How to Leave Church Crying

Yesterday, I left church crying. I shed quite a few tears in church, as well. Why?

It was our last Sunday.

We love our church. It has become more than just a place of worship. It is a home, a refuge, a community.

Yet so many people hate church. They leave churches or refuse to join because they have been hurt at church, or people they love have been hurt at church, and they decide they’d rather worship at home than with a bunch of hypocrites.

I get that. I’ve been there. Not every church is a healthy church, but there ARE healthy churches out there. How do you find one so great that you cry buckets when you have to leave it? Try these two tips:

PRAY

Emma and JuliaBefore we joined this church, I prayed like crazy. My biggest prayer was that we find a church where our kids could grow. I wanted them to be surrounded by people who love Jesus and who will encourage our kids to love Jesus. God answered that prayer in such a big way. We had Miss Julia, Emma’s Sunday school teacher, who oozes passion for Jesus. She would call Emma out when she was doing wrong, point her to scripture when she was struggling, and text her at all hours of the night when she was doubting.  She even came to Emma’s activities (like “The Music Man” performance at school). Andrew, Ellie’s middle school pastor, digs deep into the word and knows that 6-8 graders can do more than just play games on Wednesdays nights – they can be world changers! Mr. Frank worked in the elementary ministry, despite his disability. He hugged Thomas every time he saw him, looked him in the eye and said, “You know what, Thomas? I love you. But Jesus is crazy about you!”

Get Involved

I knew a woman who left a church because no one spoke to her. I asked her if she was involved in any ministries? “No.” Part of a Sunday school class? “No.” Volunteer in the nursery or youth group? “No.” She got to church late, left early, and complained that, after six months attending the church, she had no friends. The biggest mistake church-goers make is thinking church is for them. Like it’s Chick-Fil-A where the workers are there to meet your needs and make sure you are satisfied. You miss out on the joy of community and the fulfillment of your God-given gifts when you think that! The church is a body of believers. Every part of that body is important. No church can function if the only people serving are those who are on staff. We are all gifted differently.

My friend Rebekah is both merciful and organized. She is the homeroom mom to a second grade class at an inner-city school that our church has adopted. She makes sure those kids have school supplies and uniforms at the beginning of the year. She sends their names out to our Sunday school class so that each kid has a family praying for him/her and has gifts at Christmas and their birthdays. She plans class parties and field trips. And she LOVES doing that. I can hear it in her voice when she talks about those precious kids.

The Wheetley’s (the “real” Carey and Kristie from the ANOMALY series) are some of the most hospitable people I have ever known. They’ll open up their homwheetley'se to anyone, anytime. When the teen Bible study needed a host home — the Wheetley’s volunteered. When our Sunday school class needed a party house – the Wheetley’s volunteered. The VBS workers need a place to make crafts?? Yep, the whole crew met up at the Wheetley’s. Never once have I heard them complain about the mess, the amount of people, the expense of hosting. They love opening up their home. They delight in using the gifts God has given them to help the body of Christ.

I could go on…but you get the idea (and this post is already long enough!). Want to love a church so much you cry when you have to leave it? Pray about which church God wants you in, then get involved! Use your gifts. Look to serve. It is SO worth it, believe me.

 

1 Comment

  1. Brenda lyle
    Jul 28, 2014

    Krista, you and your family will be missed. God bless each one. I wish I could have had your kids in school. There is something qute special about each one. Enjoy your new experiences. I hope our paths will cross again.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *