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Overcoming The Disappointment That Churches Are Full of Sinners

Thu, Jan 7, 2010

Fresh Year, Fresh Start

argyleandapricots fresh start

How can you trust a church full of sinners? Easy. Accept that we all fall short. Understand that heaven is heaven and we are not there yet…not even close. Acknowledge that if we did not sin we would not need the cross, and baby we need the cross!  Agree to give the church a chance because:

Everyone sins. Everyone.

Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” style will help make my point:

  • “If yooou breathe in and out and in and out… you might be a sinner.”
  • “If yooou were born anywhere betweeeen the beginning of time and now…you might be a sinner.”
  • “If yooou have ever had one conscious thought, even if it was about how much yooou love pie…you might be a sinner.”

So I guess you get my point.

If you attend a church where you believe no one sins or the church leadership implies that they or members of their congregation have never transgressed, I suggest you recognize that that is a lie and hence a sin so again, everyone sins.

I think so much pressure is put on church leaders to be sinless. Yes, it is good to be above reproach and blameless in all things.

Philippians 2:15 …so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God above reproach in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

But the reality is, even the best know Pastor in the biggest church with the largest congregation and tithe buckets that overflow, sins.  I think I would rather be ministered to by someone who is real, honest and human…just like me.  A leader who has been through some of what I have been through and can walk me out of the valley of the shadow of death, when I am there, because they know the way.

My original post went on from here down a path that I am sure would have been informative and maybe funny but I decided to scrap what I had for this:

I work for a church. An amazing church full of sinners. How completely appropriate or inappropriate, really, that I just so happened to be knee deep in “sin” last night right after I penned this lengthy post on trust and the church family, sin and redemption. Now, knee deep may sound a bit dramatic and messy but God, in his patience and with the love of a parent, had to have been shaking his head as I prayed for guidance and insight for this post yet knew that I was going to disregard it and head down my own lengthy, narrow and twisted blog road to Hana. Instead he allowed a little practical experience to draw upon.

I received an email regarding an “instruction” on how I was to “do” ministry that lit my flame of self righteousness and led me to jump to a conclusion…or two.  I decided that my way of doing ministry was right and most effective and even used the term “Kingdom Building” (and I was not referring to God’s Kingdom) when pointing my proverbial “mom” finger at another ministry. I had the opportunity to rise above it, remain blameless and above reproach but chose to go against all that I knew was right in that moment, just to make my point. To be heard. To retaliate against fingers that were pointed at my ministry.

Satan is always on task, determined to maliciously orchestrate our demise-all at the hands of ourselves.  I fall for it over and over again. And yes, I work for a church. I am the sinner “they” are all disappointed about.  And there are a bunch of us.

I humbly ask for forgiveness. I know that God forgives and that even though I work for a church, accept that he is not done with me yet. Even in ministry, we are all still being refined, a heavenly masterpiece in progress.

How do you overcome the disappointment with a church full of sinners? Accept that God wants us there-all of us and I’m pretty sure he would not have it any other way.

Don’t forget to to link up TODAY at Run the Earth, Watch the Sky to share your Fresh Start plan for spiritual growth in 2010. Jo-Ann (@dcrmom) of DCR Design is giving away a FRESH BLOG MAKEOVER as a grand prize!

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19 Comments For This Post

  1. TeriLynne Says:

    I LOVE THIS!! Lori, as always you have made me smile and softened me up for the real punch. I’ve been in this same sinful knee-deep mess myself today … mired down in jealousy and second-guessing others’ motivations, all of which led (as it always does) to self-pity and a generally pathetic, ungodly attitude.

    Thank you … for being honest and real and open.

  2. Lori Zimbardi Says:

    Wow, girl you are fast. Thanks for making me and my blog a priority. I wish I could say that I was glad we shared yet another similarity but bogged down in the mire is probably not a great connection point. We’ll high five our success when we overcome it!!

  3. Kristi_runwatch Says:

    Wow. This is so right on!!

    “I decided that my way of doing ministry was right and most effective and even used the term “Kingdom Building” (and I was not referring to God’s Kingdom) when pointing my proverbial “mom” finger at another ministry.” THAT STINGS. I needed it. Thank you.

  4. Erin @ Closing Time Says:

    This is so excellent! Thank you for being so open…we have all been there, and we all still have a lot of refining that needs to be done!

  5. Muthering Heights Says:

    You make a GREAT point here! :)

    I have been involved {and still am} in a tense situation with another woman in a ministry I am involved in…and in the end, I showed her love by accepting that she “needed” the ministry leadership opportunity more than I did, and resolved to step out of her way and pray for her. After all, I too am a sinner, and only God can heal us in the way we need it most!

