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A Response To Christians Who Are Done With Church

You hear it all the time.

I’m done with church.

I don’t really need to go to church…my relationship with God is personal.

I’ve had it with organized religion.

The church is a man-made invention, not God’s idea.

I completely understand why a growing number of people are bailing on church. Even people who used to lead in the church often stop attending (here are 9 reasons why church leaders do that).

We’ve spent a lot of time working through the issue of declining church attendance (and growing disillusionment with the church) on this blog and in my leadership podcast. (For a summary of the issues, here’s a piece on the 10 reasons even committed church attenders are attending church less often).

I get it.

The church is far from perfect. Life is complex. There are growing options. And the post-modern mind distrusts most things organized or institutional.

But as trendy as the idea of writing off the church may be, it’s a mistake.

While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the opposite; what if it’s a simplistic and even reductionistic line of thinking that leads nowhere constructive?

The church isn’t even biblical, is it?

People argue the idea of church isn’t even biblical.

So let’s start with the basics.

First if you’re a Christian, church is not something you go to. It’s something you are.

You can’t disassociate from church as a Christian anymore than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.

You don’t go to church. You are the church.

Second, the church was not a human invention. Half-reading the New Testament with one eye closed will still lead you to the inescapable conclusion that the church was God’s idea.

In fact, most of the New Testament is not about the teachings of Jesus. It’s about the work of the church that Jesus initiated and ordained. I won’t fill this post with scripture verses that prove my point, because, quite frankly, you’d have to get rid of the majority of the New Testament to argue that the church was a parenthetical, made-up organization.

If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus.

You can’t have one without the other.

Maybe what bothers you should actually amaze you

I understand that the idea of the church being imperfect makes some people despair.

But rather than making us despair, the fact that Jesus started the church with imperfect people should make us marvel at God’s incredible grace.

That God would use ordinary, broken human beings as vessels of his grace, and delight in it is awe-inspiring. He’s proud of how his grace is beating through your imperfect-but-redeemed life and through the church (have you ever read Ephesians 3: 10-11?).

The idea that God would use you and me is pretty amazing. He had other options.

He could have spoken to the world directly, but instead chose to use broken people to showcase his grace to a world in need of redemption.

For sure, community is messy.

People sin. Leaders are sinful.

Most of the New Testament is not a story of an idealized church where everything worked perfectly all the time (just read 1 Corinthians any time you’re frustrated with your church).

Most of the New Testament is a story of Jesus using his followers to spread his love in spite of themselves and as they overcome obstacle after obstacle.

The fact that Christ uses flawed people to accomplish his work on earth is actually a sign of his grace, not a sign of his absence.

The church’s story, as twisted as it gets at times, is a beautiful story of God’s grace, God’s power and God’s redemption.

So, by the way, is your life, which reflects the story of the church more than you would want to admit.

The church gives the world a front row seat to the grace of God.

The ultimate consumerism isn’t going to church…it’s walking away from it

People criticize the church today as being consumeristic. And to some extent, churches cater to consumerism—often to our detriment. I agree that consumerism is a problem for Christianity.

But ironically, much of the dialogue about why people are done with church pushes people deeper into Christian consumerism than it pushes them into deeper discipleship: Here I am, all alone, worshipping God on my schedule when it’s convenient for me.

Listening to a podcast of your favourite preacher while you’re at the gym or on the back deck and pushing three of your favourite worship songs through your ear buds does not make you a more passionate Christ follower.

It usually makes you a less effective one.

Disconnecting yourself from community is actually less faithful than connecting yourself to a flawed community.

If you think the church today isn’t enough (and arguably, we need to reform it), then do what the early Christians did.

If you want a more biblical church…don’t gather weekly, gather daily. Before dawn.

Get up before the sun rises to pray together with other Christians before you go to work. Pool your possessions. Don’t claim anything as your own.

Be willing to lose your job, your home, your family and even your life because you follow Jesus.

Then you’ll be more authentic.

And notice that the early church did indeed gather. 

Gathering always leads to some form of organizing.

To pretend the church doesn’t need to be organized is as logical arguing that society doesn’t need to be organized.

Because community is inevitable, organization is inevitable.

Our ability to organize and to accomplish more together than we can alone is one of the crowning achievements of humanity, and our ability to work together makes Christian effort far more effective. 

It’s also part of God’s design for how we should interact while we’re on this planet. Come to think of it, heaven is a community too.

The only one who wants us to believe that we are better off alone is our enemy.

If you really think about it, it’s actually a very clever tactic.

The church has helped even those who resent the church

Finally, if you’re reading this article and you have any modicum of faith in Jesus, may I suggest your faith is actually the result of the mission of the church.

Very few people come to know Jesus because he appears to them supernaturally when they are alone and calls them by name.

Does that ever happen? Sure. But not to 99.9% of us.

Almost all of us who follow Jesus have had our lives changed by a flawed body called the church that Jesus so passionately loves and calls his own.

Think about that.

We need more church

Do we need more churches? Yes.

Do we need more humble churches? We do.

Do you we need authentic, transparent leadership? Absolutely.

Does the church need to change? Without a doubt.

The church needs continual reformation and transformation.

So what will the future look like?

Will we gather in quite the way we do today in the future? In some ways yes; in others, no.

Hopefully we gather more frequently and work through our differences at a deeper level and impact our communities more powerfully.

These two posts offer 10 predictions about future church attendance and 11 traits of churches that will impact the future.

But regardless of how the church gathers in the future, we will gather…we need to gather.

We Christians need each other, probably now more than ever.

And even if you don’t think you need other Christians, I promise you you do, and so does our world.

Now, more than ever, the world needs Christian working together humbly under Christ to lead people into a growing relationship with him, in whatever innovate and fresh forms that takes.

The church is not dead.

Far from it.

Maybe it’s just beginning to take shape for a brand new era that desperately needs it.

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  • Liz7777

    Oh where do I start? Yes. We are commanded to “not forsake the gathering of ourselves”, in Hebrews. Yes. Ephesians says that ” There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Spirit…”. And in Ephesians it also says how the Body ” builds itself up, in love, for the edification of itself “. (Ok, sorry, not exact quotes I’m doing this on no sleep and by memory.)]

    And Jesus Himself said that, ” Upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

    Therefore, Church is Biblical. Church is for the edifying of the Body who is to “grow up into all aspects of Him”. And the Church is built by Jesus Christ Himself and by His Word, hell itself can’t destroy it or wipe it off the earth. So, now we know what Church IS, then let’s try and figure out what it’s NOT!

    Is a church with a budget of $166,000.00 per week, that’s unable to assist a young disabled lady serving in a children’s ministry with more than one night at a hotel when her home had a leak… Which caused toxic mold to grow and sent her to the emergency room with breathing problems a Church? Is a place where another lady decided to use her gifts of exhortation and discernment only to be met with abusive hostility, not only by some of the people she was trying to exhort, but by the pastor himself who took pock shot after pock shot at her and verbally abused her, is that the Church? Or what about a place where a single mom went and was initially received with love, but because there was another single mom in the church who had a reputation for using people, got jealous of the first single mom, and with the help of 2 gossipy women, stirred up so much strife that the single mom lost her temper and was asked by the pastor to never return. And especially painful was the fact that it was Easter when the pastor asked her to not come back. Was that the Church? Or how about a place that prided itself on having conservative family values being such an ethnocentric group that on Christmas Eve, a congregant had to literally run out of the church to avoid breaking down and sobbing in front of this group that couldn’t have made it any plainer that they couldn’t care less about this individual at Christmas time or any other time for that matter. When going only reminded them of how lonely they were and how very little people cared. In fact it wasn’t little, it was so non existent that only 2 women ever spoke to them. Is that the Church? I get that churches are flawed. I know the silly saying, “If you find a perfect church, don’t go because you’re not perfect and you’ll ruin it”, or some such nonsense. But I’m serious in my question to you, What do you consider a church? A group of people that have their Creed and doctrine straight, appropriately affirming their belief in the Scriptures as the only authority and God being Triune in Nature and Persons, but who tears up a check for a single mom and her ill child which was to get them out from homelessness and pay for the first month’s rent…. Is that place a church? Their Constitution says they are. The local Presbytery says they are. But are they really?

    The corruption in today’s church is nothing short of demonic. And more and more pastors are unsaved men. And leaders, committees, prominent volunteers, are also not true believers. And they HATE real Christians! And if a Christian tries to go into a lion’s den like that, all that will happen is the wicked will quite literally “gnash at them with their teeth and turn and trample them to pieces.”

    I think it’s high time that true Christian leaders sit down together and discuss the fact that in any given church in America, you have probably at this point less than a 50% chance of finding a true born again brother in the pulpit. And I’d say the congregation is probably somewhere in the 20-30% of being true Christians. And that’s probably a generous estimate on my part. So in light of the openly hostile attitude towards REAL Christians in church, where are we supposed to go? To a place where the minute you open your mouth to speak of the things of God, they will run you out of town tarring and feathering you before you go? This is what needs to be addressed. I don’t know any true believer, myself included, that takes not going to church as just a light casual decision. I’ve read the comments on here from men and women like me who are expressing PAIN at both having been abused by churches and sadness that they can’t find anywhere to go that’s safe from abuse.

    Lord have mercy.

  • Daniel John Dombek

    We all get it: there’s church (with a small ‘c’) and Church (with a capital ‘C’). Small ‘c’ church (for me) is ‘church as body’; capital ‘C’ Church is Church as building. It’s the tireless ‘bait and switch’ that tries to flip the body for the building that I’m done with. We don’t need a $1,000,000 building to be the church (body). In fact, the body doesn’t need a building at all.

    A couple of Thanksgivings ago, I spent a Sunday morning helping to feed homeless people out of a rent-and-store facility: best church (note the small ‘c’) I’ve ever attended. I’ll take – I’ll be – that kind of church any day of the week.

    How many homeless could be feed and sheltered on the bloated budgets of Mega-Churches? Someday we may all have to answer for this.

