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Why I Don't Go to Church Anymore!

Letter from Wayne Jacobsen

Dear Fellow-believer,

I do appreciate your concern for me and your willingness to raise issues that have caused you concern. I know the way I relate to the church is a bit unconventional and some even call it dangerous. Believe me, I understand that concern because I used to think that way myself and even taught others to as well.

If you are happy with the status quo of organized religion today, you may not like what you read here. My purpose is not to convince you to see this incredible church the same way I do, but to answer your questions as openly and honestly as I can. Even if we don’t end up agreeing, hopefully you will understand that our differences need not estrange us as members of Christ’s body.

Where do you go to church?

I have never liked this question, even when I was able to answer it with a specific organization. I know what it means culturally, but it is based on a false premise–that church is something you can go to as in a specific event, location or organized group. I think Jesus looks at the church quite differently. He didn’t talk about it as a place to go to, but a way of living in relationship to him and to other followers of his.

Asking me where I go to church is like asking me where I go to Jacobsen. How do I answer that? I am a Jacobsen and where I go a Jacobsen is. ‘Church’ is that kind of word. It doesn’t identify a location or an institution. It describes a people and how they relate to each other. If we lose sight of that, our understanding of the church will be distorted and we’ll miss out on much of its joy.

Are you just trying to avoid the question?

I know it may only sound like quibbling over words, but words are important. When we only ascribe the term ‘church’ to weekend gatherings or institutions that have organized themselves as ‘churches’ we miss out on what it means to live as Christ’s body. It will give us a false sense of security to think that by attending a meeting once a week we are participating in God’s church. Conversely I hear people talk about ‘leaving the church’ when they stop attending a specific congregation.

But if the church is something we are, not someplace we go, how can we leave it unless we abandon Christ himself? And if I think only of a specific congregation as my part of the church, haven’t I separated myself from a host of other brothers and sisters that do not attend the same one I do?

The idea that those who gather on Sunday mornings to watch a praise concert and listen to a teaching are part of the church and those who do not, are not, would be foreign to Jesus. The issue is not where we are at a given time during the weekend, but how we are living in him and with other believers all week long.

But don’t we need regular fellowship?

I wouldn’t say we need it. If we were in a place where we couldn’t find other believers, Jesus certainly would be able to take care of us. Thus, I’d phrase that a bit differently: Will people who are growing to know the Living God also desire real and meaningful connections with other believers? Absolutely! The call to the kingdom is not a call to isolation. Every person I’ve ever met who is thriving in the life of Jesus has a desire to share authentic fellowship with other believers. They realize that whatever they know of God’s life is just in part, and only the fullest revelation of him is in the church.

But sometimes that kind of fellowship is not easy to find. Periodically on this journey we may go through times when we can’t seem to find any other believers who share our hunger. That’s especially true for those who find that conforming to the expectations of the religious institutions around them diminishes their relationship with Jesus. They may find themselves excluded by believers with whom they’ve shared close friendship. But no one going through that looks on that time as a treat. It is incredibly painful and they will look for other hungry believers to share the journey with.

My favorite expression of body life is where a local group of people chooses to walk together for a bit of the journey by cultivating close friendships and learning how to listen to God together.

Shouldn’t we be committed to a local fellowship?

That has been said so often today, that most of us assume it is in the Bible somewhere. I haven’t found it yet. Many of us have been led to believe that we can’t possibly survive without the ‘covering of the body’ and will either fall into error or backslide into sin. But doesn’t that happen inside our local congregations as well?

I know many people who live outside those structures and find not only an ever-deepening relationship with God, but also connections with other believers that run far deeper than they found in the institution. I haven’t lost any of my passion for Jesus or my affection for his church. If anything those have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.

Is it helpful to regularly participate in a local expression of that reality? Of course. But we make a huge mistake when we assume that fellowship takes place just because we attend the same event together, even regularly, or because we belong to the same organization. Fellowship happens where people share the journey of knowing Jesus together. It consists of open, honest sharing, genuine concern about each other’s spiritual well being and encouragement for people to follow Jesus however he leads them.

But don’t our institutions keep us from error?

I’m sorry to burst your bubble here, but every major heresy that has been inflicted on God’s people for the last 2,000 years has come from organized groups with ‘leaders’ who thought they knew God’s mind better than anyone around them. Conversely, virtually every move of God among people hungering for him was rejected by the ‘church’ of that day and were excluded, excommunicated or executed for following God.

If that is where you hope to find security, I’m afraid it is sorely misplaced. Jesus didn’t tell us that ‘going to church’ would keep us safe, but that trusting him would. He gave us an anointing of the Spirit so that we would know the difference between truth and error. That anointing is cultivated as we learn his ways in his Word and grow closer to his heart. It will help you recognize when expressions of church you share life with becomes destructive to his work in you.

So are traditional congregations wrong?

Absolutely not! I have found many of them with people who love God and are seeking to grow in his ways. I visit a couple of dozen different congregations a year that I find are far more centered on relationship than religion. Jesus is at the center of their life together, and those who act as leaders are true servants and not playing politics of leadership, so that all are encouraged to minister to one another.

I pray that even more of them are renewed in a passion for Jesus, a genuine concern for each other and a willingness to serve the world with God’s love. But I think we’d have to admit that these are rare in our communities and many only last for a short span before they unwittingly look to institutional answers for the needs of the body instead of remaining dependent on Jesus. When that happens do not feel condemned if God leads you not to go along with them.

So should I stop going to church, too?

I’m afraid that question also misses the point. You see I don’t believe you’re going to church any more than I am. We’re just part of it. Be your part, however Jesus calls you to and wherever he places you. Not all of us grow in the same environment.

If you gather with a group of believers at a specific time and place and that participation helps you grow closer to Jesus and allows you to follow his work in you, by all means don’t think you have to leave. Keep in mind, however, that of itself is not the church. It is just one of many expressions of it in the place where you live.

Don’t be tricked into thinking that just because you attend its meetings you are experiencing real body life. That only comes as God connects you with a handful of brothers and sisters with whom you can build close friendships and share the real ups and downs of this journey.

That can happen among traditional congregations, as it can also happen beyond them. In the last seven years I’ve meet hundreds if not thousands of people who have grown disillusioned with traditional congregations and are thriving spiritually as they share God’s life with others, mostly in their homes.

Then meeting in homes is the answer?

Of course not. But let’s be clear: as fun as it is to enjoy large group worship and even be instructed by gifted teachers, the real joy of body life can’t be shared in huge groups. The church for its first 300 years found the home the perfect place to gather. They are much more suited to the dynamics of family which is how Jesus described his body.

But meeting in homes is no cure-all. I’ve been to some very sick home meetings and met in facilities with groups who shared an authentic body life together. But the time I spend in regular body life I want to spend face to face with a group of people. I know it isn’t popular today where people find it is far easier to sit through a finely-tuned (or not so finely-tuned) service and go home without ever having to open up our life or care about another person’s journey.

But ultimately what matters most to me is not where or how they meet, but whether or not people are focused on Jesus and really helping each other on the journey to becoming like him. Meetings are less the issue here than the quality of relationships. I am always looking for people like that wherever I am and always rejoice when I find it. In our new home in Oxnard, we’ve found a few folks and are hopeful to find even more.

Aren’t you just reacting out of hurt?

I suppose that is possible and time will tell, I guess, but I honestly don’t believe so. Anyone who is engaged in real body life will get hurt at times. But there are two kinds of hurt. There’s the kind of pain that points to a problem that can be fixed with the right care—such as a badly sprained ankle. Then there’s the kind of pain that can only be fixed by pulling away—as when you put your hand on a hot stove.

