Jen Hatmaker quits “church” and invites you to join her

I quit being part of a church for a few months when I was in my mid-twenties. I had been a regular churchgoer my whole life, so it wasn’t something I (or those who knew me) expected. It happened after I moved to a new city and started looking for a church. Every time I’d visit one, I felt lonely and lost in the sea of congregants. And I found no comfort in the familiarity of the services — if anything, it felt too familiar. I had the evangelical liturgies memorized — from the call to worship to the benediction….

A painful reality of 2020: The year our family had to stop going to church

A few weeks after we moved to a new city this winter, COVID-19 hit, leaving us to “attend” the online service of a church we had been visiting for about two months. It didn’t work. We didn’t even know the music leaders on the screen. Now these people were propped up on our kitchen table, earnestly looking at us through our iPad, inviting us to join in with congregation-less singing. And while I truly admired the effort they were making to provide a meaningful Sunday morning experience, we just couldn’t connect with it. Church felt like watching a locally produced,…

The boring preacher in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood

One time I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that when she first started following Jesus, the Lord greatly used sermons from a certain TV preacher to help her grow in her faith. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the televangelist. Granted, I hadn’t actually listened to any of the preacher’s sermons, but that was beside the point. Everybody in my circle agreed that the preaching was little more than motivational speaking with scriptures thrown in.

Healing the Wounds of Segregation in the Church

During my junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, I invited a Yugoslavian student to a campus worship service that was organized by my church, which was predominately white. After the meeting, we were talking in the hallway, and he noticed a group of mostly black students meeting across the hallway. Then he asked something that caught me off guard. “Why do the white Christians and the black Christians meet separately?”

A Word of Gratitude to my Vacation Bible School Teachers

I originally shared this post in the summer of 2015. Update: my little girls have grown up quite a bit and are now Vacation Bible School volunteers. To all my Vacation Bible School Teachers: My girls began attending their first Vacation Bible School yesterday, and throughout the day, I was excited for them.  They’re only five and three, so they can’t really appreciate why I love VBS so much.  But let me make it clear: it’s because of you.

When Easter Became More than a Service

At some point in my mid-twenties, I got disenchanted with the predictable Easter Sunday ritual.  It just didn’t make sense to me: one Sunday, things were relatively normal; the next Sunday, the crowd doubled in size, we focused on the resurrection of Jesus, everyone was dressed in pastel-colored outfits, and afterward, we did an Easter egg hunt.  I’m not trying to be offensive, but I just felt like it was a cultural ritual that had lost its original focus (at least it had for me).