Dear Church, I Am Breaking Up with You!

Dear Church,

I am breaking up with you.

Spending the last few months with you has been like being in a bad relationship. You seem like you want me around, but are not interested in taking care of me, or getting to know me. You never call. You don’t invite me to anything important you are doing. You don’t give me what I need, but merely count me in the number of people filling the seats in your congregation. Your smile and warm demeanor toward me are empty, not involving the depth which it takes to really know someone, and truly be involved in their life.

You will call me selfish, but, in all due respect, I have found you to be completely self-centered. You got my attention during an initiative where you provided sandwiches and drinks to newcomers, in an effort to draw in more people. But from the very start, I found it hard to talk to and connect with your people, as most seemed disinterested. I kept reaching out as the pastor seemed so friendly, and well-informed regarding the Bible. Some of your leaders even learned my name and said “Hi” when they saw me, but they never really got to know me, and I went home alone and empty Sunday after Sunday.

As I sougwallpaper-for-breakupht to become involved in your programs, I was always kept at a distance. Since no one knew me yet, I was treated with mistrust. The fact that I wanted to use my gifts, was regarded as my trying to “get ahead” in the church. I was required to try and prove myself, but failed. I resigned myself to being a nonparticipant and outsider. This also left me feeling empty, and utterly disconnected in your church.

The ladies who were leaders in the church did not take time to get to know me, or become my friend. When I tried to talk to them, they gave me advice that wasn’t pertinent to me. They did not see that I was just trying to get to know them and find a connection by sharing myself. I suggested an online group so that myself and other ladies could become better acquainted. But it seemed inappropriate that an outsider like myself would make such a suggestion, and my request was not taken seriously, and ignored.

every-break-up-is-opportunityI have really tried to make it work with you. But you have merely expected me to conform, without trying at all to conform to who I am. You are not a part of my life. After I am gone, you won’t call, or reach out to me in any way. Someone else will fill my seat in the church, and remain for a few months until they figure out what I have, feel empty, give up trying, and move on.

The Bible says to not forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), so I will continue to meet with Christian friends. But the Bible does not say I have to take part in an empty, unfulfilling church experience to help fulfill someone else’s needs, as they seek to build a church which feels good to them.

Breaking off from my relationship with you, I am now free to pursue my God in my way. I am free to make the Bible my own, and “work out my own salvation” (Philippians 2:12). I am more than just a tool for your purposes. I have my identity in a God who loves me more than I have ever known so far. Breaking free from you, I am filled with hope and anticipation. I will soon see there is more to life than the hurt and emptiness I have endured in your church.

No doubt there are some who can join you. There are many who can fit into your mold. This could be why your church is thriving. But not all of us are cut from the same cloth. Until a more innovative church develops, people like me will remain on the outside. But I will be fine here, charting my own course with the help of the Holy Spirit. This church experience has been a distraction which I don’t need. I am now free to focus on the things of God, and I am free.

“I have really tried to make it work with you. But you have merely expected me to conform, without trying at all to conform to who I am.”

I know that you feel I should be in church and need your direction in order to follow God. But since you have not provided enough direction, I have no choice but to be the chief executor which God made me to be over 4c7014c74f4effcad372faf00a78b5e9my own life. What’s more, the Bible tells me that God’s anointing abides on me and I need not that any man teach me (I John 2:27). It also tells me I have “an unction from the Holy One and know all things” (I John 2:20). You may judge me, and my decision to go on without you, but the Apostle Paul has stated, “It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you” (I Corinthians 4:3).

To be a full and satisfied person, someone who has joy and meaning in life, I must find it in myself, not in you. For I have a higher purpose in God, which I must now leave you to pursue. I am so much more valuable to God, and to God’s kingdom than you realize. Henceforth I will be alone, until I find a church that can help me lead my life, not give up everything I am called to be to become a part of its life.

So this is “good-bye.” You won’t miss me, as you never knew me. I will be free to focus on myself, as I should. Whether you approve or not is of little consequence. I am imminently accepted by the God who made me, and infinitely more valuable to Him than you will ever know.

