So many people ask are you going to church, did you find a church yet, what are the churches like there, why are you NOT in church yet???? On and On the questions go and I am FINALLY going to answer most of them here.
First I want to say why are we so concerned with what church we go to rather than our relationship with God because friends in the end when we go to the pearly gates I am sure what "church" we went to is not important what's IMPORTANT is our walk with our FATHER as well as how we LIVED outside the 4 walls of any church.
I must say I have been struggling with "church" for about the last 5 years if I am being fully authentic. The whole idea of church I believe has been completely LOST in this generation and has gone soooooo far from where it's meant to be, from where GOD intended it to be. In fact I believe 9 out of every 10 churches have allowed the world to infiltrate much of the church today and it's unfortunate.
Church is to be a place to build up believers so that they may evangelize the world. Build up does NOT mean fill up, puff up, entertain and basically look as the world looks which sadly 9 out of 10 churches look just like the world as well as the people within. Church was meant to gather like minded people to teach preach and encourage with community being done in and out of the building.
Over the last 5 years I have seen many churches cave and give in to the culture and what the church down the street is doing. If they serve coffee we must serve coffee and food if they have library we must have an entire book store within our 4 walls. If their worship is a band we must have a concert it has gotten out of control. You are hearing more and more Pastors Rise & Fall people on staffs lives are falling apart the divorce in the churches are as outstanding as non-churched folks and in the meantime we all put on a phony facade , "Our lives are good God is Great" and in the meantime every one around us is falling to pieces.
The Pandemic of 2020 was the Best thing that could of happened to my family and moving 1800 miles away a close second. The year started off not so bad calendar already filling up per usual ALL church related things of coarse but then boom the whole world gets the brakes slammed on it and no one is "DOING ANYTHING" wow that was a huge shock. At first I was filled with anxiety and depression and fear but then something wonderful began to happen for the first time ever the whole family was home a lot and forced to deal really deal with communication issues and busyness issues and things we had pretended were not happening because of the facade we too played along in.
For over 20 years now I have been in "church" doing all the things we have been Deacons of our church to Bible Study leaders to Children's Ministry to Women's Ministry to Staff positions I have been in it all and have seen more than I care to have seen. I was in church more days than home and was busy ALL the time. I was also a homeschooling mom of 8 I know what your thinking because so many of us were asked all the time, 'how do you do it all" and me as well as all the moms around me that were asked all replied the same way, "BY THE GRACE OF GOD" which was a LIE none of us were doing it all and if we were trying all areas were failing in some way or the other. Friends if I can share one TRUTH you CANNOT do ALL THINGS and if someone tells you they are and you can look at their life in 5 to 10 years from now and re-ask the question I promise you'll get a very different answer. Remember multitasking is false and when we have to many plates spinning a plate will fall off and break I promise. For every thing we say YES to we are saying NO to maybe something MORE IMPORTANT.
I want to share my journey and again this is our journey our choice for now and it may change and it may not. Also a disclaimer I am NOT saying church is bad or we should ALL STOP going this is just a decision our family has made for this season of our life and it's not any one else's business.
It all started 22 years ago we began as a very young blended couple meaning I had been married and had 2 kids before I met Greg with which I now had a child with and pregnant with our second making us a young couple of 6 when we started going to church we were baptized right away and quickly "SERVING" in the church and not long after being asked to be Deacons which in hindsight we would have declined for sure. We spent a decade there and left due to changes in church and life our family had gone for 4 kids to 7 kids in a decade we were ready for a change partly because of homeschool as well as needed to break away and find a bigger church so we thought.
It is now the end of 2004 and we found a new church and again started serving right away. Events both for adults and kids, regular church services and then outside gathering all the outside gatherings this party that party this swim event that swim event. Then it became popular for churches to get so big we must have multiple services and just so much happening. At one point we were at church Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and 3 services on Sunday. Friends how do we support a sabbath day a day of rest when we are serving at church for 3 services on a Sunday Morning in which some of those leaving would not leave until 3 to be back for a Sunday night fellowship meeting or a practice of some sort for Children's Ministry. Just writing all this makes my head spin.
Now I know what your going to say, "Well you didn't have to do all the things" in which I will reply "MAYBE" but you see if you didn't you were made to fill a kinda way rather it was intentional or not you were not asked to things if you were out of sight out of mind and kids had FOMO and being a recovering PEOPLE PLEASER I too had FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Also it was not encouraged to serve HOME FIRST but rather "SERVE". I did this for 14 in a half years straight until my marriage was in shambles others around me their lives were also in shambles and why what was it all for.
Remember I am writing my truth but listen I am not going to sugar-coat this and if you read this and your one of these people I am about to share remember it's my STORY to tell and I am telling it ALL.
