Recently I moved to Sheffield and decided to go to a church in Sheffield. First time I ever went to a church and it has broken me so much that part of me is quite worried about going to church again. Luckily I was brought up in a Christian family and know what they were preaching was not really what Christianity is about. However, I do worry for people who might go there who are totally new to Christianity, as they may get the wrong idea of what Christianity is all about and who do not have a family to turn to say to them “hang on a minute that’s not what the bible says at all”.
I went to the church for a couple months every Sunday, and in total I only spoke to a handful of people..most people just gave me the cold shoulder or were very evasive when I talked to them. I remember attempting to give some one who was sitting next to me a high five only to be left hanging. I also attended the churches summer BBQ and welcome party (meant to welcome newbies like me) all of which I was totally ignored at. But what is even worse I found at this church is that the only message that Hope city church seems to preach is the message of what you can get from god. Numerous times the pastor would come on stage and announce that if you give a whole weeks wages to the church you will be blessed and will get more back than what you put in. This made me feel unworthy and guilty when it came to giving your “tithes and offerings” during the Sunday service…because I am unemployed and have little money to spare I could only give a small amount each time. On one occasion they held an extra offering for people to give even more during one service whereby people could go up to the stage and receive extra blessings for giving even more.. which made me feel quite bad about myself seeing as at this point after donating once I had zero money left in my wallet to give.
Don’t get me wrong I am 100% behind giving to the less fortunate and think that it is amazing thing to be able to help some one in need. Yet when I was at hope city church I did not hear them once preach to go out and give to the poor all they seemed to want you to do was to donate to their church franchise only.
And your prize for donating come in the form of blessings, I often heard the pastor saying that you could get a financial miracle if you donated.. but the bible says in Proverbs 23:4 “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it.”
Also Luke 6:35
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
The bible does not say to give money to the church but give (doesn’t even have to be money) what you can to the poor and expect nothing in return.
One of the churches main projects that it uses donations for is to build a £2 million state of the art church in Waverley near Sheffield.. £2million is an hour watering amount of money and I don’t see how creating a big palace for them all the churches member’s to hang out in is going to do much good, especially when you need to be part of the clique to be accepted into the church anyway.
I have since stop going to this church because it was simply not for me and I just couldn’t take being shunned any more. I occasionally get emails from the church, not to check to see how I am or why I stopped going to the church, but just emails about buying expensive tickets to their business conferences only.
I write this article not to judge but to try to help people that may have gone through an experience at a hope city church to realize that sometimes that the word of god can become distorted.. and even the bible warns against this
Galations1:6,7…”I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another,but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
IF you have been to a church and are now doubting your faith then please dont because you should not put your faith in people but in god!
Even though I may not know a lot about the bible, it is still my understanding and belief that you do not need to pay god to get gods help as he is always willing to help those who put their faith in him no matter what! Christianity is not a investment scheme where the more money you put in the more blessed you become.. Christianity is far more than that! The bible also says that giving is about giving money
BUT having said all of this I am not the one to judge this particular church only god can do that.. I just think that it would be awesome if the church made a few amendments. If you have guessed what church I am talking about and go to it then I implore you to try to steer the church to be more inclusive and less about money and to preach the true gospel!
UPDATE: I HAVE DECIDED TO CENSOR THE NAME OF THE CHURCH FORM THE ARTICLE BECAUSE I DONT WANT TO START A WITCH HUNT.