Quitting the church can make way to grow hope and purpose. The building does not hold the answer. It starts with a personal relationship with the Maker and then grows from that main root relationship into all the other relationships. It has to be about more than a building. Thus, I must share and ask you to consider my “3 Reasons Why Quitting Church Grows Hope.”
Do not forsake the gathering together. Hebrews 10:25
Reaching Your World’s, worldwide evangelist Luis Palau on Hearing the Good News
In this 2-minute radio episode of Reaching Your World, Luis Palau discusses some of the many ways Christians are becoming discipled beyond the framework of a church building.
Growing hope in God is about “who” we worship to rather than “where” we worship.
Six months ago, I stopped attending our local church building. Our weekly attendance had been disrupted by summer transportation schedules and I never could get back in the swing of things. After six months of not going to services I had been attending for 10 years, nobody noticed.
It can crush a heart to have the church forget about it or overlook it. I was not crushed. Every morning I was waking to Church through a daily reading. Three times a week I was experiencing Church on the back porch in sharing and discussions with my dad. Several times each month I gathered with the Church to share a meal or to share our journey.
Church is the body – not the building. So I quit the church and haven’t looked back.
It was not my first time to consider walking away from the church.
Reason 1 | Real Church Has to Be about Jesus
The first time I considered forsaking the gathering together occurred when I was in youth. A friend of mine had been attending regularly, working at all the fund raisers, and then I was told she would not be able to attend events because she “wasn’t a member.”
I scheduled a meeting with the pastor and my dad attended with me. After the pastor explained his reasons for not allowing her to benefit from all her work, I responded. “That’s not very Jesus like.”
He looked at me with a straight face an shot back. “This has nothing to do with Jesus.”
Even at sixteen, I already understood that truth.
Maybe it was a good thing I had such a harsh experience at such a young age. It taught me that four walls and a cross on the roof didn’t make a building the Church. It also taught me the Church could reside in the same building as a leader who was not following the Laws.
Reason 2 | Real Church Has to be about Service to Others
I was prepared when I was hit again. One of the elders of the church met with me and my husband and explained how the other elders had determined not to allow me to “get plugged in” (basically, to get involved in the church), so I would leave.
Then you need to have the elders talk to God instead of telling me because He is the One that lead us here and we will leave when He tells us to go.
It was probably not the response he wanted, but I wasn’t there for him. In truth, I wasn’t even there for me (or my family). We had moved to the new church because we were asked to work with the youth drama. It was a call to go, so we had gone.
Teaching, speaking, and youth drams have led me and my family to a wide range of buildings – some overflowing with Church and some creating a box of church like images. We have also hosted events, studies, and gatherings in our home that might look different, but were definitely Church.
Reason 3 | Real Church is about More than the Building
Although to the traditional theological seminarians, I have quit church, the real truth is I am Church and continue to feed and grow it in all I do.
Real Church is about the people. It is the relationships. But it has to start with a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Only then, will I be in a position to have more than a building to grow hope.
Real Church is built on real relationships. How do you think we can turn the focus away from the building and back on the people?
Read more about why I have quit the church.
Photography by Kelly Sikkema