  • A Amos Love

    Oliver Edwards

    You also write…
    “You have no part in Jesus if you have no part in His Body.”

    Fear tactics, condemnation, bullying, NO longer work. 😉

    Jesus, the Redeemer of my soul, is the head of His Body.
    The “ONE” Leader – The “ONE” Shepherd

    NOT a pastor/leader/reverend who has misappropriated…
    A “Title/Position,” that does NOT exist in the Bible…
    For one of His Disciples. 🙂

    But, I cudda missed that. Maybe you can help.

    In the Bible, can you name…
    One of His Disciples who had the “Title/Position,” pastor/leader/reverend?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  • A Amos Love

    Oliver Edwards

    You write…
    “I believe this to communicate
    that absenting oneself from any body of Christ
    puts your faith to lie.”

    You might want to re-read many of these comments…
    Believers today are NOT “absenting” themselves from…
    The Body of Christ, The Church, where Jesus is the head. Col 1:18.

    Believers today are “absenting” themselves from…
    The church of man… Today’s Corrupt Religious System…
    Where Mere Fallible Humans try to control and manipulate WE, His Sheep.
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporation,
    That the IRS calls church.

    Should one of His Disciples call and IRS Corporation, His Body?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    If not now? – When?

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • Fedup Pauper

      Amen!

  • Krystyna

    I’m through due to the ENORMOUS amount of so-called followers who are nothing like the Jesus of the bible. They have a narcissistic, entitled attitude using the name of God, all the while committing acts of cruelty; no empathy at all but only thinking of themselves as they hate others whom are in the midst of suffering. I’ve met one too many of these people and am disgusted. When someone starts throwing around “what a Christian” they are, I run the other way.

  • Oliver Edwards

    I was preaching on John 13 this morning and I had a realization about what Jesus taught in footwashing. Whether or not you believe we are literally called to wash each other’s feet, the principle behind it is the same: Practicing the bread and the cup can lead to the idea that your faith is just between you and God. But Jesus says if we do not serve one another (washing feet) we have no part in Him. I believe this to communicate that absenting oneself from any body of Christ puts your faith to lie. You have no part in Jesus if you have no part in His Body. Only one aspect of church is between you and God. The other two aspects are fellowship and service – both REQUIRE other human beings. The Last Supper communicates the importance of all three – the meal of fellowship, the bread and cup of communion with God, and the serving of one another – footwashing.

  • Suzuki35

    then it makes sense satan is attacking the church, I am a fragile believer because I have been non stop abused by church people and “Christians” and even called a liar when I tell my story. so I gave up. its pure abuse and MANY OF US are now having this experience. in no way do people who admit a truth that Christians abuse them or the church abuses them in any way saying that’s Christianity… their faith can be the faith that’s intact, while the ones in the church are not true believers. I am not sure if I should stay strong and keep going in face of abuse when I am fragile and in need of therapy as a RESULT of the abuse? “why is there no healing for the daughter that is my people” “they say to her peace peace when there is no peace” “they treat her wound as though it is not serious” healing doesn’t come from there when it is full of abusers. its just this TIME in the world..its expected! we were told “beforehand” this would happen. that many ‘s love would grow cold and fall away.. they still go to church physically oh but they have surely fallen away (if ever were true believers) I cant sacrifice my health … arguing with believers.. or even minding my own business and they still attack. I don’t want to deal with the other attacks either that I am having a persecution complex etc.. that IS further abuse and victimizing the victims.

    • Liz7777

      Please read what I just wrote. Sigh. You sound exactly like me. And my daughter is in a depression from spiritual abuse. So am I. Hugs to you! From one hurt sister to another!

      • Suzuki35

        thank you I read it.. I needed the hug. ,my mom IS not like you.. she IGNORED my pain and still does , she wouldn’t even dream of going online to say “my daughter is in depression from spiritual abuse” as she was one of the abusers, so I am so glad your daughter HAS YOU.thank you for thinking of me 🙂 it is spiritual warfare.. they are in church but not of God.those people… sometimes the abuse is too much and we stay home for refuge… “daughter zion has become a refuge all run to her even those who hated her…”

  • Fang

    This should be going as the Last comment so far on this page. Many people are not getting fed in the so called church get together, they are hungary for what God is doing not a program, not a place where the spirit of God is not present the church again is not a denomination. The church is the body working together as one with the Holy spirit, I myself cannot find a church wich is spirit filled. These people are not getting taught how to get a relationship with christ on a basic level and for us who have been in church after church looking to be fed the bowl is empty and the pastors are not letting the Lord lead they are leading as they want church to go, and not as the Lord wants it to go. Instead it has become sunday after sunday no new subject same old stuff that was served last week pretty borring for us who actually want to learn new things from God. Also the spirituality of how close these so called churches our to the spirit of God. It shows in the physical in america the people are not being taught how to have a personal relationship with christ, nor are they taught how to get in the presence of God. Thats why churches are disapearing. Instead they are more concerened about money and who looks the nicest and who has the coolest car. Do I need to say it again people want whats real and if the Spirit of God isnt present in a church dosent matter which one it is. Then eventuually the building itself will close why? Because the Lords flock goes where he goes they do not stay if he dosent stay.

    • Fang

      Another words Gods children dont want the off brand of coke a cola, they are looking for Him they want the real thing many churches today offer all these things but Jesus, because they are superficial and are fake, if the Holy spirit was truly in the building then people would want to go but its just the opposite………..

      • Fedup Pauper

        Thank you!

    • Fedup Pauper

      AMEN!

  • C. Johnson

    It’ s hard to find a good church, where the bible is studied and lived together. Most churches are too heavy and static, so very inflexible. It’ s all about self, created hype and men-respect rather than the sweet Holy Spirit. But to gather with a few sold out Christians is very powerful! ” where 2 or 3 are gathered in my Name, I’ m in the the midst of them”. Jesus is forming at this moment His worldwide- endtime church woth sold out people from ALL Backgroundss. Our security is not in the church (specially if they don’ t teach and train in the word of God) but alone in Jesus Christ and His true body….

  • John Wilson

    We were shunned out of our local church because we called leadership out on their unwillingness to confront people who were sewing conflict through deceit. More than half the congregation stopped speaking to us based on hearing rumors and one side of the story. Most of the rumors were spread by three very opinionated women who have weak or detatched husbands (another sad trend I’ve noticed). Those women were unfortunately the true power in the church, because the pastor fears them. Once they decided my wife and daughter were not of the “anointed” class due to us refusing to tow their prideful party line (think twigs and logs), they were done with us. Eventually after weeks of my kids dreading having to go back evey Sunday, we left. We let the leadership know why, and they didn’t care. From what ive been told, another 6-8 families have also left for the same reason, and these were mostly the folks who did all the heavy lifting seeking no fame. Go figure. We’re looking for a new church that has a strong sense of John 13:35. So far, no luck. What we’ve found to date are several inward looking social clubs, and we don’t want to go through that again. I really miss true fellowship, but the people who have hurt my family the most have been other Christians. My daughter was trashed by the daughter of one of our former church’s “holy ones” to so many other kids, that they all stopped speaking to her. Don’t these people realize that God is watching all of this? How do they think He feels about Christians treating their own like this? I agree with the author that the world needs humble Christians working together, but around here that’s the problem…there’s a lack of humility, and pride has infected the church

    • Liz7777

      I agree with the scary trend of power women on the church who try and form allegiances and divide and conquer! My daughter and I have joked about a reality show called, The Real Housewives of the Evangelical Church “. All joking aside, these are not saved people for the most part and if they are they have zero spiritual maturity. But they vie for powerful positions in the church and ostracize those who aren’t up to snuff. Don’t worry. God absolutely sees. Pity them. Psalms 37 and 73 both talk about how the wicked prosper, or so it seems, until God says, “ENOUGH!” Then, you see the consequences of disobedience in their lives. Pity their bringing the wrath of God on themselves. Pray for them because they need it. And good for you for being the man of the family and leader of your home. May God bless you for that! Let’s pray for each other to find a church home. Amen.

  • Searchers

    I just stopped attending the Disciples Of Christ Church, after elders let a non-believer whose been leading in all the services I’ve attended take control of the service, and tell everyone, kids, women, and me, that Christ was not God. I couldn’t handle that. Another leader takes control of the service and mention that nobody goes to hell. Now other churches that I’m trying don’t even contact me after getting me to fill out visitor cards. What’s a believe to do? The salt has been lost. They’ve become social clubs for the wealthy. To make them feel good about themselves. The modern church has turned in the marketing temple of scribes and pharisee. Would be nice to fine others that believe like me, and don’t go to a Sunday morning show.

    • Ann A. Jones

      I would have been one blur running out on that! I have no tolerance for heresy, and there is too much of it in churches. No one teaches good doctrine, and we all have become so afraid of trampling on someone else’s religious freedom that we change ours. NOT the idea. I think most churches are just back patting societies over good works, and although they encourage that, they do little to teach people the Good News and how to share it.

  • Harry Sasnowitz

    If one wants an example out of the Bible of what authentic community looks like, we need not look any further than the book of Acts. These believers (the Church) met in the temple courts, in each others homes and in the marketplace, experiencing community while at the same time being engaged in the arena of life. No church building, scheduled “services,” or institutional system like we have today. They didn’t sit around discussing among themselves a better way to “do church”; they WERE the Church, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. They didn’t look for “better models or templates”; they WERE the template! The indwelling of the New had replaced the temple of the Old. They understood it, embraced it and were living in New Covenant reality. They experienced community and the Holy Spirit, and the love of God was being manifested among them and through them in ways that many today long for, with the gospel touching hearts and transforming their world. All without “institutional church” or even a Bible like we have today.

    The question I would like to pose to the author is this: Do you think our institutional system of Christianity, together with our many buildings, scheduled services and predominant focus on pulpit ministry is an improvement to what we see in the early Church, or a regression?

