Sure there have been some exceptions, but generally speaking mainstream christianity leaves me frustrated.
So it was a great surprise towards the end of my working life that God called me to pastor a small church and lead a state-wide restructure of the denomination of which that church was a part.
But apart from those rare times when I could make a contribution to the way the church worked and to what it believed, church involvement was (and still is) a huge struggle.
I often ask myself why this is so, since so many of my friends enjoy church and are heavily involved in its activities, and have finally been able to articulate my reasons in just one simple sentence.
For a church to be attractive to me
it needs to be
- believing and proclaiming the good news that God is the Creator and Saviour of the world
- preparing believers for their priestly function in the coming kingdom age.
The ways in which a church might do these things can be as varied as it likes, but if these goals are not being achieved, or at least being genuinely desired, then it will never attract me.
Many churches do good things of various sorts for their members and the communities in which they are located, and would therefore qualify as good social or community clubs.
But I am sure Jesus did not establish his church to be a social club, nor did Paul believe a social club would make God's wisdom known to the authorities in the heavens.
I hope you have found and are involved in a good church - I'm still looking for one.