church members talking up their churches

I’ve run in to two or three of different friends in the past several months who I used to attend church with (way back in the day when I did attend church).  Each of them has told me a lot about their church, their pastors, their amazing programs, their new way of doing things (that still sound suspiciously like the old way of doing things to me, but who am I to judge?), their bible studies, etc.  Little do they know that hearing all of that makes me happier than ever that I don’t attend church anymore.

I have to say, if one of them would tell me with the same amount of excitement about Jesus being there whenever they met up together, and how His presence is the sweetest thing, I would be there the next time they met up, no lie.

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “church members talking up their churches

  1. A group of “peculiar” folks I hang out with (of which I am one) likes to say:
    “We don’t ‘go’ to church or ‘do’ church . . . we are the church!”
    It’s about gathering together as followers of Jesus, to experience His presence . . . looking for His hand, listening for His voice . . . and responding. Not out of performance, pressure or whatever . . . it’s just Learning to Dance in the Room of His Grace.
    And it’s about loveing others . . . whether thay are in the “Matrix” (system, I.C.O.R.) or not. It’s about loving without agenda. None of us do it perfectly. It’s a Journey.
    And Learning to Dance in the Room of His Grace . . .

    Glad to see ya back blogging sis.
    Shalom on the Journey.

    • Yes yes yes, Michael – I hear you!!! We are His Church. And I want to know what that means in knowing Him to the fullest… so badly… so beyond the language we use to describe it all. Woohoo!!!! 🙂

    • “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25. That is right on, Mallory!! I have come to realize in these past years that having the revelation from Jesus that we ARE the Church does not mean I am against people who meet up on Sundays!! That is the freedom Christ has been giving me these past few years. I met up with Ginny today and we prayed and chatted and worshiped. I hope to someday stop feeling like I have to justify this to people who still meet up “for” church on Sundays, but until then I just wanted to say, I hear you and without fellowship we can wither up and die. When I used to go to church, often my meeting up with people sometimes replaced my fellowship with the Lord Himself, and I never want that to happen again. The habit of going on Sundays nearly crushed the life out of my walk with God.

      Thanks for commenting!! 🙂

      • BTW me and the hubby actually just started attending somewhere new recently and it’s prob the first time in about 4-5 years I’ve been really happy ‘going to church’ – of course I know we are the church!

  2. I totally agree with being over the way most Christians “do” church. To some extent though you have to worry about cutting off your own foot though. If we are the body and we choose not to be a part (as flawed as they may be!) we cannot function in the way Jesus had intended us to be! As brothers and sisters in Christ we cannot totally discount others for their lack of understanding, faith, or just “getting” what Jesus really wanted. We need to be the big sister/big brother in Christ, step up and love them like Jesus would. Sometimes it’s easier to love the lost more than our own brothers and sisters.

    • Hey Jen! I hear what you’re saying about being a big brother or sister in Christ as well as the choosing “not to be a part”. It’s easy to generalize here… and that’s not what needs to happen. I’ll use myself as an example here… I have not chosen not to be a part, I have listened to Jesus and not been a part of one way of being church because that’s what He told me to do a long time ago. Even the way we are taught tends to come out here – why is not fellowshipping like everyone else does not considered being a part of the Body? It’s probably because in our culture (American and then Southern on top of that and then the church culture on top of that) we are taught that we are forsaking fellowship if we are not meeting up on Sundays or in home church. That’s just not the case. And I am done with the feeling that I need to be a big brother or sister in Christ. I AM a sister in Christ and God brings people in and out of my life accordingly. It’s not something I feel a need to “do” because (knowing this from experience) if I take on people in a more close relationship, such as in a discipleship role without God leading me to that place, I can do more damage than good to them and even to myself, whether it’s from them not being in a place to hear from someone with my personality, or trying to hard or just spreading myself too thin. The question (when I remember) that I ask myself is “What is Jesus saying to me right here and right now in this particular situation or relationship” because when I hear him speak specifically, I know what He wants right there. If I do not hear Him speak specifically I go by what I know about Him in the Word and when that is not addressed I am in freedom to love, but perhaps not in a discipleship role. Perhaps that has to do with different giftings? I see in you that it could be something that is a passion of yours!

      And I OFTEN find that it’s easier for me to love the lost rather than my own brothers and sisters!! Good point! 🙂

      I love how you think and your heart. SO glad you read the blog and posted your thoughts and comments – it means a lot. Thank you!!! And love you!!!

