If there's one thing I've learned in my 56 years on this planet it's this:
HUMAN BEINGS LOVE TO COMPLAIN! Sometimes, we revel in being downright miserable. In fact, we'll even create things to be upset about just so we can then vent to someone!
Sadly, while they're supposed to be, Christians often aren't that different--even when it comes to their own churches. Like family, Churches are great targets for critical commentary. As the saying goes, it's kinda like shooting fish in a barrel. So, to help in the never-ending quest toward dissatisfaction, here's a useful list of tips.
I you want to hate your church and be generally miserable...
1. Avoid the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20. The best way to be disgruntled is to sit and stare at the same group of people for years at a time. No matter how wonderful they are, you'll eventually find flaws. This is even easier if you just stare at your pastor or leaders since they may be annoying anyway. If that doesn't work, just focus on what you wish you had (a better building, nicer chairs, better worship music, etc.), and I PROMISE you'll soon hate everything! However, remember that if you get involved in reaching the lost and seeing their lives change, your misery will likely turn to joy. Focusing on what you don't have or don't like makes it possible for you to be angry and hurt even if your church is reaching dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of lost people.
2. Focus on your own comfort, authority, recognition, etc. Even if your church does a great job with evangelism, discipleship, etc.; one of the best ways to stay really miserable is to focus on you. If things have changed, think about what you liked about the old way. If things are the same, think about what you wish were different. If you're not in charge of anything, think about how you've been passed-over. If you ARE in charge, think about how people take advantage of you by having you do too much. Focusing on what you want or don't want will guarantee a lousy mood and contagiously rotten attitude no matter how well your church is doing in fulfilling Her God-given purpose. And, even if your church is caring for you in a magnificent way, stare at yourself long enough and you'll find plenty of things you dislike.
3. Share your misery. They say misery loves company and I've noticed that misery CREATES company. If you follow steps one and two above, you can then share your thoughts with others who may become equally miserable. Then you can sit around your living rooms and commiserate. This tactic will likely magnify your feelings of frustration and anger to a boiling point! NOTE: Whatever you do--don't take your concerns to leaders who can actually do something about your complaints. They might fix things and this would take away your opportunity to gripe. You need lots of fertilizer for the honey wagon, so don't let altruistic leaders ruin your fun.
4. Disconnect. One of the WORST things you can do if you want to stay unhappy with your church is to get involved in serving or bonding with others (Unless of course they are as disgruntled as you are. See #3 above). Isolating yourself and staying on the fringes really helps you stay upset. To achieve this:
a. Don't volunteer. Wait in the shadows and likely nobody with bother you. This way, you can remain unattached and inactive, bored and frustrated at your feeling of isolation.
b. Don't smile or introduce yourself. If you can look like an ancient gargoyle or an angry pit bull terrier, you're less likely to be asked to join a group, serve in a project, or make any new friends. This way you can add to your list of complaints the fact that the church is "unfriendly."
c. If you must say hello, stick with people you know and again, preferably "old soreheads." Happy people, new visitors, and especially new converts filled with the "first love" of Revelation 2-3 are the WORST people to spend any time with. They'll rob your sadness and expose you to the fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
5. Refuse to "be fed." If you are successful in your quest, the ultimate result is that you'll leave your church and find a brand new one to complain about. Over the years, I've noted that the favorite and most spiritual sounding excuse for finally quitting will be, "I just wasn't being fed." Now this is tricky since most churches have weekly sermons, small groups, bible studies, blogs, radio shows, and a smorgasbord of other learning options weekly. In other words, how do you claim to be starving while seated in a massive all-you-can-eat buffet??!! The answer is easy really--just stop eating! If you spend more time in the hallway than in the sanctuary, you'll miss the sermon. Then, refuse to join a small group (unless it's only spiritual component is a closing prayer after you spend an hour talking about gardening or something non-bible-related). Whatever you do, avoid Bible Studies like the proverbial plagues of Egypt. Finally, make sure you spend less and less time in your own personal devotions as well. This will help you feel less joy and thus make complaining as natural as breathing! When it's obvious to everyone that you're spiritually starving, your, "I wasn't being fed" argument might just be believable.
Obviously, as the Apostle Paul wrote, "I speak as a fool (2 Cor. 11:23)." The last thing I or any pastor wants is for people to hate their church. So...use some reverse psychology when reading this blog. I think the result might just be powerful and, (Dare I say it?), positive!
To that end,