I registered the TheChurch.Today domain in 2014 in order to create a platform to support the church as a whole. As such TheChurch.Today is not meant to be a church, but rather a commentary and teaching platform for churches, as well as Christians and their spiritual leaders. At first, I really did not have a clear sense of what shape The Church Today was going to take, so I tinkered around without much direction for the first few years. Then my life began to take a turn.
My heart and my internal compass have always pointed me in the direction of building God’s Kingdom. As such, I have held pastors in high esteem and I have seen myself as less than them. However, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me into many situations where I knew that the voice of truth within my spirit was at odds with what pastors and spiritual leaders were instructing us to do. This placed me on an uncomfortable course with numerous pastors. On the one hand I felt God’s Spirit impressing upon me, “Listen to God not to man.” On the other hand pastors were insisting “Listen to us. We are appointed by God to tell you what to do.” In most cases, I deferred to the pastor in an attempt to be a humble and faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Then one day, I was ambushed into a contract that legally bound me to promote a spiritual cause that was completely against my convictions. This left me in much distress. I prayed about this until I felt the Lord’s peace and direction, which was to serve the contract holder as Joseph would serve Pharaoh. I was to be a true representation of the honor and integrity of God to Pharaoh. I reported this to a meeting of 5 pastors. They all strongly advised me not to reject the contract and to listen to them. This advice caused me to lose my peace. So, I went back to prayer and again came away with a sense of God’s peace and the direction to serve “Pharaoh” as Joseph would. I knew I had to ask Pharaoh to be excused from the project by explaining why it was against my convictions, but if he refused to let me go I was to serve him the best that I could. This is what I did. He refused. I served him. He praised my work. And then he rewarded me by releasing from the rest of the year that was under contract. So, instead of being held captive for a year, I was only under his wing for 3 weeks! If I had followed the pastors’ instructions, I would have been captive to Pharaoh for a whole year.
It did not take long for me to get snarled up in another situation where several pastors were advising me to follow their way while God’s Spirit was pointing me in another direction. Again the struggle of following God or man. Then I came to a point of decision. I chose to follow God. I settled this issue once and for all and have tried to walk this way ever since. I have found that when we finally get to the point of obedience to God, He confirms that He is with us. Every time I opened my Bible for the next two weeks after I made the decision to follow God and not man, there would be a scripture stating “I, your God will teach you! I your God will lead you.” I’m paraphrasing, but the message was a strong endorsement of “Listen to God and not to man.” I had finally made the right decision.
A Dying Church
God gives us all gifts. Mine are in the areas of insight, vision, and teaching. These gifts allow me to easily see why people struggle and what can be done to rescue their situation. One day, I found myself in a dying church. The pastor asked me to help him because he felt isolated, alone and unsupported. So, I encouraged him to be open about the fact that the church was on its way to dying and would they support him to get it back on track for growth. The men agreed and gave him the mandate to teach and train the church to grow over the next year. With this, we were off to a good start and the preacher began to teach the congregation how bad the world and its culture is. After six months of “How bad the world and its culture is” lessons I raised my hand and asked the question “So, what is the solution in real terms? It is OK to say we have a problem, but what is the real solution that each of us can take home and apply to our lives in a practical way?” He mutter and stammered under his breath he said, “I don’t know. I don’t have an answer.” And then he bounced back, “And now let us look at the negative impact of education on our youth today!”
And therein lies the problem. The problem is that our preachers have been taught to give endless preaching and teaching and countless lessons, but all without a real solution to the real problems that real people face in this real world. In that moment we caught each others’ gaze and we both knew that our pastor was clueless and effectively incompetent. Yet, there he was – caught up in the situation of being required to appear to lead – while at the same time finding it impossible to confess that he was incompetent. The irony was that help was at hand. I have the gifting which I offer free and without obligation. But he turned on me. From there on the political games were in play and I was subtly sidelined and assigned to my place in the pew where I was never to speak to the congregation again.
One day as I sat at the back of the hall watching the game of pretenses going on with yet another “How bad the world and its culture is” lesson, I looked at the audience and asked myself “Who of these people is not in bondage?” I then did a mental role call around the room and there was not one person who was not seriously under bondage in one form or another. They were all in bondage under a preacher who could not and would not admit that he was in reality incompetent and without any real solutions. The tragedy was that the congregation had placed their faith in him (rather than Jesus), and they loved it the way it was.
The Point of Realization
In that moment, I realized that if I stayed to keep everyone happy and not rock the boat, I would die spiritually. I knew then that I had to get up and walk away. This was very difficult for me to do because I also knew that there were many very kind and very sincere souls who would be deeply hurt if I told them that their system called “church” was in fact their bondage. I knew that in spite of its flaws, it was doing some good and keeping them safe in some way. However, I was dying spiritually. I felt like I was been starved of spiritual oxygen and I had to face the choice to leave or to stay and die. So, I got up and left as gracefully as I could so as not to hurt anyone or that church. My heart has never been to cause division in a church.
I began to pray, “God now that I see these things, what am I supposed to do with what I am seeing?” This led me to study the phenomena of people walking away from church. In the process, I came to understand that many like me did not walk away because they left Jesus. In fact they walk away specifically because they could not bare to die spiritually in an environment that is committed to pretending to know Jesus. These people walk away because they love Jesus more than social pretenses. They are not giving up on Jesus. They are deeply hungry for Him and they are searching fiercely for Him. They just have not found Him in most modern churches. With this realization, I came to understand that literally millions of people have walked away from their churches. Unfortunately, they are typically alone and without support. The ministry of The Church Today is to reach out to those who have walked away. Our message to you is that Jesus is real and His Church is true. However, the frustration that you have experienced with your church may in reality be the call of the Holy Spirit of Truth to push on and look for the real Jesus. As such, I encourage you to keep on looking for Jesus. He is there. He is real and He does want an authentic relationship with you.
May God bless you.
The Church Today