Ur Video: Why Church?
Do you share the sense that something isn't right with the church? Where are you taking your questions?

Last week Skye Jethani wrote a post about the "de-churched." It included information about a contest being hosted by 12 Cities | 12 Conversations inviting people to submit videos about why they're committed to Christ but questioning their commitment to the church.

Andrew Means sent in this video from a church leader's perspective. We are eager to hear your response.

Why I'm Disillusioned-Short from Andrew Means on Vimeo.

March 26, 2010

Displaying 1–10 of 22 comments

Sean G.

September 08, 2012  12:55am

I spent the majority of my early 20's asking the exact same questions that Andrew is. In fact, as a 28 year-old young pastor, I still ask those questions as a point of accountability to myself and my peers. However, my responses have progressed over time. Andrew brings up many good points about the church's roles as a missional community being neglected. Jesus did go to those who were broken, caught in sin, and hopeless. We are absolutely called to these things. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the "established church" is completely missing the mark, or even to blame for our own lack of mission. Many times throughout the video, he uses the phrase, "I'm tired of a church who..." Here's the problem: we ARE the church! He is part of that very church, and while the frustrations of the "Christian bubble" are real and legitimate, we must realize that we are part of it. While the bride of Christ was not meant to become a secondhand version of pop-culture without the swear words, we are still the bride of Christ. No, we don't always agree. No, we don't do our best to live missionally. But we are all guilty. We all need to step up our game and do something. If I could talk with Andrew, I would challenge him to do something about it. Tired of a church that only interacts with homosexuals on their terms? Do something about it. Tired of a church that pickets abortion clinics (which is not as common as media would like us to think)? Do something about it. I understand Andrew, and I ask the same questions. But simply stating the problem doesn't fix anything. We can passionately state our case and point fingers at "the church" without actually taking any responsibility whatsoever, and while we spend much of our time arguing over these issues within "the bubble," people are still dying without a relationship with Jesus. We're close. Andrew is close. Stating the problem is good. Taking action is even better.

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Dustin

September 25, 2011  8:50pm

Andrew, First of all I want to thank you for your honesty and for putting yourself out there. A video like this is sure to bring about a lot of negativity and critique (obviously), but I am encouraged by your lament. The concept of "big business" churches is most definitely an issue in our world today. I had a guy tell me the other day that "The government owns your church and is taking your money. The government owns you and you are just a part of their system." I responded by telling him that I am free in Christ and my church is not held under any earthly rule. But the sad thing is, not many Christians could say that. The church as a whole (meaning the whole family of God) seems to be slowly fading away the line from being in the world to being of it. Craig Groeschel has a new book out called WEIRD, and in it he reminds of us our calling as believers to be "set apart" and different from the world. That means we ought to show love to people that don't deserve it, we should sacrifice ourselves to serve others, we ought to live as a community and work together, we should be contrary to this world. Truth is though, we are all sinners, and hypocrites, and liars, and failures....on our own. But we have the power of the Spirit in us, and THAT, my friend is why we fight. And why we don't give up. James 1:12. Fight for that crown of life brother! We are not alone.

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zah

November 15, 2010  6:02am

Like Andrew I'm also feeling really disillusioned with church. I've been a part of my church for 10 years, but now I'm wondering what on earth is going on. It seems like our Pastor has lost his way and we are drifting like a rudderless ship. He says "we love each other" yet is really bitter towards a parishioner who was in the church. He is against gossip, yet listens to it himself, which causes huge problems. His decision making is not transparent nor consistent. One rule does not apply equally. We are hanging in there, but wondering at the same time what our options are. Yes we are praying constantly for him and our church. But at the same time I fear for the people in our church and our church as a whole. I'm not disilusioned with God, just the very people that "represent Him" on earth.