    I’m amazed at how many on this thread believe that Christian community can only be experienced through attending/participating in a local church. It shows how insular we have become. There are home fellowships, meetup groups and many other non-traditional gatherings taking place in increasing measure; Christ-centered, grace based, relationally focused….. a great alternative to institutional church environments. Personally, I’m involved with a home fellowship and a meetup group like this, without anywhere near the “structure or organization” that many seem to think is necessary to experience life together in community. It’s quite spontaneous, and although there is sometimes someone facilitating depending on what’s going on, it is not “organized” or programmed in any way to the degree we see with institutional religion. We meet in someone’s home, or a coffee shop, or a restaurant, or gather together for ministry to those in our community with need; no hierarchy, board or assigned pastor, although there are various gifts among us (pastor/shepherd included), which manifest at certain times when the need of the moment calls those gifts out, so to speak.

    Today, after 7 years of being outside institutional religion, I can say that I’m experiencing more vibrant and authentic relationship with Jesus and other in His Body, and a greater freedom and effectiveness in ministering to those outside the Body than I ever did while being part of the institutional church.

    The main reasons I left the institutional church mirror many of the reasons already given by others here. With that being said, I’m nonetheless grateful for the good things I did learn
    within the institutional church. I try
    not to project upon others that they MUST leave it like I did. For pastors and leaders who are intent on projecting their perspectives
    on others that Christian community and the Christian life can ONLY be
    experienced through a local church, has my testimony encouraged you?
    Does it excite you? Or, has it caused suspicion or the propensity to
    find fault.

    If it’s the former…. great! If it’s the latter, I would propose that you’re more passionate about building your own little kingdoms than the kingdom of God.

    If folks
    want to continue being a part of institutional Christianity, that is
    their choice, and although I believe there are more fruitful places and ways to
    engage in community as a Christian, we are all still members of the same
    Body. Let’s continue to love one another as Christ loves us.

    • Fedup Pauper

      THANK YOU!!! I couldn’t have said it any better. You’re blessed! I WISH I could find a way to worship they way you’ve described it. I’m sick of the emergent Laodicean -type of worship or rather, NON worship that goes on among most institutional type churches. I’m a senior citizen with a bad back and no transportation so I’ve visited almost all the churches in my neighborhood and I leave feeling worse than I did when I went in. I’ve been searching for a real church congregation where the pure Word of God is being preached and taught. Been searching for more than 2 years…to no avail! 🙁

      I watch preaching and services live streamed or posted online. All the best preachers and congregations are in other states and not near where I live.

  • Stephanie

    No. No I did not find this post helpful. It was full of strawmen, and “moving the goalpost” fallacies as he, like so many bloggers who blog about this, failed to recognize that the word church is, in fact, a HOMONYM (one word having two completely different meanings, such as bark or stalk). You simply can’t drift in and out of meanings as though they are one and the same thing. That is a deliberate attempt to manipulate your readership and cause confusion, possibly convincing them (illogically) to accept your conclusions. Gaslighting much? In this case, church (institutional) is mistaken for the church (body of Christ that you become a member of when you follow Jesus). The tone of this blog post is also very patronizing, and consideration must be given to the fact that the author’s livelihood depends on people continuing to attend and give to the institution. Any blog post written by a professional minister to motivate people to keep attending (read: keep giving to) the local church must be carefully examined as it represents a conflict of interests in my opinion. Of course, every argument must be evaluated on merits, but this is important information to keep in mind. I also didn’t feel that the author really tackled head on any of the very legitimate reasons that sincere followers are abandoning the institution of church. He just dismissed their departure as “trendy” and such. Does he even have an inkling that for many people, there was nothing trendy about leaving church, but that it took a lot of soul searching, a lot of prayer, and ultimately a lot of courage. So, yeah, I didn’t find this blog very helpful. There ya go. 🙂

    • Fedup Pauper

      Nothing you said was untruthful. I agree with you; and, I daresay, the comments posted here are much, MUCH better than the “article.”

    • Liz7777

      I disagree with you that his livelihood depends on us the readership attending church, you might be a tad more cynical than the article warrants. I got the impression that he does genuinely see Christians departing from the church en masse as bad for them (us) and bad for the church. I do agree with you about his displaying a patronizing tone and failing to grasp the seriousness of the issue at hand. By sheer volume of people who have responded to this article, that should tell him something about how passionately people feel about not finding a church home. More than that, he directed much of his comments and rhetoric to what I presume he thought was a much younger audience of readers. But the vast majority of comments I’ve read on here have come from people at least in their mid to late 30s and older. I’m 50 and I feel like I’m among my peers based on the things others are saying. It is a very serious issue and my prayer is that more people will write about it. God bless you and I pray that you find a church home.

  • John Valentino

    My father became a narcissist as I was growing up as a kid, my mother a codependent. When that relationship got too toxic I lived with my grandparents, my grandmother come to find out was the queen narcissist of the family and my grandfather became emotionally dependant on me. I feel I was born into a Christian family that would twist religion in its favor, turn bible verses to justify human slavery, shunning family members, judging others while saying don’t judge me. The church I was born into painted a poor picture of jesus, saying he died for all our sins. It seems to me in the end the real sin is being poor, because when I looked at thec congregation it was filled with poor people that slave for people who would otherwise cater to money changers. Jesus is weak, jesus was a poor man helping sick people, jesus is a fantasy a myth a legend and has just as much value in todays world as paul bunion. In church I heard little to nothing of mad jesus whipping money changers, nore about teenage jesus and that jesus was not poor but a wealthy man. Now the later version would be a man to follow, unlike the poor man that died on the cross so we can all be born into poverty in the 21st century. When people say that christian churches are the least representative of jesus I truely believe it. I wish going to church was not part of my childhood, I feel spiritually dumbed down by the church, and that is evil. My experience was more about social darwinism than it was of applying the true teachings of jesus. I feel watching star wars was a more spiritual experience than the years I went to church. In star wars the good guys go after bad guys, church is filled with people trying to pray there problems away. So in the end christianity for me was really superficial, how many people tried to touch my life but in the end were only doing it because it made them feel good? I am unchristian I dont hate christians but if you come at me the wrong way with your beliefs believe you me ill put you in your place and let it be clear as day “I am not someone you want to mess with”.

    When I was born my christian family needed cheap labor, when I turned 18 and needed a good job they told me to hit the street. Im not someone to be pushed around im not someone to be dumbed down, spiritually or intellectually. If leaving the church is not good enuf for you, then I say “jesus get the hell out of my heart”!!! If only christians go to heaven, send me to hell. But really id like to think god is smarter than your average pastor and there is a special place just for christians that no one has to go to if they decide to go unchristian. I never needed christianity and if I could change one thing it would be that I was never born into a christian family, the second would be never going to church. If planet earth is the best god has to offer im not impressed.

    • Liz7777

      Wow. That was a lot. First of all, let me say that I’m sorry you had that experience growing up. My parents were just like yours. What a mess! Secondly, what makes you think any of them were truly Christians? From the sound of it, they did what they wanted and added Jesus at the end for good measure. That’s NOT Biblical Christianity! That’s game playing hypocrisy. Nothing more nothing less.
      Now about Jesus. He was weak. He was poor. But only for His time on earth. Before He came to earth He enjoyed heaven where He was worshipped day and night by the angels. And once He rose from the dead, He told His Disciples that All authority had been given to Him on heaven and on earth. Think about that for a minute. ALL authority! More than all Kings, President’s, Prime Ministers combined. Access to every secret, all money everywhere, all political power, the weather, who lives and who dies and when, etc. He isn’t weak anymore! And Christians have “the power that raised Jesus from the dead” inside of us. We’re powerful too.
      So please don’t throw God away because of your dysfunctional family. The earth isn’t spiritual. It’s dying. God spoke and it was created and in the end He will burn it with fire and create a new one. (Yea…talk about global warming! Globes gonna be scorched!). And as far as hell goes, you don’t know what you’re saying. Hell I’d so real and such a place of nightmares that never end. It’s a place that if you ever saw a glimpse of it, you’d be screaming top of your lungs, to warn people to not go there.

      So ok, please think about what I’m saying. God bless you.

  • JǫrðViðJǫrð

    I don’t like discouraging people from God. I understand your perspective, Carey, but the church is so corrupt and selfish today. People see straight through it, including believers.

    I know a church raising 40,000$ to pave their “parking lot”. I had a pastor doing my marriage counselling tell me that I should let my husband do all the decision making and be submissive (I understand the meaning of the scripture but his view was intensely sexist). I had a previous pastor defend my father by writing an affidavit in family court custody battles attesting to his character and attacking my mother’s when he doesn’t know my mother at all (he later apologized, which was good). Another pastor basically told me I’ll be cozy in hell for disagreeing with a pastor when he was preaching a completely, and I mean completely, unbiblical interpretation of how one gets to heaven, Brennan Manning style.

    Furthermore, I for one, have had it with churches blowing faithful Christians money to the wind buying mics and screens and iPads and renovations and paving parking lots and new sound systems and new sound boards and new new new new new, I’m getting sick thinking about it. They won’t so much as lift a finger to go walk down to the corner and give an egg sandwich to a man that has a mental disability that turned into a drug problem and then became homeless. It’s all a show, a pretty deceitful show, that makes people comfortable and sweeps everything Jesus told us to do under the rug to give these huge church’s pastors massive “love offerings”. I asssure you, Jesus accepted no such money offerings in all his time on earth. Matthew 19:24 says “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” One day these “holy” Christian associations (that’s all churches are) will have to account for all the money they spent before God.

