Poll: Church Edition...

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It's a little after 7am and I'm getting my things ready for our Sunday gatherings. We meet at Vineyard Westside for one service on Saturday night @ 6:30pm and for two services on Sunday @ 9:30am and 11am. I typically attend all 3 of these services, but that only makes sense since I'm a pastor of staff with the church.

Now while I firmly believe that "I am the church.", I am getting ready to head out the door to "go to church". It's just much easier to say than, "I'm heading off to the gathering of other believers where we come together and worship and learn about God and ..."

I'm curious about you all though. Below there is a poll to see what your church attendance looks like. This is a place where you can honestly answer this question without feeling judged. Click away.

19 waggish utterances thus far...:

kimmyk said...

when i go to church i go to the vineyard church here. it's the music that makes me go but for some odd reason it's the music that moves me to tears.

i'm not for churches that are preachy and sadly the last time i went to our local vineyard church they made me mad/sad whatever you wanna call it.

they told my daughter in a teen worship service that those who think they are gay are going against Gods wishes and that really bothered me because i'm not one for throwing sticks and stones especially in God's house..so that was a few months ago and well, it still bothers me that that was their message that day.

but i believe and i can tune into radiou (www.radiou.com) anytime i like and hear the music i like so...for right now til i'm done being angry, that's how i roll.

Erin said...

I was raised, baptized, and confirmed Lutheran. I stopped going regularly sometime during high school. Then I was a "two timer" ... only went on Easter and Christmas Eve. Since I started dating my {now} husband I started going with his family to church. On Christmas Eve...only.

He was raised Catholic. But his church story is similar to mine, doesn't go on a regular basis. We both have huge faith in God, believe in Jesus Christ, all the good stuff...I pray often, sometimes I say "P.S." prayers...

Now that we have our own family, our daughter is just about 3 months... We've been trying to decide which church to raise her in. If we opted for his family's church, I wouldn't be able to receive communion unless I converted {which I don't really want to do}...All he knows is Catholicism, so he's got slight reservations about anything else.

Tricky, no? We both like more a more traditional church. I just don't know which would be the best compromise for how we were raised, and the best to raise her in.

That was a story & a half. My bad.

Number 1 said...

My husband is not interested in church at all, but I've been taking my kids to a local non-denominational church for almost 2 years. The kids feel completely at home there; I feel like nobody notices whether I'm there or not. After 2 years, I was hoping there would at least be someone I would feel comfortable phoning if I needed someone to lend an ear, but I just don't. I'm just now starting to wonder if my sister-in-law has been telling them all what a heathen she thinks I really am... the whole thing really bothers me and now I'm looking for somewhere to start fresh.

Annie said...

Ah, well. Interesting post. A woman I know came to see my kids in a Christmas program. She would not walk into the sanctuary except when the kids actually were performing. She stood in the narthex the entire rest of the time. My first instinct was that she was being odd, but then I realized that there was probably a backstory....and there was. She had been terribly hurt in high school and felt that churchgoers were hugely hypocritical (that's fun to say out loud). So, instead of judging her (bad Annie!) I decided to befriend her a bit more, and pray for her....Now, a year and half later, she is seeing the love of God and His movement in the world and happily getting together with other believers - we talk often, and she said that she realized it was time she stopped blaming God for what people had done to her.

That 'place I gather with other believers to come together and worship and learn about God and' (I call it my worship family for short) calls our Sunday evenings "The Gathering." I tried to say that for a while, but it just sounds odd...."Yeah, I'd love to catch that movie with you, but I'm going to the Gathering." It's just easier to say church. A good friend of mine is a Jehovah's Witness, and they just call it their meeting. But whenever she says that, people always ask her why she has to work on Sundays.

Helen Ann said...

WooHoo! You go, Annie! Good for you!

Kat said...

I somewhat have a back story with the church, so I don't really go much. However I am spiritual, believe in God, and pray. I consider myself to be a Christian, albeit very liberal, but I'm open to other ideas. I just need to find a good church where I see myself fitting in.

