rebelling against low expectations

What should I do if my church is not feeding me spiritually?


ANONYMOUS WRITES: While I’m blessed to be at a church that is teaching biblical theology and feeding and maturing me spiritually, I know other young people who are at churches that aren’t. Their teaching is light and, if not unbiblical, then just pretty surface level. What should they do? How should they talk to their parents about it?

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  • Hi Anonymous! This is a great question. If you are talking about people who are attending a church that is not Bible-based, than first things first, they should not be attending there. When deciding whether or not I should join a church, I always look for if that church teaches Biblical truths.

    If I for some reason was not attending a church that was that way, like I think you are describing, I would say something to the pastor or someone who can talk to the pastor. However, I would not stay at that church. If they don’t realize that they are not teaching God’s Word, they are not spiritually fit to shepherd a church. If they do realize and make attempts to change their ways, they need time to grow, and you should be under the teaching of someone who is mature and has the right perspective on God and the Bible.

    Hope this helps!

  • Hey! Since I don’t know your name, I will call you Sam! That could be either a girl’s name or a guys name, so we’re good either way! =)

    So, Sam, your question actually hits home pretty strongly for me – it’s something I’ve experienced deeply in the past, so I hope others can see my past mistakes, and avoid making the same ones, themselves.

    For the first 5 years of my life, I lived right by Hershey Pennsylvania, and went to a rather large church. But, since I was so young, I didn’t remember it.

    Then, when I was in 1st grade, we moved to Florida, and starting to go to a small church, called Lake Morton Community Church . Things went well for a while (or so we thought), until our pastor started going off the deep end with preaching unimportant divisive doctrines from the pulpit in a very condescending way. This happened about my 8th grade year, and went on for about a year, until he left. Then we got an intern pastor, who had much of the same problem, but to a lesser degree. This was frustrating, and the general thought of the church was “I need to filter everything the pastor says”. It wasn’t a good atmosphere at all!

    But for some reason, we stayed, and the thought of leaving didn’t even cross our minds. How could we? We were needed! We needed to fight for what’s right, right?

    Well, eventually the search committee found a good pastor, and then we left as to not further the drama our family had been a part of (pretty much, we were pushing evangelism, and much of the rest of church leadership pushed social gatherings and called it “evangelism”). My parents made the decision, and I left “kicking and screaming”. I did not want to go, but I was forced to, and I was not happy about it.

    Well, then we started going to a local megachurch (10,000+ members), Church At the Mall . From the first day, we just knew this was the church for us. It was doctrinally solid, full of passion, and had an emphasis on both evangelism and discipleship.

    Since I started going, I’ve been growing tremendously, and never wanted to go back! What I learned is, even though that church had been terrible for me spiritually, I didn’t want to leave. I was chained there, and didn’t even realize it.

    Sometimes, people in bad churches feel that way: they’ve gotten used to the drama, or made great friendships, or otherwise feel the need to stay, that they don’t realize they’re really hurting themselves tremendously.

    So, Sam, my advice is to be loving and understanding of them, with this in mind. But at the same time, I would highly encourage them to come with you to your church events, so maybe they will see your church and start coming more regularly.

    I hope this helped! 🙂 You have an amazing day!

  • Hey Anonymous! I was in a situation similar to this recently.

    I attend a small Bible teaching church. My family has been attending there for the past few years and the Pastor has excellent teaching. Our normal routine used to be that we’d go as a family to the church service at 9:30am then I’d stay and attend the highschool Sunday school class at 11. After attending Sunday school for several months I decided it wasn’t for me. The teaching was very shallow and I didn’t connect with any of the students of the teachers. And I wasn’t growing spiritually through it.

    After a long time wrestling with it I decided to stop attending Sunday school. I told my parents through a few casual conversations that I didn’t want to attend Sunday school because I just wasn’t growing. Long story short. I was able to find another church close to home that had a Biblical sound thriving highschool Sunday school program. My family still goes to church together at 9:30 at our home church, but now after that my parents take me to a different church for Sunday school. I’ve been attending this new church’s Sunday school for about a month now and it has been very beneficial for me.

    So my advice to those who are in this situation, look at the situation and answer these two questions

    1. is the church you’re attending is Biblically sound?

    2. Are you growing spiritually and is the fellowship your experiencing there helping you grow closer to Jesus?

    If the answer to either of these questions is no, then I encourage you to pray about it and talk to your parents about perhaps finding another church to attend. And remember, you don’t have to abandon your current church all together, you might find another church’s bible study or Sunday school to supplement your attendance to your current church.

    Does that make sense? if not please, ask me questions.