    • Suzuki35

      they don’t want to mention the verses about daughter zions salvation being her king comes to HER meek and lowly upon a donkey (humble) and “thou shalt no longer call me master,but thou shalt call me husband (ishi) making a differentiation between master and husband (if messiah came curse in genesis of man ruling wife was ended…so for many messiah DIDNT come..they cant pick and choose!! he set her free. they are still perpetuating the curse because they like it. but He set the Bride free:) that’s up to them if they want ot still be under the curse in Genesis…. “SALVATION comes to you as your KING LOWLY AND MEEK” not a dictator image… if there was a curse…there was a REVERSAL………..she gets a role reversal too.. “daughter zion so gentle and delicate, you made your back a path for their sins, they set get you down so we may walk on you, and you did! NEVER AGAIN will you be called gentle and delicate, rise up and thresh! shake off the dust! I will cause you to rise in my power? these are VICTORIES. and BREAKINGS of curses… messiah “crushes serpents head” yet they claim him as messiah yet say he failed at breaking the curses??? not one of those men who told you that will go live in a country with non free women LOL they wont have any BENEFITS THERE! let them go live in Saudi Arabia or iran then come begging to come back here… theyre simply unsaved and unappreciative of what her freedom has brought to America! and jealous? should be happy! no they will make $ off of free women.. but still speak of the curse lol what a warped world today….

  • William Boltron

    I totally disagree with this article and yes I am a non believer but I disagree with it on several levels. First, to call people that want others to distance themselves from the organized church “the enemy” is absolutely absurd. Secondly the Christian and Judaic churches have been for all intensive purposes dead for quite some time, Europe has grown very irreligious and the invention of the internet has expanded the horizons of people who would have never questioned the churches authority. I think to hold on to the idea of the “church” does nothing but limit people’s spiritual pathway. People are smart and informed now and if their faith is a personal one then by all means don’t discourage it because many people have very private spiritual lives and there is no reason to suggest that one way is better than another.

  • Sheree Dutton

    you are way off here hun, Jesus nor his early followers never went to church. I would rather follow that than the man made institution. It is not Biblical , the word was mistranslated. In the scripture the word meant a meeting of pagans. Umm Hmm! why would I want to follow something like that? Read pagan Christianity to set the record straight. It was the pagans attempt to mislead Christs followers AND IT HAS WORKED BEAUTIFULLY! The new testament followers simply NEVER DID CHURCH! When is says in the Bible, the church of ( insert city here) the word church is a mistranslation, it should have been translated the body, or something similar, Who do you think added that translation? Hmmm , interesting question, ready Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola for the answer. Jesus did not start the church, Pagans did!

    • JǫrðViðJǫrð

      Amen! My sentiments exactly! I’m going to research this more. It’s very interesting. The word for church was ekklesia, Greek for “assembly”. Hmm, funny I don’t hear the word “BUILDING” or “10 AM EVERY SUNDAY” or “GIVE TEN PERCENT OF YOUR INCOME AND LOVE OFFERINGS TO THE PASTORS AND OFFERINGS FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES, ABOVE AND BEYOND YOUR TITHES!” anywhere in that definition. So done with the “Christian” business, aka church.

    • Suzuki35

      yeah it says when they go to synagogue “they will already be able to hear the law of Moses, so place none other burden on them ” (the newly believing gentiles) than 4 laws.. noahide laws…..do you mean apostle paul as false? many feel that way now..i contrast hos and Jesus sayings.. and see daughter zion “tossed to and fro ” between two.. she is called confused and “never comforted”

  • Jocelyn

    I’m so glad you posted this article! It really challenges me test my knowledge of who my creator truly is. First of all there was not much for scriptural support. That bothers me. Author had many opinions that should have been backed up. Many of these statements from the article author I can’t agree with either. I’ve only quoted a few here that I would like to argue:
    1. “Get rid of church get rid of Jesus”
    By not going to a church building doesn’t mean I am giving up on my creator. I am not forsaking the assembly but grabbing on to the true assembly which is the body of Yashua the messiah.
    Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
    Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
    John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
    His word says he is not in a building. He is in a more perfect tabernacle (me) he dwells in me. To be carnal minded would be to think and do in the physical. To be spiritual minded he dwells in us and causes one to walk in his statues. I’m not getting rid of my creator. I have recognized exactly where he dwells.
    Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    2. “Does the church need to change? Without a doubt. The church needs continual reformation and transformation”.
    I Disagree: The true church which is the body of Christ should not need changing.
    Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
    3. “The church is far from perfect”
    I can agree with that if talking about the physical building church. The spiritual church is perfectly joined.
    1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our messiah, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. ( It should not be hard if he truly dwells in us).
    2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
    Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    Being part of the true church which is the body, there should be no divisions so we may be perfectly joined and of one mind. We should all be learning the truth according to his word and speaking the same language and walking the same way, in his righteouness. We brethren should be edifying (chastising) each other so we reamin partakers of the body and sons of our creator.
    4. “Now, more than ever, the world needs Christian working together humbly under Christ to lead people into a growing relationship with him, in whatever innovate and fresh forms that takes”.
    Part of this statement is true. We do need to be humbled as little children. We need to be teachable and learn of him of who he is and what he wants of us through his doctrine not the word of men because his words are accurate and he does not change. Remembering that Satan can appear as an angel of light. All things must be proven according to scripture holding fast to what is good and true. This is what will truly grow us as believers not sitting in a church each Sunday.

  • People that leave church are more likely to eventually abandon the organized lies, delusions of grandeur, and unscientific thinking associated with it in favor of common sense and meaningful social dialogue and useful community action. The world will be better off.

    • GirlInTheMachine

      Hahaha, you mean like without the Red Cross, World Vision, Salvation Army, Mercy Ships, Habitat for Humanity, Food for the Hungry, Christian African Relief Trust, Children’s Hunger Fund, Citizens for Public Justice, Covenant House, CURE International, Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Centre, International Child Care USA, Samaritan’s Purse, Hope UK, International Justice Mission, International Network of Prison Ministries, Tiny Hands International, Martha & Mary Society, Open Doors, Youth Of the Streets, Cyrus Centres…and I’ve only listed a small fraction here, Keith Dickens. Where did these charities start? In your garage? No, in a christian church. Who funds them? Atheists? No, Christians. Still think the world would be better off? Or are you just the type of fellow who follows a crowd without giving any thought to what you’re saying.

      Let’s say instead of christians, we talk about some other identifiable group. “People that leave state funded medical schools are more likely to eventually abandon the organized lies, delusions of grandeur, and unscientific thinking associated with it in favour of common senses and meaningful social dialogue and useful community action. The world would be better off”. Though some of that is true some of the time for this group, as well, doesn’t this sound vapid?

      The thing is, you use good grammar and you sound educated, but higher learning doesn’t seem to have taught the prejudice out of you.

  • jeffcook

    Carey – I like your work, but I think this post misunderstands the problem.

    It’s worth looking at the reasons why many of the most engaged are self-selecting out. Josh Packard’s work gives extensive sociological feed back on the dechurch in his recent “Church Refugees”.

    Though I think your points are solid above, they are straw men. The dones are leaving for other reasons which need to be wrestled through.

    Grace and Peace.

    • X

      I agree…specifically in areas surrounding mistrust within the church

    • JǫrðViðJǫrð

      Amen! He’s looking outwards instead of inwards. There’s a reason Christianity, not just churches, are diminishing.

  • Noah V

    I looked at your website, where can someone find your data beside in the book?

  • Jean-Paul Mattie

    Preface:
    I use the word ‘church’ to represent the physical building/gathering of believers
    I use the word ‘Church’ to represent the Bride/Body of Christ
    Throughout his article if you see his use of the word church as the Bride/Body of Christ, it changes the meaning, significantly.

    I understand his words and implications as he sets them, however, he needs to separate his implications between church and Church.

    “–” indicates my reply and thoughts of the preceding words.

    You hear it all the time.
    I’m done with church.
    –Yes. I am, temporarily, done with church; but not Church. This is my only argument with this article; the lack of definition between church (temple/building) and Church (temple of the Holy Spirit/Bride of Christ).

    I don’t really need to go to church…my relationship with God is personal.
    –Yes a relationship with God is personal, and when 2 or 3 are gathered together in Christ’s name, Christ is in their midst.

    I’ve had it with organized religion.
    The church is a man-made invention, not God’s idea.
    –The ‘church’ is, the Church is not.

    I completely understand why a growing number of people are bailing on church. Even people who used to lead in the church often stop attending (here are 9 reasons why church leaders do that).
    We’ve spent a lot of time working through the issue of declining church attendance (and growing disillusionment with the church) on this blog and in my
    leadership podcast. (For a summary of the issues, here’s a piece on the 10
    reasons even committed church attenders are attending church less often).
    –“#8 Failure to see a direct benefit”; but not in the selfish form, but in the spiritually bored. I am unchallenged, spiritually, in seeker sensitive churches. No room for effective discipleship, growth, “meat”, being challenged, biblically.

    I get it.

    The church is far from perfect. Life is complex. There are growing options. And the post-modern mind distrusts most things organized or institutional.
    But as trendy as the idea of writing off the church may be, it’s a mistake.
    –Imagine this saying “writing off the Church.” ‘Writing off the Church’ is more detrimental than “writing off the church.”

    While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the
    opposite; what if it’s a simplistic and even reductionist line of thinking that leads nowhere constructive?
    While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the opposite.
    –“Sophisticated thinking?” How does that, even, make sense.
    –1. (of a person, ideas, tastes, manners, etc.) altered by education, experience, etc., so as to be worldly-wise; not naive: a sophisticated young socialite
    –2. pleasing or satisfactory to the tastes of sophisticates, or people who are educated, cultured, and worldly-wise
    –3. deceptive; misleading.
    –Does he mean mature, practical, or refined? Sophisticate also implies: worldy, jaded, bored, and disillusioned; all of which a true Christian would not make a decision by.
    –Next a “reductionist line of thinking”? What?
    –1. the theory that every complex phenomenon, especially in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.
    –2. the practice of simplifying a complex idea, issue, condition, or the like, especially to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting it.
    –I doubt any Christian does this as a reason for not attending ‘church’. For certainly, not I.

    The church isn’t even biblical, is it?
    –A gathering of believers “where two or more are gathered in My Name, so am I”? Yes. The institution after Constantine? No.

    People argue the idea of church isn’t even biblical.
    –Yes, some do. Based on what it has become.

