What's Wrong with the Church?

Mark Batterson, author and pastor of National Community Church, recently was invited to a conference called “The Movement,” where the discussion was centered around this question: “What’s wrong with the church?”

Mark gave a great and on point answer which he summarizes here.

I wasn’t invited to the gathering.

That’s probably good, cause I don’t know the answer, but I do have an opinion.

What’s wrong with the church? In my opinion, and again, it’s really only my opinion, the thing wrong with the church can be summed up in this statement:

The church doesn’t know who it is.

I believe what’s wrong with the church is an identity crisis. Some people would argue that what’s wrong with the church is that it is more concerned about organized religion than making a difference in the world. Others would say that the church is going wrong because it’s abandoned the message of the soul-changing gospel for self-help. Others would say there’s too much rock and roll, and others might say there’s too many candles. All or none of that may be true, but it all points to the larger issue: The church doesn’t know who it is.

I’ll give you an example from 20 years ago. About that time, people in church circles started wondering whether or not we should have drums in the big room or not. At that time, the question we should have been asking was not, “Are drums right for the church?” The question we should have been asking was, “Who is my church?” And then based on the answer to that question, stand confidently. And don’t try to be something we’re not.

The problem now is a little different. Then, the answer was subjective based on the demographics and logistics of an individual congregation. But the issue was really a matter of figuring out that congregation’s identity, and then acting according to it.

Now the issue is bigger. It’s weightier. It’s more important. Now, more than ever, we’ve got to start asking, “Who are we?” And we’ve got to start living accordingly. That means doing some things we’re currently doing better, it means starting to do some new things, and it means stopping to do some things not in accordance with who we are.

In order, then, to answer the question, “What’s wrong with the church?” we’ve first got to answer the question, “What is the church anyway?”

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  • Brandon says:

    I think a huge problem in the church is that we have forgot about the Jewish roots of our faith and have replaced God’s torah (in hebrew instructions) with our own ideas. I think if we recognized the importance and lived it out like Jesus did in the gospels we would be in a lot better shape.

    Enjoyed the last sermon this past Thursday night at Paradigm.

    Many blessings


  • Michael K. says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Brandon – love to meet you this week in Lubbock if you’re around.

  • Allison says:

    so watcha got on what is it suppose to be. I will be waiting for that post! 🙂 miss you

  • Michael K. says:

    What can I say? That wasn’t the topic of the conference…

  • taylor says:

    2 things wrong with the church

    1. what you said

    2. people keep bailing on the church

    THE CHURCH gets a bad wrap.

    I know what I’m about to type has really nothing to do with your post, but I’ve been thinking alot about it, so here it is.

    I know, I know we’re making alot of mistakes left and right, and ultimately representing our creator/savior poorly. But the answer can’t possibly be bad mouthing the existing church, and starting a new, hip, cool, living-room, young church.

    Planting a church in a place or area that needs one is one thing, but starting a slick, new, fresh, cool church across the street from FBC Wherever might not help as much as we think.

    I understand that the “church” isn’t a building – it’s a group of believers. But, we “the church” should also understand we operate as an establishment, and the SBC 80-somethings that go to the churches we all grew up in, are apart of “the church” too.

    My, grandmother, Bignon, has a hard time seeing things on the outside of her SBC bubble, but starting a church in-spite of her and those like her isn’t helping.

  • Michael K. says:

    Man, I love this. Way to go, Taylor, and for what it’s worth, I agree. I also want to be in a church where everybody doesn’t look like me, in age, socioeconomic status, or race. That is one thing the church is supposed to be right? A bunch of different people coming together for the sake of the gospel? Showing that Jesus is bigger?

  • Bill says:


    1. Little or no equiping. (Milk teachings.)

    1b. No time for Meat Christians to practice in the church before they have to leave to practice.

    2. No quiet time for prophesy.

    3. No small group efforts in basic church, or at home.

    4. No teaching of the gifts to children.

    5. No church apostles.

    Fix that and you will have youth coming back to church after college, or, we can build a new gym.

Comments are closed.