The church is probably the biggest “turn off” for people seeking to build a relationship with Jesus. Having been the pastor of a church I have experienced it first hand. And, have and are watching some of my colleagues experience the same thing I experienced prior to being called to this ministry.
Simply, the Church seems to be acting more like God than representing the love of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Believe it or not, the most common word used to describe CHURCH by people outside of it is HYPOCRITICAL.
As I look at the church today, it seems to resemble the structure of the “church” at the time Jesus started his ministry. I see too much judgment, positioning, political involvement and power seeking. And not enough acceptance and love and humility. In other words I see too much of the world and not enough of Jesus.
As you build your relationship and start seeking a church, be careful. CHURCH IS ORGANIZED RELIGION, not relationship. Your Faith is based on the Relationship which exists between you and Jesus, not you and the church. The job of the Church is to support the growth of your Faith through your relationship with Jesus, not to DICTATE your BELIEF, FAITH AND RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and how you understand the teachings of Jesus.
The best way to choose a church is by measuring it by how Jesus interacted with People. Jesus spent his time with the poor, the sick, the least of society. He ate with them and talked with them. He proclaimed the temple would be torn down and rebuilt in three days (referring to his resurrection). And he sacrificed his life to show the love of God. Find a church that understands and is willing to do these things and with a congregation of these people and there you will truly find the support.
Stay away from the tabernacles of glory that seek to portray an image of power, wealth and superiority to those around them. Stay away from the bodies that use the scripture to judge and invoke fear. Stay away from churches that are more of a social club than a committed body of Jesus Christ. Beware of the Pastors that cannot stand on the truths of the Bible as you understand them.
Please read the book DEAR CHURCH by Sarah Cunningham.
This was the first book my mentor and I read when I was called into the ministry. If you have read the info on the "about us" page of this website you will understand my passion for the church to change and get back to Jesus. This book is part of the base from which I grew to understand the calling I was brought to.