What a sad, but enlightening statement. . This came to me in an email last week. I know not ever congregation is like this, but way too many are:
So, that brings us to now: we are both at a point where we are really realizing the emptiness of the church we are in. We have not heard one sermon in our 4 years of being there about the heart of God, the character of Jesus, abiding in Christ, or really walking in Him and the life that can be found in Him. It’s all about how we can change our world, impact those around us, the need to walk in the spiritual disciplines, etc…
(These are) all good things, but it’s like asking a tree to produce fruit with no root and soil.
So for two firstborn, overachievers, more performance-based preaching actually feels like weed killer on the little seeds God is trying to grow in our hearts. But we’ve had a hard time making the break from the church, and at times feel a bit crazy for even thinking about doing so, because of the friends and involvement we’ve had. However, what we keep coming back to is the joy, life, and love we’ve both been experiencing in a way that 20 years of living in the Christian community has never brought us and that our effort to follow Jesus with all our hearts has never brought us.
Staying for friends is one of the best motives for hanging in there. But if the seeds of your hear are being consumed by the performance-based environment, then that isn’t even a good way to love them. In time it only traps people in the same emptiness. But find your life in him, and there’s no telling where he might lead you and you can keep on loving your friends in the meantime and still seek out relational time with them.
The problem with institutionalizing life, is that the life gets killed. I love that people are finding the courage to look beyond the emptiness of religion and making the choice to find life instead of staying safe. It is a choice we all have faced or will face in time.