    So let’s start with the basics.
    –OK

    First if you’re a Christian, church is not something you go to. It’s something you
    are.
    –I agree IF you imply that church means ‘Church’ and not the building; and we won’t talk about the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’, yet, because I want to see people gathering in people.

    You can’t disassociate from church as a Christian anymore than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.
    –I agree IF you imply that church means ‘Church’ and not the building.

    You don’t go to church. You are the church.
    –I agree IF you imply that church means ‘Church’ and not the building.

    Second, the church was not a human invention.
    –The building was.

    Half-reading the New Testament with one eye closed will still lead you to the inescapable conclusion that the church was God’s idea.
    –I agree IF you imply that church means ‘Church’ or “the Body/Bride of Christ’ and not the building.

    In fact, most of the New Testament is not about the teachings of Jesus. It’s about the work of the church that Jesus initiated and ordained. I won’t fill this post with scripture verses that prove my point, because, quite frankly, you’d have to get rid of the majority of the New Testament to argue that the church was a parenthetical, made-up organization.
    If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus.
    –What stupid, unsubstantiated claims; UNLESS you mean church as the building and not ‘the Body/Bride of Christ’.

    You can’t have one without the other.
    If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus. He created it.
    –You can destroy every “church” building in the world and still have “the Church of God”.

    Maybe what bothers you should actually amaze you I understand that the idea
    of the church being imperfect makes some people despair.
    But rather than making us despair, the fact that Jesus started the church with imperfect people should make us marvel at God’s incredible grace.
    –Again with the misuse of definitions, despair:
    –1. loss of hope; hopelessness.
    –2. someone or something that causes hopelessness:

    –This is caused by the lack of discipleship and spiritual growth among the believers who attend the building services. The lack of biblical teaching and the, instead, rehashing of rules and commands that we all know.
    –Here’s a challenge, or two:
    Isaiah 45: 7; you never hear about YHWH creating evil, do you? But He does. Where’s the theology for this?
    Hebrews 2: 17; a reflection of John 1; the Word was not flesh, but became flesh. “For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way…”

    That God would use ordinary, broken human beings as vessels of his grace, and delight in it is awe-inspiring. He’s proud of how his grace is beating through your imperfect-but-redeemed life and through the church (have you ever read Ephesians 3: 10-11?).
    –Vs. 10: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”
    –Yes. “…so that the principalities and powers in heavenly places…” God intended His creation (the fallen ones) that defies Him to know, that even though they may cause us to stumble, He gives us grace and forgiveness to move on; constantly reminding them that they’re not going to win.
    –Another great example of verses being, flat out, misrepresented for what they say, including context of the chapter and book.

    The idea that God would use you and me is pretty amazing. He had other options.
    –True.

    He could have spoken to the world directly, but instead chose to use broken people to showcase his grace to a world in need of redemption.
    –He tried in the garden! That worked out well.

    For sure, community is messy.
    People sin. Leaders are sinful.
    –Welcome to the results of Adam’s disobedience.

    Most of the New Testament is not a story of an idealized church where everything worked perfectly all the time (just read 1 Corinthians any time you’re frustrated with your church).
    Most of the New Testament is a story of Jesus using his followers to spread his love in spite of themselves and as they overcome obstacle after obstacle.
    –AHH! The key word! Finally, “love.” But He didn’t spread it, He showed it;
    lived it.

    The fact that Christ uses flawed people to accomplish his work on earth is actually a sign of his grace, not a sign of his absence.
    –When do people who leave church say this, ‘his absence’?

    The church’s story, as twisted as it gets at times, is a beautiful story of God’s grace, God’s power and God’s redemption.
    –Constantine.

    So, by the way, is your life, which reflects the story of the church more than you would want to admit.
    The church gives the world a front row seat to the grace of God.
    –No. “You will know them by their love,” is what MY Bible says, not by the ‘church’.

    The ultimate consumerism isn’t going to church…it’s walking away from it
    People criticize the church today as being consumerist. And to some extent, churches cater to consumerism—often to our detriment. I agree that consumerism is a problem for Christianity.
    But ironically, much of the dialogue about why people are done with church pushes people deeper into Christian consumerism than it pushes them into deeper discipleship: Here I am, all alone, worshiping God on my schedule when it’s convenient for me.
    –“Consumerism”? You’ve never read a dictionary, have you?
    –1. a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.
    –2. the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
    –3. the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods:
    –The “church” is greedy, in many ways. This does not make it a consumerist
    institution.
    –It’s the lack of discipleship that pushes people away from the church, not
    consumerism.
    –The ‘church’ is part of a greater collective. If a particular bible verse or passage does not line up with their doctrine, instead of changing their doctrine, they change the meaning of the verses. This is false teaching, false prophesying, and false discipleship.

    Listening to a podcast of your favourite preacher while you’re at the gym or on the back deck and pushing three of your favourite worship songs through your ear buds does not make you a more passionate Christ follower.
    –Why not?
    –Can we not do this and still “not forsake our fellowship with other believers”
    “where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I will be also”?

    It usually makes you a less effective one.
    -No.

    Disconnecting yourself from community is actually less faithful than connecting yourself to a flawed community.
    -True.

    If you think the church today isn’t enough (and arguably, we need to reform it), then do what the early Christians did.
    If you want a more biblical church…don’t gather weekly, gather daily. Before dawn. Get up before the sun rises to pray together with other Christians before you go to work. Pool your possessions. Don’t claim anything as your own.
    –This would be ideal, yes. Who’s up for it? And I believe the Amish are very close to this.

    Be willing to lose your job, your home, your family and even your life because you follow Jesus.
    –I am.

    Then you’ll be more authentic.
    –More “original” will be a better word.

    If you want a more biblical church, don’t gather weekly. Gather daily. Before dawn. And notice that the early church did indeed gather. Gathering always leads to some form of organizing.
    –Organizing is not organization.

    To pretend the church doesn’t need to be organized is as logical arguing that society doesn’t need to be organized.
    Because community is inevitable, organization is inevitable.
    –Why organize everyone under a roof and say “yay we have church.”
    –Christ organized as much as this, two by two, and bring the clothes on your back, if they kick you out, shake the dust off your feet, if they welcome you, great.
    –What needs to be organized about “go and preach”?
    –Oh and what do we preach the “good news”? What is that; the gospel the disciples preach: the Kingdom of God and salvation through grace, or the gospel
    that Jesus preached: the Kingdom of God and salvation through grace?
    –Society needs to be more communal, just like church.

    Our ability to organize and to accomplish more together than we can alone is one of the crowning achievements of humanity, and our ability to work together
    makes Christian effort far more effective.
    –That’s exactly what they say about evolution: that we learned to work together; minus the Christian part.
    –That’s a troll statement; I apologize.
    –Concerning the Christian part: living by and producing the fruit of the Spirit is far more effective.

    It’s also part of God’s design for how we should interact while we’re on this planet. Come to think of it, heaven is a community too.
    –“Where two or more…”ahh you get the point.

    The only one who wants Christians to believe we’re better off alone is
    our enemy.
    If you really think about it, it’s actually a very clever tactic.
    –Umm, yah. Point?

    The church has helped even those who resent the church

    –That is what Christ commissioned us with. “To love your neighbour as yourself,”
    right? Wait, wait, wait, the Bible says something more about this: Romans 13:8- 14 (but especially 8-10; and then vs. 10)
    –8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, THOU SHALT NOT KILL, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL, THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, THOU SHALT NOT COVET; and if there is any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. 10 Love worketh no ill to one’s neighbor:
    therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
    11 And this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on
    the armor of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the lusts of flesh.

    Finally, if you’re reading this article and you have any modicum of faith in Jesus, may I suggest your faith is actually the result of the mission of the church.
    –Yay. A proper use of a big word.
    –And no. Many I know came to know Christ by His Word and not the preaching of a preacher/priest/clergyman.
    –I’m going to skip ahead to continue this thought

    Very few people come to know Jesus because he appears to them supernaturally when they are alone and calls them by name.
    Does that ever happen?
    Sure. But not to 99.9% of us.
    Almost all of us who follow Jesus have had our lives changed by a flawed body called the church that Jesus so passionately loves and calls his own.
    –Continued
    –Yes. And many I know have had their lives and faith destroyed by the church.
    –My faith was on that route. It’s been months and months and months, and left alone with God’s Word and someone to talk to and gather together in His Name, has restored my mustard seed faith and has calmed my mind.
    –Some I know, understand completely, others, fear for me, and yet others, are uncertain to the point of keeping their distance. The Bible is truth and it doesn’t say anything it does not mean. Some is poetry, some is prophecy, some is instruction, some is chastising, some is judging, but it is all truth. If the Truth has set you free, then you are free. And the challenging, life destroying and changing parts of the Bible will not cause you to think “This can’t apply to me, even though it completely tells me I’m wrong.” We will take it like a child takes punishment and be thankful God loves us to correct us, Himself.

    Think about that.
    –Yes, think about that.

    We need more church
    –No. More Church.

    Do we need more churches? Yes.
    –No

    Do we need more humble churches? We do.
    –No, we need more humble Churches.

    Do you we need authentic, transparent leadership? Absolutely.
    –Jesus is my Leader, who is yours? He’s pretty transparent.

    Does the church need to change? Without a doubt.
    –Constantly, but not in belief and faith must grow.

    The church needs continual reformation and transformation.
    –The Church does, not the church.

    So what will the future look like?
    –Well, Revelation gives a clear picture. Earth, death, and Hell are burned up. Oh right, the sinners are not tormented in hell for eternity.

    Will we gather in quite the way we do today in the future? In some ways yes; in others, no.
    –Nope! On heaven’s streets.

    Hopefully we gather more frequently and work through our differences at a deeper level and impact our communities more powerfully.
    –Every day, right?

    These two posts offer 10 predictions about future church attendance and 11 traits of churches that will impact the future.
    But regardless of how the church gathers in the future, we will gather…we need to gather.
    –“We” you mean the Church, right? And not necessarily in ‘church’?

