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This Is Gonna Hurt: Why I Need to Say “I’m Sorry” to the Church

I left First Baptist Church just over three years ago. I had had enough.

I was tired of inefficient committees. I was tired of worship wars. I was tired of what I perceived as passive leadership. I was tired of the infighting.

I was tired … of the church.

To be clear, I was not just tired of FBC; rather, I was tired of the institutional church.

I grew up in a rural Baptist church in central Missouri that, while smaller, operated much like FBC, the first church I’d really planted myself in as an adult. A bit of history might be helpful here; there are more good memories associated with the church I grew up in than I can recount, but I most closely associate it with the tumult and upheaval that prompted my family’s exit. It’s probable that the sour taste in my mouth left over from that negative experience may have subconsciously figured into my eventual exit from FBC Bolivar, but I don’t want to over-analogize the two instances. 

Though I won’t go into the gory details, my family left that rural church out of necessity (and for what I believe were the right reasons). As an adult, I left my church completely on my own volition.

And it seemed right.

I convinced myself I was leaving for the right reasons. The church was the one with the problems; I was just one of the few with eyes to see them, right?

Of course, I hid my inflated sense of self in a lot of “churchspeak” that allowed me to quietly sneak out the back door while my mind continued cycling its laundry list of accusations and complaints on a permanent loop, my own personal negative news ticker.

Funny how my inflated sense of prophetic zeal spent more time in a self-polluting inner monologue than actually working to confront or resolve any issues, real or imagined.

How noble, right?

So, off to a new church I went, a frustrated child taking his ball and going home because the game hadn’t played out to his liking.

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A graduate of Southwest Baptist University, Andy Love works as an instructor of literature and composition at Bolivar High School in Bolivar, Missouri. He and his wife Kelly, along with their three children, Ramsey, Jett, and Parker, attend Freshwater Church Bolivar where Andy serves as on the board of elders.