People are depressed. According to the CDC, one in ten Americans struggles with depression. That means one in ten Christians struggles with depression. Are they comfortable in your church?
The modern day church has jettisoned many traditions and customs in an effort to contemporize and not resemble the misnomer “dead orthodoxy.” With little thought, we have ditched pulpits, robes, organs, choirs, hymnals, liturgy, etc. This is not to suggest that all modernizing is a sin, I am merely pointing out that we have made radical church changes without debate or recognition that preceding generations were not morons.
Permit me to suggest that many churches have undergone a more subtle shift that perhaps deserves a rethink.
While George Barna has not done a survey on this…yet…I fear that many evangelical churches have decided that the tone of the church must be untiringly HAPPY.
Church growth ministries advise churches to make their guests feel welcome by placing the cheeriest greeters at the front door.
Congregants are directed to put on their happy faces to make church a more welcoming environment.
The pastor is coached to bound onto the stage with a big smile and cheery, “Good morning, Church!”
If you didn’t know better, you would think that Christians don’t have any problems. Unfortunately, we do.
Am I suggesting that the church atmosphere should be a bummer? Nope.
Am I recommending we never sing a joyful song? Of course not.
Am I proposing that every sermon should be melancholy? No way.
But I am suggesting we act more, I don’t know, maturely.
Does your work environment have the same tone as your church? Is everyone perpetually “up” at your local grocery store? Do your fellow commuters always have a smile on their faces? Then why do our churches feel like we have no other emotion than giddiness? Come on, even Mary Lou Retton frowns once in a while.
Let’s be real
Rather than telling everyone how to act in church, maybe we just let them act the way they are feeling. Perhaps we need to think about not constantly having the church happy dial turned to 11.
One in ten Christians suffers from depression. One in ten Christians is unemployed. One in ten Christians can’t get pregnant. One in ten Christians is grieving a loss. One in ten Christians has a prodigal child.
And yes, one in ten Christians just got a raise, or promotion, or pregnant, or healed.
Does your church allow everyone to feel the way they are feeling?