Two Reasons to Give the Church Another Chance

When my husband and I were still a “young couple,” we used to laugh over an imagined scenario at our church:

“What ever happened to that young couple with all the boys?”

“Haven’t you heard?  They divorced – someone said that they just grew apart, that they didn’t know each other anymore.”

“No!  They were here at church all the time!  How could something like that have happened?”

Truly, it’s not funny, but we laughed because we knew that even though our church family loved us,  if we had said, “Yes,” to all the ministry opportunities that were pressed upon us,  it wouldn’t be long before this was our fate.  Fortunately, we were able to remember their love for us as we made decisions to become the guardians of our own margins and boundaries.

For many people, the church has a reputation to overcome.  It’s hard to trust The Body when you’ve been burned by its members.  For various reasons,  believers are staying home on Sunday mornings, and the experts say that only 20% of Americans attend church regularly.  Certainly, anyone who has done time in the pew can find a reason to gripe:  lack of appreciation; not liking the pastor/the music/the sermons/the color of the carpet; unsatisfying or turbulent relationships.   All of this should be no surprise to us, for even the healthiest, most vibrant fellowships are populated with . . .  well, sinners.  There’s really no one else to come to church!

I’m over at The Perennial Gen today making a case for giving the church another chance–even if you feel as if you’ve been burned in the past. Ponder the wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and then click on over to read the post in its entirety:

“The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him.  He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself . . .”

Please join the discussion over at The Perennial Gen, and I do look forward to reading your thoughts on the church gathered and the role it has played in your spiritual formation.

Many thanks to Jen Ferguson for the lovely image.

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35 thoughts on “Two Reasons to Give the Church Another Chance”

  1. You have tackled a very thorny subject indeed, my friend. When I was still working as a Christian clinical counselor, I met far too many members of the body who were wounded by prideful unfeeling or unthinking others who rarely listened before speaking. Sadly, some began to wonder if the Lord was as judgmental as the persons they had interacted with. We do need one another, but how much we need to discern how to speak life into others rather than discouragement. Thanks for “going there” with this post. Dietrich Bonhoeffer always offers us wise counsel.


    1. So hard. I can’t imagine being a counselor and not referring clients to the support and love of a church family, but those who have been wounded would certainly struggle to receive that advice.
      Pam, I’m always glad to benefit from your experiences and wise insights.


      1. I could refer them to some specific folks that I had trained as discipler and mentor while I was counseling, but I had to choose people who understood the importance of listening first and as Steven Covey would say….seek to understand before seeking to be understood. It helped that the last 13 years I was on a church staff and had trained some folks to be better caregivers. AACC (Am Assoc of Christian Counselors) has a great DVD series called Caring for People God’s Way and all of these laymen went through that course.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s hard to trust The Body when you’ve been burned by its members.” How very true, Michele! I think we have all been burned…some multiple times and in very profound ways. I think it hurts the most to be wounded by other Christians, because that is truly one of the last places we would ever expect to be hurt, and those deep wounds take the longest to heal. I am heading over now to read the rest of your post.


  3. Such a necessary message that many American “Christians” need to hear. God’s plan of salvation is experientially lived out through the Church! Amen; I’m thankful for your bold and urgent message, Michele 🙂


  4. Michele, what a great post. There is so much I could respond to. Yes, we need each other. Heb 10 reminds us that we are not to forsake the fellowship of other believers. And yet, as you shared, we are so good at hurting each other.

    I so appreciated what you said here: “Sharing the way God’s Word is changing them, testifying to the evidence of His active presence in their circumstances, they are precious oil, for even during times when God seems silent in my own world, I am encouraged by His “very present help” in their lives.”

    This is where the encouragement comes. When we can see how God is working in others, it gives hope that He is also working in our lives. We can be encouraged to press in to Jesus and to be oil and dew for those around us.


    1. So often I’ve experienced the encouragement of others in those times when God has seemed silent in my world. Just reading about it now in your comment brings back the joy of it. Thanks for all the ways in which you encourage others in this great big gathering of bloggers and friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I especially loved this part- “He keeps me from throwing sparks, and He smooths the places where my ideas rub roughly against another’s.” Enjoying God’s word and presence in the church is SO good for relationships and our hearts. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes SO GOOD! And at the same time, we are brought into close and sometimes uncomfortable contact with our stubborn sin tendencies and given grace to over come and love “the unloveable.”


  6. I have been burned in the past.. and while I would like to give the church another try I don’t feel like I want to go back to the same church I was going and yet I don’t feel like we have many other options; unless I wanted to switch the basis of my faith entirely.


    1. This sounds complicated, and when choices are limited, finding a church that is compatible in every way can be nearly impossible.

      Lord, thank you for this open heart that is exploring multiple paths of fellowship and obedience to you. Please give wisdom for this time of in-between and make the way plain before her. Thank you for your promises of guidance and we pray for faithful endurance as well.


  7. I have to admit to being a little disheartened by our current church, we had a wonderful leader for so long and everyone felt so welcomed and loved, since her calling has now taken her elsewhere I just feel I am not getting that feeling of love from the community, I still have our previous reverend as one of my close friends so she is still very much part of my families life, but it is hard to attend church now with the way things are being preached at us as opposed to us and with us. Thanks for sharing with #mg


    1. Leadership changes in the church can feel positively seismic, and we say that we don’t go to church because of who’s standing behind the pulpit, but . . .
      We get used to a certain style, a certain way of expressing the truth, and we look forward to hearing from that person, and suddenly they’re just gone.
      We’ve been through a few seasons of pastoral searches here in my home church, and my heart goes out to you as you get used to a “new normal.”


  8. An interesting and very important topic. Thank you for addressing this and for sharing your insight and encouragement. We are seeing this scenario play out and it’s often difficult to counsel others to give that second chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michele, thanks for this insightful post. It’s sometimes hard to find a church where you can thrive and use your talents, but we need each other in the body of Christ. May God give wisdom to those who are searching for a church to find the one that is best for them. Blessings to you! I didn’t leave a comment at the other site, but I read your whole post and it was so good, as usual! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And may those of us who are committed to a body of believers receive one another and “the stranger” with open-hearted acceptance and a warm welcome that mirrors the welcome extended to us through the gospel.
      Thanks, Gayl, for the encouragement of your presence and your words.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hubster and I eventually fell out of going to church together as we were burned repeatedly by church members as we moved from place to place for the Navy. It’s a hard lifestyle to live and we felt the churches kept pressuring us for more than we could do. #GlobalBlogging


    1. That’s very sad, Heather, and I honor you and your husband for the sacrifices you made in order to serve our country. I haven’t moved around much, but I sure know the feeling of visiting a church and seeing the vultures start to circle as they see “new meat” walk through the door. It’s a symptom of our shallow view of the purpose of church, and, sadly, the desperate disproportion between church programming and available committed workers. Most churches are running with an inverted pyramid of too many activities resting on the shoulders of a few faithful work horses.
      By grace, I hope you will find courage to give the church another chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing! This is so true! I’ve had to come to the understanding that church is not a place for me to expect to receive entertainment, but to give of myself to the body of believers. I love your heart, and would love to hear more on your personal testimony and feature it on my blog! My blog is all about encouraging women, and I’d love to feature your story along with your blog link. Please reach out to me via the contact page at if you’re interested!

    Thanks and blessings!


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