The traditional church is like an intricate maze. I think many would be shocked to find out just how many faithful churchgoers feel trapped and bewildered within it. Many have found themselves disoriented and bewildered within the religious labyrinth of the traditional church system. Whether they would admit or not, many are living out their church experience in a state of quiet desperation. Without consciously realizing it or not, they have grown disillusioned and unfulfilled by it and find themselves secretly yearning for a way out that won’t compromise their faith, their spiritual integrity, and their sincerity. They know there must be an answer to their dilemma, and they sense that there is an exit somewhere, but they just can’t seem to find it.
Like the Israelites, they often find themselves going around in circles in an aimless wilderness. Some know instinctively that there is something much more than what “church life” offers them, even with all of its activities and busyness, but they don’t know what that looks like or how to find it. Deep down inside they know that they have been promised a more abundant life and a land of “milk & honey”, but they just can’t get out of their religious rut. Before I finally left the maze, I sometimes found myself sitting through a church service staring off into space asking myself, “Is this all there is? Is this as good as it gets?”
There are many subtle, unseen obstacles within the maze that hinder the pilgrims’ progress. As they spiritually travel down one labyrinth lane after another, they often trip over peer pressure, oversight intimidation, purpose driven agendas, performance expectations, ingrained rituals, cherished traditions, well-worn patterns, church commitments,
attendance quotas, church accountability, membership requirements, church correctness, veiled threats against leaving, and the fear of negative repercussions if they were ever to leave – the loss of friends, being rejection, branded, shamed, condemned and the fear of failing God. There is the ever-present conspiracy of silence as well. Trying to grope their way out of this bewildering maze is often like running a gauntlet of hindrances.
Yes, many things conspire to keep us in the manmade maze which is commonly referred to as “church”, but there is a way out. There is a growing number of Christians around the world that have heard that “still small voice” on the side of the maze calling to them to come out. If this is you, take courage my Christian friend; there is a way out. Yes, it will come with a price. You may have to sacrifice old ways, old traditions, and old relationships but a new life in Him awaits you. Look to He that is calling to you. He knows the way out.