Challenging You to Become More Than Your Church Thinks You Can Become

Keith KettenringChristian Living, Ministry Leaders, The Uncommon Journey

Today I write a “challenge the status quo” post. These never sit well with some folks. Others love the challenge. I can’t please everyone. I don’t try to. My hope in writing this kind of post is to disorient you a bit. That’s a good thing. Jesus did it. I’m not Jesus. But I like his methods (usually!?!).

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The church many of us grew up in, and many are still experiencing, is based on a simple formula:

  • Do what you’re told.
  • Show up.
  • Fit in.
  • Work hard.
  • Know the facts.
  • Listen to the boss.
  • Stick it out.
  • Be part of the system.
  • You’ll be rewarded.

Are you part of a church where you are trained to conform to written (and unwritten) rules while you play the game of community? Frequently, the rules change from one church to another so you’re never certain who’s got it right. Perhaps you’ve been in a church where the boss changes the rules in the middle of the game. Disastrous!

Unfortunately, I know from personal experience how this works – or doesn’t work.

Recently, I read these words from the book “Linchpin” (p. 3) by Seth Godin. I could not help but think of the evangelical church as I know it and as many of you know it.

The system we grew up with is a mess. It’s falling apart at the seams and a lot of people I care about are in pain because the things we thought would work don’t. Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. They have become victims, pawns in a senseless system that uses them up and undervalues them.

It’s time to stop complying with the system…

Stop settling for what’s good enough and start creating art that matters.

You have the potential to be a saint. Don’t settle for being a hireling. You’ve been created to thrive in beauteous mystery. Don’t settle for mere existence in sterile certainty. You claim that the truth sets you free yet you live in subjection to theological systems that stifle you.

The solution to freedom from this kind of church is not found in rejecting God and/or acting any way you want. It is found in a journey of learning to love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, body, and relationships. Your companion on that journey must be Jesus Christ who is himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

You may think you’re on that kind of journey. But there’s a good chance you’ve been highjacked by certain people and systems that keep you down. There are many. You’ve given them permission to control you. But, you can choose the path to freedom in Jesus Christ.

Walk in him and see where he takes you.

So, what do you think? Are you part of a system that frustrates your spiritual growth? If you benefitted from this challenge, share it with others. Comment below if you’d like to. 

Dr. K