Mark at “the untried” wrote an important article a few days ago called “Assumptions #1“. I assume this means there will be more articles on the same topic. In this first article, Mark sets the stage as follows:
Since making the choice to step outside the walls of institutional church I have had many people say the same things to me over and over. They make assumptions about me and my reasons for my choices that are simply untrue.
What assumptions do people make when they find out that Mark is not part of an institutional church? 1) He chose not to attend church because it was inconvenient. 2) He is a failure as a man, husband, and father. 3) He is a heretic with no commitment to Christ. 4) He has been deceived and he is leading his family astray.
Then, Mark says the following:
Convenient would be making a habit of walking back through the doors of church every Sunday morning. All the accusations would stop. All the “I’m concerned for you” talks would stop. I would receive pats on the back from those in the church. They would praise my Godliness for being there. I would receive a hero’s welcome as if the mere act of stepping through the doors had suddenly made me a ‘good Christian’ again. That would be easy. It would be convenient. It would stroke my ego.
When we associate “attending an church service” with maturity or discipleship, then we are making wrong assumptions about the church. The church is much more than attendance or having your name associated with an institutional church.
Its time for the church to stop worrying about whether or not others attend “worship services”. Instead, we need to be concerned about discipleship, fellowship, transformation, service, etc. Can these things happen for a person who is part of an institutional church? Yes. Can these things happen for a person who is not part of an institutional church? Yes. Are there advantages to one over the other? Yes, I think so.