Thursday, March 22, 2012

Churches don't say "I'm sorry"

A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote about forgiveness and the church ladies, here.  It felt so good to let that stuff go and be free of those unhappy feelings.  You would think that I would have moved past the hurts I felt from those ladies by now.  You would think I would have moved past the hurts I felt from the church those ladies came from.  You would think I would have moved past the hurts I felt from the church I left before the church ladies' church and now have returned to attend.  Yeah, you heard me right.  We are attending a church we previously left.

My family and I attended a church in our community for eight years.  We were pretty active members and the church didn't have any issues we couldn't live with.  Then, suddenly, the youth group we worked so hard to get up and running and active, folded.  To make a long story short, it folded because the leadership in the church believed that a youth ski-trip weekend was about skiing.  Seriously.  The snow wasn't good this particular weekend, so the leadership in the church believed canceling the weekend was the right decision to make.  They TOTALLY didn't get that church youth group weekends are about the relationships with young christians and introducing them to a relationship with Jesus.  They thought it was about skiing.  This was the last straw for the volunteer youth director and he felt he had to leave this particular church.  My husband and I and a couple other parents approached the leadership and were told, pretty much, the same thing the youth director was told.  We decided to leave this church.  We joined a church with an active youth group.  Active youth groups don't spring up overnight, but they do fail overnight.  Our son was 11 years old.  Our hope was for him to be involved in a church youth group.  The church was not sorry to see us go.  At least, they never told us they were sorry.

I've mentioned in this blog that I am a big believer in attending church.  We looked around the area and found another church.  We looked for a church with an active youth group.  We joined the church ladies' church and were VERY active in the youth group.  We stayed in the church for eight years.  Since we joined this church because of the youth group and for no other reason (other than they were christians and preached the truth).  My husband and I found ourselves becoming unhappy with the direction the church was taking (multicampusmegachurch) and unhappy with the philosophy of social justice that was being put forward and unhappy with the leadership (we couldn't stomach a preacher crying in the pulpit on Sunday).  It was time to move on.  I stayed with my church ladies' bible study, but that didn't work out very well for me.  (evidently, they like the crying)  The church was not sorry to see us go.  At least, they never told us they were sorry.

Churches don't say "I'm sorry."  I know there is no way to make all the people happy all the time.  I know it is not the job of a church to make anyone happy.  I know stuff happens.  Here's the thing.  My family didn't move out of the community.  We continued to see people we knew from these churches in the community.  No one ever asked us about leaving their church.  Nothing was said.  It was as if the eight-year relationship we had at each church meant nothing.  I think church people take the "no talking about religion in pleasant company" edict VERY seriously when they are outside the walls of the church.  But, it's really not the church people I want to talk about.  I want to talk about the leadership.  I mean, I know there are a couple hundred or more people in the church, but SOMEONE must have noticed we weren't there anymore.  Someone must have noticed our check had stopped coming.  And, at the first church, we told them we would be leaving.


Churches just don't say "I'm sorry."  Maybe this is why people leave church and don't go back.  Maybe this is why it still hurts, a little bit, when I think about the church ladies and ministers and other church leaders.  I know my mom made me say "I'm sorry" when I hurt any of my brothers' feelings (or bodies).  It's one of the things we learn when we are little; if you hurt someone, whether you meant to or not, you say "I'm sorry."  Do you hear this churches?  Maybe an "I'm sorry" once in a while would go a long way to help Jesus's public relations problems.

71.  Husband taking me out to lunch
72.  Good manners
73.  Photoshop
74.  Co-workers that know Photoshop better than I do
75.  Ginger tea
76.  Ice cold water in the drinking fountain
77.  People who pray for you


  1. Sometimes people are so proud and saying "I'm sorry" is too humble for them.

  2. Okay, after yesterday's blog....not sure if I should comment or just stalk...LOL!!  But, this post left me no choice...I am so with you on this!  We were with a church for 14 years...large part of the church and left because the youth group didn't have what my kids needed and the church preached about history...not how to put what is in the Bible to use in our everyday life.  It was our social life!  We lived in a small town of 1300 people.  When we one...NO ONE talked to us.  Not even our best friends...made me wonder what kind of friends we have.  We did have some people say they missed us and ask why we left.  I was very frank with them...that may be why some didn't talk to me.  They didn't want to hear the truth.  We did find a church where the youth group was great, people talked & walked what they preached.  They said I'm sorry and we talked about our disagreements.  I learned a lot from them.  I miss that church...we moved two years ago and that is why we aren't there.  Okay...I've taken up way too much of your comment space.  Thanks for sharing this!  Nice to know others feel like we your blog.  Whether I'm stalking or commenting! :)

  3. No, they don't.  Ever.

  4. this really stinks...there is a big back door in the church...sometimes bigger than the front door...and its just wrong that people leave and no one notices....

  5. That's why I never want to go to those megachurches - seems as if you could get lost in the crowd.  I hope going back to the church you previously left works for you.

  6. I agree with Mariza's comment.  And I also believe that a lot of churches have become too focused on business and not focused enough about personally caring about its members.

  7. I totally understand.  I've been considering some kind of home church-esque situation once I am moved.  I love my Christ but not too fond of the Christians!  :{

  8. this is such a good post. i think if more churches said sorry (and more parents said sorry) they'd be a lot fuller (and homes would be a lot happier). 

  9. Odd - Husband and I left a church over a year ago... we recently ran into some church members again via the kids t-ball - can you believe they thought we were still attending the church! We have not been there in a year! It's time for people in church to really start paying attention and thinking about these things. There is not a doubt in my mind if we were not in our current church for 3 straight weeks, our pastor would be calling to make sure all was well...

  10. There is a very popular church like that in my city, super huge, so many people go there. I've been to a few services before, very nice, but to me I don't really feel a sense of community. Lots of others do I think otherwise they wouldn't go there, but just wasn't for me.

  11. It's the people that always mess things up.  The teachings are good, but the people have to live those teachings. And mostly, character defects are present in each of us. Awareness, acceptance and action would help the church, just as it does those of us in recovery. 


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