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How learning to live in genuine Christian community allows us to move beyond our anger and hurt.

Last week, I picked up another new book that sprays its anger at the institutional church. Hurt, disappointment, and broken promises stir up this anger within authors and readers of such books, Web sites and blogs.

As a result, people castigate the need for “brick and mortar” churches. Sitting in rows to listen to a sermon is of no real value. Sweeping statements about the current church structure are made, basically saying that Satan is behind them all.

Now let me confess, I’ve been angry at the church.

When I was in college, I had a radical encounter with God. I realized that while I knew all about God from my church experience, I did not actually have a relationship with God. I had been a youth ministry intern in Houston. I was sent as a youth missionary to a church in Germany. I was being considered for a church staff position in a large church. I had even been mentored by the pastor of the second largest church in town. But I realized that I did not know God.

My life changed. I realized that I was accepted by God. The Spirit of God resided in me in a way that I had only read about in the Bible before. Instead of judging myself and others, the love of God was carving a new path through me. I realized that I was a “new creation.” The old had passed away and the new had come (2 Cor. 5:17). It was an experience, not just head knowledge anymore.

At the same time, I had to deal with my anger.

Scott Boren M. Scott Boren is a Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in Saint Paul, MN and consultant who partners with The Missional Network (www.themissionalnetwork.com). He has written and co-written eight books, including Introducing the Missional Church, Missional Small Groups and MissioRelate. He share life with his bride, Shawna, and their four children, all under the age of eight. He can be reached at his website: www.mscottboren.com.

More from Scott Boren or visit Scott at http://www.mscottboren.com

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  • Cameron Davis

    Good, there are people who need this.  But there are a lot who have found this anger and never investigated any of these questions and felt it easier and better to just leave.  What have your experiences been with that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552932350 Phil Ludos

    Interesting article and caught my attention right away with the title, as I would say I am one who has just about given up, literally I mean literally have tried finding a church for the last 3 plus years and nothing, I keep finding compromise and areas you have addressed. In short you have given me something to think about, but in that can not compromise myself set in a seat and check a block. Again thank you for the thought provoking article.

  • Andrew

    Scott, thanks for sharing your testimony.

    You had a radical encounter with God?  What does that mean?  You realized that God accepted you?  Why wouldn’t He accept you in the first place?  And what’s wrong with the old you that God would make you into a new creation?  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NUDXWJCYWE4TNDMUCNM2ABLIPE Josh

    If one were inclined, it would be easy to get angry at the false preaching going on in the majority of so called “christian” institutions…the words of Jesus in the Gospels, has been just about completely ignore, with the “preachers” “pastors” or whatever, putting on their own bias slant to the word of God…but one has to realize these so called “christian” institutions have been deceived by satan for seventeen hundred years and are following pagan rome…as Jesus said “wide is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to salvation, few shall find it”…so the majority should know what to expect!

  • http://www.drhodges.org/ Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

    Do you think this “teaching” pastor in MN has an issue with “traditional
    church” as he defines it by not having women preachers, preachers that wear
    suits instead of blue jeans (like they are going to the corner store to pick up
    a gallon of milk), accepting of the modern day church cultural rich of the
    rainbow inclusiveness forgetting about God’s Word if you are living a life in
    sin, and host of others “traditional” issues.

    Let’s just meet our budgets, soft peddle the Word of God and don’t under any circumstances become like those “traditional [angry] churches” so we can become popular, hip, modern, culturally correct, and politically correct. Yes this is the way, the truth and the life and anyone who disagrees with our modern church culture approach, well to hell with them they anyway they are only ANGRY!

    I really don’t understand where Church Leaders gets these article writers that all seem to attend the school of thought (not necessary based upon the Bible), but have a deeper need to stoke the fires of discord between those who really teach the Bible and those who only talk the talk about teaching the Bible.

    Brother Scott, let me help you just in case you rules of the church” (it’s called church order and like any other business, the rules are there to protect you and the church).” I knew how to do the church game” …” And I was good at it. And the church system
    rewarded me for it.”

    Let’s see if I can get this right from Scott’s perspective: You played the game, you were good at it (according to you own words), and the “church system” rewarded you for it. Now I might be wrong or missing something, but “you played the game that you were good at it and the “church system rewarded you for it”.

    This is somehow wrong or traditional for having a system to rewards people for following the rules and no less in church! Thank God our city’s mayors don’t feel the same way and remove all the red light signal standards in their cities to let the drivers have at it, you think rush hour traffic is bad now.

    Really, it sounds like Brother Scott is ungrateful for the past opportunities that God provided to him and now moved to new church from the “traditional church” where he received promotions, increase, blessings, etc., and now want throw a modern day stone?

    If you read through the lines of Scott Boren’s comments, he takes liberal shots at the “traditional church” as if it’s diseased or something to be a shamed of when these “traditional church” continue to do what they have done over the years…preach the true Word of God.

    If standing up for what is right by God’s Word is wrong in this modern church time and if this makes those who stand and not become willows to be identified as angry pastors over angry churches from the family Church Leaders writers ….so be it, I’ll be all of that.

    Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

  • AL

    Thank you so much for your post. I actually used it as a
    bible study today. I was feeling some major hurt and resentment towards a new
    church that I was going to. I grew up in the church and was very involved my
    whole life, so when I moved to a new city the first things I looked for was a church
    to be a part of. This is not what I
    found, I went to the ‘hippest’ church in town, but I felt isolated and ignored.
    I kept on going because I felt like maybe I was misinterpreting the situation. I’m
    not sure what the reality is, but by working through these questions I realized
    it is ok if I don’t fit in to that church. My feelings were taking away too
    much for me to stay. At the same time, your piece has helped me to be thankful for
    the good gained during my time there (i.e., the sermons & goals that I was
    inspired to make and keep) which in turn made it is easier for me to forgive them
    for whatever may or may not have happened, and to be at peace with the idea of trying
    to go to different churches that maybe I am better suited to be a part of. Or
    maybe traditional church just isn’t for me in this season of my life, I’m not
    sure…but the most important thing is that I am moving on with thanksgiving instead
    of bitterness that I would have inevitably brought to my future experiences in
    the church/with other believers.

    Finally, since I was unable to go to church because I knew
    my feelings would get in the way of me receiving the message on Sunday, I listened
    to a Mars Hill Podcast. The pastor
    talked about how our suffering can be an opportunity to present our testimonies
    with authenticity and authority to other people in order to encourage them to
    grow instead of loosing heart during difficult times. It sucked to be burnt by
    people I feel should accept me, but your post defiantly helped me to mature and
    grow in my faith instead of throwing it away. And in turn, I hope that in some way You too
    are encouraged by what you have inspired in me.

    From one ‘church kid’ to another.

  • Moi

    After being a 100% give all member and serving in multiple positions and then one day being cut from membership with a list of others, then not being comforted, my sorrow turned into a rotting bitterness that erupts with anger against the church that I loved, it’s members-which were my friends- and and I’m having a hard time forgiving and moving on. It’s destroying my life and I’m really greatful to know that I’m not the only angry Christian working towards reconciliation with a church. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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