      • I get ya Shannon. I guess for me it’s like going to holidays with family. They choose to meet in a certain way and I choose to go because I love them and I want to be with them as part of a family. It doesn’t mean I necessarily LIKE them, but I (verb) love them by showing up. It doesn’t mean that I like the way they celebrate or enjoy the environment that we meet in either. We can only have relationship by making ourselves available. And saying that it doesn’t mean that there is a close relationship with everyone either certainly! You know there’s always that one cousin you have a connection with and later you sneak off and have fun. I really believe going to church even if it’s once a year is really a critical part of (verb) loving the body in a really selfless way. And of course He brings people in and out of lives on a daily basis and that is the sweet stuff where He grows relationships and loves on us. As much as I don’t love our western modern church, it’s what we got. It’s my ugly brother and I love him because he’s family 😉
        Oh and for being a “big brother or sister” I’m not really meaning like mentoring people, but having a truth from the father and not keeping it from the rest of the family. Live with the family, share the truth and maybe the family can learn, change, and grow in that truth!
        One of my favorite things about God is that He is always there! No matter where I am or what I’m doing! He is available to me 🙂 And he loves like WHOA, not because I deserve it or I did something good, but because he is (verb) love. And man, I want to be like my Daddy!

        Love you lady 🙂

      • Hey Jen – just read your second reply – well thought out! I think this is where we will just have to agree to disagree. You see, I don’t think to go to church is the same as being the church. And from what you’ve said, it sounds like that is what you mean as a/the place to make yourself available to people. Not how I’m thinking at all! But, if that’s where God has you, go for it, obviously (and you are!!)

        And I also have to agree to disagree with you when you say that the western culture of church is all we got. I’ve got more. I may not be satisfied all the time, but I am way better off inside than when I was in the established type of western church we are discussing here. I have fellowship with a couple of friends in town – REAL fellowship, and I have fellowship with people all over the world on a pretty regular basis and I have fellowship with the Holy Spirit and Christ and God the Father and I am constantly looking for Him and learning to grow and see Him everywhere. That is not a universalist type thing, it’s Jesus – in Him we live and move and have our being. When you and I meet up (someday soon I hope – with the two Eli’s!!) we will have fellowship the way we have fellowship – it will be unique but within God’s teaching of what fellowship is – you coming from the way you worship Him (not just at meetings) and me the way I worship Him.

        Lots of love!
        Shannon

  3. Love it that your blogging Shannon, you and I are totally on the same page. I haven’t attended a church service in a long time. I desire a deep fellowship that I have never found in a formal setting. I want more. Not programs, ministries, sevices, just more Jesus. I want His kingdom to be my full reality NOW!!!! Gotta go, but I’ll be back.

    • Hello Amy!! Thanks for taking a look at the blog. Really interesting hearing where you are at too! I am so hungry for Jesus… pray that I take more time to think of Him and look at Him during my days. 🙂 We should chat on the phone soon!!

      Love you,
      Shannon

  4. The Hebrews 10:25 passage was not about what we would call the “Go to meeting on Sunday” thing. Neither is it about attending any sort of weekly meeting at home (or any where else, for that matter). Consider the time frame in which that passage was written to get a clearer picture. What it is about is sharing our lives together in Him, and sharing what He is doing amongst us, in Him. That is the Papa-God ordained, organic, natural flow that He has set for us. It is not something we need to orchstrate or organize . . . it is something taht He does in us, for us and through us. We just need to make ourselves available to Him.
    And like I said, it’s about learning to live loved in Him. Then that way we can then love freely, without agenda. All this while we are learning to Dance in the room of His Grace.

    As we do, we learn that it is not about whether someone is “in” or “of” the system.
    When we live in the community of the Godhead, we find the freedom to operate inside or outside “the system” (whether that be IC, home-church or what ever).
    And in that freedom, we can love without agenda. And we can rest in the fact that Papa is orchestrating everything, so we can just live loved and love others who He brings into our lives, letting others live in that Love where ever they find themselves at. For some, that may be in some form of structure/system/what-ever. For others, it will be outside those forms. The cool thing is, we don’t have to worry about persuading others about one way or another. Papa will get through to those who need to transition. Our joy is that we get to encourage one another in the Journey.

    Great stuff y’all!

    Shalom on the Journey. May His Grace sneak-up and tackle you!

  5. I have found that most of the traditions in the current church are simply from man and not God. Take the sermon out of the church service and you eliminate the most important source of nourishment for the majority of believers. The sermon has no root in scripture whatsoever. Of course, there was spirit-inspired preaching and teaching in the Bible but it it stands in stark contrast to the contemporary sermon. They didn’t use notes or a script, there was active participation, everything was sporadic in terms of meeting times and places. Look at the current church service, delivered faithfully on a weekly basis at the same time by the same person or an ordained speaker. It’s delivered to a passive audience, essentially a monologue. You would be thrown out of the service if you tried to participate or interrupt. I’m not saying I think the sermon is wrong or sinful but it generally does not make disciples. If it did people the ” greater things than these” that Jesus talks about would be normal everyday stuff to us but it’s obviously not that way.

    I also don’t get it when churches talk about God visiting a place, or revival for that matter. If God “visits” that means he also leaves. The place it must not belong to him. Just like we all have a home, we don’t visit it, we live in it.