    We Christians need each other, probably now more than ever.
    –Yes, the Bible says so: Do not forsake…;where two or more…

    And even if you don’t think you need other Christians, I promise you you do, and so does our world.
    –Yes, but we don’t need a church building to do this.

    Now, more than ever, the world needs Christian working together humbly under Christ to lead people into a growing relationship with him, in whatever innovate and fresh forms that takes.
    –NO! GOD leads people to Himself through Jesus, NOT us. Read the Bible! We are to tell people about what God has done for us. Showing them God’s love through our lives; fulfilling the Law by love as our Lord and Saviour did while
    on this Earth.

    The church is not dead.
    –The ‘church’ is. The Church, is rising.

    Far from it.
    –Oh, well, yes! The ‘church is dead’. It has under-served it’s purpose.
    –What religion is your church doing? This one? James 1: 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
    –This is the only one the God of the Bible accepts.

    Maybe it’s just beginning to take shape for a brand new era that desperately needs it.
    –Maybe it is, put Truth before thought.

    • Roland Richard

      I agree with you totally, I never left the church just because I don’t go to the building but I spend a great deal of time searching for Him. The advantage of the building is that you can go to a place where others share the same passion as you do and it’s a place you can go to talk about the Father and Jesus, a community that shares a common interest. Not every community worships the same so its up to the individual to find the right fit. I would strongly suggest to anyone that does not read the bible on a daily basis to attend, because the buildings will have a part to play in end times. When people want answers to why the world went south, the building is there for them to run to for answers cause those that attended and did not make Christ their savior will have a huge role to play.

    • TimandJocelyn Morse

      Right on! After I made my post above and scrolled down and saw what you wrote. People really need to understand who our creator is and who he is in them. The holy spirit/ his word is our true teacher not men with these bogus articles.

  • scprguy

    Wow. That wasn’t a convincing argument at all. Maybe the religious churches ought to give up their tax breaks and rely only upon Him for their needs.
    His church is in religious captivity called ‘christianity’ and in the time of the end, another great exodus of those hearing His voice to ‘come out of her my children, lest you share in her sins and partake of her plagues’ Rev 18:4.
    What are y’all going to say and do when the Lord sends His Bride out in power, in the spirit of Moses and Elijah with this very message?
    The religious never believed the words of the prophets the Lord sent to them, I can see this unfortunately is going to happen again, but for the last time.

    • GirlInTheMachine

      You realize the churches only have a tax break on the actual square footage of the sanctuary, right? the land, the rest of the building, any other buildings, on and on and on, they pay full tax on correct – I’m assuming you knew that? Most pastors I know make less than the average CEO for a company of comparable size. They pay taxes on that salary, everyone who works for the church pays taxes on their salaries. If the church is also a registered charity, they are not allowed to turn a profit, that means any excess money they have must go to causes that align with their charter. I have yet to read one church charter that says that their main goal is to enrich themselves without paying income or property taxes. So, instead, they do things like they do in my community. Recently one church bought a building and they’ve converted it into a hostel for street kids to live, long term. Everything they need, including anything they might need to permanently get off the streets, if that is what they want, is provided. Another church built a playground for the local children in their neighbourhood. Another church runs a cafeteria and 25 room “hotel” that is open every day and provides shelter, clothing, food and anything else those desperate people need. If you take away that one tiny little sanctuary that doesn’t get taxed, what would happen? Probably nothing. Would it make a huge difference to how they operate? You have to live within your means, so the money to pay the taxes would come out of the money used for charitable purposes. You may find that you get what you want – not going to bother me any. But you should really think through your argument and, you should know actually what you’re arguing about.

  • Noah V

    A summary of your response seems to be: “People are only done with the church because they don’t have the same keen insights that I do.”

    The reality is that the mainstream US evangelical church has an outdated culture that has made it relatively immoral compared to the secular world. Consider:
    1. The evangelical church as whole rejects science, and with it a functional stewardship of our planet and it’s resources (Not to mention, who wants to be associated with a group perceived to be the personification of ignorance?).
    2. The evangelical church as a whole subjugates women to a lesser role than men.
    3. The evangelical church as a whole is hostile to the LGBTQ community. Evangelical organizations and voters are behind a large percentage of discriminatory legislation targeting the LGBTQ community.
    4. Somewhere between 70-80% of all evangelicals consistently do not support programs, policies and/or candidates that actively help the poor (health-care, safety net, etc.) despite the fact that Jesus spoke more about the importance of helping the poor than any other topic.

    My question: Why would any moral person ever look to join a US evangelical church?

    I agree on one thing. We do need more church. Just not the one that we have.

    • VB501

      I am in a mainline Protestant church and although my church does not have women as elders, I have never felt like I was subjugated or marginalized–ever. Also I have found the conservative bodies as a whole much kinder to sinners and much more accommodating of differences in opinion. I have found the churches that have left the teaching of the Bible regarding LGBTQ to be the most vicious and intolerant of anyone not in agreement with them. It is possible to love your fellow neighbor and not agree with their interpretation or rejection of Scripture. I actually had a lifelong “friend” insist that if you do not accept homosexuality as part of God’s plan, then you are a hate filled, bigot. My teenaged grandson was recently rejected by a FB music group because he stated that “everyone has a right to their own opinion”. They said he wasn’t aggressive enough in opposing members who supported traditional marriage–It’s a freaking MUSIC group! So much for tolerance, and this boy is so desperate for friends with similar interests that it breaks my heart.

      • TimandJocelyn Morse

        Look at it from the spiritual we the people are the bride. He in us is the groom. His words that follow from us is the man that speaks. The bride/women does not speak. Bet they never told you that in church. It’s all about the physical there.

    • GirlInTheMachine

      Noah, where you getting your information? I’m curious. “70-80% of all evangelicals consistently do not support programs, policies and/or candidates that actively help the poor” – where do those numbers come from? It’s such a whacked out number compared to what I hear and see everyday, that it kinda doesn’t make sense. Who do you consider to be evangelical? Christians in general? Do some research. Take some inventory on charities that help the poor, sick, underprivileged and oppressed and line them up with the faiths that support them. Who’s going to come out on top? I’ve done the work already, so I know, but do you?

    • JǫrðViðJǫrð

      The most uselss idea or being an active Christian is passively listening to an idolizedan tell you what you already know you should do but instead you sit in your comfortable pew to hear him tell you what you should be doing in that very moment which is to preach and help people, especially the poor, because just hearing it strokes your ego enough that you feel like a good Christian just because you’re hearing what you stand for. If you stand for it, you would be doing it. Most church attendees aren’t. This is the issue, we’ve associated the church with a building, which is a complete misinterpretation. It’s ourselves, our bodies. So instead of sitting in a church on Sunday morning, we should be going out together to help people.

    • Kristin

      Though I agree with much of what you say, it’s important to note the distinction between voting for other people to help the poor and helping the poor yourself. You don’t have to vote for government imposed charity if you’re actually involved in the charity yourself. Otherwise… SPOT ON.

  • David MacKenzie

    I’ve been on an academic leave from pastoral ministry now for over a year. In that time, I’ve visited over 20 churches in my area. Some are very capable. Most are very sincere. Yet, I’m still struck by how disconnected Sunday worship has become. I honestly thought that in 15 months of looking around, I’d actually hear the Lord’s Prayer. Yet, not once have I heard it. I actually thought that in 15 months, I’d hear the word “ISIS” spoken more than just once. Christians the world over are being beaten into the ground, and yet there is silence on a Sunday. What I notice is a profound sense of superficiality on a Sunday. To be fair, maybe these churches dig more deeply in a prayer service or a mid-week small group. But the odd thing is, the visitor would never, ever know. It is as though Sunday dare not mention “Good Friday”— as if it shall be reserved for celebration alone, and have no connection whatsoever to the cross-bearing we are called to do, in Christ Jesus. Overlooking the possibility of personal delusion, I don’t believe I was ever looking for a “perfect church” during my sabbatical. The problem, to me, though is I WAS looking for a church that was REAL about the difficult times in which we live. Instead, I seem to have found something that shares more affinity with the entertaining distractions of “Vegas”, to Marx’ “opiate of the masses”, or to Roman “bread and circuses”. What is happening to us?

    • Mumanna

      Have you considered that maybe you are being called to be what you are searching for? There are many of us who are searching for the same thing. You won’t know it by just attending a “service” but by getting to know the “searchers”. Having been in churches of all denominations I have found true christians and “searchers” (those of us who are hungry for the unadulterated Word to be preached and expounded upon with conviction and passion for Christ). There are problems in every church – divisions, in-fighting, cliches, and hypocrites who “praise Him” loudly on Sunday and forget Him as they walk out the door.We Need Pastors who will Lead and Teach. Are you going to be one?

      • David MacKenzie

        Dear Mumanna:

        Yes, I have. And thanks for the reaffirmation. It means a lot.

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  • christoph

    “organized religion” and “Church” as described in the New Testament are worlds apart

  • Verne Skjonsby

    I see the churches problem in the structure we have. Like so many organizations in the US, a lions share of the money goes to the pastor, bishops or presidents and all of their assistants and staff plus to the national organization. Where is the money for the poor? We, mostly, don’t want them in our nice clean building. The other problem is all the publicity (too little and too late) on sexual abuse in the church. I have met an amazing number of people who left for that reason. They are never coming back.

  • Richard Brand

    I am so ashamed of the people who are the loudest, meanest, most dogmatic in the name of Christianity, that I try to pretend that I have nothing to do with them. Plus most of the stuff I see done in church in worship is civic club stuff.

    • Verne Skjonsby

      I’ll grant you the announcements, passing the peace, and some of the prayers for folk nobody knows, but you don’t get God’s word and Communion at a civic club!

      • Richard Brand

        I have been to services where they read only about four or five verses of Scripture, the sermon is about some community cause or some political issue, or how to deal with stress, how to be happy, The churches I have seen do not have baptisms because they have no children and no new members. So once a quarter they have communion.

