I’ll get some objections out of the way first:
–The problem is that you think the church is yours.
Stop it. I don’t mean it belongs to me as in I possess the church. I mean it simply as the church I go to, whether as pastor or not the pastor. The church I go to is my church. The church you go to is your church. I mean nothing more than that.
–Church’s don’t suck, they are all part of the Body of Christ.
This is possibly true. But I’d maintain that no, not all churches are part of the Body of Christ. I will spare you the details of pointing out who I mean, but to assume that everyone in every church is part of the Body of Christ is not clear thinking.
–You’re not the judge of a church.
Probably true. But also, if you’re fully involved in your church, you get a pretty good sense of whether it sucks or not. Your judgment may still be wrong, but you can get a sense. Some churches legitimately do.
–You shouldn’t use the word “sucks.”
True I shouldn’t, but it’s a good summation of the idea that no one in your church is doing anything, there is little to no life, people who come to the church don’t even come to church, no one cares if a church thing is cancelled, people will do pretty much anything other than come to church, no one will help fulfill a need, there is no light at the end of any tunnel, and the whole exercise seems futile and a waste of time, it’s just a place people go and sit in so they can feel like God is happy with them for a little bit for having done so. That’s what I mean by “your church sucks.” It’s easier to just say “sucks.”
Now, after dealing with those objections, stating the problem as clearly as I can, whose fault is it that your church sucks? Here are the possible answers to this question that I have heard:
God is the one who builds His Church. This is the way He wants it. Nothing you can do. It’s all Him. He predestined before the foundation of the world that your church would be what it is. And, since you’re in this church, God brought you there and put you there: deal with it. It’s His building. What, do you think people determine the success of a church? Not true. Why would God put His church in the hands of people? The solution is to get the power out of your hands and put it back in God’s.
Satan is the prince of the power of the air and the god of this age. You better believe Satan wants to see churches fall apart and be terrible. He’s all over the place in your church, making people lazy and fight with each other. If you’re not actively involved in spiritual warfare, Satan will have his way with your church. If Satan can overthrow the church, what else remains to uphold the Gospel? He’s coming at you daily. Spiritual warfare is the solution.
Every member of a body of believers has a role. If people in your church are not fulfilling the role they were given through the Holy Spirit’s provision, the church will suffer. Love is the basis of edification. Preach on love. Do more fellowship. Do more programs. Do more work days. Give people a sense of belonging. Force people to get involved. Only when each member takes up their part will the church work.
Churches are as healthy as their pastors. If you have bad shepherds, what chance do the sheep have? The pastor’s sin and unfaithfulness will be shown by how well the church is doing. I’ve seen over and over that a church is revitalized by bringing in a better pastor. If your church sucks it’s because your pastor doesn’t have enough faith, doesn’t pray enough, doesn’t do discipleship enough, doesn’t emphasize grace enough, doesn’t counsel enough, doesn’t preach the word enough, doesn’t visit people enough, doesn’t take holiness seriously enough, etc.
You need to update your building. It looks old and dated. You need to use more technology; people are accustomed to being in nice buildings with technological advancements. The church needs to keep up. Attract the youth by having an arcade and a gym. Don’t forget laser lights and smoke machines and top notch concert seating and acoustics. Keep building and expanding: build it and they will come.
Which of those sounds like the reason your church sucks? I’ve heard them all because very few people could resist telling me my church sucked and why it did. I’ve heard all of these. I’m sure there are grains of truth sprinkled about in there.
The people blame the pastor. The pastor blames the people. Some blame God for the very things others blame Satan for. And the building; always with the building.
In the end, I have no idea why your church sucks.
I do know that no one who tells you why it sucks will do anything to help it be better. You will never hear any of them say, “You know, it might be partly my fault. How can I help?”