Perhaps all of us have experienced some measure of pain as we have tried to fit God’s life into institutions. For a long time most of us hung in there hoping if we tweaked a few things it would get better. Though we could be successful in limited ways during moments of renewal, we also discovered that eventually the conformity an institution demands and the freedom people need to grow in Christ are at odds with one another. It has happened with virtually every group formed throughout the history of Christianity.

Are you looking for the perfect church?

No, and I don’t anticipate finding one this side of eternity. Perfection is not my goal, but finding people with God’s priorities. It’s one thing for people to struggle toward an ideal they share together. It’s another to realize that our ideals have little in common.

I make no secret of the fact that I am deeply troubled by the state of organized Christianity. Most of what we call ‘church’ today are nothing more than well-planned performances with little actual connection between believers. Believers are encouraged toward a growing dependency on the system or its leadership rather than on Jesus himself. We spend more energy conforming behavior to what the institution needs rather than helping people be transformed at the foot of the cross!

I’m tired of trying to fellowship with people who only view church as a two-hour a week dumping ground for guilt while they live the rest of the week with the same priorities as the world. I’m tired of those who depend on their own works of righteousness but who have no compassion for the people of the world. I’m tired of insecure people using the Body of Christ as an extension of their own ego and will manipulate it to satisfy their own needs. I’m tired of sermons more filled with the bondage of religion than the freedom of God’s love and where relationships take a back seat to the demands of an efficient institution.

But don’t our children need church activities?

I’d suggest that what they need most is to be integrated into God’s life through relational fellowship with other believers. 92% of children who grow up in Sunday schools with all the puppets and high-powered entertainment, leave ‘church’ when they leave their parents’ home? Instead of filling our children with ethics and rules we need to demonstrate how to live in God’s life together.

Even sociologists tell us that the #1 factor in determining whether a child will thrive in society is if they have deep, personal friendships with nonrelative adults. No Sunday school can fill that role. I know of one community in Australia who after 20 years of sharing God’s life together as families could say that they had not lost one child to the faith as they grew into adulthood. I know I cut across the grain here, but it is far more important that our children experience real fellowship among believers rather than the bells and whistles of a slick children’s program.

What dynamics of body life do you look for?

I’m always looking for a people who are seeking to follow the Living Christ. He is at the center of their lives, their affections and their conversation. They look to be authentic and free others to hurt when they hurt, to question what they question and to follow his voice without others accusing them of being divisive or rebellious. I look for people who are not wasting their money on extravagant buildings or flashy programs; where people sitting next to each other are not strangers; and where they all participate as a priesthood to God instead of watch passively from a safe distance.

Aren’t you giving people an excuse to sit home and do nothing?

I hope not, though I know it is a danger. I realize some people who leave traditional congregations end up abusing that freedom to satisfy their own desires and thus miss out on church life altogether. Neither am I a fan of ‘church hoppers’, who whip around to one place after another looking for the latest fad or the best opportunity to fulfill their own selfish desires.

But most of the people I meet and talk with are not outside the system because they have lost their passion for Jesus or his people, but only because the traditional congregations near them couldn’t satisfy their hunger for relationship. They are seeking authentic expressions of body life and pay an incredible cost to seek it out. Believe me, we would all find it easier just to go with the flow, but once you’ve tasted of living fellowship between passionate believers, it is impossible to settle for anything less.

Isn’t this view of church divisive?

Not of itself. People make it divisive when they demand that people conform to their revelation of truth. Most of us on the journey are accused of being divisive because freedom can be threatening to those who find their security in a religious system. But must of us aren’t trying to recruit others to leave their congregations. We see the body of Christ big enough to encompass God’s people however he calls them to gather.

One of the things often said about traditional church is that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in American culture. We only meet with people who look like we do and like things the way we do. I’ve found now that I have far more opportunity to get with people from a broader cross-section of his body. I don’t demand others do it my way and I hope in time that those who see it differently will stop demanding we conform to theirs.

Where can I find that kind of fellowship?

There’s no easy answer here. It might be right in front of you among the fellowship you’re already in. It might be down the street in your neighborhood or across a cubicle at work. You can also get involved in compassionate outreaches to the needy and broken in your locality as a way to live out his life in you and meet others with a similar hunger.

Don’t expect this kind of fellowship to fall easily into an organization. It is organic, and Jesus can lead you to it right where you are. Look for him to put a dozen or so folks around your life with whom you can share the journey. They may not even all go to the same congregation you do. They might be neighbors or coworkers who are following after God. Wouldn’t that kind of interconnection among God’s people yield some incredible fruit?

Don’t expect it to be easy or run smoothly. It will take some specific choices on our part to be obedient to Jesus. It may take some training to shake off old habits and be free to let him build his community around you, but it is all worth it. I know it bothers some people that I don’t take my regular place in a pew on Sunday morning, but I can tell you absolutely that my worst days outside organized religion are still better than my best days inside it. To me the difference is like listening to someone talk about golf or actually taking a set of clubs out to a course and playing golf. Being his church is like that. In our day we don’t need more talk about the church, but people who are simply ready to live in its reality.

People all over the world are freshly discovering how to do that again. You can be one of them as you let him place you in his body as he desires.

Article by Wayne Jacobsen,  Lifestream Ministries. Used by permission. Article available in Swahili, French and Tamil. Download a professional layout of this article ready for printing in pdf format
So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore

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119 comments

  1. Dear Robin,
    This article beautifully and to-the-point expresses the truths and feelings of my heart and many others I know. A dear friend is, at this present time, going through these same choices in her own church, and she and her husband are more concerned with following Jesus than following the rules the leadership has added to God’s WORD.

    It is a shame how far we have swung to religion, while calling some true believers religious. May the LORD forgive us and open our eyes to HIS intentions of following and gathering in his name.

    Thank you so very much for this. I am going to tweet, blog and email the link so that others may read and hopefully have an insight into what many Believers are now facing as they seek to follow God wholeheartedly.

    blessings~

  2. amen! i love this post robin! i keep trying to find a home church but i and my family do better when we don’t attend one!

  3. WOW… I am just speechless. that is wonderful and so well written.
    Thank you for sharing that.. looking forward to reading more.
    Thanks
    Corey

  4. I relate to what you’ve shared here very well. In many ways I left the “institution,” although no one can ever take me out of the Body of Christ, which is the true Church – amen? Thank you for a very thoughtful article. ♥

  5. Jesus said to Love God with all your Heart,Mind and Soul and second to love your neighbor as you love yourself all else in the Bible that is good will follow. I go to Church to pray to the lord, meet people as I love my neighbors and what better way to meet them than at Church. I also believe that Jesus is the Church not anyone else but our savior. I like to help others and with Church it makes it possible to do this. Not all goers are true and you still have to make choices family is first after God. Bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ Amen

  6. What a great article! It sums up some of the same feelings and thoughts I have had over the past few years. While we have the blessing of a good “church”, We recognize that its not quite the same as THE church, The body of Messiah. :)

  7. Our family attended the same church for 10 yrs and then found it necessary to leave in June 08. Honestly, we were guilted into staying for much too long by statements like, “You won’t find a church without problems.”, “You’re the problem, not the church.”, “Leaving this church makes you a church-jumper which means you’re not committed to following Christ.” blah blah blah.

    We “home churched” after that until mid-Nov 08. I won’t go into all the details, but we decided to “try” a new church and we have been attending ever since.

    Whether at home or in a church, the most important thing is that God is the center-focus and that He is leading the decisions.

