What to Do if You Don’t Like Your Church

Today, a lot of churches seem to be out of touch when it comes to young people. The question is, what can we do if we don't like our church? Click here to find out!

In the last little while, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts popping up about how the church needs to do more to accommodate for the millennial generation, or why millennials are leaving the church. (You can check out one of these posts at Recklessly Alive–he has some good points!) I can understand why so many young people are looking at their church and wondering how they can get more out of it. I’ve made a list of some things you can do if you’re struggling with liking your church.

1. Check your motives & attitude.

The first thing we should be doing when we don’t like the church we’re at is look at ourselves before we look anywhere else. Ask yourself, why don’t you like your church? Is it a matter of the church or do your motives need to be checked? It’s important to make sure your reasons aren’t selfish. When your heart’s in the right place, you can start to look around.

2. Pray.

Seeking God’s will and listening to His voice is always important to do in every situation. What would God have you do? Take the time to tell Him of your struggles, then listen to hear what He would have you do. Does He want you to wait or begin to seek out a new local church? Ultimately, nothing will truly help your situation if you are not walking in His will.

3. Find a place to serve.

Every church has an area you can serve in, no matter what size it is. I’ve been a part of a smaller church (approximately 30 congregants at the time) and more medium-large churches (services of 300 attendants). In every church, there is always an area to serve—whether that’s helping out in the nursery or serving coffee after church; leading a group of youth or simply being an encouragement to those around you. There is great joy in serving. Christ Himself came to serve, not be served. If you’re feeling a little disconnected, getting involved is a great way to connect with others!

4. Find someone to mentor & disciple you.

Your pastor is only one person! Unfortunately, he probably simply doesn’t have time to take the time to mentor you individually. Because of this, it’s a great idea to find someone in your church who can mentor or disciple you. Find someone you admire, such as an older woman, and ask if she would be willing to mentor you—meeting together every now and then. Ask her to keep you spiritually accountable and pray for each other.

Take this one step further and find someone you can mentor. There are so many younger girls who are going through middle school and high school, trying to figure out the world of boyfriends, womanhood, and everything else life has to offer. By taking someone under your wing, you’ll not only be a help to them, but you’ll also learn and grow in your own spiritual walk.

5. Check your devotions and prayer life.

Church is great when it comes to corporate worship, fellowship with other believers, and learning. But it’s not meant to keep you going all week. If you’re feeling a little spiritually dry and believe your church is the problem, check again…it could be your personal prayer life. If you aren’t regularly spending time in the Word, you won’t grow closer to Jesus. Church isn’t meant to replace your own personal time with Jesus.

6. Look at your church.

Yes, evaluating your church is the last thing on my list. When I moved to a different city for my last year of school, my roommate and I began the oh-so-fun church hunt. We chose against some because there were no young people, and others because there were way to many (literally a few hundred university students). You should definitely look at your church and seriously consider whether or not it’s a good fit for you, but only after you check yourself. There’s no doubt that there are many different churches out there—churches with mostly older people, churches geared towards younger families; some churches are super-charismatic, while others are really structured.

Finding a church you’re comfortable attending is so important. The problem happens when we believe the church is there to serve us. The truth is, we are the church, and we are to serve each other. Let’s start being the change in our churches!

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Why Loving Ourselves isn’t the Answer

In a world that constantly encourages us, "love yourself!" it's easy to get caught up in the finding-yourself trend. But what does the Bible say about self-love? Click here to read more!

I’ve been noticing a trend on the Internet lately, even in Christian circles.

“10 ways to find yourself.”

“3 ways to learn self-love.”

“7 habits to discover who you are.”

When I see these posts on other blogs and social media, my heart aches.

You do not need to find yourself. You do not need to learn to love yourself. Oh, sister…no.

What does the Bible say about self-love?

You won’t find the words “self-love” in the Bible, but you will find the word “pride” over and over…and over again. God has a lot of not-so-nice things to say about pride. His Word says that pride is the root of all evil. Satan loved himself, and he fell “like lightning from heaven.”

To paraphrase Francis Chan (love that guy), Satan’s power is deception. His main weapon is to lie to the children of God; to twist the Truth and pull us away from Him. One of his talents is making sin look beautiful. Satan takes something that goes against God’s Word and makes it look beautiful by making it sound good or by putting good music behind it. It’s not a stretch to say that while self-love sounds so good, it’s really just pride.

I can’t find any place in the Bible that tells us to love ourselves. We are told to love God and love others, but never ourselves.

