I dare you… STOP GOING TO CHURCH.
It’s Sunday… and many of you are “getting ready” to “go to church” this morning… but please don’t. Let me explain.
The language of “going to church” has caused a disconnect from what it means to “be” the church.
We go to restaurants… we go to concerts… we go on vacation… we go shopping… etc… and all of these places tell us that they are there to meet our needs and serve us. Sadly… many of us end up “going to church” with the same mentality.
But if you follow Jesus… you ARE the church… and are to BE the church.
So stop “going to church”. Why?
There are many dangers of “going to church”.
“Going to church” makes us consumers. Many people who attend church expect Burger King’s slogan, “have it your way,” to apply in the church. They want their preferences met and when they are not… they head down the road to the next church to get what they want. When we “go” to church we are a consumer… but when we “are” the church we look for ways to serve.
“Going to church” makes us critics. When you do nothing more than “go” to church… it is easy to criticize what you don’t like. When you “are” the church, you tend to be an encourager… not a critic.
“Going to church” makes us complacent. What usually happens when all we do is “go” to church… we sit… we soak… we sour. But when we “are” the church… we serve… we love… we give… we pray… and we suffer. Following Christ is not easy… nor popular… in fact it is extremely costly. Being actively involved in the local church should push us away from complacency and into discipleship.
Let me tell you… as a retired, paid, institutional church pastor of 20 years… there are major problems with the church. I am heartbroken at the “Disneyfication” of the church. I am disgusted that the church looks very much like the rest of the world. I’m angered and aware of many false gospels and teachers that run rampant throughout our churches and on “Christian” TV and radio… etc… etc… etc.
The early church was not perfect either… far from it. The Apostle Paul wrote scathing letters to the churches in Corinth and Galatia. If anyone could have thrown his hands up and walked away from the church it would have been Paul. But he did not walk away… he stayed… he prayed… he encouraged… he loved.
It doesn’t take much reading of scripture to figure out that Jesus loved the church. He loved the church so much that he gave his life for the church. The Bible knows nothing of a follower of Jesus Christ disconnected from the local church. Please re-read the last sentence.
For Caroline and I… we left the institutional church years ago… but we have not left the local church. We started our own… and we love it. We ARE the church to each other… and our sphere’s of influence.
I could spend an entire month writing about our church… maybe I will next October.