Dear Pastor Rudy,
I enjoy your comments and feedback and I hope you can help me with my situation. The past couple of months, I’ve felt as if I’m not being fed spiritually and it is causing me not to want to attend church. I’ve been praying on this for months and I don’t know why I feel so disconnected. Do you have any advice on things I can do to restore my salvation?
Desperately seeking Him,
Linda- Lawrenceville, GA
I wish I could receive a few dollars for every time I have heard a bewildered, burned-out, churchgoer complain about not attending church because of the effects of spiritual starvation. In actuality, I wish I could also receive a few dollars for every time I have heard a bewildered, burned-out pastor or church leader complain about the expectations of today’s churchgoer and the difficulty of keeping the church-going experience fresh and relevant. Burnout is definitely a two-way street.
Many years ago before we began our career in ministry I remember my wife experiencing a moment of spiritual hunger and disenchantment with the church we were attending. In response to her reticence with church she signed up to serve in children’s ministry since our children were young at the time. By the end of that year she realized the moment of disenchantment had less to do with what was or was not happening in church and more to do with discovering what God was calling her to do and to become. Shortly after that period we both answered calls to ministry and soon after began serving as full time ministers. One answer to your dilemma learning from her experience would be to immerse yourself in an area of service that would put you in position to provide to others what you feel you are missing. Consider becoming the solution to your area of disenchantment.
Over the years I have experienced many transitions and even more departures from our ministry. The departing church attendee would often say they no longer feel the environment is fulfilling their need. Honestly, this usually means their needs had changed and another church experience would probably meet their expectations more effectively. Change sometimes requires us to move from the safety of familiarity to the unpredictable region of new possibilities. There is a third approach I would like you to consider. Try dropping your pastors or leaders a note letting them know where you are and what your needs are and allow them the opportunity to respond. Remember there is life-altering power in seeking first to understand then to be understood.
I often remind the disconcerted attendee that a week consists of 168 hours compared to the 2-4 hours of that time usually spent at church engaged in directed spiritual growth activities. I use this comparative scenario to point out the need for spiritual enrichment to become a way of life, which engages the remaining 164 hours in a person’s typical week. In other words, spiritual fulfillment requires a personal, 24/7, 364-day per year commitment.
In both situations I have learned divine dissatisfaction is a precursor to the need to live differently and an opportunity to find new ways of being a part of the changes, which are occurring in your life.