It is comforting to know that even Protestants are experiencing a malaise in Church attendance and activities or ministries. Much of what the pastor says could be applied to Catholics but certainly not his solution!
Pre-Vatican II Catholicism was about getting as many to Mass on Sunday as possible to include the riff-raft, those only peripherally Catholic what we call "cultural" Catholics. They might not do anything else but attend Mass by coming before the Gospel and leaving at Communion time and putting a rolled up dollar bill in the collection, but they were there and that was great!
The Protestant pastor below sees the Church as most Protestants do in the horizontal way--a sort of country club where everyone pays their dues and pitches in to do what is required. There isn't room for the riff-raft approach of the best of Catholicism.
However, since Vatican II, Catholicism has had Protestant envy in terms of fellowship and the country club approach to be a horizontal Church which focuses more on doing than being. And people get burnt out when the Church become just another NGO.
Ultimately the Church that Jesus founded and remains with is the Church that saves souls. Yes it is about Faith and Good works, but not churchiness--good works are performed at home and with neighbors and friends and aren't always institutional and huge and many Catholics on the periphery of Catholicism are great at being loving in their small environment and never blow their horn to show others. I prefer that way than what the pastor below thinks the Church should be.
I'm a pastor and I want you to quit church. Now!
At a time when church attendance is shrinking in America, I, a pastor, am encouraging people to quit church. Why?
The answer is birthed out of conversations and research I’ve been a part of over the last several years.Regularly, I meet and train pastors and church leaders from all over the country through my leadership platform, ChurchBOOM. The conversations carry a common theme – a lot of people who attend church are passive towards serving, giving and community outreach.
In most churches, 80 percent of the work is being carried out by 20 percent or less of the people. We’ve become a church of spectators and the pastoral staff is getting burned out.
According to my own personal research, the problems are even bigger than the 80/20 principle.
Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Less than 20 percent of professing believers follow the biblical principle of giving. Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.
Something has to change.
Casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are tearing down churches across our country brick by brick. As believers, it’s time that we are either all in or we get out. The solution is simple: quit!
That’s right – quit! If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?
What if every believer exercised generosity? What if every Christian fought for loyalty in the local church? What if everyone served in their God-given purpose? What would happen if we stopped simply believing and started belonging?
If we would only quit the way we approach our relationship to Christ and our local church, the blessing, the reward, the joy, the fulfillment, the purpose, and the increase would radically transform our lives and the world. Together, we can revolutionize the church!
But the only way we can do this is if we quit.
My conversations over the past several years revealed the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth and revealed the “why” behind disengagement in the church.
The truth is, if we don’t feel passionate about something we don’t do it. If we don’t like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don’t fit our lifestyle, then we don’t do them.
This mindset permeates our “I want it now and I want it my way” culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives. This is not the way God intended the church to live.
The local church isn’t a building – it’s a body of believers fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives. When these believers approach their individual involvement and commitment in a casual manner it weakens the entire body of Christ and the impact we are called to have.
As a result, we lose and so does the local church. God wants us to win, to thrive, to fulfill our potential in him. We will not experience the abundance he desires for us until we quit our current approach and we are all-in.
Once you go all-in on generosity, serving, outreach, discipleship and the other biblical behaviors laid out in his word then look out, because God will rain on your life with his blessings like you have never experienced.
Jesus felt the church was worth dying for – it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.
This op-ed is adapted from the book “Quit Church.”