Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the disciples. You know, the group of twelve that followed Jesus during his ministry. They were his closest group, the ones who after his death, would go out and begin the church and start the chain that would witness to the world. I’ve been thinking about them because they were all misfits. People that society deemed too far gone to make an impact. People that were looked down upon because they were not as religious as others of the time. People who Jesus called to follow him. I was thinking about this because it’s how we all feel. When we read these stories, we are the disciples, people who have made mistakes, that don’t often do what is expected of us for being a Christian, people who are called by God. One of the hardest aspects of being a Christ follower, is that not everyone is like us. While yes, I am meaning the world around us is different, but they are blind because we haven’t helped them see. The people I am talking about, is the people who have seen God yet let their relationship turn into a religion. It happens all the time, the church can become filled with people that want to improve their image rather than intentionality with their creator. That’s what I want to write about today, I want to write about being a misfit in the church.
Before I continue, this is not a post about hating the church, it’s more of a warning and was to prevent falling into the trap that the American church falls into so often. I’ve been in church all my life. My parents were always heavily involved, my mom being a children’s pastor and my dad having a passion to help new believers in their faith. I’m so thankful for them, they were the hope I had when I saw others put on a mask when they walked through the doors; my parents were real when they were surrounded by fakes. I grew up around people that would judge you if you didn’t do all the “Christian” things. Rules like no listening to secular music, watching anything above a G rating was a definite no, and most importantly, don’t show anyone you have problems. Just mask it, that seems healthy, right? It’s the Pharisee trap, trying to be spiritual with no real substance. I felt like an outcast, and most times still do. I’ve been judged by the people who should be the farthest from judging. I want to talk to you today, I want you to know that you are chosen by God, called to be his disciple, and it’s time to take off the mask and seek relationship over religion.
Jesus chose the broken.
My favorite thing to know is that the people Jesus chose to have as his disciples were broken people. In the first five books of the New Testament, we see that Jesus chose tax collectors who stole money, uneducated fisherman, and social outcasts: misfits. Religious people often forget this, judging those who are not perfect. In my old church this was the attitude, to be religious and perfect. I remember in middle school being super into science fiction and fantasy books, listening to hip-hop and punk music, and b-movies. I remember talking with my friend about Power Rangers and having a girl whose name I can’t even remember, tell me it was evil since it had magic in it. I was in the sixth grade, Power Rangers are dumb yes, but not evil, it was a group of teenagers with attitude who saved lives, yo. I didn’t fit in, I was trying to figure out my identity and I was judged rather than helped. It wasn’t just the Power Rangers, it was anything that didn’t fit into what a good Christian did. I wasn’t watching/listening/or reading extremely inappropriate things, my parents just let me explore my interests. While it seems childish, we as adults experience this too. We are judged because we are broken and honest in our brokenness. Jesus chose the broken because they were the only ones who could speak to broken people. Jesus wants the real you so you can preach to real people.
We are different, and we are all needed.
Once high school started, I knew that God was calling me to something more, but I felt like I didn’t have a spot. I felt like an X-man, having a calling to help others, but being judged for who I was. I hate that so many of us feel this way. I hate that the church can become so blinded in being perfect that we don’t see a need for our brothers and sisters. I remember joining the children’s praise team, basically did the motions in the Sunday morning time for kids, I loved it. The sad thing was, people didn’t see it as “real” serving. Now the tech and worship teams, that was “real” serving. Isn’t it so funny how we rank areas of serving that we miss the point of what serving means? Every area of service is important, there is to rank system. You serve where your talents are, and in that serving, you are needed. I’m not saying tech and worship aren’t great ways to serve, but if you can’t sing, don’t feel like God loves you any less than someone who can. Jesus used people from different walks of life to play different roles in the early church, Jesus calls us to different places, but all are important. We are different, misfits in the world that tries to tear us down, but we are all needed because we are chosen by God.
Don’t let Satan in your walls.
Yeah, that’s right, I said his name. We have a very real enemy and we must be vigilant. In my experiences in church, the reason people turned to religion over relationship is because they let Satan into their walls. His aim is to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to steal our relationship, he wants to kill our misfit calling, and he wants to destroy the church. I almost let him into the walls of my heart. In my ninth-grade year I hated church, I didn’t like the high school ministry I was in and stopped caring. I would see the masks and want to be as far away from it as possible. I found a new hope in the church when my parents went to Daystar, it was a place where I could be myself and be accepted. That’s the way the church should be, a group of broken people seeking after a perfect God. Don’t let Satan corrupt your walls, press into the King who has already won, and you will find freedom in relationship with Christ.
I wanted to write something real. Something to let you know that those feelings you have are real. The fact that your church may be toxic, and it probably is. The key thing to remember is that you need to seek after Christ with all your heart, mind, and soul. Don’t fall prey to religion, see a deep relationship. When you do that you will have your eyes open, and that makes you a misfit. What we need to do is take a deep breath of the truth, like breathing in the air in a forest, and remember that by the grace of God you are where you are. You didn’t do this by the way you acted like a good little Christian, you got here by the blood of the lamb. Be a misfit, be like the disciples, understanding that they were not perfect and that’s why they were perfect for the task of reaching others. My experience is the same as many others, but I found a place where I was accepted, and that was because of the people who were misfits just like me. Next week I’ll be talking about how we can reach other misfits, because this topic of misfits is a pull on my heart.
Be a misfit and be what the church is called to be.
5 thoughts on “Misfit: Confessions of a Church Kid”
Wonderful post! So many people want nothing to do with God because of these sorts of experiences within church. We have a responsibility as believers to welcome the misfits as Jesus so often did. Thank you for sharing.
I love this post…I’ve recently attended a christian church service where, during the entire sermon, the priest discussed how terribly wrong other religions were, rather than leading prayers or praising. The service was focused on judging others, rather than the real reason we attend. To give thanks and to praise Jesus. As a catholic, I felt completely judged and out of place, rather than welcomed. Religion can definitely blind those not aware enough to see that judgement is in the hands of God and God only.
Church was never meant to be a gallery of saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. I’ve often wondered how weak some people’s faith must be, to be driven from church by the hypocrisy of others. Of course, I say this having done just that at the age of 16.
Now that I’m 40, I can look back on that folly and realize that I was being stupid and immature. Of course they were hypocrites, hypocrisy is a universal human trait.
I like what you said about misfits. I’ve always been one. I’m very partial to a saying in old Welsh, “Y gwyr yn erbyn y byd”, or “The Truth against the world”. That’s how I regard evangelism, we’re exposing people to the Truth that runs counter to the rest of the world.
Keep up the good work, but do remember that we as followers of Christ are absolutely allowed to call each other out on our Sin. We’re obligated to do so, regardless of what we think.
This post spoke to my own feelings about church and religious people – in my case, I was shaken by my dad’s violent hatred towards certain groups of people whom he felt were dangerous or sinners (namely, the LGBTQIA+ community and Muslims) despite him professing to be firmly Christian. It made me bitter and cynical towards Christianity for a while, because I was wondering if that was really what faith in a loving God was supposed to look like. He and I still clash over our different interpretations of Christianity today (I believe in faith being personal, and not condemning other groups of people even if they appear to be ‘un-Christ-like’), but I’m glad to see that there are people like me out there who can still find a place in the church and find faith in God despite pressure from other strict religious people :’)
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