  • I’m just going to say that you should pray a lot, and be humble. What they’re teaching might be more biblical than you think, so search the scripture to find out. If they really are neglecting big chunks of Scripture you might need to leave, but again, be humble and don’t cause division over something minor.

    • Sometimes though they are so brainwashed that they can’t get themselves to leave . I know one baptist church near my home where the youth leader specifically is kinda like a cult leader. The students cling on every word he says even when it is unbiblical. I visited the church once before I figured out its true colors. I had been getting back from track practices too late to go to my church Wedsday night services so I want going with my best friend to her church which is in walking distance of my house. Bad church .

  • I have spent several years of my life unable to go to a church regularly (because it was in a different language or because my family was travelling). My family still put aside Sunday morning though, and often we’d listen to a sermon off the internet. The great thing about listening to sermons off the internet rather than in church, is that you can choose to listen to one on a topic that’s really relevant to you or something that you’re particularly curious about. Even if your pastor is great, he’s not always going to preach on the topics that you might be interested in or struggling with. So my suggestion, for anyone who is not being fed at church, or who just wants *extra* feeding, is to go online and find yourself some sermons. My favourite website is They’re rich in doctrine, straight from the Bible, and there are hundreds: you can find one (or many) on any Bible passage or topic. I try to listen to one each week as well as going to my own church. I have also heard high recommendations of

  • Well, hello, anony- moose! Like I’ve seen some others say, search Gods world to determine exactly how scripturally solid the teaching is. If you find that you rarely open you bible in church, that verses are pulled from their context or any other big red flags, I would say you should speak to the leadership. Perhaps it’s a blind spot that they have not noticed. I would tell my parents straight up. They ought to be concerned about your spiritual welfare (and probably do if they make the effort to have you at church).
    Let me stress again, though. Look at scripture. Don’t leave because of minor issues, but don’t let the gospel be made any less of.

  • first try to pray and if that does not work try to reason with the pastor and if that doesn’t work leave the church

  • Wow I know exactly where you’re coming from.
    First off I would say if you’re old enough talk to your parents and see if they’re fine with you looking for a different church that is teaching the bible clearly and making disciples.
    If you’re in middle school you should honor and submit to your parents like Ephesians 5 talks about.

    Because I’m going through something similar a book I suggest is “9 marks of a healthy church” by Mark Dever. Hope this helps…

  • I know I’m late to the discussion, but my family went through a church move recently. we left on fantastic terms with our old church, and we still have so many relationships there. I miss my old church dearly.

    However, it was not feeding us the way we needed to be fed at the time. While we still believe very strongly in Shoal Creek’s mission, their youth program was struggling mightily(almost nonexistent), as were the small groups. We have 5 kids in the youth, so we ended up deciding that perhaps God was calling us elsewhere. We are now attending a different church with a strong youth program, and I also love listening to the sermons week after week- they are strong, Bible-focused sermons that feed me every week.

    That all being said, sometimes it is time to move. Not to split off and leave with bad feelings, but to know the Lord is calling you elsewhere and go. What to look for in a church: a doctrine you believe in, people working to live out what they believe, and strong, Biblical teaching. Large or small, special focuses etc. I think are pretty much up to what you’re looking for. If you are not being fed, it may be time to move. It takes a heck of a lot of prayer and consideration, and some thoughtful discussions with people like your parents and even people at your current church who are involved in your life.

  • I am experiencing much of the same with my youth group, which, due to lack of participation (unless it’s purely social; unless a Biblical question is asked, good luck getting anyone to stop talking), is sort of a “Bible LITE” class. I do on a lower level find this in my “Sunday Church” sermons and discussions as well. One thing I try to do is to try to draw discussions farther toward the deep end, and ask your pastor via e-mail or phone any questions you might have, whether about the sermon or something else you encountered. Another thing I have used to try to compensate is to read books like “Encountering the Old Testament” and “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict” as well as, of course, the Bible itself. Books like these can generate wonderful discussions and really start making my mind start working on the subject.

  • I am having the same thing with my church. I call it dead because although people do go there. I can hardly stay awake during the sermons with the new pastor, I am not spiritually growing, and we do almost nothing to reach out to our community and bring more people to Jesus. I am trying to get my parents to let me go to another church that is not dead and is helping in the community, and I go to youth group there and I know they are helping me grow spiritually because I can feel it even though I only go there for youth group. All of my friends are at my church though. Someone please help me, I dont know what to do.

  • I think that if your friends have a shallow church then the best thing to do is to LOVINGLY point out to the pastor/teacher what you feel like needs improvement. If they don’t heed your instruction because you’re a teen or whatever, find a different church. Your story reminds me of Jen Ledger (drummer for Skillet) and her childhood church. That’s my advice. Have a good day.

rebelling against low expectations

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