I was having a conversation with a Pastor recently, and I was sharing with him about my recent resignation, and he said, "You know, I'm all churched out." Those words resonated with me because I had been speaking those words in my head twenty-four hours before our conversation, so I've been pondering what these words mean for my soul. I decided to go
to Tamela Mann's song, Take Me To the King, because that song has resonated with many believers worldwide.
In the song, she says she is "all churched out, hurt, and abused." This is how many of us have felt and feel after experiencing toxic church environments. We've gone to church, attended all of the weekly activities, served in various capacities, and tried to encourage and lift those we come in contact with; we've been committed to our church.
We show up with a purpose, "to love God with all of our hearts, with all of our minds, with all of our strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves" (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31).
We don't do it perfectly but we try to serve and show up sincerely. Others seem to show up for a different purpose; to control, disempower and devalue our gifts and even sometimes our very personhood.
Getting involved in the church seems more like being a part of a game that is being played instead of being about a gospel that needs to be proclaimed and reflected in our actions and our attitudes. So we become "all churched out," ready to tap out of the game called church.
We long for some church communities to be about the gospel, evangelizing to unbelievers, offering hope and healing for our pain, and encouraging and inspiring us to be an expression of God's image in the world thru our gifts, calling, and talents. It seems there are hidden agendas, resulting in hurt and abuse instead of edification and encouragement. We become "all churched out." Our heart's are "torn in pieces, we feel far from God, and it seems our prayers are going unanswered. We don't want to show up and be fake or appear to be "going along to get along," so we become desperate for a Word from the King Himself.
This is where the chorus fulfills Romans 8:28; All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Being "all churched out" results in us running to the King instead of into the doors of a church. The church (the four-walled church) is a community that is filled with broken people, the spiritually mature and the spiritually immature, and those in positions who show up with their woundedness; the sharp edges of their brokenness sometimes cut us and make us bleed, but even when that happens, we can return to the King to ask Him to heal our wounds, to bind up our broken hearts, to set us free from harmful religiosity, the abuse of power and legalism. We must also ask that He heal the woundedness in others and those we consider our enemies (Matthew 5:43). We need to take our broken hearts before the throne of the King, gaze upon His glory, and reappraise our situation as an act of complete surrender.
It is in the throne room that we receive a Word from our King; "..they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as an eagle, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint!" (Isaiah 40:31), Romans 5:3-5 says that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Therefore we can glory in our sufferings because our suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope! Our hope in our King does not disappoint us because Christ died for us at the right time when we were powerless! He saved us!
And He can save us from the games being played, the hidden agendas, the hurt, and the abuse of power in the four-walled church! Ephesians 5:27 says Christ loves the church (the people of God) so much that "he will present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless." One day, the church (the people of God) will be pain-free because the people will be saved completely from the power of sin!
Until that happens, we need to allow God to work in our hearts so that we can bear the fruit that will produce a radiant church. We need to stay in the King's presence where He can heal the hurt and the abuse; then, we will no longer feel "all churched out,"; we will be able to continue to be the church while we are attending a church.
Pause and listen to Tamela Mann sing Take Me To The King.
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