Maybe the Church Isn’t for You

The world often operates by transactions.
Most of the time, in order to get something, we must first give.
Or in order to give something, we must first get.
  • In order to make money, we must first work.
  • In order to get food, we must first pay.
  • In order to buy a flat screen TV (I’m accepting donations :), we must first pay.
  • In order to buy someone else a birthday present, they must give us one.
  • In order help someone else, we must remember a time they’ve helped us.
The Church doesn’t work like most things in the world.
The sad part is, a lot of people think it does.
  • In order to give my money, I must have the ability to decide.
  • In order to serve, I must be served.
  • In order to attend, I must be fed.
The problem with this mentality: It isn’t the selfless life Christ called us to, it’s the selfish life we’ve come to.
God’s desire for the Church is that we serve the world while carrying His message to it.
God’s desire for the Church is that we serve each other without making it about transaction.
God’s desire for the Church is that we reach the lost.
God never desired the Church to be…
  • A place to always receive.
  • A place to please our ears.
  • A place to raise our kids for us.
  • A babysitting service.
  • A social club to boost our social status.
  • A place for us to exercise our authority.
I’m off base here.
So many people have adopted these attitudes, maybe I’m missing something.
It’s just that, what I believe God’s desire for the Church is seems much more in the character of Him than the idea many have adopted.
Am I wrong?


  1. Denise Miller Holmes

    Hey Jonathan. I agree with you, but I’ve never seen a church function in the healthy way you have. One thing I see is leaders structuring churches as if they are social clubs. Even those that come wanting to give quickly learn that things go much better when they think of it as a social club. I’ve been to churches where I felt I needed to market myself and be careful of my image if I wanted to be able to give. I think leaders will have to break out of the current paradigm and teach a whole host of believers a new paradigm if this is going to change.

  2. Jonathan Pearson

    @Denise… Completely agree with you. I'm not saying here that I've ever seen a church that worked like this, it's just my belief God intended it to. Completely agree that we are going to have to train generations to shift the scale. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Colleen Foshee

    I'm seeing both sides of this in my church. And I think that's what I'm supposed to see. We born again people get transfered into a new way of life (at different times) and we take our old physical brains (and memories)with us. The resurrection life is in us – God did this – He changed us. As the Holy Spirit leads each of us into more and more truth. or His way of thinking, we start living more and more under the influence of the "new who we are now" – those new creations who think and act differently. It's a process (and we have a big part in how fast this happens as we partner up with the Holy Spirit) – so we'll be seeing people at all different places on this journey – right here in our local churches. And I believe we're supposed to.

  4. Jonathan Pearson

    @Colleen… Great points. This Christian life is certainly a journey with each of us at different stages in our journey. I guess my question is, at what point should we be beyond the same ole' way of thinking that we had before our salvation?

  5. Kevin Shorter

    God's desire for the Church is that we represent the love of the Creator to His creation, which is not in order to force something back in return. God does want something from us, but He will love us freely even if He does not receive it. He wants us to want Him.

    Is it wrong to want something in return from Church? I don't know, but I totally agree that our service should not be predicated on whether we get what we want.

  6. Nicole

    I disagree that church is treated like a social club. It is one of the least social places I go. We show up just in time for worship, afterwards there is some meaningless small talk over snacks, and then we leave. Sometimes there is something else: bible study, dinner, special night, but not enough to really build a real community. I don’t know what church is, but it isn’t social. The youth group, that I lead, is very social. I’m glad. They are a community, and they take care of each other.

    I did like your post. Receiving is difficult. Giving without getting is hard. God really likes to turn things upside down.


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