Do You Leave Church Fulfilled or Frustrated?

by Bob Dasal

There are thousands of churches in the U.S. representing hundreds of denominations varying in size and styles of worship. Every Sunday millions across the country attend these churches.

The pastor's hope and prayer is that the worship experience will make his congregation more keenly aware of God's love and purpose for their lives and that they leave the church service totally committed to that purpose. Unfortunately, for many that is not the case. Some do leave the worship services fulfilled, but many leave frustrated, and some indifferent. While there are those who are challenged, renewed and committed, there are a lot of people that attend church, but do not experience worship. I'm struggling with the reason why so many fail to experience worship and leave the services unaffected.

A part of the problem is an unwillingness to change. "We've never done it that way before" is a phrase I've heard at church all my life. Making changes just doesn't come easy for a lot of folks. What's ironic is that people will admit they need to make changes, but then resist doing it because it forces them to move out of their comfort zone.

The fact is change happens! It is no respecter of persons and affects everyone and every church, whether they want it to or not. The question we're searching for an answer to is how change impacts the church and individuals. The many changes in the church over the past decade have brought to some frustration and to others fulfillment.

In the fall of 2004 a Barna survey found half of the U.S. adult population acknowledged there were things they needed to change in their spiritual life. I was surprised at the two top things listed. First was the desire to be more heavily involved in church life. Next was the need to be more devoted to spiritual things, such as investing more time in developing a deeper and stronger faith in God. People are frustrated because the very thing they know they need to do is what they most resist. The Apostle Paul struggled with this, too. In Romans 7:15 he said, "I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can't. I do what I don't want to—what I hate."

We all struggle with change. Things change, people change, and I know I'm changing. This is on my mind because I'm wrestling with change. When I was young I liked change, but the older I get the more resistant I become. Only recently have I realized change is not the issue, but remaining focused on the person of the Lord Jesus is the key to a vital, living, and fruitful Christian life.

If anything but the Lord Jesus is life's focus then frustration with church and life is the result. True fulfillment is only possible when we keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus. The songwriter said it well: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." When Christ is truly the center of life then "joy unspeakable that's full of glory" is a reality and not just a professed belief.

How about your life: is it fulfilled or frustrated? <![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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