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  • Amy

    It’s not the church! It’s how the church functions in western culture that is the problem! Simple, house to house gatherings where we hold each other to obey what Jesus taught us, transformed by the Holy Spirit using the tithes & offerings to help the poor & advance the gospel where Christ’s good news has not yet gone instead of multimillion dollar buildings and huge staffs that minister to those who come to watch. That is what people are walking away from!

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  • jonperrin

    Exceptional article, Carey! The writer of the Book of Acts (Paul?) said, “Don’t give up the habit of meeting together.” (Heb. 10:25) I believe that is because a church service is to be a COMMUNAL celebration of God’s grace at work in our lives. If you bail from community, you lose the communal aspect of Christianity. Besides, spiritual maturity is accelerated in the context of community.

  • Billy Mitchell

    Its important to understand most aren’t leaving Christ’s body, but this institutionalized version of what Christ intended. Here is something I just read today from a church in Alabama…

    We want to challenge you to start tithing, and see God begin blessing your life as you commit to healthy financial stewardship.

    How?

    We’re asking you to commit to take 10% of your total income for the next 90 days and give it to God through the church.

    Who?

    Tithing is God’s plan for every follower of Christ. However, the 90 Day Challenge is for individuals or families that have not been tithing in at least the last six months. Tithing is 10% of your income not just regular or spontaneous giving in the church offering.

    Why?

    The only thing in the Bible that God says to test Him on is
    tithing. We at ______ Church believe in it so strongly that we want to
    give you the opportunity to take God at His Word. God promises us you
    blessings when you trust Him by giving Him the first ten percent.

    Then what?

    We understand that giving away 10% of your income can be a big –
    and often frightening – commitment! That’s why we created the 90 Day
    Tithing Challenge: a money-back guarantee of sorts. Essentially, it’s a contract based on the promises of God in Malachi 3:10-11. We commit to you that if you tithe for three months and God doesn’t hold true to His promises of blessings, we will refund 100% of your tithe. No questions asked.

    Terms and Conditions

    Before participating in the 90 Day Challenge please make sure you’ve got the rules covered:

    I understand that this form must be completed and received by
    _____ Church prior to the beginning of the 90 Day Tithe Challenge
    period.

    I understand that my household qualifies for participation because
    we have not been tithing for the last six months. (This is defined as
    consistent percentage giving of 10% of our household income.)

    I understand that if paid at a physical service at ______ Church,
    my tithe must be paid by check, by completed offering envelope, or by
    the giving kiosk so that my tithe can be properly credited.

    I understand that I cannot seek a refund prior to the end of the 90
    Day Tithing Challenge period, and I understand that I cannot seek a
    refund unless I complete the entirety of the 90 day period with
    consistent and faithful giving.

    I understand that I cannot seek a refund for any contributions made
    prior to the beginning of the 90 Day Tithing Challenge period.

    I understand that any request for refund must be received by _______
    Church Offices within 30 days of the end of the 90 Day Tithing
    Challenge Period.

    You are agreeing to the following: “I would like to test God’s
    faithfulness by accepting the 90 Day Tithe Challenge. I agree that for
    the three-month period stated below, my household will contribute to
    God, through _______ Church, a tithe equal to 10% of our income. At the
    end of the 90 day period, if I am not convinced of God’s faithfulness to
    bless my life as a result of my obedience to His Word, then I will be
    entitled to request a refund of the full amount of contributions made
    during that 90 day period.

    -This is the stuff being rejected. And its a very good thing. As I mentioned earlier, the ground is being tilled and new things are growing. I hope most view these shifts with great optimism.

    • Jack

      Are you making a contract with God….phew this stinks
      Doesn’t the word say,that he will build his church
      Making the scripture say what you want to say
      This stinks

    • Jeff Shaffer

      Unbelievable! Even if the tithe was valid and applied to followers of Christ (and it does not…all the requirements of the old covenant ended when Jesus was crucified, died, resurrected, ascended and subsequently glorified), this is something a for-profit company in our culture would do.

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  • Billy Mitchell

    What I’m noticing and hearing is a movement of people who are simply not at all interested in perpetuating the religion of Christianity, a denomination, a church or church planting network, or a church brand name. The desire is to see “on earth as it is in heaven” (focusing on Kingdom), be obedient to Jesus (His mission from Matt 28), and to do this with others 168 hours a week (organized gatherings are overflow of family-like connections). This is awesome and those in this group are turning the world (Christianity included) on its head.

  • lisetteDeBorchgrave

    Sometimes we need distance– we need to cover ground. I need a faith community–I know that is what Jesus had in mind for us. However, we humans hurt each other so much, when we are gathered into communities of any sort. The “walkabout” that so many of us take, is natural. Many of the faith stories I have heard in my life, have that piece. People get done. They just walk away. The bad behavior often witnessed is so far removed from what Jesus wanted us to be like–I can’t blame people for just calling it quits. However, once you have heard Jesus, no matter how far you run–you eventually do return in some way. -Might take a while–might be a new form or faith experience. I understand my own need to run from the scary scary behavior I see in churches–to tend my wounds, walk the labyrinth- shake the dust off-I’ll be back.

  • theonethatlived

    Carey, your arguments, excuses, reasons are just that “yours.” You have decided this is a method to get some to see your point of view or perhaps that of the church you lead. Apparently you have taken up the proselytizing call from God and made the message fit your agenda. Much of what you say is redundant, sentence after sentence just reworded to justify your position on organized church.
    I may have taken Jesus into my heart/soul while attending a church, but within 4 years the pain I felt whenever I was around those people was suffocating. My heart ached, my spirit sagged because of the deceitfulness of most “playing” Christian.
    I do not have the need to be seen as a Christian. I live it. Do not need to wear any symbols of it. Just plain live it.
    In the years that I have stopped attending organized churches, my faith and dependence on Jesus grows everyday. The tithes I gave to support the pastor and so on, go directly to those in real need. I know the Bible tells us to give to the pastor and all that, but my heart is to give directly to those in need. Jesus was an original homeless person, he hung out with the “less thans” the lowliest of the lowly, not the ones that were the “religious.” At least in their minds.
    I follow HIS word. I focus on HIS teachings. Do not go a morning without being in HIS word to guide me through what He has set for me to do for the day.
    You are among many that give the argument that if one does not worship in an organized church~advertising for YOUR church~then we are doing it all wrong. Jesus will be the judge of that when we face judgement. Do not need you or the likes of you to tell me otherwise.

    • Clearly you have this all figured out. Thanks for your editorial on the state of my heart. Best wishes.

      • fundamentals

        A bit snippy, don’t you think?

  • Brother Maynard

    But what if the reason people don’t like going to church is that they’re tired of churches that keep telling them in condescending, pedantic, or overly simplistic ways that their idea of “church” is wrong? And what if they’ve already thought very deeply, long and hard, about all of the reasons people give them that they’re wrong, and find most of those arguments to be filled with false dichotomies or fundamental misunderstandings about why they don’t want to go to church in the first place? What if their broader view of church is still more compelling to them and more strengthening to their faith than the narrow view that demands they fill a pew each week? Just sayin’.

    • When you cannot find ‘one’ good church…maybe the problem isn’t the church.

      • Ann A. Jones

        That’s a comfort, Carey. When we can’t find a church that preaches the gospel, has no heart for missions, plays music that no one in the church knows, and treats the older Christians like they are of no value, it’s OUR fault. So, we have decided that best thing is for us to stay home and let you have church that can be anything except for people like us. Good job.

      • jonperrin

        Absolutely true!

      • aarongallegos

        Respectfully Carey, this reply isn’t helpful and shows Brother Maynard’s point. You’ve probably seen the recent stats on the “dones” – those who are done with church. If all these committed Christians are leaving church, perhaps the problem isn’t them.

        • How do you define “committed Christians” when you are living your faith alone (as many “dones” that I know do)? Committed to who or what?

        • Ann A. Jones

          Well said, Aaron! I know a lot of people in our position. It’s good to know that we are NOT alone or at fault. The Christian army tends to shoot its wounded, doesn’t it?

      • Nick117

        LOL, seriously Carey, can you be more judgmental than this? Maybe some christians are leaving the church because of stupid comments like yours, tired of being always point out as the guilty one. I live in an area where 99% of the society is non-religious, so yes there is some situation where sometimes there is no community that fit who you are when all the churches around you are trying to be the next ”hillsong”.

      • Pastor A

        I agree with Carey.

        A couple thoughts:

        – Judgment begins at the household of God.
        – if your trying to pick the speck out of someone else’s eye; then pull out the plank in your own first.
        – You can’t be done with church (a community of believers following a pastor) AND follow Christ at the same time.

        • Ann A. Jones

          Wish you could walk a mile in my clogs. Been there with me when I was told to my face that I don’t count. When Christians rejected me after my husband was unfaithful. Turned their backs on me during deep depression, telling me that my faith was weak. I could go on. There is nothing wrong with Jesus, but His followers, including you and me, are often so far off the mark that it isn’t funny. If God can accept me as I am, then why do others feel it is their right to push me away? People like that give the church – and mostly Jesus – a bad name. There are times when having someone insist that I poke myself in the eye because I can see what is going on around me just becomes too painful to tolerate. Instead of anyone listening, we get remarks like yours denying the situation and blaming it all on us. I suggest that you and Carey do as you think we should. Is your church all that perfect?

    • Ann A. Jones

      I understand Brother Maynard. We were told to our faces to “like it or lump it.
      We have been told that the kind of service we can participate in is “irrelevant,” that our gifts are worthless. We fall into the gap between “adult” and “senior” and neither of them fits us. We did not change, the church did. We are no longer wanted, and we don’t go where we aren’t wanted.

  • Tracy Parish Lilley

    Thanks so much for continually articulating the heartbeat of the Church from your perspective Carey. This post elicited so much dialogue when I shared it on my FB page. It was so insightful and challenged me as a leader to better acquaint myself with my own personal views and how best to express them. So again thank you.

