Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why I Quit Church (and the Surprise That Brought Me Back)

Why I Quit Church (and the Surprise That Brought Me Back)

When the judgment was given that God left our church along with the pulpit, I knew I was finished there, and I began to wander.

I never gave up on Jesus Christ, but for years, I washed my hands of the church. Because, I told myself, if to follow Jesus means I end up looking like those people, I don’t want any part of it.

To be quite honest, I’m still not convinced I’ll ever stop wandering, searching.

At least, I hope not anyway.

A Bible passage that comes up when I have this kind of conversation is a line from the letter to the Hebrews, 10:25, that says we must “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.”

And I agree, but I also don’t think we as followers of Jesus should gather simply to gather. The Hebrews passage also talks about doing things by a “living way”…encouraging each other toward “love and good works”…our assembly must be a living assembly.

Church isn’t a weird, secret club; it’s a feast, and there’s room for everyone at the table. (And I do mean EVERYONE.)

Either what we believe is alive or it’s not. Flash, hype and clever manufacturing can’t make a dead thing alive. Only the Spirit of Christ can do that.

Growing up, as questions about faith, life, doubts and fears took center stage, the people around me were so busy arguing about whether drums in church were satanic, I never got a chance to ask.

In 2004, I was ordained as a Christian minister. I can “marry and bury” as they say.

But I still wander.

I still search.

I believe Jesus is alive, and a faith marked by Him will also be alive.

I believe grace changes everything.

I believe doubts are a part of our journey.

I believe church should be a safe place, not a place where we pass out masks as people walk through the door.

I believe wandering must be a part of following Jesus, because the more we wander, the more we meet people to invite to the feast.

Now I’d like to share why I went back.

It wasn’t what I expected. (It never is.)

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mattchambers@churchleaders.com'
Matt Chambers is father to 6 (including 1 with special needs), director of SafeWorld, founder of a Gener.us, advocate, speaker, writer, leader, learner. You can follow him on Twitter @mattchambrs or contact him directly [email protected] He writes daily at http://ethoshift.com. He and his beautiful wife, Jordana, are currently raising their village in East Tennessee.