Stop Going To Church

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And start being the Church.

There is a consumerist mentality in America that has permeated attitudes toward churches. People “shop around” for just the right church, like they shop around for the best deal on the best-fitting pair of shoes. I’ve seen it for years, in the various types and sizes of churches I have served over the decades. People look for churches with the best stage show, the most dynamic preacher, the most rousing worship, the most attentive children’s or student programs, the most expansive recreation programs, etc. The “Me” generation has come to the point where a typical family may attend a worship service at one church, attend mid-week or summer children’s programs at another, join a couple’s small group at still another, and sign their kids up for summer ball at yet another. It’s like the buffet line at the local restaurant- pick and choose what suits you best.

Yet that approach is found nowhere in the Bible. Scripture describes the church as the “Body of Christ“, the “fellowship of the saints”, the “family of God.” These, and other descriptors, imply active participation, vital involvement, intimate interaction. In fact, Luke in the Book of Acts describes the activity of being in the church-

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…the believers were together and had everything in common…praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47

Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv puts it this way- “We are to be spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers.” Romans 12:3-8 describes the Church as the Body of Christ, with each member essential and valued, each member vital to the whole. Life in the Body is not a spectator sport. Every member is to be an active participant, at some level. Each has a role to play, a purpose to fulfill. Just as the human body functions best when all parts are healthy and working together properly, so it is with the Church of God.

Ross Parsley in his book, “Messy Church” declares, “Church is first and foremost a spiritual family, and not a corporation or a nonprofit organization.” He explains, “We gather together, as a family gathers for a meal.” Think family reunion, with all of the glorious insanity of a multi-generational gathering at grandma’s house. It can get crazy, but it’s family. Your family.

So it’s time we stop going to church, and start being the Church. That is the model set forth in Scripture, and that is the model God will use to reach this world for Him.

The Church has left the building…

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4 responses to “Stop Going To Church

  1. So, would you agree that we need to BE the church, but to BE, we also need to be IN? (Church implies community) Maybe in a future post you can address how to select the church to be part of, and in.

    With numerous moves in my life, I’ve done the “search for a church” dance far too many times, not always with great results. Maybe you can simplify it for others.

    Thanks,

    • I absolutely agree, Tony. BEing implies IN, for sure. The Church is community, not buildings. My point in the post was to address those in our culture who are consumers instead of participants, takers rather than givers. Sadly, the 20/80 principle holds true, that 20% of the people give and do 80% of the kingdom work. Of course, that is not found in the New Testament. The believers were all together, and all in. I guess I would contend that the 20% comprise the genuine Body of believers, and the 80% could likely be mere spectators. Billy Graham once asserted that 75% of people in our churches today likely aren’t even true born-again Christ followers. That’s hard to swallow, but I’m not sure I disagree with him.
      I will definitely consider writing a piece on finding and selecting the right church. Not sure there is an easy answer to that, aside from seeking the Lord’s leadership and direction. Let me chew on that some.
      God bless,

  2. We have emerged as a church in America that has adopted all of the cues of our entertainment industry. Unfortunately we have become so self-consumed and self-gratifying that any level of commitment is passe’. To many in our congregations are believers in word and not in deed because we have preached a message of convenience and no commitment. Jesus did not make adjust his message as to not offend, but cut to the heart and called men to take up their cross and follow Him. This is a message that has been lost and yet it will only be true disciples that will be able to stand in the time of testing that will come upon the earth.

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