June 21, 2009

Church is not a Place

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:28 am by Editorial Team

I grew up listening to Acappella, which for you non-church of christers, was the only sanctioned worship music you could listen to, because it had no instruments. As conservative as it was, some of their musical theology was pretty forward thinking.

“You can’t go to church as some people say,
The common terminology we use everyday.
You can go a building — that is something you can do,
But you can’t go to church, ‘cuz the church is You.”

And yet, I continue to hear church leaderships rant about declining membership and how people who become Christians are neglecting the local congregations. While I wish I could sympathize with these elderships, I realize that the only way for us to break this mold is to rethink church. I’ve always felt this way, but anytime I hear the old paradigm, I’m liable to go off on a rant.

Our focus on expensive, rarely used buildings for gathering is incredibly poor stewardship of God’s resources. Churches spend so much money on themselves, and so little on the outside (And I’m not just ranting about poverty/charity). I would like to find a church building occupied more than 20 hours a week by people other than church staff? I’m not going to deny these churches exist, but I’m willing to bet less than 2% of churches are occupied more than 20 hours a week.

Our churches are becoming towers of Babel, where people gather to make a name for themselves. I don’t think “church” was meant to contain several hundred people and have full time ministry staffs. Churches should be small, geographically located groups of believers who see each other more than twice a week, ideally people who are involved in each others lives and deeply involved in the lives of the people nonChristians living near them. Without geographical proximity, I am very skeptical of the church’s ability to be authentic.

Our churches are in need of serious contraction. Let’s stop building bigger barns. Sell off our churches, give the money to the poor, and lets start living in our communities again. We live in a culture where communities are less geographical and more transcendent, thanks to technology.  However, we must make our communities more organic.  I believe our culture is yearning for that deeper, face-to-face connection.

Let’s just stop doing church buildings and be the church.

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2 Comments

  1. Todd Mayberry said,

    I am so with you, brother. Over the past few years I have become extra sensitive to the tendency to “make a name for oneself” in ministry. It is probably the one of the most subtle tools that satan uses to tear us down because it is so easy to believe that we are doing things for the good of “the ministry”or to bring God the glory. Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said that “the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.” Instead of being something big, grand, and powerful that every looks at and says “ain’t it beautiful” it’s more like a small, persistent, quiet, weed that most people don’t notice until one day, “boom” there it is and you can’t do anything about it. It’s so large that birds can nest in it’s branches.

    • Daniel said,

      Amen, I know we talked about this Friday night at dinner, but I swear to you I drafted it the day before. Making a name for yourself is so easy to do. It’s hard to practice incessant humility and constantly give glory to God, when you can easily carve a little out for yourself.


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