You do not need to love yourself.

Jesus died so that you did not have to love yourself. He died so that you could be loved by your Father, the God of the Universe.

If I love myself, I won’t get anywhere. As a human, I need love. But I was not designed for my own love, or any other human’s, for that matter. I was designed to be loved perfectly, by my God.

I was not created for myself, but for God. So how could I get love from myself? I won’t ever “find myself”, no matter how long I search, because I was created to be Christ. If I start to focus on loving myself, my focus is pulled from loving the Lord and the people around me, which is what I’m commanded to do.

Instead of trying to love myself out of my own human imperfection, I can accept the unconditional, ever-present, unchanging love of my Father. When I find my worth in Him, I find who I truly am.

Maybe we need to stop trying to be ourselves and start striving to be Christ—the One we have always been meant to illuminate.

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Maybe Singleness Isn’t about Waiting for Marriage

So many young adults today endure singleness as a "season of waiting" for the good stuff: marriage. But what if marriage isn't really better than being single? Read more here!

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “marriage vs. singleness” discussions among Christian young adults.

The debate looks something like this: many young adults are still single, and some are married. The married people are on the “WOO marriage is so great and if you’re not married you’re missing out big time” side, while all the singles are either trying to deny their emotions (“I’m single and I will enjoy it/pretend I do”) or just open about their desperate desire to get married.

Disclaimer:

Maybe I have no right to even have an opinion on the matter, since I’m a married, twenty-one year old Christian woman who hasn’t experienced a real “season of singleness.”

I might not understand how hard it is to wait for God to bring someone into your life, or wonder if He ever will.

Maybe I can’t understand how hard it is to trust God, when being a wife and mother is the greatest desire of your heart.

What I have to say actually has nothing to do about the singleness versus marriage discussion. It’s more to do with how God’s will affects the quality of either season of life—whether that’s singleness or marriage.

Maybe it’s not about whether or not you’re married.

Why do so many singles feel that they are missing out if they’re not married? I think it’s a matter of understanding why marriage can be a blessing…and how it can also be quite the opposite.

My marriage is a wonderful blessing to me. My husband is a pretty amazing man. I have more respect and admiration for him than anyone else. But here’s the thing: my marriage isn’t a blessing because my husband and I have forever committed our lives to each other, or even because he’s such a great guy. It’s a blessing because it’s where God wants me.

There are also many unhappy marriages in the world, folks. I know couples who would probably say their marriage is not a blessing to them. Marriage itself isn’t the blessing here.

Likewise, singleness is a blessing for some and not for others. If you are single and you believe that’s where God has placed you for now (which has nothing to do with how you feel about the situation and all about God’s will for your life), you will be—and are—blessed.

We don’t miss out on the blessing because we’re either married or not. We miss out on the blessing when we refuse to stay where God has placed us.

When we look at marriage and singleness and say one is better than the other, we stand dangerously close to the edge. We tempt ourselves because when we believe one is better than the other, we often pursue it relentlessly, regardless of where God is guiding us. It’s so easy to just charge ahead with what we want and ignore the Lord’s leading.

The blessing happens when we choose to be where God wants us. Every step of my relationship with my husband was guided by God. I didn’t push for it. But what if I had believed that no matter what, being single would make me more “blessed”? If I hadn’t married, I wouldn’t be in God’s will and would be worse off.

For those who are married, marriage is a blessing not because it’s a marriage, but because God put those two people there. And for others, singleness is not a blessing because they’re single, but because they are walking in God’s path for them.

Next time you’re wondering which is better—marriage or singleness?—remember that it’s not the circumstance, but the reason you’re there.

It’s not about where you are, but whether you are willing to surrender here & now.

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Seeking God when He Seems Far Away

We've all had those mountain-top experiences. But what about when God seems to be far from us? How do we seek Him in those times? Click here to find out!

I loved going to youth conferences in high school. The bus trip, hanging out with friends, staying up late, great worship, amazing speakers. I would leave the youth conference so on fire for God, eager to love Him unconditionally and serve Him every day.

But inevitably, within the week, the spiritual “high” I was on would fade, and I would come down from the mountain to the plateau of everyday life. I was left wondering where my eagerness went, and if I was a bad Christian for being less interested in God.

The reality is that the Christian life isn’t supposed to be fuelled by these mountaintop experiences. There are lots of times of our lives during which God seems far away. The question is, what do we do when He seems to be far from us?

Spiritual check-up.