  8. Thank you for posting this article. It sums up what I have wanted to say for so long. People do not understand why we haven’t found a “church home” yet and probably view us as carnal and judgmental. Recently I have joined Facebook and am reconnecting with friends that I haven’t heard from in years. The question always comes up “Where do you go to church now” since I know most of them from “church” where I use to work. I do not like to answer that question because I feel like I have to defend myself and explain to them why we have chosen not to “go to church” right now. I admit, I have not read this article completely but did want to leave this comment. Thank you Robin!

  9. This is a very thought-provoking article that expresses the thoughts and feelings of many people that I know, including myself. We have recently started attending a small group that meets in homes and are finally experiencing that sweet, caring fellowship that just didn’t seem to materialize at the local church building very often. I would love to read the entire book.

  10. Very well thought out and well written.

    Typo in this line “But must of us aren’t trying to recruit others to leave their congregations.”

    Is this an overview of the material covered in the book?

  11. Interesting article. Yet I feel compelled to ask, if we’re not supposed to meet for church then why did Jesus create the offices of the pastor and deacons? How can you fulfill those offices without being in a church?

    And what about bringing our offering into the storehouse? The tithes and offerings?

    I do agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a good group of people to worship with and learn from in the individual cities. I don’t want to pick apart the Church, Jesus did die for the Church.

    I have every belief in a group of Christians following through with the Word in that regard. Yet in a society of ungodly leadership and leadership that refuses godly accountability to follow Christ’s commands in this matter becomes increasingly difficult in a corporate body.

    The goal of every Christian should be to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. To reach the Lost with the Gospel, to teach them to be baptized, and to disciple them.

    Regardless of whether or not you are in a corporate body for worship and teaching or not, the main goal has always been the same. So we must obey. Are we trying to reach the lost? Are we actively trying to share the gospel with those in our towns? Are we discipling them to learn the Word? There are tracts you can buy to use for sharing the gospel. Pass those out!

    We all have neighbors and we should be trying to reach them. Churches have made things confusing enough as it is, just focus on leading souls to Christ and teaching them how to do the same.

  12. H.B.Clay

    It seems many people confuse “church” with “Church.” There are common elements, of course, but they are two separate things. Also, didn’t Jesus send us out to evangelize the world? How is one to do that alone? At the very least, Jesus sent His disciples out in twos. There seem to be “many” responses in agreement with the article. Sounds as if there are many like-minded people. Sounds to me like a church in the making. Just form one and get over the outward focusing! Get back to the inward focus, where God wants it to be, and stop being offended by all of the imperfection in other people. Take the plank out of your own eyes first.

  13. I am so glad that I m not the only one in the body that is feeling this way!

  14. I am SO with y’all on this! It’s a terrible struggle for me, though. My father is a deacon, my mother is the church treasurer, and my best friend is the minister’s wife! This shift towards not being “in church” every Sunday has been happening gradually with us. No one can understand where we’re coming from and it’s causing a riff. That’s something we really don’t want. However, I don’t want my children growing up thinkning that the flashy children’s program is all there is either. I know that didn’t make much sense. Our life is church.

    Blessings–
    Dana

  15. Amen! This really spoke to my soul this morning! I have been struggling with concerns regarding this for so long now! I have been reading a book called, “Parenting in the Pew” which is helping me to understand the difference between “going to church” and “going to worship.” I don’t believe church attendance is a must. I am currently attending a church that is full of very Godly people and the focus is on our relationship with Jesus and not on Sunday morning entertainment ~ but they also believe that we should be committed to being at the church everytime the doors are open. The kids and I go to church without my husband so Sunday morning attendance is all we can do ~ and that is very sporadic. To say that I am misunderstood is an understatement! I work hard to keep my eyes on the Lord and not on the opinions of the congregation.

  16. Just Passin' Thru

    WOW! I’ve known of this and I know about this concept, but yours is the first that article that spoke to me.

    For the last year plus i have served in our small church’s nursery during the sermon time. I care and bless 3 babies…2+ yrs old now, and an occasional visitor. IMy dh and I have been”members” for going on 25 yrs and have seen many ups & downs. I’ve thought of leaving this church but realized that every church instituion will also have its ups & downs.

    I am not sure just where I am in regards to this idea, but i am moving along, and this article is working on my paradigm.

    Thanks for writing it.
    JPT

  17. Amen! I can’t believe how many ‘christians’ have pursuaded me that I have made the wrong decision to stay home w/my family because my husband refuses to attend a ‘Church’ (due to bad experiences). I’ve prayed many years over this and am at peace with being home with my family. I have never had a ‘christian’ attempt to understand my situation or offer some emotional support…that told me that I won’t get it at the building either!
    Can’t wait to read that book.

  18. Wow My husband and I have discussed many of these issues in our own journey. Thank you for the hought peovoking article that will give us even more food for thought!

  19. Ok the typos this keyboard causes are annoying!

  20. SisterLisa,

    Good questions Lisa. The origin of many of our church practices–church buildings, orders of worship, sermons, pastors, tithing, clergy salaries– is non-biblical and inconsistent with the practice of the early church. For more on this topic see “”Pagan Christianity” by Frank Viola.

    You can read a sample chapter at http://www.paganchristianity.org/pc.pdf

    Also see http://www.ptmin.org/answers.htm (scroll down to questions)

    Blessings,
    Robin

  21. While I understand that there are practices that are not biblical, not all church operate that way. some do some of those things some do not. I still believe in being a part of a congregation, yet there are times we stand for our faith in some areas that we know are not right and we keep our stand about that. There will never be a perfect church organization.

    But we certainly do let our stand be known to our leadership when we need to. If they view us as rebellious that is their choice. But we keep our stand. Such as not doing anything Halloween related, and other issues that come up.

    As far as salaries go I can attest that the pastor I have now is the hardest working person I have ever met. He has personally built our church himself with the help of the other men and is currently building our next building. His position as a pastor is more than a full time job and we all voted that he get a salary. Better than him having an outside job and paying a contractor to do the work. Most of what he gets in his check he puts right back into the building to help further the work in our area for Christ.

    Thank you Robin.

  22. Tamara Scire

    We’ve been “home churching” for a couple of years now. It was amazing the criticism we received from our fellow believers. It is part of our family’s break from legalism but more than, that there were many idols we had set up from going to church. Listening to our pastor instead of establishing our own deep dependance on God’s word and hearing from Him through His Holy Spirit. We have never judged other families–they are on their own journey. For our family, it has been a huge blessing and we have grown closer and more focused on God. We live out, daily, instead of weekly, a personal relationship with Jesus.

    I grew up going to church every time the doors were open–we were dedicated church goers. In my entire life (42 years), I have never experienced more freedom since we’ve been home churching.

    This is simply my experience. Thank you for the article Robin, as always, you aren’t afraid to address the issues that call us to STOP and think!!

    God’s blessings to you,

    Tamara Scire

  23. Wanita Panza

    Our best friend is the pastor of the pastor of the church we attend often and our called in as leadership :). On the flip….the Sunday worship service, so much of what we “we do” is very, very pagan based and we just consider it “Christian.” We even get upset when it is questioned. We need to lovingly spek up according to what scripture says and be silent when scripture does not speak. We honor Sabbath. We also do try to attend on Sunday but we do not wear ourselves out as we see others doing to “honor” all these programs. We have stirred the pot because we refuse to place our children in SS or (worse yet) Children’s Church. I refuse (lovingly) to place my kids with these other children who are SO HARDENED!!! The youth group is like training for a hooker camp!!! (No I am NOT kidding) I am not one whose daughter looks like she she stepped off the train from “Little House” either….we do not believe in that extreme either. However, it is appalling to hear of what goes on in Youth groups among the kids. Whether pastor’s are hard working or not is not the issue……the STRUCTURE is the problem, not the heart’s of the well-meaning. They are just as much of the victim. My thought anyhow. All these people who are taught to make their livings off of a system where they should make a living like this…in this manner. I mean, a good look at how Israel was set up does have people REALLY (honestly) set up is QUITE this way making their living like this in these numbers????? Does it? Careers that rabbinical-like in such huge number? Did not the Levitical sytsem function and the rabbinical pollute that to some extent to ensure it’s ongoing function? I kinda see that today with the protecting of the ministry system…the system not good-hearted people with-in it. Think about it…..many KNOW they structure and system itself is VERY pagan, but will not allow the the truth preached because it is THEIR salaries at stake!

