Sunday, November 1, 2009

The church home dilemma.

What do you look for in a church? Do you aim only for doctrine, or do you also pay attention to the sincerity and passion in the music and singing, the genuine fellowship before and after the service, the care and compassion that Christians are supposed to show even outside of Sundays?

These questions keep coming to my mind as I get more and more frustrated with Nick and my church here in Sioux Center. The URC always seems to have doctrine very indicative of the Bible's true teachings, but it lacks in so many other areas. Here, for instance, the people do not seem to sing with their hearts. Every song sounds forced, even pained at times. And I know this is not true with every URC, but it is for this town. In addition, this town's URC seems friendly enough when I look around after a service, but hardly any of the families talk to us (by "families" I mean anyone married and with children or people we didn't know previously from Dordt). This limits our fellowship to only a few college kids in the church, which to me seems sad as Christians should be able to commune, fellowship, and worship together no matter what our ages or stages in life.

What ticked me off the most about our "church" recently was the fact that I mentioned Nick's surgery twice to one of our elders, and he did not once ask about it or how Nick was doing. Not once.

I do our church's newsletter layout. I asked the elder on Friday afternoon if I could postpone doing the newsletter to the next week (I admit that was a last minute request as the newsletter is usually completed and sent to this elder by Saturday morning). I had no idea Nick's surgery (including the unexpected ER visit) would take such a toll on my mental and physical state of mind. The elder said he'd prefer I don't postpone the newsletter release because there were schedules in there that people needed, but if I had to postpone, I could. I felt guilty, as I always do when I make a promise to someone and want to/have to cancel. So I did it.

I was up until 1:30 a.m. Friday night to get the newsletter done, and one of the pages turned out cut off, so part of the text couldn't be read. The elder called me about it. I fixed it. And he still didn't ask about Nick's surgery or how he was doing. This does not give me any confidence in our church's supposed leadership over its flock.

This is almost the last straw I have had with this church. Is my temper too short? Am I being too unforgiving? Am I being sinful and selfish in this way of thinking? I don't know. I only know that the preaching and doctrine is good, and everything else is seems like shit. What kind of church doesn't give at least some kind of visible effort to its singing, and what kind of congregation rarely talks to any of its younger members, and what kind of church council doesn't ask about one of its member's surgery and recovery?


  1. It sounds to me like you already know what to do and just want someone to verify your choice.

    My 2 cents: I think of doctrine as including such things as caring for fellow believers, particularly by the elders. I have a lot more thoughts but that's the gist.

  2. Professing belief in a doctrine is far less important for a church than acting on that doctrine. Faith without works is dead, and vice versa, and all that. :S

  3. I'm going to be frank. After experiencing many personal trials in trying to find "the" church, God has taught me some extremely hard, yet valuable, lessons through which He has changed both my heart and my mind in this regard. One shouldn't go into a church expecting it to be perfect, because WE aren't perfect. If that's the expectation, then one will never find a home in any church. It's a compilation of imperfect people serving a perfect God. What it really comes down to is determining if that church is biblical and sound in scripture; in other words, asking if the church is all about Jesus. Following on that note, it should be about how one can serve Jesus within that church, not about how Jesus can serve oneself. Again, I state this based on personal heartache as I was consistently left disappointed with every church I "tried on for size," until I learned this very simple lesson. Where that has left me now is with an imperfect church that every day strives to serve Jesus to the utmost. But, and I stress, it's imperfect as I found out through a another hard lesson that involved guessing at the hearts of others. When someone from my church pointedly & publicly inquired about the state of my own heart & my own relationship with Jesus, I was furious. And then I realized I guilty of doing the same. I have since found it much easier to leave that aspect to God.


© Woman Friday, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena