As I get older and find myself in positions where people come to talk to me about their spiritual struggles and concerns, I can see that Satan is not very creative. The same old tricks and schemes are used (with surprising success) over and over again. One of my personal, all time favorites is the old, “I believe in God, but I’m done with organized religion.” Pardon my callousness or insensitivity to this one but this is probably the lamest excuse to not do what God has asked you to do ever.
We’ve all had bad experiences with churches or with individual Christians. The church is full of sinners - it’s going to happen. I don’t want to sound mean when I say this, but put your big girl pants on and stop letting other people drag you down. Bad experiences with Christians shouldn’t be enough to thwart you if you are genuinely looking to have an even greater experience with Christ himself.
I think most people think that the precursory “I believe in God” is a pass to get away with anything that they choose to disregard in the next breath, but don’t be deceived - belief alone is not enough. Even demons believe and tremble in fear of God’s power, but they aren’t going to be saved. (“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” .James 2:19)
God requires more than just belief, and part of his requirements imply an organized effort to meet with a local group of like minded believers. God saw it fit for Christians to meet together for spiritual and social fellowship regularly in the book of Acts. The Bible provides us with warnings against forsaking gatherings of Christians in Hebrews 10:25. We’ve been given the charge to encourage and build other Christians up with the gifts and talents that we’ve been blessed with in 1 Peter 4:10-11. And in the book of 1 Timothy we have specific qualifications for church leaders, thus implying some form of organization.
You don’t pull your kids out of the public education system solely because they’ve had a few mean teachers. You don’t refuse all medical intervention because one time when you were fifteen you had a doctor with bad bedside manners, and logically speaking you don’t refuse spiritual support because somewhere along the line you’ve had bad run-ins with people who need Jesus just as much as you do. You don’t just walk away, you work to make the system better.
If you are one of the people who have held themselves back from being a part of a local church because you’ve been burned in the past and are above organized religion, I just want to say that maybe you aren't actually enlightened but you are just simply being selfish. The church needs people who get it. There are good, God centered people in the church today who are killing themselves trying to beat all of the spiritual wolves away from the flock and they could use your help. But if you honestly think that God would rather you pull away from the battle and give the church that his son died for over to those wolves, then by all means, stay away. Because if that is how you feel, chances are, you may be a wolf yourself.