinthians 14, where everyone comes with an offering of service (all kinds) to edify the group. Now that not going to work in any gathering larger than 15-20, so it can be best lived in a small group setting. But at a larger group level we need to start modelling that so that people won’t have a culture shock when they go to a small group.

        If we keep the main service to only an elite team, we send the wrong message to the people. We are telling them only the best of the total professionals should be up there. If the people see teams of musicians or singers on rotating duty, it is easier for them to embrace the idea that everyone contributes to the group, because they see more people doing that in the main service.

        I must admit that for years I thought that small group worship was not REAL worship because it didn’t feel like what they did at the main service. It looks stupid now that I spell it out, but it was what I believed for years in a mega-church… 🙂

      • karlw says:

        ah, all the things we were so sure were essential, and now looking back cannot fathom how we ever cared about it. that is just getting older…

  22. Cori says:

    What about when a church is spending more time and energy keeping around those “seasoned” people and are doing nothing to grow in the 20-30 somethings. They have no desire to want to try something new to get that crowd to evening service but are discouraged when no one that age attends a special parenting service they are having for that age group in the middle of the summer.
    I have attended the same church for around 13 years. we had a pastor leave because of the way he was being treated. They brought in a younger pastor who is in his 30’s and is very mission and outreach minded. He spoke one Sunday on drinking (our nondenominational church finds this sinful) and how the Bible never directly says that it is sinful, but it does state that you should not drink yourself to a state where you don’t recognize yourself. This angered a large number of people and they left. Agreements of those that help in Sunday school and other teaching positions was reworded so that it more or less says we don’t want you to do these things if you are leading. But there are several people who are very honest that they occasionally partake in these lifestyle choices (those in the worship band for example) but they have not been asked to step down from their positions, but a woman who was going through a divorce (because her husband cheated on her) was asked to not participate in the handbell choir. Where is the difference?
    I can feed myself and I don’t need a pastor to do that. I go to church for the sense of community that you get from church. FOr several years I have not enjoyed the worship portion of service, simply because of the music choices. I have been waiting for the Spirit to move within the congregation but how long do I wait? My children are growing closer to an age where they will be joining the youth group (which is non-existent at our church). I have become discouraged when ministries that my husbnad and I decide to lead (that have been successful to that point) and nothing happens, people refuse to help (more than one). How do you not take that personally?
    Remember it isn’t always about having programs, but is it okay to leave a church simply because you are not happy? I love the way our pastor teaches on Sunday mornings, but is that enough reason to stay?

    • karlw says:

      first, please forgive me for the delay! i just did not see the post, and i have been caught up in being a grandpa!
      I understand the decision to leave a church is sobering and has to be weighed with so many things.
      for us at the refuge, we say we would never want someone to come because the teaching, kids program, music or what ever is so great, but because you must be with this community. the people are why we go, and the program is just gravy. imho…

  23. mlydick1 says:

    I think you’re all missing the point, and creating an un-biblical straw man argument.

    Show me anyplace in scripture where it describes a service, where the congregation all sits in rows facing the back of one and other’s heads, and looks at a few people on a stage and follows word for word step for step what is sang. I defy you to – because you cannot. All of scripture points to a gathering of believers that are interconnected and unified in diversity – each bringing their own gift and contributing to the overall service.

    There is no “worship team” mentioned – anywhere in the New Testament.

    Read this verse:

    What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Cor 14:26)

    It says EVERYONE. EVERY PERSON. This is describing a service where every person sitting in the room is contributing. Don’t bail out on me intellectually and say that “someone can contribute in their heart, silently”. This verse is consistent with everything we know about Jesus’ ministry, and the early church in Acts. It was a closely knit gathering of people that sat and stood and ate and shared and talked and sang and prayed and sat and ate and talked and prayed and learned and shared some more. This idea that 3 people lead a group of 300, or 3,000, or 30,000 is a Western Institution with no historical precedent.

    I defy anyone reading this to show me how the modern Western sit-stare-stand-sit-face-forward-bow-head-fist-bump service follows any form of Holy Spirit leading. How does it promote inter-dependence and confession? How is it open to spontaneous prayer and unrestrained time limits? Or have we agreed corporately that the Holy Spirit in America has somewhere to be at 12:01, and we’d better keep this service moving. Just one more repetition of “shout to the Lord”, guys, and then we have to move it on. Jehovah’s got a reservation at The Village Tavern….

    To say that someone “off key” is a distraction, or to weed out the “less-talented” and quote 1 Chronicles is insanity to me. In the context of the chapter, David is adopting a “lineage based” assignment of talents. You have a “Levitical” gene? You can be a priest. If we carry the context of 1 Chronicles forward we could have the equivalent genetic prerequisites in place. Let’s test Pastors for Aaron-lineage. Or singers related to Whitney Houston. Why not? Your dad was a good guitar player and led some services….you’re in. No where in 1 Chronicles is there a context of service via ability. It was a flat out – “all you guys, over there – you get to beat these symbals and drums. That’s your job, now”. Please don’t quote scripture out of context anymore. Use the “<<" button next to the verse your quoting and read the previous and following chapter.

    Missionaries who come to American services from China, India, Pakistan….the largest population centers in the world feel like they're at a Leonard Skynard concert. One family's children asked once in a story I'd read,

    "Mom….is the show about to start?"…..just prior to the service. Enough said.

    • karlw says:

      i must admit i am a bit confused, i agree with what you are saying! i am not sure that the exact form is dictated in scripture, but i believe it is value driven. values like inclusive, equal, power diffusing.
      the show quote, right on!

    • AMEN, Mlydick1! My feelings exactly. I know way too many people with loads of talent who were “rejected” from the Worship Team for unknown reasons. Many of these people seemed above reproach. Auditions by their very nature allow this to happen, since there is the option of placement, dependent on the Team Leader’s opinion. OTOH, I’ve listened to many people’s singing and couldn’t help wondering, “How on earth did *that* person make it on the team, when this *other* person did not?” Is it a popularity contest? Is it dependent on how “cool” a person is? How well they “perform”? All I know is it can quickly become personal, which can lead to bitterness and divisiveness in the Body of Christ. And with no biblical mandate regarding worship, it’s not Christian to do this.

  24. David says:

    What if my pastor is commiting know sin and not preaching holiness properily do I leave then he smoke destrolling your temple the body

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