Please Stop Inviting Folks To Church
I was entering High School, when my family stopped asking my brother and I to go to church. Growing up in a Military family, it was hard to find a church home since we frequently moved; so here we are jumping from state to state and church to church. I was too young to understand the concept of church and what the pastor was saying at times, but we’d always dress up in our Sundays best and make an appearance never the less.
When I was child it merely seemed like scare tactics in order for you to do as you’re told. “So if I’m bad or disobey, I can go to hell?” I didn’t fully understand the concept of religion, or the impact of the church in the Black community.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”-Ephesians 6:1
What had me questioning the structure of church, was mostly the church clergy. The Pastor usually wore their nicest suite and their wife (the First Lady) designer bag and shoes. When I’d look out at the members of the church, they had none of these flashy things. The pastor was living lavish and his followers were struggling, but every Sunday tithes were paid and no questions asked.
Recently a devastating hurricane swept through Houston, Texas, causing for the evacuation of thousands. Those who could not leave needed shelter in the mist of the storm. Social media turned to multi-millionaire pastor Joel Osteen, asking for him to open his mega church Lakewood. The church can seat up to 17,000 people comfortably.
Joel’s tweet had many asking what prayer would do in the wake of all the devastation; action was needed.
Here is a multi-millionaire Pastor, who is holding back on opening his doors to those in need. He later went on to say that the mega church would open it’s doors once other shelters had reached capacity. Why does it take other shelters being full, for a man of God to then feel the need to step up? I was disappointed to say the least. I am glad social media and residents held him accountable, giving him so much heat, that eventually forced him to open Lakewood church to Houston residents.
I had a coworker who was very religious. She attended church every Sunday, and often times would ask me when I was going to come visit her church home. I view myself as being a Christian, but I don’t attend church very often. After her persistent asking, I finally obliged. I attended the service that was being held in a high school auditorium. The pastor was young and full of energy, and the choir sang beautifully. I was enjoying the vibe until the pastor asked his members and new comers to donate $500. He said the money would assist them in purchasing a new church. It seemed strange to me that the pastor was asking for such a large and specific amount to be used as their tithes. Many of the church goers stood, raised their hands and obliged, but I remained seated looking around confused.
I had so many question…
Would the members receive an itemized report of where their $500 was actually going? Is the entire amount strictly going to purchasing a new church? Would the pastor and other clergy folks be receiving some of the money? Needless to say, I didn’t go back after that one time. The message was nice, but I was still at a loss at the way the church went about collecting money, and that turned me off.
I thought churches were places where black people could find refugee and empowerment. Black churches were the first safe spaces for people that looked like me. The Black Panthers used churches for after school programs, to feed the youth, to feed the homeless, to uplift and even better the community. I can understand giving tithes to an organization that is actually making a difference in the community, but not to one that only benefits the church alone.
If the churches took half the money that they was making and gave it back to the community than we’d be alright- Tupac
So my good friends and family, stop inviting folks to your church. Please do share the message your pastor preached, but don’t try to drag people to service every Sunday. Stop trying to make us feel less than if we don’t wish to attend a church. Didn’t Jesus go out among the people and spread the word? I don’t think he demanded his followers to come to his service every Sunday, but I could be wrong.
Instead of trying to hold folks accountable for going to church, hold the pastor and other clergy accountable. Ask where your tithes are going. Demand after school mentor ship programs. Demand more food drives and donation centers. Demand housing for the homeless. Demand workshops to foster young black entrepreneurship. Demand gardens behind the church to teach self sustainability. Demand change.
I’d love to be apart of an organization that genuinely wants to make a difference. One that doesn’t just offer prayer in times of need, but action and service.