  24. Thanks for sharing. This article is very timely. We(my family) are currently going through a transition, and you begin to think your a fruitcake. Especially when you constantly feel like you need to justify yourself.

    Blessings

  25. Thank you, Robin, for sharing this article by Wayne. I agree with much of what he shared.
    While learning to live “on much less than before” (though The Lord has still enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom and we do still home educate our 3 youngest. Hallelujah!!), since we began offering to teach about what’s “in” The Word of YHWH God, we have seen one “good side” to attending worship services and being involved in teaching at a local congregation:

    1. there are local-area congregations which are willing to let us have some basic foods, for our children, plus a few other basic items which do help us “continue on the journey”
    and

    2. the folks in the local congregation we have become a part of, serving there as The Lord enables us to, are focused on and involved in one-on-one relationship building, on ‘living’ as Yeshua (Jesus) did, on getting to know The Lord, in truth, and in sharing the gift of redemption found only in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), one on one, as The Lord leads.

    However, in our family I tend to be the one who is the non-conformist. I also believe The Lord taught that the body (of believers) *is* what most call “the church.” We are to build up other believers in The Lord, though He does build up each one of us also, within the body of Messiah. We are all members one of another, no matter where we fellowship with other believers.

    My wording or my understanding may have changed, but long ago, The Lord, thanks to Him alone, helped me to see that it’s not the institution, but it is “the believers.” We are to live for Messiah (Christ), and who are to love The Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, *and* we are to (show) love (in action to) our brothers and sisters as (we love) ourselves!

    The Lord is the focus, the center of our lives! We are to live (and breathe, with His Life-giving, Holy Spirit, the Ruach haChodesh in us) in a way that He has led us to, and has breathed into us, to do. He enables us by His Grace to do what He “wills” us to do. We are to do as Yeshua did: He must have daily asked His Father in Heaven “what would You like me to do, for Your Glory, today, Father?” Then, He obeyed (wholeheartedly, diligently). (as He went teaching, healing, serving, counseling, sharing about The One Who desires for us to have intimate fellowship with Him!)

    May The Lord YHWH continue to inspire you, lead you, direct your paths, and daily re-fresh His filling within you, Robin, and all who trust in, believe in, and follow The Lord (as their faith-level and God’s Grace enables them to), The Lord Who is Adonai, El Elyon, … Yeshua, The Son of God, Who made atonement for us, … Who called (I realize He was referring to The Temple in Jerusalem) God’s house “a house of prayer.” (for all peoples, He said)

    Yeshua did command His disciples to go and make disciples of / teach (people) all nations (He taught more, but am only mentioning “some,” here), teaching them to observe “all” things He had commanded (them) (to do). He did share specific commands with His follwers, His “disciplined ones.” As we learn what Yeshua (Jesus) commanded His “friends” (John 15:14) (us) to “do,” we come to know Him more intimately. Then, our lives conform more to His Will and to the Life Yeshua lived, while on earth.

    One thing I am so encouraged to know is in Ephesians 2:5-6. For me, it is so blessed to realize that He has given me a position in Heaven that not only cannot be taken away, but … enables me to overcome the enemy in a way that I had not realized could be done, some years back. Hallelujah! That is freeing me, much more than any congregation could.

    To remember that Yeshua has already defeated the enemy of YHWH, and that greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world (I John 4:4), is enabling me, by His Mighty Power, to know what to do to ask YHWH to take back “ground” (in my soul) from the enemy (called strongholds — wrong ways of thinking)! Hallelujah!

    Growing in Messiah? yes! It is wonder-filled, and full of blessings! He is daily continuing to sanctify us, as we choose to continue to abide in Him (The Son of YHWH) and walk with Him, in fellowship with Him (I John 1)! Hallelujah!

    Thanks for sharing, Robin! We are all “on this journey” together.
    The Lord bless you in all you do for His Glory!

    ~ Kathy ~

  26. Anonymous

    I’ve been what’s know as a “church hopper” and don’t care if people see that as wrong. It’s just plain difficult to find a church one can call home. I was tremendously strengthened by a rather unconventional church via t.v. because they preached the Word chapter by chapter and verse by verse. I came to realize, finally, that God’s Word is truly my spiritual sustenance. And for a season I didn’t attend a church but simply read the Word to my kids for an hour on Sun. or Sat. Well, that was rather disastrous. But how cool of God to be working in that and He led me to a church that has helped my kids and i greatly (I’m a single mom and my kids need godly male role models desperately). The LORD has been so good to provide this for us, although i don’t for a minute see this church as my all in all. God alone is my all in all and my ROCK. Lisa

  27. wow. I’m quite literally shocked. I am afraid you’ve just lost me as a person who really looked up to and respected this site and the author.
    I’m fairly certain that it is written in the Word of God, that we are meant to be in worship, together, for His glory. Not for our own play on words, and rationalization because this church is or is not what it should be.
    To me this article is nothing but stating that the institution of church that was given to us by God is not good enough. That it’s something we must improve on ourselves, because any other form isn’t working out for us.
    Maybe I missed a vital point here, but I am deeply concerned for what I did read here.
    I’m not trying to start an argument. I just wanted to put out my thoughts. We, as humans, are formed to be the “body of Christ” and as such, we cannot stand firm alone.

  28. Did you read the whole article? “The issue is not where we are at a given time during the weekend, but how we are living in him and with other believers all week long.”

    The church is something we are, not someplace we go. Jesus calls you to and wherever he places you. Wayne fellowships and ministers daily to thousands.

    Maybe you should reread it.
    Blessings,
    Robin

  29. One thing I got from this article is that the Church is not a building, it is the people. Jesus died for the people, not the buildings.
    I don’t know that I agree that the “institution” of the church is something that God gave to us. I believe he gave us his son as Messiah and other Believers to walk with and be encouraged by, but we as people are the CHURCH, not the buildings, and definitely NOT the business-like run churches of today.

    I am very curious as to where in the Bible God commands us to be in a church building every Sunday. From my study of the Sabbath, which is where the Sunday worship evolved from, I see no such commands. We are to set aside a day of rest, but, really, does it separate that day to have a worship service on? It says to keep it holy, and the Jewish Law had specifics on that, but we are not commanded to go to a building and have preaching and song service and prayer and tithe-gathering on any particular day. That is a man-made rule.

    If I have missed that, I am willing to look into the context of any verses you have to offer.

    We have been so programmed by the churches today to accept whatever is said that many times we just eat it up without using the Berean approach to finding what Scripture really means.

    We are no longer bound by the Law, but we seem to be bound by unspoken or just generally accepted church programs and doctrines that are not supported by the Bible itself or even, in some cases, directly go against the teachings of the Bible.

    Thank you, Robin, for posting this. It is a hard thing to swallow sometimes, that what you have grown up (even if it is just growing up in the faith) believing or supporting with your whole heart is something that needs to be looked into a little closer and prayed about and perhaps not to be supported. It is unconventional, but it is worth considering.

