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To Church or Not to Church? (Part 2)

Traditional church, as we have understood it, is quickly becoming the new “elephant in the room” for many Christ-followers.  No one is openly talking about it, but many of us are asking ourselves the same questions…

Am I truly making an impact on the world inside the four walls of the church?

 

Is traditional church the only way to experience Christ-centered community?

 

Are “church” and “kingdom” interchangeable terms?

 

Is it possible to be challenged, grow and walk in my life’s purpose outside of a traditional church?

 

These are the questions I have asked.  And over the last year, I have found I am not the only one asking them.

 

But before we go any further, if you have not read the first post in this series, please go back to last week’s post and start there:  To Church or Not to Church?

 

Now let’s go back to the original use of the the word church as it was penned in the New Testament…

 

Ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah) was the Greek word for church used in the New Testament meaning: assembly, congregation, church, the Church, the mystical body of Christ, an assembly of Christians gathered for worship, a company of Christians

 

Let’s simplify it even further.

 

Ekklesia was a gathering of people.  A company of people.   An assembled group of people.  The body of Christ.  Worshippers.

 

Ekklesia is a company of people.

 

But over time, buildings were built.  Traditions were formed.  Programs and protocols were put into place–all to facilitate the ekklesia.

 

The ekklesia was never formed to serve buildings, traditions, programs nor protocols.

 

Yet now we go to church rather than be the church.

 

The address of a building has overtaken the identity of a people. Click To Tweet

 

 

While I believe each of us gather Sunday mornings to honor God, his purposes on earth and to worship collectively, I also believe we have lost much of our identity, our power and our efficacy as an assembly of people because we are too focused on the rules and doctrines of our chosen “churches”.

 

God created us to gather and find community based on our shared love for His Kingdom on Earth.

 

But man created denominations.  Man created ornate houses of worship.  Man created rules for membership.  Man created building programs.  Man created traditions.

 

We created our individual, denominational kingdoms all in the name of His Kingdom.

 

And here we are in 2017 with a church on every corner, yet our families, cities and schools are falling apart.

 

“Your kingdom come.  Your will be done–on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

 

If God’s kingdom was fully established in it’s purest form, than our society would look nothing like it does in this moment.

 

But who is responsible for establishing and advancing God’s kingdom?

 

The ekklesia, the body of Christ, the church.

 

I know, I know–there is a church on every corner you say.  And they are doing one heck of a job, you say.

 

You are right.  And you are right.

 

But we limit the ability, scope and purpose of God’s kingdom if we assign the full responsibility of same to a few volunteers and employees within the four walls of each church.

 

We ARE the church.  We are the community of believers assembled for a common purpose.

 

The building and the staff inside are not the sole proprietors of the Kingdom.

 

I am responsible for kingdom building, and you are responsible.

 

 

 

But this responsibility traditionally has been on the local church meaning the pastor, the teachers and the people who have time to volunteer.  And they have done a fantastic job trying to steward that responsibility.

 

So what is the problem you ask?

 

It is not enough.  The paradigm of the traditional church as we know it is simply not enough to effectively establish God’s kingdom on Earth.

 

It is no longer enough to go to church.

 

We must rise up and become the church as originally intended.

 

Can’t you go to church and be the church?

 

Sure, and thousands of people are doing just that.

 

But you do not have to attend traditional, Sunday morning church to be the church.  They are not mutually exclusive.

 

However, you must have community.  Kingdom is established by a company of believers and not isolated individuals.

 

This blog post series is directed toward the mature, Christ follower who feels like they are called out of the Sunday morning service into something different–into a different community, a different tribe and into a new paradigm.

 

There is a huge difference between leaving traditional church to follow where Father is leading you than leaving because you are just plain sick of church.  One is a calling out… the other is a falling out.  And only you know the motives of your heart.

 

And when we take our place as the church, we will witness an expansion of God’s Kingdom on Earth.

 

How do we do that, you ask?

 

We get out of the church building.  We forsake tradition.  We get over denomination.

 

We step into a new paradigm.

 

We realize that the original concept of church is the gathering of people to accomplish God’s plans in the earth–the ekklesia.

 

We realize that we can gather together in our homes, in our neighborhoods, on our jobs and in our parks.

 

We embrace new ideas of how to be the church in our communities and to affect those communities as the body of Christ.

 

So to sum this up…

 

If you are feeling like Sunday morning church may not be for you any longer, you are not alone.   If you ponder a different community that is free from tradition, rules and protocol, you are not alone.  If you desire to affect your community in a new way, you are not alone.

 

And if you are completely happy serving in your local church, you also are not alone.

 

There is not a right or wrong–again, this post is directed at those who know they are supposed to be doing something different as far as church is concerned.

 

But hear me out before we close out today. 

 

Traditional churches have been and continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities.  I bless the traditional church, and I honor them for working so hard to spread the gospel, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  No institution or individual has done that as faithfully as our local churches.

 

But it is time to realize that we each have giftings and abilities that the world needs.  We are just as called to our communities as our pastors, teachers, worship leaders, etc. And some of us have talents, resources, connections, etc. that are best utilized outside of the four walls of church.

 

And we will talk about that next week as well as what not going to church looks like.

 

So until then… Peace. Love. & Truth.

 

Melody

www.truthandink.com

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About Melody

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

13 Replies

  1. Kenneth

    Great post, as we are to be disciples of Christ.

  2. My teeth marks were on those same Red Hymnals before yours were… I have been in the traditional church, been a volunteer, then a full-time paid minister, then a church planter, then part of another church plant as a volunteer again… and for the past 6-9 months… I too have been wondering what is next… outside the walls and away from the model that has served me and my family well, but which is no longer right for us.

    1. Thank you Chris for your honesty, and yes I agree those hymnals served us all well. 🙂 I get a lot of feedback about how brave I am to write this, but it is honesty like yours and others that give me the courage to keep writing. Blessings!

  3. Yes! How many people are labeled, sidelined, and shamed because their giftings do not fit into traditional church culture?

  4. Michelle

    Love! I too have been in the traditional church all my life, but God has me on a new adventurous journey! I am excited & expecting great things as He is totally leading the way.

    1. Sounds like a great adventure to me! 🙂 Keep on!

  5. Cara

    ???????????? Well-said?

      1. Cara

        I appreciate that you are honoring towards the traditional church and those who feel called to it. I think that’s really important. It is rare to find people who feel called out of the 4-walls, yet don’t have an angry or offended tone towards those who stay in:-) Or vice-versa! We are all on the same team❤️

  6. Heather Smith Frazzetto

    I have not been in a traditional church building in years. My heart is where it’s at, but this is what I’ve been trying to say for years! Yet, not as rational. I grew up the same way, served in the church, but could no longer do it anymore. It almost felt like work. And I won’t go into all the deceit and felonious things that were going on. Never put faith in people, they will always let you down. 😉 I heard that my whole life and finally understood it. Love the post Melody.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Heather. And yes, man will often let us down, but we can rest in the fact that Father never does. 🙂 Blessings!

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