Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stop going to church


Here is a good post that I found over at boundless.org:


Stop Going to Church

by Jonathan Dodson


For years I went to church. Religiously. I actually went to church for about 25 years. Then I stopped. I'm so glad I did. Instead of going to church, I started being the church. It's radically changed me. They have changed me. My family has gotten bigger.

The church is supposed to be a family. But there's a problem. The church in America is too often very un-church. As a result, a lot of people say that they like Jesus, but they just don't like the church.


Unbelievable Churches

Some churches are fortresses. Groups of combative soldiers that enforce their doctrine, hide behind their high and holy walls, and launch grenades of judgment into the culture. The mission is doctrinal conformity, not grace. The community is in-grown not inviting.

Other churches have more in common with shopping malls. They are filled with salesmen and consumers. The salesman market the church to the world. They dress her up like the culture, dress down the message of Jesus, and sell the consumers short on the gospel, community and mission. Unlike fortress churches, the shopping mall mission is not to keep people out but to get people in. At quite a high cost, people pile into the building and out of the building wondering if this is all there is to church.

Then there are the cemeteries — lifeless, irrelevant, stodgy churches. These churches are trapped in time, disconnected from contemporary issues. Somehow they've lost the joy of the Lord. Calcified by religion, they offer virtually no community or mission.

When our churches have more in common with fortresses, shopping malls and cemeteries, who can blame America for not liking the church, for not receiving in her, for not joining the movement?

Family Church

Church is not an event, a place or a plant. It is a family of brothers and sisters united in the Spirit and the Son. The church is a community, people in relationships under grace. So the church is supposed to be a family, but we act more like acquaintances.

Instead of sharing life and truth, joy and pain, meals and mission, we share one, maybe two events a week. Church has been reduced to a spiritual event that happens for an hour or two on weekends, and if you are spiritual, occurs another couple hours during the week in a small group meeting. We spend just enough time "at church" to be religious, but nowhere near enough time to be family.

The dominant metaphor of the church in the New Testament is the metaphor of family. Every one of Paul's letters opens by addressing the church in familial terms — sisters, brothers, son, and our Father. The use of "brother" is, by far, the most frequent. This sibling emphasis reflects the familial nature of the church. What would happen if we started acting like family?

1 Comment:

peavyhouse said...

Lew,
I found your blog through a search of something different, but wanted to ask you a few questions. I am planting a church in South Broward/Downtown Hollywood area. I am wanting to meet with any and everyone that I can to talk about God/the gospel and South Florida. After reading through your posts, i would love to get your thoughts, if you have a chance.

I am wanting to buy coffee, a beer, or a meal for anyone that will meet with me. If you would be willing, write me back on here or at matt[at]sojournsouthflorida[dot]com.
I know this is strange, but you can check us out at our website(it's temporary and sucks) and we are listed on Acts 29's site as a candidate(so you know that we are not too weird). Thanks for words and your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Matt Peavyhouse

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