    I have a strong opinion of this, because I used to be the person who believed you had to be at church every time the doors were open, has led worship and headed up almost every ministry there is. I have also looked into and considered what this article is saying and have found it to be true. And I love the CHURCH – the People, God’s people!

    blessings~

  30. great article… i have enjoyed reading the comments as well.
    i think i have found some kindred spirits!
    may God show us how to live in true community with other believers as we serve Him.

  31. Fabulous article; thanks for sharing, Robin. A few years back, my family left our regular congregation where we’d been attending for 13 years, as we came to the conclusion that the “organisation” there was just not willing to listen to the Spirit of God. After a couple of years, we found a congregation that does listen and focuses on Jesus and seeks to do His will, thankfully, but there are so many “churches” where a true sense of fellowship is absent and I agree that often it is better to stay away from them and find your fellowship in connections with other believers in your community and Bible Study groups and other home meetings.

    Blessings to all,

    Annette.

  32. Melissa

    I am sorry to hear about the bad experiences some of you have received. I have to honestly say, the Bible is very clear on meeting together the first day of the week. Scripture teaches “Not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” I think there is great danger when we think we are ok on our own without a shepherd or pastor to guide us and teach us. Granted, I am not saying there are not some messed up churches out there, but please don’t use that as an excuse to stay away from church all together. I firmly believe God has the right church for you out there. If you will pray, and ask for guidance He will show you where to go, and bring wonderful people in your path. We were made for people, to share, and spend time with others. Satan is the one who wants us isolated. When we are not held accountable to anyone, and left to ourselves we are more open to his attacks. If not for your own sake(although I hope you do) for your children’s sake find a church where you can grow, and learn about Christ, and reach out to others. I am a missionary wife living in Romania with my husband and 4 children for almost 4yrs now, and I have to tell you God gives so much peace! When we are going to church, and reading HIs Word, watching our girls(ages 11, 9, 6, and our son is 3) sing specials with friends, praising His name together(even in a different language) you sense the HOly Spirit. He is there, and His power is changing lives! We miss out on so many of God’s blessings I believe, when we quit attending church. Please don’t allow your discouraging experiences to change your hearts on this. People will always fail us, but God and His love will never fail. He wants to be real in our lives, and hearts but we have to first obey. Once we take that step, and do our part the joy and peace start flowing..There is nothing better in this world than living the Christian life. I just told my husband tonight, I love my life! And sometimes it is hard having my husband as my pastor :), but it is so exciting learning and growing together!! Teaching our kids by example to love and serve God and others. The Bible tells us, “God came to give us life, and to have it more abundantly.” I have been in church as far back as I can remember. They haven’t all been good experience, but God used the bad ones to grow me. I am thankful for that. He promises that “ALL things work together for good to those that love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose” I am sorry this is so long. I care about each of you, and I hope you will really pray about God’s direction. He is there, and will show you what to do.
    Lots of Love,
    Melissa

  33. Wow! This is great! I’ve been pondering many of these questions and searching scriptures for answers…I know we are not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together..but in my case how can I win my husband to Christ by my actions if I’m never home?! He’s allowed me tobegin home ed about 9 years ago now..it’s been an interesting journey..I do go to ‘church’ for now at least once a week..Another thing I’d been pondering is why all the ‘programs’. If we don”t have healthy (mentally, relationally, and spiritually) how on earth can the ‘church’ or body of Christ be healthy. Being busy is NOT what He commanded us..He said ‘Be fruitful’ also He said, ‘Go and make disciples’ not bring them to the building and just make converts. We are to teach people thru our lives…I believe a lot of the time we need to slow down and reassess what our focus is truly on…Glad to hear I’ve found a kindred spirit…who knows God may be calling us outside the lines of convention…hmmm looks like another reformation is on its way… I like it already!

  34. I listen to the “God Journey” podcast by one of the authers, Definitely an insightful listen!

  35. Heidi,

    My Pastor preached on Eph 5 yesterday. I was delighted when he said, “If your husband doesn’t want you at church, stay home with him!”

    God word is clear you are to be submissive to your husband. Win him through your actions.

    I heard a TV preacher say once, “If you husband won’t let you tithe, see a divorce attorney.” Unbelievable. Too many churches have these authoritarian controlling pastors. Look to God’s Word for direction.

    Those that go to church easily fall into thinking they are superior to those who are called to qa different type fellowship– we are wrong to judge here. Sunday and Wed night is not a commandment. I’ve been in churches where people act as if you are hell bound for missing a Wed night service.

    God will show each of us when and where we are to fellowship. Right now I happen to be in a Baptist church Sun and Wed meetings. But many periods of my life I was not– but I still grew spiritually, I stayed in the Word and in fellowship. My illness caused us to miss much church this winter– I was not out of God’s will. In fact I was blessed with time in bed to study.

    Pray and listen for the answer. God promises to direct your paths.

    Blessings,
    Robin

  36. It is a dilemma because we want to be obedient and we are free to worship wherever we wish
    At the same time we need each other, spiritually and physically speaking we are one body, the Body of Christ and we need to be there for each other.
    I believe we as Christians benefit from going to a church , meeting regularly with others from our faith
    There is no perfect church, if there was one, I wouldn’t be allowed in it because I am full of faults myself
    I am only giving my opinion (and I beg to differ) because you’ve asked for our imput :)
    God bless each and everyone of you
    Jackie (JaAus)

  37. cindyseki

    Thank you for posting this article. We finally left the “secular church” almost 2 years ago now. Sunday mornings were difficult for a long time until a friend loaned me a book, “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore.” That made such an impact on my life. After reading it I was able to understand why we could not “fit” into the church. We are delighted with the small home group that we attend on Sunday afternoons and our growth in the Lord has dramatically increased over the last 2 years. Don’t think we could ever go back now.

  38. Caroline

    I am so sorry that you all have had such a difficult time finding churches that are honoring the Lord. However, the Bible clearly states that we are to assemble together. Not just as families, but with other believers. Paul gives very clear instruction on how churches should be run, how Elders and Pastors should teach and lead, and how Deacons are to serve. My husband is a Pastor, and believe me, I have seen the worst that churches have to offer, BUT OH to miss the wondrous work of the Holy Spirit in the body of believers. We (believers) are all the Church- that is not in dispute, but just because we have had a bad experience or don’t want to do something doesn’t give us the right to disobey the Word of God. He gives us the Body (or Church) for encouragement, for serving, for loving, for sharing in worship together. PLEASE, take a second look at this- you have so many young mothers looking to you for wisdom and advice, and you have just single handedly told them all that they don’t have to do something that the Bible and God commands if they don’t want to. I am afraid that I too will no longer be able to recommend your curriculum or site to those who ask for ideas. Please don’t miss out on what God intended. There are still some of us out here in churches working diligently so that you all can come, be loved, and worship extravagantly and in Truth.
    I am praying for you all.

  39. Kirsten

    Each family must follow the leading of Yeshua (Jesus), not of man. Who is to say that a man can’t become the pastor of his own home? According to scripture, when two or more are gathered together it is a church, I just fail to see why people have a problem with families staying home. Shouldn’t we be concerned with growing in our relationship with Yeshua? Isn’t this how we work out our faith? What about places like China, where churches are run by governments? What’s better the government run church or the illegal home churches? You’re missing the essence of the article if you think it’s telling you to stop going to church. Some of the largest churches that exist today, started out as home groups…Calvary Chapel. I think families need to have freedom AND support to follow Yeshua the way the moves them in a forward motion. Isn’t it great if church works for some people, such as single mothers looking for male role models? It’s equally great to see people thriving outside this environment. It ridiculous to me to hear people, who mostly seem to be people who are supported financially by this system, trash fellow believer’s who step outside it. This is why we have a society of people who are put off by the church. The church has also produced an environment where most people believe they are saved when they are not. People are searching, because as an institution, the church is failing miserably. Does this mean there aren’t any good churches throughout the world? Absolutely not! There are, however, a lot of bad churches. Does following Yeshua mean going to church most Sunday’s? Than this is a work-based faith. Salvation is by faith! Please, church attendees and non-church attendees quit fighting over who is right and step along side one another in support. All this time you waste arguing could be better spent in the word or sharing with someone. It will make us look way more appealing to the world who is watching. Have we forgotten that we are one in Messiah? May the Lord Bless You!

