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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Is Following Your Heart a Good Idea?

Hello all! Welcome to the first week of the Having a Heart of Gold series! Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at what it means to have a heart after God’s own—what it is and isn’t, what it means, and why it’s important. This week, we’re talking about why following your heart may not be the answer to life’s tough decisions. So grab an iced coffee & your favourite throw blanket (if you’re an iced-coffee-and-cute-throw kinda person) and read on!

The world says "Just follow your heart," -- but is this really a good idea? How do we stay "true to ourselves" and yet follow God's leading at the same time? Does God care about our desires? Click here to read more!

So…the heart. It’s a simple enough concept, yet ask any three people what the heart is, and you’ll get a variety of answers. A muscle that runs the whole body. A bit of your mind, soul, and body all wrapped into one. Your capacity to love and be loved and build relationships. There are so many different things that the heart is. In reality, all these are true. The heart is complex and capable of hundreds of emotions, desires, and thoughts, and is significant in every part of life.

If the heart is so many things, what does it mean to follow your heart? When I hear people say this or apply it to a situation, I usually understand it to mean following your “true desires” or dreams. To be honest, I think that the phrase “Just follow your heart!” is a very dangerous one. But before you decide that I am totally uptight & nuts-o, please hear me out.

Here’s my type-A, eldest-child logic. We are not perfect, right? In fact, we’re flat-out sinful creatures, born with the strong tendency to want to disobey God. Correct? So why do we think that following our own heart is always the right move? How can we trust our emotions and desires when we are inherently sinful?

The heart is no exception to our self-serving nature. Jeremiah had strong words about the heart. Chapter 17, verse 9 says this:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

God is not satisfied with the situation of our hearts. In fact, when we become Christians, God gives us a new heart. In Ezekiel 36, He promises us this:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

If the Bible is so clear about the condition of our heart before Christ, and God’s desire to change our heart, why do we think it’s a good idea to blindly follow the desires of our hearts? If we want to make the right decision, should we not seek  to follow the heart of the One who is perfect and true and in Whom there is no fault?

When we follow our hearts, we are following our emotions that are happening right now, in the present moment. This is dangerous because emotions change, and they are not reality. God warns us against allowing emotions to rule our lives. In Proverbs, fools are people who speak based on their emotions and act on how they feel. When we follow our feelings, we simply aren’t being wise.

The truth is this: when we choose to follow our hearts, we are choosing our own desires above God. Click To Tweet

Am I saying you should completely ignore your heart? Nope! God gave us our hearts and the desires that go with them for a reason. He made us with free will, and we should not deny or ignore the things He puts in our hearts. God works through our hearts to accomplish His purpose (I’ll come back to this later).

God knows the desires of our hearts; whether it’s a certain job you’ve always wanted, an opportunity that seems to good to pass up, or even a lifestyle choice such as marriage. He knows. God doesn’t think our desires are petty or insignificant. He takes each one of our desires seriously. In Psalm 37, He even gives us this promise:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.

God does not want us to be joy-less all our lives. He wants to fill our desires. But there’s a catch.

Yes, God loves us and wants us to be filled with His joy (notice I didn’t say “He wants us to be happy”?). But first, we must delight ourselves in Him. That means that He is first, and we do His will and are obedient to Him first. Then, and only then, will He give us the desires we have. In Matthew 6:32 & 33, He gives us this promise:

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The reality is that as we focus on God and seek His will, our desires will start to align with His. There will be desires that you thought were very real; yet when you start to focus on what God wants for you rather than what you want, you find that those things weren’t as important as you thought or they weren’t real desires.

On the other hand, desires you didn’t know you had will come to light and plant themselves deep in your soul. You may become passionate about things you didn’t know you cared about, and God will start to do amazing things through you.

When we start to seek the will of God rather than our longing, we become closer to Him and our whole life becomes re-prioritized. God changes our hearts and works in us to complete His will and fulfill us.

We will never be truly satisfied until we refocus on Christ. Click To Tweet

God may also ask for us to give Him a desire of ours. And it may totally suck. Sometimes, He takes that longing and says, “My child, you think you want this. But I know that it will not truly fulfill you, and I have something much better planned. Will you trust Me?” Other times, He asks for it only for a time and gives it back later. He asks us to trust Him. And in return…He gives us the desires of our hearts.

Other posts from the Heart of Gold series:

  1. Is Following Your Heart a Good Idea? (you’re reading it now!)
  2. Guarding Your Heart in Every Area of Life

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of the desires of your heart?

How are you giving that desire to God?

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