Signed,

A former attender of your services

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6 thoughts on “Dear Church, I Am Breaking Up with You!

  1. I hope you did send it to them. To some churches it’s all about growth in numbers. You also left them with a sample of your gifts and what they lost, your ability to write. But, alas, they probably won’t see it.

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    1. Thanks. It’s actually a composite of many churches. Some of the same stuff I’ve seen over and over. I started to compare it to a relationship and noticed that you would not put up with someone who was all about themselves in a dating relationship, so why do we put up with it in a church. It started to occur to me how highly dysfunctional it actually was, and how freeing it was to say I’m not going to church right now, until I find what I need.

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  2. Well written and thoughtful. But most important, it strikes to the heart of the problem of Christian “religion”. Jesus prayed to the Father that we would all be one. Yet, the Christian church today has hundreds of denominations and schisms. Not what I would call “one in the faith”. 2000+ years after His death and resurrection, man has taken God’s plan and tinkered with it until it is no longer the “simple” gospel. I left my church three years ago and since then God has been able to teach me truth through His Word and give me the peace of knowing I am in Christ completely. After a lifetime of searching the different churches and faiths I have settled down to searching the Scriptures for my soul’s sake. Amen and amen.

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    1. Different Denominations isn’t so much the problem as the individual churches. Maybe the individual church is the magnifiing glass of the larger issue…the Micro exposing the Macro maybe. I think they start out from a position of what you’re doing wrong ( not sin ) but critiquing things so much that it makes you doubt yourself and eventually breaks you down. I think there is…I KNOW , there is a lot of jeolousy in the body , not a very pure place. I do attend a good church, stated my gripes, pain my weakness. They are very much connected . I wish I was at this church when I was raising my children.

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  3. Katie, you have a very fluid writing style that is very easy to follow. Your thought’s progress smoothly, building from one to another. It’s a very well written piece that is truly written from the heart. You express yourself very well as your frustration and discouragement are easily felt as I read it.

    You bring up some very valid points of what one can experience in a church. You nailed it 100%. As you suggest, I suspect that there are many people who have had or will have the same experience of feeling disconnected even thought they personally made a lot of effort to connect and use their gifts and talents to serve others.

    The sad fact is that many, many churches do not function as they are meant to. Instead of being the body of Christ, caring and looking out for one another and functioning like a body as it should, a system develops of programs, ministries and events. Churches can start out well but eventually they can slowly become all about the “system.” Keeping it in place and keeping it going. It can become all about serving the system. The problem with this is that people can get overlooked and lost in the mix. The church is the body of Christ. The picture of it being a body suggests a bunch of interrelated parts that need each other and function together. Each part is necessary. The church is also a family which is why we are called brothers and sisters. These are biblical terms. If the family members aren’t looking out for each others well being, caring for each other, it’s a non functioning family. We know that as Christians, we are complete in Christ. I understand and agree with the theology behind it but it’s the application of this truth that is often wrong. Just because we are complete in Christ and look to Him to meet our needs doesn’t mean that the Lord intends to do it all, directly by Himself. He intends to use the other members of the body to be there for each other and serve each other by meeting each others needs. As Paul said, ”Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15. Here we are called to be involved in what the others in the body are experiencing, and coming alongside of them in good times and bad. Also, “ do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” Philippians 2:4. We are to be looking out for each other. We are called to look out for the needs of widows and to meet those needs. Should we tell widows that the Lord will directly meet all their needs and not to look to us? II Corinthians 1:3-5 says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Here, God does comfort us directly, but it’s not so we can be comforted ourselves and hold onto it. We are to be a conduit to then use the comfort we’ve received to comfort others. We are not to keep it to ourselves. Maybe the reason you didn’t experience these things in some churches is that many of the people never themselves ever experienced God’s comfort and love and have nothing to give. That’s sad. Your analogy of a bad relationship is a good one. What if a husband wasn’t meeting his wife’s needs and wasn’t loving her, but instead told her that since the Lord loves her and meets all her needs, she shouldn’t look to him for love? Should she feel guilty for needing his love? What would we say of such a man? We were created for relationships. Both with God and with others. God is a relational God and we were made in His image. He desires a relationship with us as His adopted children. The church should be the place where this is lived out. Sure there will be times when we are in the cave or in the wilderness by ourselves, being alone, but that is more of the exception rather than the norm. It shouldn’t be that way in the body of Christ.