  40. the body of Christ is definitely His people not a church. There is no argument about that.
    Worship I hold fast to the fact that we are supposed to be worshipping as a body. We need fellowship and refreshment of our soul in this ‘corporate’ worship.
    I just feel like the whole idea for deciding your going to do ‘church’ on your own terms is still undermining the Holy Spirit, and downright hypocritical. And proud. *shrugs*
    Take it with a grain of salt. Why would you WANT to separate yourself from worship with believers!? I think some people are missing the entire point of church because you refuse to ‘conform’ to an ‘institution’ . . . Are we having authority issues here or what? lol. just joking. . .
    There is no perfect church, even if you fashion one *your*self and do what *you* decide *you* need to do, or feel *you*’re being led to do. It’s still not perfect.

  41. Caroline

    I take exception to the comment “It ridiculous to me to hear people, who mostly seem to be people who are supported financially by this system, trash fellow believer’s who step outside it. This is why we have a society of people who are put off by the church.” Supported financially by this system is a JOKE!!! Most Pastors (not all) do not make a living wage, and missionaries certainly do not. We have been both! We do this because we love Christ, we love the Church- his bride, we love His people and want to help them. We believe in His institution set up to encourage, disciple and hold accountable his people.
    Agreeing to disagree.

    Caroline, Pastor’s Wive
    Missionarie’s Wife

  42. Perhaps I missed something here. Most everyone here seems to be jumping on the word ‘church’ and attempting to prove their idea of ‘church’ is the correct idea or way to ‘do church’. I felt the author was trying to say that the church is NOT a building, it’s the people: those that come into the building and those that don’t. Yes, the Bible says we should nor forsake fellowship one with another, but it doesn’t say it has to be in the building labeled “The Church”. I thought the author was trying to explain that thought. The Church is people, not a physical place. It’s the love we’re to have one for another in our daily lives, in all our actions and words. Not just in a building with lots of folks who think the same as we and lots of activities to keep everyone ‘working’ for the Lord. Does it matter if you attend the Baptist, Methodist or Jewish church? Does it matter if you worship on Sunday instead of Saturday? Shouldn’t your whole life be one of worship and should’t it happen everyday of your life? There appears to be some harsh words/feelings showing up here and I think that’s what the author was warning about. If we love Yeshua and wish to be like Him, we fellowship daily at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the post office, the school, and yes, even in the building called “the church”. Look at your hearts and let your actions and words reflect that. At least that’s what I thought the author was trying to say. Yeshua attended Synagogue (He taught there on more than one occasion), but he also taught on the mount, in the boats, on the shores….. everywhere He went. I felt that what the author meant. Don’t worry about your church building-be it at home, in a home group or a formal church building-make sure you are involved with people from all areas of your community in a way that shows ‘church’. (ie, helping the poor, caring for the widows and orphans, serving the least of them in your community, visiting the prisoners, ect) and showing them the love of the Father, sharing the good news that He loves them, being the hands, feet, mouth and eyes of the Father. That was my take on the article. Thanks for sharing it Robin. Shalom, spitfire

  43. Cindy R.

    I commend you for writing about a topic that is definitely an emotional issue. My husband and I left the institutional gathering “church” about 2 years ago. It was an extremely difficult decision. My husband was an elder in a very Bible teaching church, which can be difficult to find. We prayed, researched, read, and prayed more. We finally felt God releasing us from our old way of doing church. Now we are being the church. We have more peace now. We are more on fire for the living God. We still gather together with believers just not in the traditional way. I had a man explain to me once that the verse on “assembling together” doesn’t necessarily mean what many have come to believe it means. When you get a new bike you may need to assemble it before you can ride it for the first time. But thereafter you don’t disassemble it after riding it each time. Assembling together is where God is knitting individual believer’s hearts together for a time and together they walk the journey God calls them to. This is a one time assembling that doesn’t need to be disassembled after each use. It is lived out daily not just on a Sunday. There is so much more that could be said but it ulimately comes down to how God is revealing his truth to you. The one thing God contiunues to show me is that I have so much to learn. What I thought to be true 2 years ago is not my truth today. I pray I will continue to have a teachable heart and walk closely with my God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  44. At one time I would have agreed with you COMPLETELY! I was raised in church that put more emphasis on what you wore and speaking in tongues than salvation through Jesus! Imagine how releived I was when a Baptist person assured me that my Baptist Grandma was probably in heaven even though she wore pants! LOL. No laughing matter here.

    After many many years of living in sin and reaping its consequences Jesus finally called me and made me His own! What a glorious day that was! I literally felt the bondage of sin released from my shoulders.

    HOWEVER, it has been a very long 15 year journey finding a church that preaches the TRUTH! WITH LOVE! After spending 5 years in another false doctrine, I quit going to church for 10 years! Then I went church hunting and was so very disappointed!!! Had it not been for my precious Christian neighbor, who never stopped inviting me to her church for the past 5 years, I probably would not be in church now. The Lord led me to a church who cares for the widow and orphans! that teaches God’s Word, Book by Book, Chapter by Chapter, Verse by Verse! No jumping around to prove their doctrines. My children are throroughly blessed by the children’s program! We share the word and FOOD every Sunday. I can’t say enough good about the wonderful place we have found to worship.

    All that to say this, continue to pray! I know you are a woman of prayer, Robin. You have blessed our lives and homeschool in a wonderful good way as the Holy Spirit has led you. Just make sure it is the Spirit of the Lord you are hearing. In the meantime, if you want to hear some awesome teaching on any book, chapter, or verse try joncourson.com! (no, I don’t go to his church but if I lived in Oregon I would!)

    God Bless You!
    Melissa

  45. Aletta Marshall

    Thank you for your article. We recently came out of a very critical house church group. They claim to walk in the truth, yet there are so many contradictions in their lives. The fruits were often hard to find. We probably backslide slightly because of the constant criticism towards false teachers, heresies and most other Christians. We needed to repent and realized that the group is slightly cultic; because of some of the proud standings they claim to hold. Although they are Biblically very scriptural in their teachings.
    My husband have hold the same opinion as you, but I have taken longer to fully understand and except that fellowship is divine and that God alone is in control of all our ways. As long as we submit to His will in fellowship with Him. We on this road alone. It is so narrow that we cannot walk next to each other. We can walk behind and follow some’s example and we can walk in front and lead some time. But Christ alone is our Shepherd and He alone deserves all the praise, glory and honor!
    We are the church. They are Biblically

  46. Stacey Jones

    I haven’t read the book “Why I don’t go to chruch anymore” but I heard about it. I would like to comment that I was a church goer on a regular basis and I had a bad experience in a particuliar church not realizing at the time how deeply it affected me now my attitude toward attending chruch has changed. I still have a relationship with GOD but it is more of a spiritual relationship now. I do a lot of meditating now and group meetings with fellow meditators. I visit church about once every month or so now and don’t know if I would trust going to church again although I trust GOD.

  47. Stacey

    I’v had a bad experience with church and although it has discourage me from attending chruch on a regular it hasn’t discouraged me from GOD. I am definately not upset with GOD but chruch. I Do not do home church I do meditate with a group almost daily. I am seeking a relationship versus seeking religion. Maybe one day I will attend again on a regular but as for right now I have to work and gain my trust back with pastors who allow others to talk to them on your behalf.

