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How do you NOT go to church? (part 3)

Hi friends.

 

I am glad you returned for the last installment of the series on church.  If you have not read the first two posts, I would encourage you to start there: To Church or Not to Church? (part 1)

There is much to say in wrapping up the series with this final post, so I am going to jump right in.

 

Consider the word “kingdom” as in Your kingdom come. 

 

Kingdom.

 

Kingdom is a universal concept far reaching beyond our social circles, zip codes, states and even our nation.

 

Kingdom is, of course, accomplished in small bits–kind of like eating an elephant.

 

But I want you to think beyond the concept of church as we have understood it.

 

If kingdom is the full reign and the full authority of Christ on earth, then what does that look like on earth?

 

Are local churches the full expression of kingdom?

 

No.

 

They are an essential kingdom resource and point of community, but they are only a small part of kingdom.  If churches were the full expression of Your Kingdom come, then our world would look totally different.

 

So let’s recap to make sure we are all on the same page?

 

Kingdom is universal.  The local church is a microcosm of kingdomThe local church, in and of itself, is not fully responsible or able to establish Kingdom in the full concept of that word.

 

 

What is the full concept of that word, you ask?

 

 

Kingdom in the Biblical-New Testament-Lord’s prayer sense means: God’s complete rule, sovereignty and authority in the earth realm.

 

Complete universal rule.  Complete universal sovereignty.  Complete universal authority.

 

Kingdom looks like the above and is for the entire planet and for every single person.

 

I no longer agree with the teaching that Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven begins when Jesus returns.

 

That theology implies the concept of Kingdom will not be fully established until Jesus returns and creates a serious deception that limits the citizens of God’s Kingdom.

 

And it looks like this:

 

Get saved.  Go to church.  Keep going to church.  Share Jesus along the way.  Keep going to church.  Look for Jesus in the sky and hang on tight to your morals and beliefs while trying not to be tainted by a culture and world full of evil.  And go to church some more.

 

There is nothing wrong with the above scenario except that the church’s kingdom perspective is limited to salvation, church attendance and survival–all good things but an incredibly limited perspective of the role and experience of Kingdom.

 

Salvation is not the endgame--Kingdom is. Click To Tweet

 

Hear me.  I believe that Jesus will return to earth one day.  However…

 

we diminish his first visit when we relinquish the manifestation of God’s kingdom to his second coming.

 

So for the million dollar question…

 

How do we, as individuals, cooperate with Heaven’s agenda to establish Kingdom on earth in this generation?

 

I can not fully answer this question as I am one girl doing the best she can with the tiny part she has been given.

 

However, as Father has led our family out of traditional church, we have had to trust him to separate from tradition, from expectations and from a church we loved.

 

It wasn’t until we fully understood the concept of church and community that we found the freedom to not show up to a building every Sunday morning–not that there is anything wrong with that.

 

Community happens when we are the church.  Community happens when we worship together.  Community happens when we reach out to others and pull them in.  Our homes and families are even a form of community.

 

Inside the church, we are constantly encouraged to “find community” within the church.  The idea is to find a group or ministry, join it and build relationships.  While this is a practical model for church members, many people never find the group or ministry where they fit, or they do not have the time beyond their jobs, families and Sunday morning attendance to belong to a group that requires more time.  And for the most part, “community” consists of church members only.

 

So if you are feeling called out of the church to pursue a different type of community and to establish Kingdom and aren’t sure what that looks like, let me help you with the tiny bit of perspective I have gained over the last year.

 

Your family is community.

 

In our search for our community, we often neglect the most important tribe given to us–our spouses and our children.  The family unit is the most sacred community and was the first horizontal community exemplified in Scripture.  Your spouse needs you.  Your children need you.

 

We have experienced some of the sweetest Sunday mornings in our home worshiping as a family and praying for one another.  And when we reflect back to times when we were constantly at the church dropping our children off at childcare to get to the next class, the next ministry opportunity, the next ___________ (fill in the blank), we are grateful for these times in our home being a little family community and experiencing Father together.

 

In addition, we have also aligned ourselves with an apostolic ministry where we can participate online with worship, teaching and workshops.  This ensures that we are being challenged and taught in new ways as well as constantly growing.

 

If God’s kingdom is not first established in our homes and exemplified for our children, everything else seems kind of pointless.

 

Your place of employment is community.

