the weblog of Alan Knox

Not Meeting with the Church?

Posted by on May 5, 2010 in gathering | 6 comments

I know that some of my readers no longer meet with the church regularly. I was hoping that some of you would answer a couple of questions for me.

(By the way, I’m not talking about people who meet with other believers in a home or coffee shop or any other location. Also, I may have readers who do not consider themselves Christians. I’m not talking about these readers either.)

So, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ but  are currently not meeting with the church:

1) Why are you not meeting with the church currently?

2) For what reasons would you begin meeting with the church again? (Not necessarily the same group of believers you may have met with previously, but any group of believers.)


6 Comments

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  1. 5-5-2010

    Having recently moved, and having found an organic/simple church in my new location, my situation is changing.

    But there was an extended season where I maintained relationships with other believers, but did not “meet with the church” in any organized way (even if that means something as informal as a group gathering in a coffee shop). This was the result of my inability to find other believers whose primary agenda wasn’t getting me to go to their (institutional) church. I looked online, at meetup groups, at simple church network sites – you name it, I tried it. But where I was living, I just was unable to find anyone thinking outside the traditional box of “church is a building, a paid staff, and programs.” After following Jesus out of that paradigm, I just couldn’t back to that. So I didn’t.

    I knew it wouldn’t be forever, and I’m thankful that God is bringing us into a new season where we are meeting other believers on a similar journey. But the experience has taught me that following Jesus outside of a church community can be one of the most misunderstood and harshly judged experiences for a believer. Thanks for asking, and providing the opportunity to share my experience. I look forward to the other comments. :)

  2. 5-5-2010

    Sarah,

    I’m glad that you shared part of your story. I hope others share also.

    -Alan

  3. 5-6-2010

    I have become numb to the same old routine/performance… go, sit, sing, listen, see-ya next weeks. I was waking up on Sunday and asking myself if I could endure another round. Even though I admit its exactly the environment that is perfect for someone like myself, an introvert. I can do a bit of the chit-chat, all this talk of community sounds great but functionally I know it would be a big stretch for me. Just being honest here. They say “the world is run by those who show up” and it certainly applies to the church. Looking back, my attempts at getting involved” are a bit reminiscent of being picked last for a team in gym class – they appreciated my quiet support (and $$) but all the while looking for a better player for the team. What’s wrong with working with what you’ve got? Can I also blame it on a busy life? The daily grind keeps my wife and I on our toes, we do have a lot on our plate (special needs daughter, health issues, aging parents, etc). God is good, I enjoy just being with my family and a few close friends/co-workers.

    I do feel guilty for not going to church and most of our Christian friends are telling us to get “plugged-in” again, a few have really laid a trip on us. One of my neighbors (who is not a Christian) came by the house and asked if everything was OK because he didn’t see us packing off to church anymore on Sunday mornings – had a good laugh an chat with him. The church? I’ll be back (sometime)
    /Cliff

    P.S. really enjoying your posts Alan, Keep up the good work!

  4. 5-6-2010

    1) Why are you not meeting with the church currently?

    I have several reasons:

    Poor time management. Since I work fulltime and have a second job at home, I find it difficult to make (or find) time to meet with the church.

    Fear of being disappointed. Going to a traditional church to meet with believers would be fine, however, I do not think the traditional church services are required or expected by God. But that attitude is usually frowned upon by most people who attend on a regular basis. I would be disappointed if we decided not to go as regularly and were judged because of it. I do not want my commitment to God to be synonymous with my commitment to traditional church attendance.

    Hard to meet believers. Not only is it hard to meet believers, it’s hard to meet believers who are heretics like me. I’m not saying that people needs to believe like me in order for me to fellowship with them… but in a way, I need to believe like them in order for them to fellowship with me. I just don’t… and I don’t really know how to deal with that.

    2) For what reasons would you begin meeting with the church again?

    Kati and I have actually been talking a lot lately about meeting with the church. We have not had any physical meetings with the church in a long time and I think it is important. The only way I know how to meet believers is to go where they normally are. Frankly, I’d prefer going to various Sunday School classes and skip the sermon. I feel like Sunday School has a lot more opportunity for fellowship than sitting and listening to someone talk for 30-60 minutes.

    There are probably a number of other things I could say… but let’s start with that :).

    God Speed,
    Lew

  5. 5-6-2010

    I am currently going but not really there. I’m doing once a week, as opposed to my former almost daily. I think not meeting with the church is really about being disappointed with grandiose proclamations of faith and no resulting fruit, so you tire of hypocrisy and feel you can’t continue on in the charade that church becomes. We live in a culture where there is a christian book on every conceivable subject, and the gospel message is stuck on the gas pump with a sticker and pasted on billboards, but yet the church seems to exist as a social club for the most part. So I’m sort of ministering as I go these days, while the “faithful brothers” have multiple prayer meetings and bible studies for themselves, which seems to me to be sort of irrelevant to the culture. I think we overlook the value of doing what you say you will and loving people in general. I think the world sees right through our self justifying ways most of the time. So I’m kind of lying low for a while.

  6. 5-6-2010

    Cliff, Lew, and Hal,

    Thank you for sharing part of your stories with us! I hope your concerns will cause people to think seriously about the church, and then to change they way they interact with other people as the church.

    -Alan