  48. Stacey

    This is in response to Stacy without the “E”. I must say that your comment to me and again I say to me is ridiculous. I’ve heard of Husband and Wives in the church or Husband and Wives that attend separate churches or maybe one partner not attending at all, but Why would a Wife not attend because of the Husband’s “Bad Experience”. I would figure a Wife would have a mind of her own in this day and time and can make her own decisions.If you were attending a church with him and he had a bad experience does that mean you had one also? If you find peace at home than why blame it on his experience. For myself I’ve had a “Bad Experience” but to blame it on anyone other than the Church or Pastor or people within that church amazes me. Maybe you and your husband can try a group such as mine until he gets over his experience, and being that you followed him out of the church perhaps a group with suit your needs as well. I’m sure you will get plenty of emotional support in my group.

  49. Hi, just wanted to say I like your site. We have two children both grown.
    Wanted you to know I found your site by search- Why I don’t go to church anymore. I told some friends about Wayne and this article I latter hit search myself and you were second on yahoo list.

    Be blessed in the journey.
    Bill

  50. Robin, I have been on a serious journey lately and I thank you so much for this. As I was reading the Scriptures today the Lord brought to my mind about this post and my comments. So I came back to re-read everything. THANK YOU!

    Jacque has been wonderful to me as well as I have sought to know the truth and I finally feel more free than ever before. Yes, I have read from the links and even printed some of it out for my husband to read. :O) We are on a wonderful journey and I value all prayers that can be sent up for us. ((Hugs))

  51. I came over at Jacque’s link to religion or relationship. I found myself reading more and cannot leave without letting a HALLELUJAH escape my lips!!! We are attending a small homechurch now, but for a time we just churched at home as a family. When we left the church we were surprised to find that we actually GREW in faith, and that we also had the time to disciple our children and reach out to those in need around us. Of course we had many old church friends who would ask if we were even Christians anymore! This little post expresses my heart sooo very well!!!! *THANK YOU!* for sharing it! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  52. Matthew

    It is no secret that many people have been hurt by a spirit of religion that is legalistic and caught up in man’s rule of law and judgements. Is this any reason to deny oneself and a group of fellow believers near you the body of one of its members? I have gone to many church buildings to worship and have fellowship over the years, (from a hotel conference room with twenty spirit filled worshipers to a megachurch with three thousand members) and the edification and exhortation of fellow believers is integral to God’s plan for the church.

    I would encourage you to read the Pauline Epistles again, as they deal with many of the very problems you are seeing in the church today. The main thrust of most of Paul’s teaching is that Jesus is the main thing, but the exhortation and edification of the body of believers is only slightly less important! Additionally, we find in Joshua Chapter 7 that the sin and disobedience of -one man- can affect an entire body of believers. This is another reason we must encourage, correct, and sometimes even rebuke our fellow believers (with a spirit of meekness and not judgement as Paul states in Galatians 6:1-2). Turning away from problems in the modern church is certainly not the answer, Paul wrote many letters with the correction of the “church organization” in mind.

    One of my good friends was told by his pastor at eight years of age that his sister would not have burned in a house fire if their family had been obedient to God. He is only just now accepting Christ’s healing and restoration after this deep wound caused by a “man of God”

    The fact is, being part of a body of believers is hard work, but not a task that I believe we should shy away from because of fear or simply because it is difficult to find people we agree with 98% of the time. What of the many rewards that God has for us when we attend worship and sunday school and all the other organized church events that are not mentioned here in your post?

    The main challenge is simply this: It is very dangerous, advocating that it is okay -not- to go to church, as there are none of us that have the ability to grow in Christ without help from our brothers and sisters. When we advocate not going to church we give the prideful impression to God and others that we don’t need the edification, encouragement, teaching, worship, corporate prayer, fellowship, and operation of spiritual gifts and many other blessings that God will provide to help us to move along a path from salvation to growth.

    Be blessed!
    Your friend in Christ.
    Matthew Emch

  53. I would like to give a more thorough response at a later time, but for now, I just want to say that I plan on printing this and posting it at my church, at least in part (it’s a little long).

    Thanks for posting, God bless!

  54. Martin Watts

    Beautify! Might I add?

    (Greek) episynagōgē (English)Assembling
    Hebrews 10:25
    Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…
    The Greek word for “Assembling” is episynagōgē.

    It has nothing to do with gathering in a place, but it means to gather in the faith- or more specifically, a complete collection, as in the Ecclessia or Church (the called out ones).

    God builds a temple unto himself through the Spirit of himself- forming a complete collection of believers. Apostle Paul was directly speaking to the Jews who would go “under” grace, then turn around and go back under the Law of Sin and Death. He was encouraging them to gather together in the unity of the faith in Christ.

    Preachers have used this scripture setting to encourage people not to miss “church”, but if you are a child of the Living God, then He has called you, and you will not miss being an integral part of the “Church”. Part of the complete collection of Saints of the Most High.

    Enough said.

  55. Monica

    I have totally gone through this exact same thing and I thank God for my personal relationship with Him. I love Him, His Praise is continually in my mouth. It is nice to see my feelings expressed so clearly and honestly from another believer. Praise the Lord!

  56. My heart truley goes out to everyone who has commented on this subject. I realize what a touchy subject it is and I myself have dealt with all the same issues. After years of attending a one church I moved to a home church. That didn’t go well so I started attending a new church, the church was great with God loving people and an understanding pastor with a true heart for God. The only problem was the church was small and before long I seemed to be doing church activities all the time. (I too attended church without my husband and felt like I needed to spend more time with him). I began to wear down and I didn’t have the heart to tell the pastor I was neglecting my husband and tired, so i left. I spent the next year and a half telling everyone I could “you don’t have to go to church to love Jesus”. I have a very good understanding about the Church being body of Christ. And I do still believe that. But my experience with being away from the church building where my church FAMILY was, was lonely. I didn’t have support to stay strong in Christ, there was nobody to help me walk through the trials when it seemed like Jesus was so far away. Please understand I never backslided or gave up on God I just didn’t have that support (remember you ladies that said your husbands didn’t go with you) you recieve from real Christian people.(This is why God says do not forsake the gathering together). When I got honest with myself and started asking God for direction in my life I ended up back at the loving church (building) I left. They treated me has if I never left, I can’t even say “real” family members have treated me with such unconditional love. We may not need the building but we do need the people, So if we don’t have a building where are we going to meet?
    I just want to make a quick note here. Jesus taught at the temple (church) throughout his life, starting at twelve. The temple was and still should be a place(not a law) where born again believers get together because they want to praise God and Get strong in the teachings of God through the reading of scripture. Which is what Jesus did. Then go out and be a wittness for Jesus through your actions. I’ll leave you with this,
    Most churches are just trying to do God’s work. Yes we must be wise in choosing a place of worship but let us not criticize brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s like talking about yourself, the body is one. IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, LET US ALSO WALK IN THE SPIRIT. Gal. 5:25

  57. Teresa Smith

    Wow, this totally was my life!! I have tried over and over again to explain to people why we are not going anywhere on Sunday morning anymore. Even after years of following Yahweh in His will we get folks ask us “Have you found a church yet?” GEESSHH Thank you for sharing this article form his book. You know I am going to share with with a few people!!

    In Messiah,
    Teresa/Navah

  58. Elisabeth

    It’s funny. The path God has my family and I on right now keeps bringing me back to you! I just finished this book last night after the urging of a dear friend. We were, what I call, hung-out-to-dry by the church that we had been very involved in for several years. This book really speaks to the heart of the issues we have faced and helps us to focus on the changes Jesus is making in us. I just googled to find others reviews of the book and came right back to your website!

