Stop Going To Church

Christians of the world, this is my solemn request.

Stop going to church.

When you meet a fellow Christian, don’t start by asking what church they go to.

Stop wearing the wonderful things that your church does as a badge that you derive personal identity from.

Stop holding your pastor up as the one true source of theology and biblical interpretation (for their sake as much as anyone else’s)

Don’t find your identity as a Christian in how you gather together/worship/preach, or on some non-core theological principle.

Because that church has no future. That church is an event, a program, a tradition. Nobody who doesn’t already go to a church, wants to go to a church. The world does not need to go to church.

Instead, this what I believe we ought to do.

Start being a part of a church

Engage with the mission of your local church

Build your church community by loving people inside and outside of your church

Interact and wrestle with the things your pastor preaches, discussing how theology can be applied in your own life, and embracing the freedom to disagree without believing that disagreement must result in disunity.

But more than that…

Start being a part of the church

Embrace the mission of God in the lives of people you know

Take responsibility for owning the gospel that Jesus brought and live that truth every second you possibly can

Spread the hope that we have in knowing our God

Live like you know the creator of the world

That’s the church the world needs, and it’s the church that people want. And it’s the church that Jesus came to bring.

16 Replies to “Stop Going To Church”

  1. I’ve been thinking very similar thoughts for the last couple of days. You seem to have expressed them from a different starting point, in a different way to how I would have… and arrived at exactly the same conclusion that I did.

    This, I like. 🙂

  2. Hey – I found you via ProBlogger!

    Very very well put! Exactly right. I feel like I need to add something, but I’m not sure what I could add!

    When did we start measuring personal spirituality by our “church’s” programs? Or by how many minutes our “devotional time” is?

  3. Came in via problogger. Some solid points, but I would like you to address how difficult what you’re asking for is. A lot of people only relate to their churches via the Sunday service – whether the sermon was too long, whether prayers were conducted rightly or not.

    And I know you can discuss at length times when one can be entirely alienated from a church community. It’s happened to all of us; community isn’t an easy thing, it depends a lot on things going well as well as the virtues we bring to the table.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but my own experience working with communities has been that it takes a lot of time to build them, and preaching at them as opposed to for them is all too easy.

  4. FLG, Jim and Ashok – thanks for dropping by and commenting. Hope you find something here worth sticking around for.

    Ashok, I understand and whole-heartedly agree that this is not a simple request. But because community is hard, we’ve decided that it’s easier just to settle into building a religious establishment, rather than the dynamic, passionate, mission-focused community that Jesus came to bring about. If “A lot of people only relate to their churches via the Sunday service” – then we need to do something, because we’ve just bought into the consumerist worldview that makes a church little more than a supplier of religious services.

    And I have no interest at all in helping to build that kind of church.

  5. I concur, excellent title and post! Good luck on the ProBlogger contest. 🙂

    Your message is crystal clear to me and I whole-heartedly agree. Although some people need church or religion to worship the Divine in the world, I embrace the essence of all religions: spirituality.

    It stands for all the good in life: love, respect, compassion, forgiveness, joy, ecstasy, satisfaction, bliss, enlightenment, etc. It’s the positive side of the wide range of human emotions.

    I’m not saying that negative emotions are evil or don’t have a place in the human experience, just that they make life SO much easier. 🙂

  6. Steph, I’m not so sure that I’m in the same place as you’ve just described. I’m not suggesting rejecting the exclusivity of Jesus’ claims – I’m just suggesting that we reject a bunch of the stuff that we’ve packaged into Christianity that have nothing to do with it. I’m not even saying that we shouldn’t attend church services – but if that’s the extent of your Christianity, then it’s a joke.

  7. I agree about asking “what church” they belong to. A tree is known and recognized by its fruit. And loving people “inside” the church and “outside” are two different tactics. What works in a “church culture” will not work with “the world.” I think at times, the world hold Christians to a higher standard, than people in the church.

  8. I agree with the sentiment but some of the observations seem to be a bit overstated. First, the church is not a man made establishment. the church was and is established by, in and through Jesus Christ. “Upon this rock ‘I’ will build my church. . . ”
    Secondly, the church you belong to does define your as a Christian. Even according to your argument if you really are ‘being’ the church it is the genuine service, instruction, and worship that you share corporately with your local body that does define, shape and grow you as a member of the universal body of Christ. It is impossible to separate the two. If you ‘truly’ belong to one you must belong to the other.
    I do agree that, for many, church has become an event instead of the living, breathing spiritual organism that it is supposed to be, but I would not go so far as to say that it is reflected in asking a professing Christian ‘what church they go to’ In fact if they don’t attend a church mabye you could invite them to your church that is hopefully being the church and not just doing church.
    A church is more than just believers getting together and fellowshipping. A Church must be reaching out, spreading the gospel, instructing in the word, discipling, and have elders and deacons (ordained or not) and be able to biblically discipline one another in love.
    So, there is a lot that must be considered even as we are ‘being’ Church. I agree that we have lost our way when we value the building and things more than we value ministry and our comfort more than souls, but I am comforted in knowing that God is working things out even in the midst of this mess.
    I pray he raises up more who think as we do and that we, in humility and love, condemn our misguided brothers and sisters in Christ, but be witnesses to them of the truth He has shown us, for truly it is only by His grace that we are not just ‘doing’ church.

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