Why I Kissed Church Goodbye

If the title of this post made you worry that I’m turning my back on my Christian Faith, then you’re part of the reason I’m doing this little note. Pardon the bullet points, they make it easier for both of us.

1. I’m sick of the current church system. Been sick of it for a long time, but I found two local assemblies that helped make it easier to bear, at least for a while. Now I no longer have them.

2. When I was in University I was fortunate to be part of the Christian Union, a non-denominational fellowship. For 5 blissful years, I experienced JESUS without the taint of red tape, politics, absurd use of funds, favouritism and all such annoying trappings of “church”. For those years, I lived free of billboards with smiling faces of Mamas and Papas, and programmes that were more about publicity stunts than reaching souls for Christ. Everybody was the same in fellowship. Even the leaders we elected and whose offices we respected, were still brothers and sisters just like us. I gave like never before, because every dime went into ministry work that my heart could feel; activity groups like HOP (Hospitals, Orphanage Homes and Prisons), SSV (Secondary School Visitation), CEM (Children Evangelism Ministry), and the RCA from where rural crusaders went on mission trips to rural areas, to mention a few. Welfare was taken seriously, and anybody could walk up to any member of the Executive Committee, or the Welfare Secretaries (WS Brothers or WS Sisters) if they had a need. Regardless of whether we were brought up Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists or “Pentecostals”, when we gathered, we were Christians. That was all.

3. I was sick with fear to have to go back into the Nigerian Church system again. When I did go back I was miserable, but I had to brave it because I believed I had no choice. I needed the assembling of the brethren on a regular basis. The Bible admonishes us not to forsake it and I could not even do it- for my own well being. Yet, I realised the best fellowship of my life was still finding myself and other believing friends in the home of another believer, and somewhere in the socializing having someone announce, “let’s have church.”

4. Things are worse now. When I was a member of Ikoyi Baptist Church a lot of things brought me relief. I cannot express how glad I was to be rid of the most annoying aspects of Pentecostalism. I won’t list them, but let’s just say this was the closest I came to recovering what I had in University. I embraced it fully. I had huge doses of the things that are important to me in a local assembly; fellowship and service. And I had a pastor whose name you may not know, who doesn’t drive a flashy car, who isn’t a regular in the papers, but who loves God and His people with all his heart. A pastor who, despite pastoring some of the wealthiest believers in Lagos, still answers me when I call him, and comes to minister to me and my family wherever we are. And this, after I have married and joined another church.

5. This other church hubby and I joined after marriage, is okay I guess. Uncomfortable as I may be with the way it’s run like somebody’s personal organization (albeit a wonderful man), and the concerts that gulp huge sums of money, I still managed to go there with hubby, sit and listen to the sermon, praise and worship, and go home. When I had my baby and couldn’t go to church for a while, I realised I felt no different sitting at home and watching sermon DVDs. I get the Word at home, praise, worship and pray. I still need fellowship, but I do not get it in the church; I’m in fact starved for it. So what’s the point of bundling myself every Sunday to go and sit there? It does nothing but tie me to the organisation, forcing me to answer when asked what church I belong to, “House on the Rock.” That is a lie. I do not belong there. It’s best to face the truth. My heart is not in it.

6. I still have the challenge of fellowship. I am working on fixing that. Where two or three are gathered in the Name of Jesus, there He is in the midst of them. There are people in countries hostile to Christianity, who do not gather in any elegant buildings. They meet in homes and have church just like the early church did. So maybe you’ll soon be sending greetings to the church that meets in Joy’s house, or the home of some friend or the other. It will never be registered, but it will definitely provide the fuel we need to go out and make a difference in society.

7. I will make sure my son doesn’t miss out on the great benefits of Children Sunday School and the beautiful programmes tailored for young minds. If I find those trained to teach him better than I can, I will hand him over with joy.  And I will still attend church whenever my husband wants to go; he will have my company. He doesn’t mind that I don’t belong there. And no, Jesus doesn’t mind either.

 

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12 thoughts on “Why I Kissed Church Goodbye

  1. I can hug and kiss you from her to Jerusalem and back. Finally one person in the whole world who thinks like me. At last! God bless u, bless u, bless u!
    I am tired of the church, the way it is run and the doctrines of men that they claim are the ways of God. Tired!
    But just like u I long for fellowship too and believe we don’t ave to be confined to a building to serve God faithfully
    God bless u dear

  2. Too many things to say!!
    1: I discovered your blog! Yay!! Hopefully this would mean more writing… (rich coming from me, I know :D)
    2: I wholeheartedly agree with you on the church issue. After attending a non-denominational church in school, where everything was as everything should be, I was NOT at all blind to all the faults of church back here. Eventually, for peace sake I stopped going, but I realised that that only made slipping off too easy.
    In school we had something called Life Group, where students (of the same sex sha) would gather in a dorm room and spend an hour praising, worshipping, sharing and encouraging each other. It did great things to developing relationships and being kept accountable. I wish to recreate that here, once I figure out the logistics. For now, it’s DVDs and youtube praise.

  3. Pingback: Why I Went Back To Church | anafricandiva

  4. I so relate to this. Realized the difference when i was part of nccf during youth service. I am now back in my regular church, but i so long for that fellowship we had as believers.
    The early apostles had it best!

  5. Word-Up!

    At least i’m not alone. I had some issues with my home church but for me it was still church. Then I went for youth service, discovered NCCF and my life changed totally. Four years later, i’m still not the same. There was something about the programmes and fellowship there that made it easy to relate with the bible days. I’m married now and trying to fix myself in hubby’s church. That’s such a huge task if I may say.

    Nevertheless, the church is marching on. If there are things that needs to be fixed in our opinion, we better give it our best shot. Guess that’s why it’s called the BODY of Christ.

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading.

  6. So it is not strange! I stopped going to church for A very long time, simply because I was tired. Tired of the way it had become, tired of what had become important and still is important. I continued to listen to podcasts, watch service online, but after a while even that was not working for me anymore. Then I stopped. Having to tell people that I did not go to church anymore when asked was bothersome. It seemed that the church you attended, marked your place in society. Then I found simplicity a few years later and it felt like a completely different religion. Yes I had stopped going to a Pentecostal church, I had a major paradigm shift and felt like a burden had been lifted off my spirit, soul and body. I no longer felt guilty for not responding to compelling announcements about the “special service” next Sunday at all. There is a lot for me to say, but I’m glad I read your article because it resonates with me, it is brave and I can relate to it.

  7. My sister! Always told you I like your writing style direct and precise. As for the church thing, I believe different churches cater to different people. There is no perfect church they all have good and bad sides because it is run by people. My husband went to Ikoyi baptist church and did grow there. But in my present church (which I will not mention.) I have seen him grow. In “big” churches it is almost impossible for the pastor to know everyone and go to everyone’s house. There would be able pastors that handle that. I followed my hubby to baptist church in PH and loved it there. I let go of the church issue and just followed him to church. There are two options for married women follow hubby and try to fit in or pray for God to touch him in the right direction. Lol!

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