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Karen

April 05, 2010  1:40pm

John said: "As for the lack of depth someone else asked about, if you don't see it, I'm not sure I can describe it. But let me give you an example from today's service: Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, service, but themed and played out as a funeral, complete with coffin, darkness, etc. (remember, this is Easter Sunday, not Good Friday) Very little about the resurrection itself, and then only at the very end of the sermon. Stacatto of verses from Paul's epistles. Nothing from the scriptures about the empty tomb or the women in the garden, etc. Not a single verse from that vital part of the story. No delving into the deeper meaning of the new life and hope the resurrection brings both to us personally and how it literally changes everything in the order of creation, looking forward to the new heaven and new earth, etc. No sense of mystery or awe. No balanced presentation of the grief and sorrow of this fallen world and how the resurrection is the promise that we have overcome sin and death through Jesus Christ, and so gives us hope and the ability to look forward confidently to the day when all will be made new in the fulfillment of Christ's kingdom." John, having just come from (another) Paschal LIturgy at my Orthodox Church in America parish this morning, your every wish above I believe is fulfilled in the Orthodox Liturgy! (We will also be celebrating the Resurrection for a full 40 days.) I pray you may find a welcoming Orthodox parish near you (not always easy to find, I'm sorry to say) and that perhaps next year you can experience for yourself the wonderful cycle of services for Lent and Holy Week. I don't believe you will be disappointed. May God grant all your desires that are unto salvation. Sheerahkahn, very good examples of what happens publicly in the Name of Christ which turns people way from churches and and certain groups of people calling themselves Christians (and rightly so). From a theological and Orthodox perspective, however, these examples are more properly what happens when people (both within and outside of Her institutional bounds) fall AWAY from the Church by their disobedience to Christ. These are not, properly speaking, actions OF the Church (even if they may be actions that whole groups of Christians may agree with or try to excuse). It would be a very Orthodox statement to say that one begins (to overcome obstacles to coming together in love with other believers who are sinners like ourselves) by "looking in the mirror," but the sign of an Orthodox who is spiritually mature is that this is also where it ends! St. Seraphim of Sarov said, "Acquire the peace (of the Holy Spirit) and everyone around you will be saved." One acquires the peace of the Holy Spirit only through continually in prayer and repentance seeking Christ Himself and continually bringing our own soul fully into the Light of His Presence. Only when we do this, do our actions begin to come into alignment with His will. Unless we abide in Him, we can do nothing. If we truly abide in Him, HE will manifest His Presence within us in ways which will draw others to His LIght without our having to manipulate ourselves, our circumstances, or others to make it so. In my experience, the down side of evangelicalism is that what is intended as an emphasis on the gospel (quite appropriate) ends in becoming an emphasis on evangelism (i.e., "doing evangelism for God") as what defines us as Christians. Consequently, evangelical believers often end up convinced that the only reason they remain on earth is to influence others "for Christ." "Worshipping God and enjoying Him forever" is a luxury for the afterlife in this schema. Having forgotten really who they are in Christ, they turn Sunday AM–traditionally the Church's weekly celebration of the Resurrection culminating in feeding on Christ Himself, Who IS our very Life–into "seeker-friendly" outreaches and whip and carrot motivational meetings to get the "saved" out into the world to help reac

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Melody

April 05, 2010  11:44am

John, I basically agree with what you said, especially getting the cart before the horse. The only 'sin management' that works is repentance and obedience. A changed heart requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That only happens when one is willing to give up all of self and all of sin and stop self-justifying. It also requires Biblical knowledge. Folks spend too much time reading 'Christian' books and not enough time reading the only book that counts. If I had been at your church yesterday, it probably would have been the last time. Thankfully, at my church yesterday, it was an incredible balance of the two. I've never experienced 'Ressurection Day' without a sense of excitement from the moment I awake. "O what a foretaste of glory divine..."