Whenever I realize that I’ve been drifting from God, I stop and take a look at my life lately. Have I been spending time in the Word? Have I been praying regularly? Am I taking time to worship and seek the Lord? If I’m not making an effort on my part, my relationship with God won’t grow. Great friendships happen when both people put an effort in; it’s the same with God. Yes, He loves us unconditionally, but my relationship with Him won’t mature if I’m not putting any priority on it.

Re-prioritize spiritual disciplines.

There have been so many times where I’ve felt distant from God, only to realize that I haven’t been in the Word for two weeks. Not spending time with God has an impact on our lives! When I make Jesus a priority again, He is able to reveal Himself to me and I’m able to grow closer to Him.

Spend time in prayer.

There have been times when I’ve found myself far from God because I’ve actually been walking away from Him. There are so many things that get between us + God—new relationships, school/work stress, pride, selfish desires, wrong choices. I have often wondered why I’m far from God only to realize that I’ve been making decisions based on my own wants, rather than His will from my life.

Ask God to show you areas in your life that you need to give back to Him. Before I can seek after the Lord, I need to come to Him with these things and confess them. When we make ourselves right with God (that is, accepting Jesus’ forgiveness and intervention for us before God), we are free to seek Him and grow in our relationship with Him.

Seek, and you will find.

James 4:8 says this:

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…

God does not withhold from us. When we pursue Him, He awaits us with open arms. He is waiting for us to return to Him, and He will meet us where we are. Next time you’re feeling far from the Lord, remember that He has not left. He loves His children and has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Join the conversation! How do you seek God when you feel far from Him?

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Stress: Dealing with It in a God-Honouring Way

We all have stress in our lives. But how do we deal with it? And how do we deal with it in a way that honours God? Click here to read my top four ways to de-stress!

In today’s world, a lot is expected of teens and young adults. At a young age, we need to decide what kind of career we want, where we’ll go to college, where we’ll live, who we’ll marry…the list goes on and on. How is is possible to make all these decisions without some level of stress?!

The thing is, we millennials aren’t the only ones who are stressed. Stress doesn’t just go away once you turn 27. We’ll always have stressful things to deal with. The problem with stress is that it steals our joy. And stress is a dangerous mix of busyness + worry, which are both things God tells us not to entertain.

But how do we avoid stress? I mean, life happens. It’s pretty hard to avoid, unless you want to live your life hidden in a room (and I doubt many of us want that). Today, I’m going to share with you my top four ways of dealing with stress!

1. Tell God you’re not okay.

How many of us run to our phone and text our best friend when we find out that we failed a test for the first time? (Guilty!) The thing is, God should be the first one we go to when stuff happens. He created us, and He loves us. I can’t tell you the number of times (if I had to guess, it would probably be about a gazillion) that I’ve gone to God and said, “God, this really, really sucks. I don’t even know what to do or say.” God is with us in everything—and He’s never leaving. He created us, and He loves us. Why are we so hesitant to approach Him with our problems? I promise He’s big enough to handle it. And His grace is enough to get us through it. It’s been my experience that when I go to God with my issues + problems, He comforts me like no other. He knows my spirit like no other, and He knows exactly how to comfort me. I’m blown away by His love.

2. Have time to yourself.

I’m an introvert—very much so. This means that I need to be alone to recharge. I love people and being around my friends, but at some point my tank gets empty. And the only way to fill it back up is to spend some time by myself–whether that’s reading a book, working on a sewing project, or just doing my nails and listening to music. When I’m feeling stressed out, it always helps to have some me-time. Once I have more energy, it’s 10x easier to deal with whatever I’m facing!

3. Spend some time in the Word.

One of the things that helps me a LOT when I’m feeling overwhelmed is opening my Bible to the book of Psalms. Sometimes I find something that really speaks to my situation and God uses His Word to put me back into perspective. Other times, I’m just reminded of how great our God is and how He is so wonderfully in control.

4. Go for a hike.

Okay, so there aren’t that many places to hike in southwestern Ontario. It’s pretty flat down here. But going for a walk does wonders for a stressed soul. There’s something about doing something physically active and spending time in God’s creation that is a huge stress-reliever. When I walk around and take the time to see how incredible God is, I’m comforted that He can handle whatever it is I’m going through. Often, we drive by gorgeous autumn trees, new spring flowers, wide blue lakes, and towering mountains and we forget Who made them all. When I take the time to seek out and look at our Lord’s creation, I find myself wanting to praise Him all the more.

How do you deal with stress?

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