This is part 3 of a 5 part series of blogs that are responding to Joe Terrell’s article on Carey Nieuwhof’s website titled: “5 Real Reasons Young People are Deconstructing Their Faith”. You can also see my previous blogs on my website philsteiner.net/blog.
Why would a high performing-Christian deconstruct their faith? But read that phrase again:
Followers of Jesus should never be expected to be high performers, just faithful followers.
Whether we like it or not there can be a big emphasis on “Performative Christianity. “
What do I mean by this term? Let’s think through the process that many of us might have grown up in at church.
When we come to Christ we are told that “Jesus loves you no matter what. You cannot eat His love.” This is so true!! Yet…
Our discipleship them stresses, Bible reading, prayer, going to church (youth group, men’s group, women’s groups), volunteering for children’s ministry, serving st events, hosting a small group. Now don’t get me wrong, these are important, especially the first two on the list above. But, if we are not careful, discipleship can come with pressure to perform these duties because you are now a “Christian.”
If we are not careful, what is being communicated is, “You need to do these things to maintain the Father’s love.” “You need to do these things if you are a real Christian.”
So, people, with good intentions, get involved in as much as possible. But after a while, honestly, it gets exhausting. In the exhaustion, we can begin to question if this is what is meant to have and maintain a relationship with Jesus.
My heart breaks for people who believe they need to perform for God. It sounds like the people who worshiped other gods in scripture. They had to perform certain rituals to please their gods.
After a while questions similar to these start to be asked: “How much longer do I need to perform to maintain God’s love and the churches acceptance?”
“If I stop, then what will people think of me? What will God think of me?”
People who are deconstructing for the reason stated above, it is because they are tired of having to perform before God and the church. If this is what it means to be a Christian and maintain the Father’s love and the church, then they don’t want anything to do with it. Maybe we need to revisit what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
If you are deconstructing because you are tired of performing hear me say this: God still loves you just the way you are and you are enough for His love. There is nothing you can do to maintain it because the fullness of God’s love is already available to you today, just like it has always been.
If you are a church leader, I encourage you to do some serious self reflection on what is being communicated to those who are volunteering in the church. Those who are involved in a lot of programs. How can you clearly communicate that you do not need to perform for God or the church? Sometimes how you are communicating is just as important to what you are communicating. What healthy boundaries can you put up for those who are volunteering?
Grace and peace to you all.