Reposted from The Cripplegate.
In my fifteen years as a pastor, I’ve seen my fair share of people who have left the church. Some have left the churches where I’ve been on staff for other churches—the sort of greener pasture mentality, you could say—and others have left the church all together. Its that second category that fascinates me the most.
Why would someone leave the church? I’ve kept a little journal over the years, and when I’ve followed up with someone who has left the church for no church (as opposed to simply transferring their membership somewhere else), I’ve jotted down why. This exercise has served as one-part prayer journal, one-part sociological survey.
Recently I read through those names. Looking back on it, five main reasons stand out why people leave the church for no church:
I’ve known quite a few people whose initial stop after leaving church has been some sort of “almost church.” What I mean by that is a group that is like a church, without actually being a church. Think anything from a home-group study to a midweek “young adults” group to an internet church.
I say this is their “initial” stop because they generally don’t last long there. Either the group folds, the young adults grow up, or the patient develops an immunity to the internet church virus. These aren’t long-term alternatives to church, but I’ve known a few people who have tried.
Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.
by Eric Davis
Maybe you’ve heard it. “We can’t make it to church today, so we’ll just do church as a family.” “I can just do church on a hike this morning in God’s creation.” “The church is really the people, so we can do church wherever. God is everywhere, after all.”
Do we really need to go to a building on a certain day for it to count as doing church? If so, isn’t that legalistic?
It’s becoming increasingly popular to fashion new ways to “do church.” But how do we discern what does and does not constitute going to church? God’s word has plenty of wisdom on the issue.
In short, my hike or a Bible open in my living room with the kids is not church. Here are a few reasons why doing church away from church isn’t church.
To assert that we can do church away from church is an unparalleled way to approach life events. Do we approach other areas of life like that?
Husbands, next time you’ve scheduled a family day, just before it happens, tell your wives, “Honey, I’m actually going to do our family time on a solo-camping trip. But I’ll think about you and the kids while I’m sitting out there with the dog and my knife cramming Spam in my mouth. It still counts as family time, right? We don’t have to be all legalistic, honey.”