the weblog of Alan Knox

I used to believe… Now I believe

Posted by on Apr 30, 2009 in blog links | 19 comments

My friend Lew from “The Pursuit” started a new meme with two posts called “This I Used to Believe” and “This I Now Believe“. I decided to do Lew’s meme, but discuss things that I once believed and now believe concerning the church – since this blog is primarily about the church. So, here are some things that I once believed with what I now believe:

I used to believe that preaching a 30-45 minute sermon on Sunday morning or night was the epitome of the Christian life. Now I believe that neither preaching nor listening to a sermon on Sunday morning should be the center of a Christian’s life. Instead, serving and loving others in the name of Christ is much more important. Plus, many times, a five minute personal exhortation is much more effective than a general sermon.

I used to believe that leadership was the greatest type of service. Now I believe that service is the greatest type of service. However, I do believe that we should follow those who serve. But, those who serve are not so concerned about gathering followers. Instead, they are concerned with serving.

I used to believe that the 501(c)3 organization was the church. Now I believe that the people are the church… really… no, really. The church can organize, but the organization is not the church.

I used to believe that the senior pastor (and the staff under his direction) was responsible for all teaching and discipleship. I now believe that while elders (pastors) should teach and disciple, this responsibility is for every follower of Jesus Christ, regardless of the education, gifting, training, abilities, positions, etc.

I used to believe that discipleship was a 1-2 hour per week class with a workbook to be completed by those who were very spiritual. I now believe that biblical discipleship occurs 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We must live life with one another in order to disciple one another. This cannot happen in a classroom alone, or in a programmed event alone.

I used to believe that it was the leaders’ (elders/pastors) responsibility to “run” the church meeting so that the church benefited. I now believe that it is every believer’s responsibility to think about the others in their community, and speak/serve during the meeting in a way that encourages others towards love, good works, and maturity in Christ.

I used to believe that education and knowledge were the same as maturity. I now believe that education and knowledge often have very little to do with maturity, and can be a source of pride and immaturity.

I used to believe that if I could sit quietly during and learn from the pastor’s sermon, then I was spiritual. I now believe that if I can listen to the Holy Spirit and obey him, then I am spiritual.

If you’d like to take part in this meme, please leave a note here, or on one of Lew’s posts.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-30-2009

    Excellently put. I relate to all of your former and current beliefs.

  2. 4-30-2009

    So you really used to believe that stuff about the church?

    I don’t think the response to your former beliefs are the only alternative views, but thanks for sharing this part of your journey.

    I look forward to reading your new version of this in 10 years and see how much much of your theology has once again changed 🙂

  3. 4-30-2009

    as you requested others to share their journey, HERE IS MY POST Alan.

  4. 4-30-2009


  5. 4-30-2009

    I used to believe it was acceptable for local elders/pastors to receive financial compensation for serving as elders.

    Now I believe that elders are the mature examples to the flock who are the lead servants and who equip the saints to do the work of the ministry as their reasonable/spiritual act of worship. As commanded by Paul they are to work hard with their own hands at a vocation other than being an example to the flock to support themselves and their families as part of their important example to the assembly.

    I used to believe that one individual presenting a scripted expositional sermon should take up most of the time when the saints gather together-especially if I was the one giving the sermon/lesson.

    Now I believe that scripture clearly presents that each of the saints/priests is to have an opportunity as led by the Holy Spirit to share a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of knowledge/information and that two or three who are inspired to teach do so while the rest of the assembly weighs/judges the message. All of this is to be done with a mind to exhort and encourage each other as we gather around Christ and His leadership.

  6. 4-30-2009

    The idea that the sermon is the center of Christianity has created quite a few sermon junkies. I remember 10-15 years ago, the spiritual among us had boxes of sermon tapes that we would pass around to one another. Listen in your car, listen in your house, etc. We listened to radio stations that played sermons. It was all expected if you wanted to be spiritual. Now, there are many mp3 sermon junkies who listen online.

  7. 4-30-2009

    Bryan and Adam,


    Joe (JR),

    I appreciated your commentary on my post. I also look forward to seeing how much my theology changes in the next 10 years.


    Thanks for you additions!


    Yes, there are many “sermon junkies” – I’ve been there before.


  8. 5-1-2009
  9. 5-25-2009

    Great stuff.

    A bit late, but I finally put my list together here:

  10. 5-26-2009


    Thanks for the link!


  11. 9-2-2011

    I believe all of this and I am a pastor. Believing the second parts does not mean that the first parts have no place. Imagine reading this with that perspective. I think many people throw out the one side to have the other side and this is not necessary, nor even desirable. Preaching is a biblical thing, believe it or not. And certainly Jesus had NO classrooms to disciple His followers, but classrooms, like bathrooms which they also didn’t have, are not evil and can be very helpful.

  12. 9-2-2011


    Thanks for the comment. I now believe that some of the “things on the left side” are detrimental to the health of the church.


  13. 12-20-2011

    I used to believe that vision needed to be at the forefront of a group of believers and required a building, schedule, plan and a strategy. I now believe that the Holy Spirit IS vision and if we move with him there isn’t the same collateral damage as I used to experience in the institutionalized version.

  14. 9-7-2012

    I used to believe that what Christians did on a Sunday was church, and although not perfect, was at least on the right track. Now I believe that essentially we have latgely warped the church out of all recognition, we have poisoned the very name ‘Christian’ for at least one generation, and we should pretty much scrap everything and start over again.

    At the core of every Christians life should be the teaching of Jesus – by that I mean a life of non violent action. Serving others as worship to God.

    The farce that is the Sunday ritual we call church, only helps to fool people into thinking that they have done their Christian act for the week so can go back to their self centred, look out for number one type existence.

    We have got it so wrong. We need to repent and start over. And I was a pastor. Until I repented, and have started over…

  15. 9-7-2012


    It really changes our understanding of church when we recognize that we are the church of Jesus Christ whenever we gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ.


  16. 9-8-2012

    Dear brother, excellent article. i believe if u r in one spirit, one mind and one accord, u will agree with the article. I believe “Ekklesia” is the true body of Christ,in which only “CHRIST”is the Head. Thanks. Keep encouraging…!!!

  17. 9-9-2012


    Thanks for the encouragement. I do know some true brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with me. However, we are still in one spirit, one mind, and one accord in Jesus Christ, who is our only source of unity.


  18. 1-22-2013

    I love it when other people so clearly articulat what I think and feel. Thanks.

  19. 7-23-2013