It seems to me that it’s becoming cooler to talk about how much church sucks.  I was browsing around today at one of my more visited sites, church marketing sucks, and noticed an article about a church plant in Atlanta called Courageous Church that’s doing something called the “Church sucks challenge“. They’re encouraging people to go to their website and tell them why they think church sucks.

Part of me really loves this idea. Let’s be honest… there are a lot of reasons that people can think church suck, and often people in the church just ignore them. What a great way to hear the voice of people who wouldn’t normally darken the door of a church. I’m all for making the church less stereotypical and helping people to get past the things that the church so often does wrong.

There’s another part of me that wonders if something about this is counter productive. It feels like we destroy the sanctity and holy nature of the church even more when we tell people it’s OK to hate church because it ‘sucks’. I’ve got this feeling that church will always ‘suck’ in some way – it’s full of flawed people who screw up.  I know this all comes down to how you define ‘church’ and the context of it in this situation, and really the heart of the people who are doing this (which I think is right on in almost everything). I think we in the church need to be getting feedback and understanding the areas that we screw up, but realizing that the church belongs to Jesus, and because of that it really can’t suck. Our understanding of and experience with church may suck, so as church leaders it’s a call to constantly be going back to the bible to figure out how to do things God’s way, while doing our best to not repeat the mistakes that we’re often blind to because we can’t see things from the outside.

Do you think church sucks? Let me know what drives you nuts about church… but I’ll let you know right now, the only way church can really suck is if it’s not the church… and I’ll leave defining what church really should be to another day… or lifetime or learning….


  1. Laura

    I like the boldness of this post. For what it’s worth, I think you’re right on. Also, I wish more people realized they talk about church sucking because it’s trendy. I think they’d do it less. (Aren’t trendy things so much less desirable when someone points out their trendiness? At least – less desirable for the wrong reasons.) I want to write a song about Ephesians 4:29 and sing it mostly to myself, as an over-talker. But really… talking about the church’s failings probably edifies someone somewhere a small percent of the time. Good for that. Otherwise… yeah. Let’s stop! But here we go again – Jesus covers the church’s sucking AND He covers those who talk about church-sucking. MAN. He covers EVERYTHING. That GOD-MAN makes my head spin. His way is crazy (the good kind) and if I try to think about it it’s a bit much.

  2. Josh

    Not sure if I am guilty as charged, or my venting has been somewhat productive as if souped up on steroids. Every time I get a chance to talk about how the church could do better, my heart breaks with even more tremendous force. I now that I often need to not say what I am thinking because the words come across as harsh and negative, but so often those words turn into explications of the joy that I feel when I get to be involved in the church.
    I hope you are doing well Dave. I just discovered your blog. I have been motivated to either start blogging or journal. This Christmas, it will become more consistent. I suppose I could even count it was work, seeing as I work at a church and that seems to be what everyone else is doing. But I want to bless you with the wisdom that you have allowed God to express through you. God bless you this week as Christmas arrives.