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John

April 04, 2010  2:48pm

Melody, Some of what I see is like the Wikipedia definition of moral therapeutic deism, but not all. A lot of it shows up as self-help and what Dallas Willard calls "sin management" programs. Most recently example being the promotion of such a program on a football-based theme at a men's breakfast. It was all about managing various sins and temptations. Not a thing about walking in the way of Jesus more deeply, or prayer, or meditation, or the spiritual disciplines. And of course you had to buy the program, including some kind of a clicker to count your blessings or graces or some such. To me, this is getting the cart before the horse in a really bad way. As for the lack of what I termed organic community, take this example. A church has several healthy and functioning small groups that have arisen on their own through believers getting together, rotating leadership, sharing their lives, etc. In short, they're working and have become a key reason these people come to that church. And the teaching is solid. Nothing weird. Church leadership chooses first to ignore and marginalize them, then shut them down and replace them with a new "life group" program, all managed by the new gung-ho pastor. End of naturally arising fellowships of believers; beginning of top-down management of a manufactured "community." As for the lack of depth someone else asked about, if you don't see it, I'm not sure I can describe it. But let me give you an example from today's service: Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, service, but themed and played out as a funeral, complete with coffin, darkness, etc. (remember, this is Easter Sunday, not Good Friday) Very little about the resurrection itself, and then only at the very end of the sermon. Stacatto of verses from Paul's epistles. Nothing from the scriptures about the empty tomb or the women in the garden, etc. Not a single verse from that vital part of the story. No delving into the deeper meaning of the new life and hope the resurrection brings both to us personally and how it literally changes everything in the order of creation, looking forward to the new heaven and new earth, etc. No sense of mystery or awe. No balanced presentation of the grief and sorrow of this fallen world and how the resurrection is the promise that we have overcome sin and death through Jesus Christ, and so gives us hope and the ability to look forward confidently to the day when all will be made new in the fulfillment of Christ's kingdom. I could give many more examples but the post would be too long. Hope you get the gist.

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Jerry

April 02, 2010  2:19pm

Hey, I never stopped gathering with other believers. Not at all-in fact more than ever. I opt'd out of the professional clergy, holy building, holy meeting. It was the pro presentation that I can live without. I love the church (the people of God).

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RDM

April 02, 2010  8:18am

If you claim to be disillusioned by the Church and you haven't begun by looking in the mirror, and you can't cite specific instances, don't bother making a fuss.

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still

April 01, 2010  3:57am

"Churches are for sinners, which we ALL are." - Barbara Let's change the question. If churches are for sinners, WHY DON'T SINNERS LIKE BEING AROUND HER TODAY? Excerpts below from Philip Yancey's book "The Jesus I Never Knew" poses such a profound question that may lift the veil on why people, like Andrew, are disillusioned with his church. "...we noticed a striking pattern: the more unsavory the characters, the more at ease they seemed to feel around Jesus. People like these found Jesus appealing: a Samaritan social outcast, a military officer of the tyrant Herod, a quisling tax collector, a recent hostess to seven demons. "In contrast, Jesus got a chilly response from more respectable types. Pious Pharisees thought him uncouth and worldly, a rich young ruler walked away shaking his head, and even the open-minded Nicodemus sought a meeting under the cover of darkness. "...how strange this pattern seemed, since the Christian church now attracts respectable types who closely resemble the people most suspicious of Jesus on earth." Robert McAfee Brown in his book "Unexpected News" observes that it all seems askew that "while the [unsavory characters] do get a lot of attention in the Bible, the [respectable types] get a lot of attention in the church now and usually end up running things; and, in fact, become the official interpreters of the Scriptures." Philip Yancey grapples with this ultimate question: "What has happened to reverse the pattern of Jesus' day?"

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Barbara

April 01, 2010  2:50am

Reminds me of the song by Ray Boltz: And he said, "Friend you may not know me now" And then he said, "But wait" You used to teach my Sunday School When I was only eight. And every week you would say a prayer Before the class would start. And one day when you said that prayer I asked Jesus in my heart." (Chorus) Thank you for giving to the Lord I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord I am so glad you gave. How would that happen without a church or Sunday School? With all of its flaws, which all human groups have, Jesus never said to not meet together. Paul, of course, wrote his letters to churches. Acts 2:42 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common. It's pretty impossible to find each other by wandering around city streets. Is there going to be a generation that has no Sunday school teacher to thank for bringing a child to the Lord? Embers separated from the fire quickly burn out. Sometimes it can be hard to find a biblical church, but it's not impossible. Churches are for sinners, which we ALL are.

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