I think the reason I haven't necessarily found a church is because of certain people in my life. My grandfather is a Southern Baptist minister. I love him to death, but I feel that he targets me every time I attend one of his church services. He's very "hellfire and brimstone" and this comes across harshly. Two of my best friends are gay, and I am completely fine with this, but my Grandfather found out and actually sat me down to tell me to stop being their friends. I've also been told to stop being friends to Catholics, and that I am going to Hell for being politically liberal and voting for Barack Obama -- a Muslim in my family's eyes.

Not to mention, my dad has given me negative connotations about church. He was my religious figure when I was younger, and I turned to him when I needed guidance. I then found out he cheated on my mom with a woman from his work, and they made my mom's life a living hell. He's still with her after 13 years, and my mom's life is still a living hell.

I just felt like getting all that off my chest. I know that not every church goer is like this, I know this for a fact, as there are so many good people in the world. I guess I'm just trying to re-gain my trust in the church. Hopefully, I will find a place soon.

Amanda said...

Right now, I'm at my church all the time. I get there at 8:30 in the morning for prayer and music practice, then Sunday school and worship go until noon-ish. I'm back in the evening at 5-ish because I play bass for the youth group and I don't leave until after 7:30 or 8 most weeks. Wednesday nights we have music practice at 7, and now I'm in a small group that meets every other week.

But it wasn't always like this for me. In fact, this is a relatively new thing. I wandered away from God several years ago and stopped attending church at all, then didn't go regularly even after I came back to God. It took a loving church family who not only care about me but want my service and the realization that I want to raise my kids in the church to bring me to this point.

Anonymous said...

I was raised Catholic and attended church regularly. But I felt like growing up (12 years of Catholic school!), I learned a lot about how to be Catholic and not a lot about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I was 30 years old before I actually understood why Jesus died on the cross for me! Wow -- the mass was a lot more meaningful to me after that!(my Baptist friend explained the Jesus/cross thing to me so don't stop being friends with Catholics!!) I'm not dumb, I just never had the gospel explained in a meaningful way for me before. Anyway, I stuck with the Catholic Church because my friends were there and my husband didn't really want to try something new (and after my "spiritual awakening" I really did love going to mass) but over the years, I've been struggling with my relationship with Jesus and I really felt I had no one at church to turn to and I worried about my kids having my same experience growing up. So we thought about checking out some other churches and a friend of my husband's goes to the Vineyard in Florence and it sounded pretty cool. Then this past spring, I saw a billboard for the Vineyard Westside so we went and we were totally freaked out because it is sooo different from what we were used to. But our kid's loved the children's service so we went back a few more times and Tim's messages were so powerful to me that I thought about the stuff he said all the time but we were still freaked out and weren't sure if we were "comfortable" at VWS and then Tim's sermon on August 12 (Marked for Revolution) was the clincher!! God was speaking to me through that sermon! I was freaked out again but in an excited/good way! So, we are staying at VWS -- I don't think God wants me to be comfortable!

Btw, Ryan, thanks for all you do at VWS and I love your blog!

Fran

Deb Greenwood said...

I love your blog. I try to read it everyday. I do not attend a church, but miss a sense of belonging that come from being "apart of". For many, many years (14), Alcoholics Anonymous was my "church", after 24 years of sobriety, I find I do not fit there anymore. No, I am not drinking again. I do miss it, though. I am looking, as opposed to searching, which seems to be a more active movement. Looking isn't desperate, yet. Did I mention I love your blog?

Anonymous said...

I stopped going to church. My few years of trying to follow Christ have been characterized by suffering and disappointment, and it was just too hard to show up every week and hear about how wonderful God is and all the things he "does" for us and being reminded that I'm supposed to be joyful. What I was hearing simply didn't square with my experience. And I didn't feel like I was in place where I could talk about struggling with faith.

Sorry, I'm truly not trying to be the buzzkill here, but you said we could be honest. :)

Cheri said...

