the weblog of Alan Knox

Of course we’re not igoring the people… we’re singing and preaching to them!

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in blog links, gathering | 10 comments

Of course we’re not igoring the people… we’re singing and preaching to them!

My friend Dan at “Some Church Stuff” wrote another thought-provoking post called “Search: Go To Church Ignore.”

His post was inspired by a search string that landed someone on his site: “go to church ignore.” In the post, Dan answers the question, “What can be ignored when we ‘go to church’?” Then, he follows it up with a question/answer of his own: “What do people usually ignore / not ignore when they ‘go to church’?”

Here are his answers:

Here’s a list of what I think is ok to ignore at church:

  • Sermons
  • Music
  • Tithes/Offering
  • People’s clothes/hair/jewelery
  • The pastor’s coffee breath
  • The beautiful decorations and flowers
  • The Christian and American Flags

And probably what you shouldn’t ignore:

  • The other people

Now here is what people usually don’t ignore:

  • Sermons
  • Music
  • Tithes/Offering
  • People’s clothes/hair/jewelery
  • The pastor’s coffee breath
  • The beautiful decorations and flowers
  • The Christian and American Flags

And what they normally do ignore:

  • The other people

Make sure you jump over to Dan’s post so that you don’t miss anything.

But, you know, in reality, most people would disagree that they ignore “the other people” when they “go to church.” In fact, don’t we do singing and preaching because of the other people?

But, that kinda misses the point. Doing things for an audience of “the other people” is not the same thing as listening to, learning from, caring about, and sharing life with “the other people.”

What do you think? What would happen among churches if we actually didn’t ignore “the other people”?


10 Comments

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

  1. 9-25-2012

    The true meaning of the “Good News”, the Gospel will make institutional church as we now know it disappear. We need to be humble.

  2. 9-25-2012

    I’d like to take a different side in this. How many “organic churches” ignore the other people too? How many “organic churches” have an “us four and no more” or a “holy huddle” mentality? I mean if I want fellowship with an organic church where do I go? How do I find these people? How can I get involved and belong?

    At least in a legacy church (I’ll use this for traditional/institutional) I know where to go. They will likely have a list of Sunday school classes or small groups I can check out. It usually isn’t all about the sermon, music, or offering. These things are important but not the only things that are important.

    Many of the legacy churches I’ve attended go out of their way to welcome “other people.” Some are better than others and some aren’t very good at all. But can’t this be said of organic churches too?

    I guess I’m growing weary of this legacy vs. organic debate. There are strengths and weaknesses in each. Each does some things well and other things not so well. Each can be other oriented or self-oriented (I’ve seen it in both). It seems to me that whether or not you have or don’t have a sermon or take an offering isn’t the point. The point seems to be whether we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves regardless of the type of church to which we belong. Some legacy churches do this well and others not so well. Some organic churches do this well and others not so well. Having a sermon or not doesn’t seem to be the point.

  3. 9-25-2012

    Angel,

    I agree that we need to be humble, and even work with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are part of institutional churches who are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Scott,

    I think you missed Dan’s point. When he says “other people,” he’s not referring to people outside of your church. He’s talking about “other people” who are there with you, sitting beside you.

    Any church (regardless of how they are organized) should be seeking to build up one another as well as reach out to those who are not believers. Dan’s post is about the “one anothers”.

    -Alan

  4. 9-25-2012

    Scott

    The point was that when we gather together we should be focused on each other. It has nothing to do with institutional/organic or any of that. If you read my blog, you know I don’t really care much for that kind of stuff. It was actually something I was thinking about because most times that I have gone to church, I want to get out of there as soon as the closing prayer is over, and I thought that maybe that was kinda backwards, and maybe I should want to talk to some of the other people there.

  5. 9-25-2012

    Hilarious at first. Then, optimistic.

    If you took this list seriously, and stopped all the activity and money that support the things that aren’t important, you could save a bunch of time and money, that one might think, could go into the one thing we should focus on–people.

    Of course, for most people who get together Sunday mornings, it is a lot harder to share lives than to offer tithes and attendance…

  6. 9-25-2012

    Dan and all,

    My bad! I read the post too hastily and did misunderstand the point. My apologies to all, especially Dan.

    Now that I understand the post (ahem) I agree. As I used to say about one church I was a part of, “The people seem to come only to leave!”

  7. 9-25-2012

    I loved this! Amen!

  8. 9-25-2012

    Dan,

    Thanks for the great post, and thanks for chiming in!

    Art,

    You said, “Of course, for most people who get together Sunday mornings, it is a lot harder to share lives than to offer tithes and attendance…” Yes, yes it is.

    Scott,

    It seems like the “one anothers” are least observed and expected when we’re together…

    Kathleen,

    I did too… thanks to Dan!

    -Alan

  9. 9-26-2012

    For a better part of 1000 years, church was a community rather than a place to go once a week. A place where being with people and continuously interacting with them was practically unavoidable. It was truly a way of life. It was when man began to build elaborate chapels, cathedrals, and edifices that church became a once-a-week event to come hear a sermon, sing songs, have mass, or have your sins forgiven. If we Christians can begin to remove ourselves from institutionalized Christianity and do life much like the early church did, gathering in homes, breaking bread together, and seeing to one another’s needs only then will we interact with others. Until then, church will remain a once-a-week, superficial gathering of do-gooder Christians.

  10. 9-26-2012

    Greg,

    I can hear and certainly understand your concerns. How do you help people move away from “once-a-week, superficial gatherings” and toward the kind of life sharing that you described?

    -Alan