Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Have You Ever Questioned Church?


Have you ever questioned church? I have a time or two (or a thousand). I remember sharing this with someone once, and they answered back (in standard Christianese of course), "We'll pray for you," apparently believing that I had somehow fallen from grace and was in danger of losing my salvation. Ultimately I left the church altogether, that is to say, I left the "institutional" church, but I never left Christ. To this day, though over ten years have come and gone, true Christian fellowship continues to be an important part of who I am.

I believe that it is precisely statements such as that which confuse many of our brothers and sisters. They struggle with the idea that there could be God-fearing, Spirit-filled, and born-again Christians who do not embrace the need to "go" to church, but rather are content to simply "be" the church. Many just cannot seem to wrap their heads around this apparent anomaly. No matter how much one tries to explain it, for some it still doesn't seem to make sense.

This is precisely why I was so excited to be asked to be a part of the Finding Church book project (ORDER YOUR COPY HERE). It is my hope and prayer that this book may be used of God to help clear up some of those many misconceptions of exactly what Christians "do" or "don't do" on any given Sunday. It is the brain-child of my friend Jeremy Myers who blogs over at Till He Comes.

I am in no way alone in my questioning church; far from it actually. I am one of 36 contributors who have joined together to help make Finding Church possible. Consider these thoughts from the cover of Finding Church,
Millions of people are "leaving church" each year as they begin to question the deeper meanings and structures of gathering together. They are asking a fundamental question of, "What does it mean to participate in church and what would happen if we did something different?" 
They are not abandoning God, ignoring Scripture, or giving up on Jesus. While a few do leave for such reasons, the vast majority report that they leave church to better follow Jesus, obey God, and live out their faith in meaningful and relationship ways. They stop attending church to pursue something more intimate and personal. 
Finding Church explores these stories of people leaving, switching, and even reforming their basic understanding of church. It will open your eyes to a growing trend in culture for people to take responsibility for their faith.
Doesn't that just whet your appetite to pick up a copy of Finding Church and reading some of these testimonies of other brothers and sisters? It certainly does make me anxious to get my hands on a copy. So if you also are questioning church, or if you're just curious as to why so many others do question it, I would encourage you to check out Finding Church. It will be available everywhere on December 1, 2012, just in time for Christmas.

Peace and Blessings.

9 comments:

  1. Will,

    Thank you for posting this, and thank you for contributing to the book. Your chapter is fantastic, and I hope lots of people read what you had to say!

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    1. Thank you, Jeremy. You're too kind. Blessings on you, my friend (and I truly mean that).

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  2. Clearly put, Will. This is something that needs to be said often, non-confrontationally, and shared as widely as possible.

    In many ways you in the USA are far ahead of us here in the UK. But even here there are significant numbers no longer involved in organisations but just being church. It's good to have blogs and books to point them too, especially the most recent leavers who are often upset and anxious and alone following a process that can, sometimes, be quite traumatic.

    Bless them all - and those that stay in the organisations too. We all belong to Christ!

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    1. "Bless them all - and those that stay in the organisations too. We all belong to Christ!"

      Amen to that, Chris. Amen. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the comment and we all could do with the reminder. Though personally I haven't been a part of institutional Christianity for many years, I still fellowship with those who are whenever and wherever possible. Peace & Blessings, my friend.

      (for the record, though, I'm not in the USA; I'm Canadian)

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  3. Ok Will - as my Canadian brother is sometimes mentioned, by in our homechurch (not organic not IC), I may need to find out how to get a copy here downunder- I am a little slow when it comes to electronic purchasing. :)

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  4. We are COMMANDED to meet SOMEWHERE each week in fellowship with others who believe in the WHOLE Bible, however. We will NEVER always agree on everything. Right now, I am having a problem finding a church that believes in the WHOLE Bible--as well as one that doesn't blow your eardrums off with loud music & repititious songs over & and over!!

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    1. Friend, I would beg to differ about your "COMMANDED to meet SOMEWHERE each week in fellowship with others who believe in the WHOLE Bible." I have yet to find that in the New Testament. True fellowship is important, and the early church did meet "daily," but it was not in an institutional church as we have often misinterpreted it to be. The only command, if you will, is Jesus' Greatest Commandment to LOVE (Matthew 22: 37-40). I suggest that if you and I learn to do that, then everything else falls into place perfectly where it needs to be.

      As for "finding a church," I would add some food for thought. There is but ONE church, and that is the one Jesus died for and is coming back again for. Having said that, maybe the answer isn't looking for a church as much as it is "being" the church.

      Peace and Blessings.

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  5. Bravo and Amen!
    I have just purchased the book Finding Church after perusing this blog. About a decade or so ago, as a pastor I began preaching a Born Again Believer can not go to church but must be the Church, for you can not go to what you are, but you must be.

    Thus was the beginning of a tumultuous and adventurous journey of which I have not reached a final destination. I have been thinking I was quite alone but I have always believed that God's illumination is never singular. Hopefully Finding Church will open further still the Will of God for my life.
    In His Love and Service,
    Peace

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    1. Thanks friend. May it be a blessing. Peace.

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