I love the honesty of the comments here. I'm saddened by the hurt us Christians have caused others in our own ignorance. Thanks, Pastor Ryan for being authentic and real about following Jesus.

DanThoms said...

Since the VWS I've cut back on my church hours. I was doing like 10 hours a week at my last church. Now I'm down to only 3. I say lets never get a building so that I can never do that to myself again again. ha ha ha.

Ps. The VWS rocks my world weekly and the children's ministry is out of this world fantastic but I may be a bit biased.

panykattack said...

Google Reader recommended your blog to me and I've been reading it for a couple weeks. I really enjoy it! I was looking at the website for your church and you all seem very in step with the stuff our church is doing as well. When we first opened in our new location (an old renovated movie/stage theatre) we did a series called "Love Wins." We all have bumper stickers that say it. I was glad to see it on your church site too.

Marianna said...

If I lived in your area I would def. check it out and bury my Catholic guilt...yes am a Latina Catholic and should go to mass more often but I don't. I love how spirituality is embraced in the manner you and your church do---you celebrate God and life as one.

Ryan Detzel said...

Thank you all so much for your honesty and you're willingness to share. It means a ton to me.

It also helps me to keep a good perspective and protects me from thinking that everyone is a churchgoer. Thanks everyone!

Bell said...

Is that an actual picture from your church? Because I just want to go hug the little old white haired man in the sweater. I mean, you guys definitely aren't a "traditional" church and he might be more comfortable elsewhere. With more tradition and quietness. But how lovely that he is there. I mean, it may be some visitor you never saw before or somebody who drives you so crazy that you wish he wasn't there, but I just love that picture for showing such a range. As is the body of Christ.

Liz said...

What Anonymous (7:15) posted resonates with me. I was raised to be a good Baptist, attended a Christian high school and college, taught at a Christian school, and I currently teach Sunday School.

But when I lost two babies in 2006, all I heard in church was that God answers pray if we have enough faith, or ask right ... or that God can fix every sorrow, and he'll come to our rescue. I thought, "This is BS. Why won't SOMEBODY say that sometimes the worst thing possible DOES happen, and nothing can make it make sense - and you wouldn't WANT something to make that make sense." I think Christians are very focused on having a "good testimony" so that they can represent their religion well to others; and therefore they can't admit (to themselves, or others) that sometimes there is no good answer to a problem, and there is no silver lining. One week after my first baby died, my Christian mother told me, "Honey, the important thing to remember is that God will be glorified in this." I thought, if I'D died as a baby, and someone said that to you one week later, would you have been comforted?

And this is a side note, but the church was among the people who disappeared after my miscarriages, and my best friend put it well: "If Christians are so fired-up against abortion because 'It's a life, it's a life, it's a life,' then where are they when a miscarriage happens? Why don't they acknowledge that as a "real" death - with casseroles and support, etc?

Sorry to type so long. Kind of a sensitive topic, I guess.

Ryan Detzel said...

Liz - I'm sorry for the crap you went through. You're story isn't an uncommon one unfortunately.

I'm so sorry for the babies you lost. I happen to be one of those crazy people who believes God will restore your family some day.

If I could make you a casserole, I would...but I don't think it would fix anything...even if it was Mexican Lasagna. The harsh truth is that we place way too much of our faith in the hands of the people around us. If our group of people around is is really good...our God experience is good. If the people around us turn away when something bad happens...God sucks.

This is something I've struggled with myself. I'm trying to place my faith and my love and my hope in Jesus...the only one who never fails us. When I read his words...He tells me the truth. That He loves me and that it's going to suck along the way. He loves you too. And He loves those beautiful babies.

email me if you want to vent - I can take it.

Liz said...

Ryan - your response meant a lot to me, and I'm thankful not only for the empathy, but for including the hard truth I hadn't considered before: I am letting people determine to a large effect my perception of God.

I will keep you in mind if I need to vent. You are a good sounding board.