so am I going to still go to church?

“That’s all Jesus every wanted – one flock drawn to him alone, and each helping lighten the load of others they find going the same direction as they are.”

One might think that due to the post a few days ago about ‘So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore’ that I might be inclined to stop going to church. Totally reasonable belief, especially if you read it all the way through (which you should – stopping any way partially through it might leave you with false impressions).

But I don’t feel this way. I’m optimistic for my church. I actually think that their vision, mission, etc. coincides with the concepts of the book. ‘A growing adventure with God’ – seems a bit more inline with the concepts of the book, don’t you think? It seems to me anyway that anyone at any church can easily choose to worship the church and being served and really not work towards a growing relationship with the Father, right?

If you read it, what did you think? C’mon … comment 🙂 My thoughts are below (here’s Jim’s thoughts)…

Now in all reality, it’s just a book but it’s a challenging one – at least I really felt challenged by it:

  1. To not just let the church exist in ways that I can’t do anything about. I don’t always see that the pastors has to ‘spearhead’ stuff (they aren’t for the homeless stuff we’ve been doing, but they know about it)
  2. To not be focused on the church, but on Jesus Christ. It shouldn’t be an ‘assignment’; a ‘task’ – it should be the circumstances; the environment that we are focused on the Father.
  3. To not let the institution ‘define’ the church, but let our relationships within it and to God ‘define’ it.

I had a fairly good conversation/discussion with my wife about it Sunday night, and am at the conclusion that maybe this sense of community would benefit from a little more active pushing by the everyday folks of the church (us being two of them). Our small group has our get-togethers on Monday night. Once we skipped that being a study and just had game night (which was a blast). Another time we served dinner for the homeless at a respite program. But what we were thinking was more of a general deeper and more personal hanging out with each other. Finding time to really connect and get to share with and really love on each other that really almost cannot happen in any organized manner. You can’t plan it; you can’t schedule it. I’ll pull out a quote from that book for this: “Real community is not something we fabricate by any means. It is a gift God gives”. Maybe this is something we could try to recognize and accept and maybe hope to just live out. So we mentioned it and we will see where it goes… the guys in a prior small group we were involved in did a bunch of on-the-fly stuff like going to watch $1 movie at midnight or going to a sports bar and playing pool and just shooting the breeze. In our group, another guy and I talked about maybe going to a shooting range, or playing golf or duck-pin bowling…

We also mentioned something that we had done in a prior small group (in Ohio) – which a few called I think a prayer chain. Idea is to have a ring of index cards with one card for each couple/single+person in the group – and for each card at the top you’d write down the names and phone # and below just list a few things to pray for that person/couple (e.g. I’d tell you to pray for to learn patience). And you’d go around the room and let each person say what they’d like you to pray for them over. These would be some more long-term prayers – not the individual prayer requests we go over each week when we get-together. Like praying for particular family and their struggles that are and have been a long-term prayer. A way for us as a group to really go a step deeper as a family to personally pray over our struggles. Phone # at the top if anyone would want to just call and ask how things are going with this particular issue too. We only had two sets made up so we’ll roll with this next week.

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5 responses to “so am I going to still go to church?

  1. Got me thinking…great post.

  2. Chris,

    I like this post. I don’t have the patience right now to sort through all my thoughts on the book.

    It was a great and very challenging read.

    BTW, I’d love to meet you and play golf one day…Uh, wait…is that planned fellowship? Geez…I’m breaking the rules already!

  3. Well, at least you and Jim have blogged about reading the book. I read it in one day, and am still digesting it. Next I’m going to go back through it and chew on it, a little more slowly this time (maybe even starting today or tomorrow).

    But from reading Jim’s thoughts, I will say that it was every bit as effective in my heart and mind as it sounds like it was in his. At this point, I can’t even seem to verbalize exactly how or why it affected me so deeply.

    I had already stopped going to “Sunday morning church” anyway, and will continue to be part of my small group, which is where I have healthy relationships with others sharing this journey of walking with Jesus.

    I like the fact that despite what the title hints at, the book was in no way an anti-church screed. There’s plenty of that out there. I think it takes a healthy view of the reality of living in relationship with Christ, and how that may or may not fit in with “church”, in any shape, model, or form.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  4. Pete – thanks for noticing! Did you go back to the prior post and read the book too? Please don’t just take my rambling alone – get to the thought-provoker 🙂

    Chris – we should. Well, I think we first have to meet in-person and know each other’s # before it can be unplanned. I can’t hit a golf ball to save a life, but hey if it doesn’t annoy you that I might suck, we just might have to get together when it’s nicer!

    CH – very good point about the book not being anti-church. You know Jim really hit the end on the nail over considering this book not being anti-(fill in the blank) but more of taking a healthy realistic look of living in Christ. I in particular really liked his segment about those that seem anti-church are really still stuck in the church…

    I’ve emailed (and commented on some posts from) a few people who I’d really enjoy hearing their thoughts on this. Of course it does take some time to read it, and like CH and Chris stated, some serious time considering it…

  5. Pingback: It’s all about the relationships! « Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord

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