  • Ron

    I’ve spent the last 38 years serving the Lord in about as many ways as one could serve I suppose. If I think back I’ve been a youth pastor,a church planter,worship leader,senior pastor,and evangelist. I’ve also found myself serving as church janitor and a few other titles I’ve long forgotten.
    I absolutely LOVE the church. I NEED to be in church. I long to be connected to a body of like minded believers. I struggle when I am disconnected from Christ’s body.
    Yet that is where I find myself today. Disconnected and so lonely.
    Call it burnout or whatever you want to call it but I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply cannot be content to attend yet another manufactured,programmed to the minute,choreographed “service” where no one leaves any differently than the way they came.
    I am desperate for God. I am hungry,starving for a move of God that will shake us to the core and cause us to see us as He sees us.
    I know many who have walked away from church because they think they don’t need the church. I am not numbered among them. As I stated previously I NEED the church,I long for the church.
    Where I differ is that I need for the church to simply be the church. A loving,thriving community of faith where love is not a byword but rather the guiding principle and principle motivator for why we do what we do.
    I long to find a place where love is practiced,where it is demonstrated from a sincere heart without respect of person. I could care less about light shows,music styles,jeans or suits,or the length of ones hair. None of that moves me and certainly is not an indicator of one’s standing with God.
    I didn’t leave the church because I no longer need the church. I left the church in order to find it.

    • Thanks Ron…one of the most heartfelt honest comments I’ve seen. I applaud your search. Maybe you’re called to start a church at your age. 🙂 Ron, the only flag I see is if you’ve seen many many churches and none of them is ‘good enough’. I know a lot of leaders behind the lights and the hair and ‘shows’ who have similar hearts to what yours sounds like. There is authentic connection in many many places. Something to pray about.

    • Billy Mitchell

      All do respect to Carey, I beg you not to “start a church”. Starting a church was never the focus of Jesus or His apostles. I would encourage you to find one or two others with your same passion and begin revealing the Kingdom to the most marginalized in your community. Of course the result of this will someday be “church” (which does what you’ve modeled so will quickly reproduce), but that was never the starting point.

  • Abel Perez

    Nice post, thanks,
    I do try to teach the congregation, that we use the word church too easily, that there are levels, I may say:
    the church, just a building a temple.
    The Church, the local congregation which we may have some disagreements and…
    THE CHURCH, the one and only body of Christ.
    The world get confuse or the wrong message when we complain about The Church, sounds like we are talking about THE CHURCH. We are part of it or not. HE sustains it, since was stablished to eternity there is an interrupted line. We deal with churches and Churches. We even call it ours some time is His.

  • Mark M

    Great post! I think something we can forget is that even if I feel I don’t need the church, the church needs each one of us because a body with missing body parts never functions as well as it could when all the parts are working together. Sometimes being involved is a sacrifice, but in light of Jesus’ sacrifice I personally can’t justify not being involved. We might consider it an organization but the structure God set up in the Old Testament was very organized so I don’t think He is against it being organized. The last reason I think involvement is important us because Jesus gave us gifts of pastors, etc so I want to do my best to look after the gifts that Jesus gave to help us ( even if I don’t think some of those gifts are very good, they are still a gift from Jesus) so the body/church can accomplish its job. I’m glad our North American governments provide us with some tax relief so we can leverage our resources. I understand that we can loose focus on what our mission should be but that has been a common theme throughout the bible. However because the church is about relationships I also understand that when we get hurt it can be very hard to remain in relationship with people until some of those wounds get some healing. Yes change is needed but for that to happen I must choose to love the bride and be part of the solution instead of looking at the problems from a distance.

  • Gary Davis

    Strong alone (John in prison), UNSTOPPABLE together (the church in Acts).

  • Thanks for such an insightful post. It hurts me so to hear people disparage the church when Jesus himself loves the church. Even so far as to give his life for the church. Your post is right on target.

  • Hey, Carey. I appreciate your pastoral sensitivity, your leadership, and your love for the church. I’d like to have a conversation about the people this article does not address. This post sounds a bit like a false dichotomy: either you’re part of an institutional church or you’re just going it alone and don’t value the church. But there are those of us who love the body of Christ, are committed to Christian community, but do not equate the church with the non-profit organization/institution that North American Christianity tends to equate with “the church.” Do we really have to create an institutional organization to be the church?

    • Dale Turner

      Now you’re on to something!

  • Charles Hodsdon

    After 15 years of church leadership in one form or another, It’s been almost 2 years since I have consistently been involved in a Sunday gathering of the church. I’ve experienced a spectrum of emotions during my period of recovery from burn out. I have a million and one issues with how the churches in my area “do church”, but I’ve never stopped longing for a faith community. We were designed to exist as a body, an intricate connection of parts. I am extremely blessed by the friends who have patiently stood by my wife and I and kept us connected to the body, praying with us, crying with us, encouraging us, opening the word with us, and loving people with us. Though many acquaintances of mine might put me in the “rejecting the church” camp, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment, that it is entirely impossible to embrace Christ and cut yourself off from the body, the church isn’t a place we go, it is who we are.

    • Stay encouraged Charles. Thanks for sharing your heart. We’re on this journey with you. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Really good, Carey. Thank you. Those who walk away are indeed stepping outside of God’s plan for them. The church was Jesus’ idea, and He didn’t make a mistake. I appreciate the clarity and kindness of your post.

    • Thanks Wayne. I just don’t see how leaving the church leads to greater faithfulness or effectiveness, hence the post. And why I lead the way I do (and why so many others lead the same way).

      • I think leaving also means walking away from the Great Commission—something no one person can do on their own. It takes the body working together, each gift functioning in its purpose. Thanks again.

    • A Amos Love

      Carey, Wayne, myself, and most folks I know, are NOT “Done” with “The Church of God.” Where Jesus is the head of the body, the church. WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Disciples, His Ekklesia, are “Done” with the church of man run like a business. The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, that the IRS calls church. Where Mere Fallible Humans have taken “Titles” NOT found in the Bible for one of His Disciples. And have taken the name of the Lord, my God, Shepherd, Leader, Reverend, in vain. And have “Led” the folks astray. Jer 50:6, “My people” hath been “lost sheep:” **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    • A Amos Love

      Carey, Wayne, Haven’t you ever wondered why? In the Bible? NOT one of His Disciples took the “Title” Lead Pastor? Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend? And, NOT one of His Disciples called them self lead pastor? Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend? And, NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple lead pastor? Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend? And, NOT one of His Disciples was, Hired or Fired, as a lead pastor? Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend? Job 32:21-22 KJV, Let me NOT, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give “Flattering Titles” unto man. For I know NOT to give “FlatteringTitles;” in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

      • Again, Carey. Thanks for being both balanced—and kind. An essential quality in any leader.

        For what it’s worth, Amos, actually, titles were part of the NT church: elder, deacon, and overseer are found in both Paul’s and Peter’s letters as legitimate positions. We can quibble over “lead pastor” or any other title, but any abuse of power by a leader doesn’t negate the legitimacy of the office designated by the apostles.

    • A Amos Love

      Wayne – Thanks for the response.
      Maybe you are correct when you say…
      “…Amos, actually, titles were part of the NT church…”
      It could be just me who can NOT find these “Titles.”

      But, the questions asked were about “His Disciples,” in the Bible.

      In the Bible, Can you name…
      One of “His Disciples” who took the Title/Position pastor?
      Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?”

      In the Bible, Can you name…
      One of “His Disciples” who called them self pastor?
      Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?”

      In the Bible, Can you name…
      One of “His Disciples” who was, Hired or Fired, as a pastor?
      Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?”

      What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
      What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

      • Here you go. Peter wrote: “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you” (1 Peter 5:1–2).

        • A Amos Love

          Wayne – NOT sure what this is referring to.

          Yes – Peter calls himself an elder.
          But, is elder here a “Title?”
          And – Peter never takes the “Title” pastor?
          Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?”

          Also, “shepherd the flock” is a verb NOT a “Title.”

          And, depends on which Bible version you use. 😉

          1 Pet 5:2
          KJV – Feed the flock of God which is among you…
          RSV – Tend the flock of God…
          NLT – Care for the flock…

          And, nothing in 1 Pet 5, about the
          “Title/Position” pastor/leader/reverend.

          John 10:16
          And other sheep I have,
          which are not of this fold:
          them also I must bring,
          and they shall “hear My voice; “
          and there shall be “ONE” fold,
          and “ONE” shepherd.

          One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

          {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • A Amos Love

      Wayne

      You mention “the Great Commission” in one of your comments.
      Even if, Mat 28:19, KJV, is correct, “Go… teach all nations.”
      Or, Mat 28:19, ESV, is correct, “Go… make disciples…”

      Verse 20, in most versions are similar…
      In verse 20, Jesus, teaches, His Disciples, what to teach.
      When teaching all nations – Or, making disciples of Jesus.

      Mat 28:20 NASB
      …teaching them to observe ALL that I commanded you…

      Sounds simple, read the four gospels, teach what Jesus taught.

      Did Jesus teach “His Disciples” to take the “Title” pastor?
      Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?” – NOPE!

      Did “His Disciples” teach potential Disciples to take the “Title” pastor?
      Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?” – NOPE!

      Did you know, Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called Leaders?
      For you have “ONE” leader – the Christ. And NONE did…
      In the Bible, ALL of “His Disciples” called themselves “Servants.” 😉

      Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible
      Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
      But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
      Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
      and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

      Mat 23:10-12 – The Message
      And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
      There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
      **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a Servant.**
      If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
      But if you’re content to simply be yourself,
      your life will count for plenty.

      If someone calls them self a “Leader?”
      Allows others to call them “Leader?”

      Are they one of “His Disciples?” Hmmm?

      Can you “Go… teach all nations.” Or “Go… make disciples…”
      If you do NOT teach what Jesus taught “His Disciples?”
      If you do NOT imitate “His Disciples” in the Bible?

      Seems, in the Bible, the only “ONE” I can find…
      With the “Title,” or referred to as…
      Shepherd. And Leader. And Reverend. IS…

      {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}