    Don’t lose heart! God is sovereign over all these things that you are experiencing and can use this for your good and His glory. It’s probably developing more sensitivity and humility in you and you will be even more sensitive than you already are to other people you encounter who are hurting. It just may make you a more sensitive servant to others. He often wounds deeply those He intends to use. After reading some of your articles, you sound like a woman who loves the Lord and wants to gladly use her gifts and talents to serve Him and others. He sees this and knows this. He loves you infinitely and has a specific purpose in choosing you for salvation. But as a brother in the Lord, I plead with you, if you’re ever tempted; don’t ever give up on the church. It’s certainly justified to leave a particular church or even a number of them in your lifetime. You have that freedom in Christ. You may feel frustrated, hurt and discouraged, but please don’t walk away from the church completely. Don’t stay away too long, just meeting with scattered friends. That’s not what God would have you do. Anyone who may counsel you to do so is speaking contrary to scripture and God’s will for His children. A lot of thoughts come to mind but please let me share a few. As we all know, every truly born again, Spirit filled believer is already a member of the universal, worldwide church. This is permanent and can never change. But, according to scripture, it is also God’s will for every one of His children to be apart of a local assembly (church) of believers. This was the New Testament pattern and the way the Apostles (under the Lords direction) set things up. There’s a lot on this but consider this: These local churches had structure and were organized and had spiritually gifted, qualified men as leaders. Paul told Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.” Titus 1:5. It was Titus’ job to get the local assembly of believers organized into a structured environment with qualified leaders. In Acts 14 – “After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith… When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Acts 14:21,23. Here again, there were multiple local churches that had structure and who had specific spiritually qualified men leading them as under shepherds. Pastors and teachers are a spiritual gift that is to be used to build up and edify the local assembly of believers. ” And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12. Throughout the book of Acts Paul made missionary journeys, traveling back to the local churches he helped establish to encourage and teach them. The New Testament emphasis is always on the local church. There really is no mention or emphasis on the universal church. It was always the pattern that believers would join themselves to a local assembly. In Revelation 2-3, Christ sent letters to 7 local, independent churches, giving them either commendation or condemnation. Each church was independent of the others. All this to say, the local church is God’s plan. For sure, there are many churches that aren’t even close to functioning as the Lord would like (as you clearly illustrated) and this must grieve Him greatly. Also, not every man who is in a position of spiritual leadership is truly qualified or gifted to be in that position. But don’t walk away from the local church completely. Keep persevering in looking for a solid church. It won’t go well with your soul if you permanently leave the church for good. You will stumble and fall with no one to pick you up. You will be easy pickens for the enemy. It doesn’t sound like you are truly desiring to leave the church for good because you said “henceforth I will be alone until I can find a church that can help me lead my life, not give up everything I am called to be to become a part of its life.” It sounds like your real desire is to find that church. Be strong and resist any temptations to walk away completely and reject anyone who offers you such foolish counsel because it’s not coming from the Lord. Resist the discouragement you may feel. Don’t give up your search. You clearly want to honor the Lord with your life and He sees and knows what’s in your heart. I pray you will find the environment where you feel like a necessary and valuable member and can use your gifts and talents to serve others. I know you will find such a church family.

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I do desire to find a good church home. And I accept that God has allowed me to see a lot of different things in the church first hand, so that I could learn, and possibly do things like write this article. I’m glad you were able to see that I was comparing the church to a relationship. That was my main point, just to ask, “would you stay in a relationship where you were ignored, not included, etc?” But yes, I agree church is important. I may take a breather before I begin the search again. But now I’m feeling incredible freedom, knowing I am not subject to man made rules. What’s more, I recently found out the last church system I was in, is listed as a cult. It helps a lot to find that others see what I see, and know what I just went through. Thanks again, Kt

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