- Issues with the building: too small, too large, too old, too expensive, not easily accessible for your needs.
- Issues with the programs: issues with Sunday School, youth programming, seniors programming, prayer meeting, small groups. Not enough evangelistic outreach programs. Not enough outreach to the poor and needy. Not enough programs that connect and care for the people in the church.
- Issues with the Sunday morning event: Sermon too long, too dry, too meaty, not enough Scripture, too boring. Music too loud, too fast, too slow, too repetitive, wrong style, or don't like to sing at all.
- Issues with the teachings, doctrinal positions, and emphasis on certain viewpoints.
- Issues with the organization: question organization structure, issues with decisions made, issues with organizational personnel choices.
However some of this frustration can disappear when we change our way of thinking about what church is, and what church isn't.
According to the New Testament:
- Church is not a building.
- Church is not an event.
- Church is not about the programs.
- Church is not defined by a statement of faith, or core values.
- Church is not a human managed organization.
Church can simply mean the people, the body of believers, wherever and whenever. For example in Acts 8:1 persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem. We know there were over 3000 believers in Jerusalem, and they met in various places. I believe the term church in this case is best translated as 'all believers' in Jerusalem.
Church can also mean an assembly or gathering of people. The word ekklesia was used outside of Christianity in reference to different types of gatherings. It was used when referring to the assembly of men during the beginnings of democracy in ancient Athens.
So when I think of church as the people who follow Christ, and whenever they get together, the frustrations listed above fade away. Those things are not what church is about.
People can be frustrating too... but that's a different story. :)