Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spiritual Life Retreating

My church is doing a survey. The church has apparently contracted with an organization to give a computer survey to determine what the needs of the churchgoers are. The survey asks questions about one's spiritual life, how one feels about the church leadership, and then finishes up with a few demographic questions. I took the survey and learned a few things about myself.

I learned that I don't have much of a spiritual life. I rarely read my Bible, I don't attend a regular Bible study, I seldom pray, and I don't, in fact, even attend church very often. None of this was news to me.

My church is a mega-church. There are about 4000 people attending services every weekend. It's very difficult for the pastors of my church to know every person who attends the church. Thus the survey.

The questions fit into a nice Evangelical box - how often do you have an in-depth study of your bible? How often do you pray? Why do you pray? How often do you share your faith? How do you share your faith? No surprise since it is an Evangelical church.

But I'm not much of an Evangelical anymore. I'm not satisfied with the Evangelical answers anymore. But I still like my church.

Because of my schedule, I can attend church only about twice a month. My schedule also conflicts with the men's Bible study. We attend a little church twice a month. I love little church even though we're watching "The Truth Project." Unfortunately, little church doesn't meet over the summer so any continuity is lost. My pastor is great at many things. Preaching isn't one of them. He preaches far too many topical sermons for my taste. But I haven't seriously thought of leaving the church.

In spite of my wishy-washyness, every other Saturday night I look forward to going to church.

I like my church. Or more precisely - I like the people who I know at my church. After all, church isn't a place, it's the people.

So I did the survey. But the survey is not the real me. It doesn't really reflect the questions and concerns I have. It was just me checking some boxes so I could finish and do something else.


MamaSue said...

I'm with you, brother. I was hoping the survey would address issues at OUR church, not issues at THE Church. I wanted it to be a way for us to indicate where we feel our church is lacking; instead it was designed to show me where I am lacking. And that's no surprise to me. I absolutely know where my shortcomings fall.

And sorry, but the "blue cards" don't cut it. I've heard over and over again from various pastors that if you don't sign your name, they toss the card without reading it. I want to be anonymous for a reason. If I was able to confront, I wouldn't need a blue card.

Maybe I'll just sign YOUR name instead.

TimB said...

Feel free to sign my name.

Bruce said...

You may sign my name and I don't even go there. :)

As a pastor I have done a number of surveys. I encouraged people to be open and honest.

The surveys were always anonymous but,many of the Churches were small, so I knew the handwriting of the members. :)

I sense discouragement and pain in your post Tim. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it like it should be BUT .....I can't.

The American Church is sick, really sick. She may even be terminal. The only good thing is that death often brings new life. We can only hope.

Until that day I remain on the sidelines with no intentions of playing in the game any more.


Sally said...

We also can't put God in a box even though we think we've got Him all figured out...His love is amazing and He's just waiting for us to come to Him with our hurts just like we wait for our kids to come to us.