We are encouraged to take care of households first and serve our marriages and families above ALL ELSE yet I find that to be complete hypocrisy when we are pulled in every which direction at church. I am going to share very REAL statistics with you and tell me were doing things right? Out of every single friend of my now 27 and 26 year old children grew up in church with not a one friend not a one is STILL CURRENTLY GOING to church out of my 22 and 20 year old child MAYBE 2 each of their friends still going to church. I have to say out of ALL the circles we knew or hung out with over the years many had major family issues that were not being talked about prayed about or mentioned until over a handful of divorces, cheating revealed, Porn addictions discovered and much much more all things of the world yet were also in the church. Now please I understand the church is filled with imperfect people whom are sinners and a work in progress but friends these were all supposed to be "SEASONED CHRISTIANS" serving in big rolls being looked up to and I am sorry to say when your on staff/or serving in leadership you ARE TO BE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD PERIOD!!!!! Perfect lives of coarse not but your life should NOT be in complete chaos resembling that of the world either.
I find it annoying that we sit in churches for years yet when dig deep and authentically NOT many peoples lives within the 4 walls are changing and growing for the better. Stunted growth is not what were after friends a healthy fruitful tree bearing good fruit is picked and tended too and grows good healthy fruit all over again and again and again, if not it needs to get cut down and is useless ouch. Are we all just useless going to church checking it off our longer than ever before to-do lists. I started asking these types of questions along with is this ALL God has intended our lives for get up go to work, work at church and do it again and again and again never changing year after year uhhhhh that's the definition of "INSANITY" FRIENDS!!!! We should be changing and growing and going out into the world living out our faith it's not to only be done within the four walls of a building the "church" is NOT the building it's the "PEOPLE" within the building and OUTSIDE the building . We can't "go out into the world making disciples" if were to busy in the 4 walls every day week after week after week it's just not how it's suppose to be done and I am NOT sorry if that upsets you it should and you should begin to ask GOD the same Questions we as a family have asked this last year.
I can't answer for anyone else but I can share my RAW AUTHENTIC TRUTH, over this last year and a half I have had to face a lot of hard truths and challenging things in my life there was no where to go but face my truth my God my family my reality during lock down and here is what I have learned. At the end the only one you have to answer to is GOD and the only ones at the end of the day that care for me is GOD and my blood family. Friends are here nor there and in the end only care for themselves you can spend a lifetime serving others to be forgotten the second your out of sight yet God ALWAYS SEES ME and my family their all I've got and my only regret is placing them on the back burner to "SERVE OTHERS" when my first responsibility was to "serve" them and all else should have only come second to that period. My other regret is saying YES when I should have said NO!!
When asking many young adults including my own kids what they thought about church and God and serving and why they left church they all said same thing!!
Mom and dad cared MORE about church than us, or church was more important, or we were at "church" more than at home or if this is how "church" is we don't want it........ Wow not one thing reflects God's Love or a relationship for Jesus just CHURCH CHURCH CHURCH!! Friend I am here to promise you if you think keeping your children involved in every church event and function is going to keep them safe and from this world YOUR WRONG and your actually going to PUSH them to LOATHE CHURCH and eventually even GOD!!!!
I am going to share something that pains me and actually tears are falling from my cheeks as I type this I have 8 children as most of you know from 27 to 5 and out of all 8 of those kids only 3 of them have an authentic relationship with God the rest have walked away and want no part of anything religious or God what so ever. Not anything I was prepared for there was no handbook when I started homeschooling my kids and had them all in church from toddlers on I just assumed they were all saved and would choose the same lifestyle as ours. Not at all how it happens. Friend if I can share anything it's this please know it's not you or your parenting we can do everything right and our kids still may not choose God and it's ok cause it's their story to tell not ours.
My kids have shared they wished we would have done more, seen more, lived more and we just could not there were not enough hours in a day or days in a week every single day of life was busy and filled with things all around us others were BUSY BUSY BUSY and for what friends are the things were so freaking busy with for KINGDOM PURPOSES or our life pleasurements ???? I would be so humble as to say the latter to be true.
We are so busy doing things that if were freaking honest truly in the end are gonna mean NOTHING that's truth NOTHING AT ALL !!!
Why will we not at this time go back to the church as we know it ?? Because church as we knew it was not great and in my humble opinion as well as the opinion of many we have talked with over last year it's not how God intended it to be either. I also see many churches going right back to normalcy have we NOT LEARNED anything during pandemic?? Normalcy wasn't working !!!!!!
We are the church and we have not been tighter as a family unit than we have this last year seeing God's creation, and talking about it on long road trips, seeing God through my 5 year old's eyes and thoughts I could not have that if she was week after week shuffled off to a children's ministry class. Don't be offended if that is working for you and your family great but it's just not for our family anymore. I know the judgements will come and have come already which shame on you but needless to say I know y'all say well God calls us to gather with our brothers and sisters and I do we have just not at a church but fellowship is fellowship and we can agree to disagree I answer to God not to Man. Another huge thing I have learned is that if we STOPPED judging others and poured that into prayer and our own families maybe just maybe the "CHRISTIAN" families would begin to be healthy again and we would all truly be living as were called having our lives being set apart from that of the world!!!!
To those who are doing this "CHRISTIAN LIFE WELL" good for you praise God now PLEASE GO mentor others because I have seen first hand many are NOT doing well at all !!!
I really need to write a book lol some day soon I promise. I will stop here this is only a piece per usual but it's already to long I shall share again until then blessings to you all. Remember find your time with God it matters more than church time church is important but your relationship with God and family are MORE IMPORTANT I promise.