  6. Lori Zimbardi Says:

    Thanks Erin & Jessica. I appreciate your support!

  7. jenb Says:

    More than 10 years ago, I left church because of some sinners in the leadership. I’am new Christian at that time, new college graduate and very idealistic. When I became involved in Treasury ministry, and considering that I’am an accountant and auditor by profession, there I saw the corruption – both directly and indirectly done by some leaders.

    Needless to say I’am very very disappointed. I said to myself – If this church cannot help change the life of their leaders, how can this church help me to change my life? How can I serve God in this church? How can I give my tithes to them? So I left. And that is my mistake… after I left the church, life happens (for more than 10 years) without church and I forgotten about God.

    It is only now that I respond again to God’s calling – I joined the Bible 90 days challenge. Last Sunday I attended church (diff church) again and plan to continue attending now every Sunday. It’s a real fresh year, fresh start to me.

  8. Kristi_runwatch Says:

    Oh, jenb- that breaks my heart for you. Praise the Lord that He is drawing you back to Himself through His Word! Every church is flawed because we are such deeply flawed people – and no church can change us, only God can! Even those in leadership fail and are in need of God’s grace just like the rest of us!

    You might relate to what I posted here: http://www.krististephens.com/2010/01/fyfs-dealing-with-disfunction-in-sacred.html

  9. Lori Zimbardi Says:

    Thanks for your honesty JenB. Kristi you are right on! I know that as a servant in my ministry, I have certainly made mistakes. I try to radiate Christ in all I do but I guarantee you, I fail. I care deeply for those in need in our church and yes, my heart is in the right place it is just my stinking mind that pushes me to the “bad” place most of the time. Jen, there are bad people in the church, I just hope you can see the good and like Krisi stated: “…and no church can change us, only God can! Even those in leadership fail and are in need of God’s grace just like the rest of us!”

    You ladies are amazing.

  10. suzie g. Says:

    Being REAL with ourselves, others and GOD! Thank you Lori for this great reminder, keep ‘em coming.

  11. Heather Love Says:

    I love this series you are doing Lori. It’s amazing. I’m always encouraged, humbled and inspired. I’m glad God is working though you!

  12. Lori Z Says:

    Thanks Suzie. Thanks Heather. The I know the other gals will appreciate knowing you like the series!! I post on Monday next week.

  13. Sandy Says:

    Lori,
    Thank you for being alert to what God had for you to share and sharing it with us all!

  14. Lori Z Says:

    Thanks Sandy!

  15. Sandra Says:

    Thanks Lori for being so funny and truthful at the same time! Great post!

  16. Lori Z Says:

    Thanks Sandra.

  17. Heather Mac Says:

    Thanks for this post. I have been joining on the Fresh Start, Fresh Year posts. I will just repost what I posted on Kristi’s blog because it is relevent to this discussion. Thanks for sharing Lori!

    It is good to be reminded that every ministry belongs to God! It is His business! Jesus even said, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49. If not even Christ our Savior claims that a ministry belongs to Him, we certainly must commit all ministries back to God, for Whom they belong.

    Remember, God allows us to be helpers in His business. God doesn’t need me, He is allowing me to help so that I may grow. When I let my own children cook in the kitchen, they make a terrible mess! I could do it better and quicker than they, but then what would they learn? It is the same with our Father and His business!

  18. Lori Z Says:

    Excellent Heather! Thanks so much for that comment! I am going to use it.

  19. Brooke Says:

    Lori…I really can’t post everything I want to here. My DH and I were deeply hurt by one of the churches we went to several years ago. It was NOT intentional and we still love the people who go there SO much, but after a year of trying to work through the issue we realized (rather traumatically) that we just couldn’t resolve things and we left. It took us about a year to really begin to step out in faith and trust people again in our new church. These things can be so painful. In His goodness, God brought healing and we’re so thankful for our new church home! Thank you for this honest and encouraging post.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Friday Favorites « Closing Time Says:

    [...] 2010 January 8 by Erin @ Closing Time Today’s Fresh Year, Fresh Start post is Overcoming Disappointment with Churches That Are Full of Sinners, from Lori at Argyle & Apricots. I definitely recommend [...]

  2. Kristi Stephens » Blog Archive » Fresh Year, Fresh Start! Says:

    [...] Day Five: Lori thoughtfully shared truth with us regarding overcoming disappointment that churches are full of sinners [...]

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