Stop Going to Church!

I know this sounds odd coming from a pastor, but it’s true. What most people call church really is a “worship service.” They go to a building with other people to watch other people trying to get them to come into the presence of and hear Jesus. This isn’t bad, but it’s not church.
If you go to church and never interact with other believers – give and take – why not stay home and watch church on TV? You would have the same experience – good music (maybe even better!), hear good teaching (better as well?) and come away feeling just the same all from the comforts of your living room couch while still in your PJs.
Church is not a service, it’s believers interacting with one another. It must be a two-way street. The Bible has a phrase that describes this. It’s called the “one-another” phrases. There are over 40 of them in the New Testament. We’re not called to go to church, but to be the church.
One of the illustrations the Bible uses to describe the church is a human body (1 Cor. 12:12-27). Each part is connected to another part, as the foot is attached to the leg. Have you ever seen a foot walking around by itself? (Ok, aside from Hollywood!) Nope, it doesn’t happen. The foot helps the leg and the leg helps the foot. It’s the same way in the Church, the Body of Christ. Church takes place as we interact and help each other get closer to and stay in the presence of Jesus as we accomplish His purpose for our lives (Eph. 2:10).
In a service, a few people use their talents to help you “get something out of it.” In reality, however, it should all be about what Jesus gets out of it. We are the participants while He is the spectator of our worship, which should be actions based upon trust (1 Cor. 10:31) of which praise is one.
At New Hope, where I pastor, our service has what is called “Family Time.” It’s right after announcements and before the message where people get a small taste of practicing the one-anothers, like greeting one another (Rom. 16:16). Among other things, it can also be used to encourage (1 Thess. 5:11), serve (Gal. 5:13) and comfort (1 Thess. 4:18) each other as well. It’s an opportunity to be the church while at a worship service. Bible Impact Groups and MiniChurch (i.e. home fellowships) are also a great place to practice being church.
We need one another in each other’s business so the Spirit can change our lives (James 5:16 – “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”) So don’t go to church this week. Practice being the church.

One thought on “Stop Going to Church!

  1. Gotta admit – I LOVE not going to church! There really is something about enjoying, interacting, and being a part of a relationship. Not only with Jesus but with people who understand that going to a building, a home or hanging out is ALL about relationships. The interacting, contributing, engaging, and even disagreeing creates an atmosphere that you’re not alone in ANY struggle. In ANY success or in ANY hurt.
    The impression or rather the training, we have received about going to church, can at times be a cold, restrictive obligation rather than a CELEBRATION of a greater, better life and way of living, interacting, and loving ourselves and EVERYONE around us.
    Well said Pastor Chris!

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