I Love Jesus, But I Don’t Like The Church

There are a lot of major issues in the Church in America. LOTS! It’s still one of the most segregated places in America. We have way too many dying churches. There are scandals, and hurts. Church attendance is on the decline in America. Many college age are leaving the church as soon as they graduate, not looking to return. The church has some issues, y’all.

I get the issues in the Church.

We haven’t even talked about the lack of a true impact in the community. There are roughly 350,000 churches in America. 300K of them are on Hampton Highway in Yorktown, Virginia. I kid, I kid. There are estimated 140,000 orphans in America today. I don’t know how to fix it, but if half of the churches were serious about true religion that takes care of orphans and widows every kid born in America would have a family.

I get the issues.

It’s my world.

I get that there are lots of hypocrites. I get that it often seems that the Church cares more about your money than you. At times it feels you give and give and then when your needs are met no one is there for you. I get the issues.

I’m not dismissing them or diminishing them. There are real issues.

For the Christians not liking the Church is simply not an option.

Ephesians 5:25-27 paints a picture of the Church as the bride of Jesus. This is a very important analogy.

As the bride we should take our position seriously. As the bride it makes sense why Jesus’ brother would say that friendship with the world is adultery. How can you love Jesus and not be committed to Him?

No wife is perfect, but we should be fiercely loyal.

And yet there is a growing trend of people who just don’t like the church. Maybe they don’t like the new style of music, maybe they were burned, maybe they were hurt, maybe they just got busy.

When I say they I’m not writing about anyone particular. This isn’t a passive aggressive post directed at someone in hopes that they will change. I talk to a lot of pastors, and read a lot about the church, and the message is the same everywhere. People aren’t giving up Jesus. People are giving up the local church.

Here’s the deal, if you want a relationship with me you better like my wife. You cannot have a meaningful relationship with me and hate my bride. You tell me that you love me and then say you don’t like my wife and I will look at you like you have just drank crack or smoked some beer. That’s crazy talk.

It’s the same with the local Church. The Church (with a big C and not a particular church with a small c) is the bride of Jesus.

If you have been hurt by the Church, I am truly sorry. I am. I hate it for you. But if you are following Jesus, He will always lead you back to His bride. Always. It may not be a traditional Sunday morning church, but falling in love with Jesus means you fall in love with His bride.

Jesus’ intention is that you would be connected with other believers to sing, study the Bible, evangelize, baptize, and remember His sacrifice by taking communion.

So who is my intended audience with this post? It’s anyone that goes to church. It’s not to those who have left. If you currently go to church you need to make sure you are following Jesus and not a pastor, a style of church service, or a ministry. You need to make sure you are prioritizing the Church. You need to make sure you helping fix the issues in the Church. You need to make sure you are following Jesus, because the bride is imperfect. And when you get let down by the bride the temptation will be to run away forever.

As much as it hurts to be let down by a church if you follow Jesus, He will lead you back to the bride.

What are your thoughts about the Church being the bride of Jesus? How does the Church being Jesus’ bride change your perception of what we do each week?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.


  1. Robert Shepherd
    January 13, 2017

    Amen, Rob, Amen!!!

  2. Robert Shepherd
    January 13, 2017

    Sure appreciate your insight!

  3. January 13, 2017

    Good stuff. You can’t love Jesus and hate the Church. There are some people in the Church that I don’t like. But I love the Church. She has had a prominent place in my heart for many years, and I will always be loyal.

  4. Cathy
    January 13, 2017


  5. Mary W
    January 14, 2017

    “You can’t have a relationship with me and not like my wife,” had never really occured to me. And I guess like every marriage, you work on the things you struggle with, rather than throw in the towel and walk away.

    Good things to consider, Rob!

  6. GailGoodwin
    February 4, 2017

    Is the church not people according to Jesus. Our church decided to take the gospel to the poor and needy etc. Many come to church but now we can’t pay out bills. I don’t believe a building is needed. There’s a church on every corner in our small town and the only thing that separates them is a different interpretation of a little theology. If you accept Christ as your savior and love your neighbor as yourself, we’d have a perfect world we don’t need all this brick and mortar with oil bills.electric bills etc and I don’t believe that’s what Christ wants either.The churches take turns having their own schisms. Fire Pastors. Pastors burn out. Don’t like the music. It’s just foolish.Very little, love thy neighbor as thy self.

  7. Derek
    February 15, 2017

    Umm this is the most unconvincing blog I’ve read in a while. Have you ever considered that maybe people are turned off by church because “pastors” like to spend more time running it like a business than a house of worship and prayer? It’s disheartening when people show up to church and have a genuine hunger for the Lord just to be subjected to a goose-bump driven circus that tries to mimic everything Waters Edge is doing. Since when did Jesus become the second place standard? Since when did the lights, the cameras, the “next level experience” become suffieicient substitues for the Holy Spirit? Since when did generic sermonettes that are equivalent to a downloadable message off of biblegateway.com take the place of a word from God birthed out of a time of prayer? Since when did the fear of offending “new comers” take precedence over an encounter with God ? When did church become a shareholders meeting instead of a hospital for the broken? When did the pastor’s share of the tithes and offerings become the driving factor behind every church related decision? Since when did church have a 30 minute service limit to make sure it’s convenient for attendees? This blog is disappointing because generic pastors have taken the title of shepherd and have made a mockery of it. Maybe people hate the church because empty suits are sharing hollow words from a platform. Seems like another half-hearted seeker friendly post. And, before you label this as just another “hurt Christian” post, think again. I love Jesus and love the church but am disappointed by her leaders.

    • Rock
      October 6, 2017

      Touché! One time I even heard a goose bumping preaching why we should love the church and right after the preaching I was so pumped and ready to love. Then, I turned around to greet people and while we shook our hands, our hearts were cold and we all rushed to get out of that big door. I then realized that for all those years I had been just a number and not a member! Left and never went back. “Church is the people not the building” we often hear it flying over head like bullets, whenever we express any opinion about why we quit …alas I hate to admit that I prefer the building. It reminds me of the Philip Larkins poem, Church Going. “It pleases me to stand in silence here” . There is this big big void in my heart. I still have Jesus, but it is not the same thing. There is something magic in worshiping together in one voice to one God and how I miss that. Oh that hunger in my soul…It will never go away. God save us…


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