Maybe it’s that time of year or maybe I am just a little more sensitive nowadays, but in the past few weeks I have heard or seen social media posts from people informing their online friends that they love Jesus but hate the church. I find that statement fascinating and worth digging into. Is it even possible for someone to love Jesus and hate the church? I guess it is possible, but is it right? Sometimes people have a bad experience with a church. Unfortunately, that is a reality for many people. Maybe they had a pastor who didn’t show up when they needed a pastor and this soured them. Or maybe they were victimized by a clergy as a child. Clergy abuse is abhorred and unacceptable and the abuser should be held accountable for their actions no matter how long ago it happened. Sometimes people get into disagreements with others and leave the church. Some people don’t like being asked to give money so they leave the church. Instead of finding a new church where they can practice biblical tithing, they stop giving altogether and blame their last church as the reason why they stopped. There are literally thousands of reasons why people get angry with the church, but does that mean they cause to hate the church in general?
Jesus started the church. He gave birth to it. It’s His baby and he is the chief shepherd of it. Jesus never told his disciples to build a specific kind of church or style of church, he just told them to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Some churches are huge and others are tiny. Some have traditional worship services or sing acapella. Other churches use a full band and an array of singers. Some churches have steeples and others meet in schools. Where a church meets, what worship style it holds sacred or whether it has benches or stadium seating is irrelevant. What matters is that believers get together for fellowship, prayer, teaching, worship, evangelism, and serving are what’s important. Believers are told to get together as the body of Christ which constitutes a church. And on top of that Jesus told his followers to love each other. This is paramount.
So for a person to say that they love Jesus but hate the church is unbiblical. It’s the same as telling Jesus you love him but think his church is ugly and you want no part of it. This breaks Jesus heart and limits the witness of his disciples. The church isn’t perfect because it is run by normal people, forgiven people, but imperfect people none the less. Just because you left one church for one reason or another it doesn’t mean that you should quit going to church altogether. You should find a new church where you can tithe and contribute to the body of believers. You should be a part of a fellowship that exults the name of Jesus and is committed to making disciples like Jesus commanded his followers to do.
Jesus started the church and he will come back for it. Believers are accountable to be a part of the church body and help it to fulfill its mission to make disciples no matter the style of church, age of its members, where it meets, or size in weekend numbers. The next time you hear someone say they love Jesus but hate the church, remind them that it’s Jesus’ church. So by saying they hate the church they are saying they think Jesus was wrong to start it.
I want to encourage you to be a part of a Spirit-filled, bible believing church. You may have had a bad church experience in the past, but that doesn’t change the fact that God still wants you to be a part of His church with other believers. So find a church that fits you and where you can contribute. When believers unite for the cause of Christ, it’s marvelous and powerful and you have the honor of being part of it.