    • Amy, I loved what you had to say. It intrigued me to take a look in scripture (mainly Acts, probably?) and see what basic guidelines God actually does give us as the Church and meeting up. And I want God to show up to STAY… our language is funny sometimes, eh? We get those wicked church phrases in our vocabulary and they are so hard to get out of our vocabulary once they’re in there!! 🙂

      I love you and I’m so glad to hear what is in your heart.

      Shan xx

  6. Hi Shannon, me again. Love what you have written. I was a church pastor for 17 years until nearly four years ago. It is like I slowly preached and studied myself out of a job as I looked at what it meant to be his ekklesia and his people. How the word church was never in the original translation but put there by King James as part of his edict of control. Alongside the repetetiveness of meetings, sermons, so called worship songs, lack of real relationship hidden by gatherings. The real expose of this happened when four years ago I resigned from pastoring and from church life. How many people from that church have visited me-zilch, how many have phoned-zilch. How many pastors that spoke of unity wanted to stand with me and pastor me-zilch. This led to rejection, hurt, running away, pain, sin etc, but then a new awakening and embracing of Christ in the world around me and in all people whether they would call themselves believers or not. I now work nights in Walmart/Asda. That is my community at this time. I still find myself being a pastor to people and having people confide in me. I do go back to a ‘church’ every now and again. Not for the meetings, but to build up relationships and hang out with people, and not neglect the gathering together bit, but seeing this as relational and not programme or meeting orientated. Most Sundays I watch my kids play football. They are my most important ‘congregation’ that God has given into my care. I’m praying about having a gathering place for people who do not want to be members of anything but only of Christ. Journeyers, sojourners. Just irregular times to gather and pray, eat, talk, laugh, cry, sing, listen etc. Being creative. I already have some work colleagues who would come along, not one of them registered believers, whatever that means. One an artist who wants to paint some pictures and have an exhibition of how he sees the Bible and Jesus through his eyes. I love it. This is an interesting time. The real ekklesia is being called out of the church and is standing up. Not that some of these people will not go to church but they will realise what God wanted for us all along. Life, freedom, expression, creativity, relationship etc. Much blessing, Paul

    • Paul,
      I would love to hear more about your journey. I would also like to see what you are “seeing” in regards to your “gathering place” ideas.
      Are you on FB?

      Shalom on the Journey.
      ~ Michael

      • Hi Michael,
        yes I am on FB simply under the imaginative name of Paul Leader. Have not checked if there are a million others with that name but have my doubts. My profile pic shows a family looking totally frozen. Will search for you too. If I am not discovered there would be willing to share my e-mail address.

        Much blessing,
        Paul

    • Hi Paul – you are a precious man. I am so happy to hear from you. You are more than welcome for the post about the green stuff. I’ll tell you what, that 2010 prophetic word really excites me and I have been thinking about it ever since I read it several days ago. It’s stirring around inside and I’ve found myself looking for the uncovered things and dreaming and praying, “Jesus, I want to be in on this!!” So thank you!!

      I am sorry you were hurt and SO happy that you are finding Jesus in the world around you. Me too. Isn’t it awesome?? I loved what you said about your kids being your congretation… that’s cool for me to hear because I have just become a mom for the first time and that is something that has been on my mind.

      Hope the meeting up of people brings you all into a place of feeling the love more and lets your creativity and imagination go for it. I’ve only got a couple of people in this city that I can get together with to have some time with Jesus that is real. That happens every once in awhile. I’ve got some friends in Australia who you may be interested in talking to about the kind of gatherings you are talking about. They had people who were Christians and not Christians (just hungry for God and friendship) and lots of artists. They met up every couple of weeks and someone brought something to the table. It was cool. Or, you may not want to chat with them. Either way, cool. I liked hearing from you and all you have to say.

      God bless you!! I’m sure we’ll speak some more.

      : )
      Shannon

      • Thanks Shannon. Keep in touch. Anyone that may be able to help on the journey send their details my way!!!
        Much blessing, Paul

      • Hi Paul! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I was on skype a couple of weeks ago talking to my Australian friends who I was telling you about (meeting up with people in a sort of similar way to what you had mentioned). I told them about you and they said they are happy to chat with someone new, to make a new connection and share journeys. If you feel like it, you can contact them at: mjazthomas@adam.com.au Their names are Mark & Judy Thomas.

        Hope you’re doing well!
        Shannon 🙂

    • Yes, i am everywhere. it is inevitable . . .
      I think I found you on FB. Is it the family one where everyone is bundled up like it is really cold?

      • Has anybody on here read any of Frank Violas books. If you haven’t yet, you really need too. Some of his titles are , Reimagining the Church, Pagan Christianity and From here to Eternity. All fit right into the subject of these posts. Awesome.

  7. I have read “Reimagining the Church” and “Finding Organic Church”. I enjoyed both and found very useful/thoughtful paradigms in both, though I found his book on “Organic” to be still a little too much “systematic” and “this is the way it’s done”.
    But they are definitely worth the read as I believe they can be used as a springboard into rediscovering (or maybe recovering) the “original intent” of Christ-centered holistic/organic Faith & Journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s