 

If you are putting 40 hours a week in at a job or career where you are constantly in close proximity with others, I think it is safe to say this is one of your communities.  Now I understand that many people do not work in an environment that is receptive to discussing spiritual things, talking about Jesus, etc.  However, you as a kingdom ambassador can affect that environment through prayer, through loving people and, again, just simply being the church.

 

Your friends that you already have right now are community.

 

I see a big trend of people looking for their “tribe”.  And while I agree that we all have a place where we are understood, embraced and celebrated, sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.  Consider the people who are in your life right now, and maybe you will see a community that you have missed.

 

I know that we have focused hard on the people that are in our lives at this moment, and we have reached out to them more than usual.  We have opened our home for a new kind of gathering with friends.  We want to intentionally connect and better love the friends we have instead of looking for new ones.  We want to bless them.  We want to love them.  We want to encourage them and walk beside them.

 

Just having friends over on a regular basis for encouragement, for fun, food and fellowship is a form of community.

 

Your hobbies, passions and clubs are a community.

 

I heard once of a group of men who played golf together every Tuesday.  They would play a round, have lunch at the club and read their Bibles together before going back for more golf.  This is a perfect example of community centered around a common interest.

 

A lot of folks would argue that this is not “enough”.  But I see men who are friends, enjoying a beautiful day of golf and building one another up in the faith.  That same group of men influences all of the other men who go to that club, directly or indirectly.  I am sure the waitstaff at the club who serve these guys every Tuesday are impacted as well.

 

Look for ways to influence and to create community around your passions, interests and hobbies.  I am soon to open up my home for a women’s knitting circle where myself and other women will come together, create and share our lives, our struggles and our needs.  What a perfect community to be able to minister one to another in a safe, non-threatening setting while doing something we love.

 

There are many great opportunities through our interests and hobbies to serve others, love others and bring the concept of church outside of the four walls.

 

Our local churches, again, are necessary Kingdom resources for new converts, helps ministries and discipleship.  And if you are happily involved in a local church, that is where you are supposed to be.

 

But if you are no longer at peace with your place in the local church and feel Father is calling you out, I urge you to step out by faith and find out how you are supposed to be the church in your community.

 

I encourage you to begin with your family, especially if your children are at home.  Take some time off and just breathe together.  Rest.  Worship.  Go to the park Sunday morning and pack a picnic lunch.  (Just a side note… it doesn’t have to be Sunday.  Saturdays are good too.   So are Wednesdays.  Pick what works for your family.)

 

As you shift into Kingdom as a family, you will find your home is more peaceful, more harmonious and more loving.  We have also experienced a shift in our children, including our oldest who is at college and does not get to be with us.

 

After we took some time to just be together as a family and experience Father as a little community, we were able to see our next step which was to reach out to our friends in a more intentional way. It has been so enjoyable and so freeing–and Father is right in the middle of what we are doing.

 

Where will our journey ultimately take us?  I honestly have no idea.  I just know it is a journey, and we are walking it out the very best we can.

 

If you find yourself where we were a year ago, I hope these last three posts have helped you.  I know from your comments and emails that there are many of you.  I am hesitant to fully define what community looks like outside of traditional church because it might be different for everyone.  And the most important advice I can give you is to be obedient to where Holy Spirit is leading you.

 

But I will leave you with this.  When you take community outside of the four walls of the traditional church and come together in new ways to establish God’s Kingdom on earth, you family, your neighborhoods and your communities will also respond in new ways.

 

If God’s Kingdom is limited to the traditional church, then think of the sheer number of humanity that will miss out.  So get out there, let your light shine and be willing to “church” in new ways.  Trust Father if He is leading you in this direction.  His plans for you and for all of his children are always good and far beyond what we could ever imagine.

 

“Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known.”   (Jeremiah 33:3 The Voice)

 

Until next time… Peace. Love. & Truth.

Melody

www.truthandink.com

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About Melody

truth-seeker. writer. wife. mom. papa's girl.

4 Replies

  1. Michelle

    LoVE it!!! What a great finish to the series! I couldn’t agree more! A pastor once told my husband that he is a pastor at his job, which is totally right on & goes along with this post, too.

    1. Thank you Michelle! Yes that is what I was trying to say! We can use our gifts and express our love on our jobs!

  2. Go Kingdom! Good stuff, Melody!

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