As a pastor, I’ve heard many times. “I’m done with church.” Or “I don’t really need to go to church…my relationship with God is personal.” Or “I’ve had it with organized religion.” Or “The church is a man-made invention, not God’s idea.” Or even, since the church is not like the church in Acts, it is not valid today.”
I completely understand why some people are bailing on church. Even people who used to lead in the church often stop attending.
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.
I recently read an article by Carey Nieuwhof on CTPastors Network entitled: A Response to Christians Who are Done with Church, that was right on! Let me share some of his thoughts with you today and next week.
“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? While writing off the church passes as sophisticated thinking, it’s actually the opposite.”
Some people argue the idea of church isn’t even biblical. Really? 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 any more than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.
The reality and truth is this: You don’t go to church. You are the church. 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 is a parenthetical, made-up organization.
In fact, may I be so bold as to say: If you want to get rid of the church, you also need to get rid of Jesus. He created it. You can’t have one without the other.
Not sure what that looks like? Look around! There are plenty of examples of churches who have left Jesus on the curbside while they “practice” a form of church inside their closed doors void of what Jesus taught, as the head of the church, to practice.
The Church (big C) is way bigger than our church (small c). The true Church is invisible, something Christ alone sees. Victory is a reflection of what Jesus desires of His church; Sometimes a poor reflection; sometimes a magnificent one. I don’t have a monopoly on church nor do you. Jesus does. and he judges perfectly. More on this thought next week.