    Elisabeth

  59. I just love how God networks! So glaad you are here again Elisabeth.

  60. Elizabeth S

    Hi robin, I agree with this article. It’s funny, but like the other Elizabeth, I keep being drawn back to your site. Even when doing other searches. lol God has been showing me how institutional church is far from what the early believers had and how sadly it sometimes keeps people in denominational religion, undermining true submission to Jesus. I also am saddened by the religious traditions that are being handed down that are replacing and undermining what God set up. Like pagan holidays undermining God’s feasts. I love that you have made a book for families about the biblical feasts. I am beginning to see how beautiful and prophetic they are, and how Jesus fulfilled them (one still to go! the fall feast of harvest – symbolic of Revelation, with the wheat and the tares) It is sad that these rehearsals have been thrown away and replaced with pagan christianity. I know it grieves God, and it also confuses pagans, since we stole their holidays and christianized them. I used to be pagan in a way, and it was a horrible witness to me. It’s a good thing that Jesus saved me himself, because it was very confusing to me to read the bible and see the modern church so different from it. He’s been teaching me to look to him and not compromise the truth just because it’s been watered down. I think denominations are sinful, and keep the body from really being under Jesus the way they could be and loving each other the way he called us to.

  61. Hi there!
    I actually read this article the other day on a different site. I have been looking into the house church movement as of late. (I’ve had the Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays book for a few years). I found homechurchhelp dot com particularly helpful and it answers some of the questions others above have posed when defending the way they “do church.” We (followers of the Messiah)are the church and the journey can be bumpy when beginning to raise questions about the way we have traditionally/institutionally done “church.” My husband is a youth ministry major and leads the ymin at his current congregation (and no longer wishes to discuss these issues with me). I do attend but I have never experienced that level of coming alongside other believers and living life together, encouraging and exhorting, using the gifts God has entrusted me, that I know does not take place in the institutional setting. I want it so badly. I am in the Pacific Northwest where building relationships is hard to come by (I’m from the Southwest and the cultural difference is amazing). I would love to grow with other believers in Messiah who share common ground. (Now I am going to check out the rest of this site :))
    Diana

  62. Amen, Robin. I am so glad God put you in my life. I was beginning to think it was just me-what was wrong with me? I mean the church didn’t want to embrace anything that my heart burned for. I burned to learn more about Jesus through studying the Jewish customs. I burned to serve the Lord wholeheartedly with nothing to hold back in sacrificing all. However, I found a lot of anger and nasty words by those in the “church” who don’t want to do more than check an attendance and have a “religion”. There seemed to be no place for me. My passion for the Lord offended them and made them feel uncomfortable. I found your website and cried. Finally, someone else that has the same convicitons and has even gone before me a bit. God has sooo blessed me with you. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you to share with the rest of the body of Christ.

  63. Melodie

    I definitely understand your dismay with “religious people” in fact Jesus was dismayed with them too. If we read the scriptures carefully, the only people He ever rebuked were “religious people”. The only people who attacked and eventually murdered him were “religious people.” Jesus came to save the lost. He told us He was the light and that we should walk in the light just as He is in the light. Jesus in fact commissioned us to be His light in this “world.” Jesus said that the well dont need a doctor – the sick do. So why are we INSIDE a church instead of reaching OUT to the lost? I am a member of a ministry, and I get fed from the Apostle of the house. But the instruction I receive is not to sit inside – the instruction I receive is to GO and SEEK those who are lost. SHOW them the grace of God and by their faith they are saved by believing our savior, Jesus, The Christ, Our Lord, died for our sins by His own choice. Because he chose to take it all on Himself, we can believe in The Christ and be saved. But then we too must GO and tell the Gospel of Grace. It doesn’t take a church building to do that.

  64. Wonderful article Robin, thanks for sharing it! Since the Lord’s been leading us in a different direction these last few years, my husband and I have been so blessed by the fellowship of like-minded Believers that He’s put in our path, yet we’ve often wondered and stumbled over how to graciously share our own sentiments (in a nutshell- is it even possible? lol) in this regard with friends and family who perceive church attendance as synonymous with a true, Biblical faith.

    We’ve recently started this study by Tim Hegg regarding the Ekklesia, and it is SO eye-opening, and excellent! As you know, the Church as our Lord intended it is a far cry from what we generally see and imagine today… I highly recommend it to any serious students of the Word who’d like to delve deeper into this fascinating, and important topic.
    http://store.torahresource.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Ecc363

  65. Trishia

    Wonderful article, Robin…I couldn’t agree more! We are exhausting all the options in our area trying to find a “church” we can call home and after each attempt, end up going back to having fellowship at home as a family. We learn and grow more and we are more grounded. It’s not for everybody, but it works for us. We stay involved in other ways (Awana clubs, Bible studies, etc.) and find that it works much better for us this way. It’s good to see we’re not alone!

  66. I have not read all the responses, but have scanned enough of them to know some people who have a problem with the article (which I think is very good, btw) keep quoting the verse about assembling together.
    Let’s look at the verse: Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
    This verse IMPLIES that there are other places in Scripture where assembling is COMMANDED…this is not a command to assemble, but a command not to turn away from assembling. Now, where in Scripture are we commanded to assemble?
    Lev. 23 and other related passages referring to YHWH’s Holy Days/appointed times, one of which is the Sabbath. I am not saying we are not free to assemble other times as we feel led, but these are the ones that are commanded…
    This is a really involved subject, so will not go into more, but we all need to read Scripture, the WHOLE of Scripture, not just the NT.

  67. Stacy K.

    Could someone from Admin post the scriptural references to support your ideas, please? Thank You.

  68. Lots of good points. The fact is we are in an age when the ‘church’ is being spewed from His mouth. It is a lukewarm mess. (See Revelation’s letter to the Churches.) It is understandable that many are not willing to be part of that. We want to be the individual overcomer, not part of the lukewarm masses.
    .-= Carol Flett´s last blog ..ChristianGrand: What a wonderful time we had at ISC. The rallies were wonderful. The student entries were fantastic, too. =-.

  69. Cynthia

    This is how I feel. I know for me, when I ask someone where they go to church it is because I want to know where they have found fellowship and family. That is exactly what we are looking for and haven’t yet found. We’ve been to soo many churches, some where not a single person even said hi to us. That isn’t how it should be and I think it is because people think of church as a place instead of a lifestyle and relationships. Thanks for posting.

  70. Olivia

    Thank you for this article…It was very helpful to me as I do not attend church anymore for various reasons….
    they are only worried about your money ..people are very clanish and judgemental….gossipers….too much entertainment…dont want a coffee house at church for socials….and the number one reason is because the pastors and staff are just so organized and dont really preach on repentance anymore and never do the alter calls like they did in the 70′s when I was born again..I would like to go to a home bible study though and fellowship and meet other strong christians, so if you have one to reccomend please send me there…Im in salt lake city utah..Thanks

  71. Robert DeWitt

    What do you do with the command found in Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is;” Corporate worship is not optional. You can excuse it or justify not going, but not from the Bible

  72. Robert,

    Good question. The original Greek text does not specify attendance at regular organized services, but rather the evidence strongly suggests that it means something less formal. Whenever Christians come together, and they encourage one another and provoke one another to love and good works, then they are meeting in the true sense of this verse.

    The word here translated in the King James version, “Assembling yourselves together” is “Episunagoge” rather than the simpler word “Sunagoge”. Here is what Expositors has to say, “Delitsch suggests that the compound word (episunagoge) is used instead of the simple one in order to avoid a word with Judaic associations, but “sunagoge” might rather have suggested the building and formal stated meetings, while the word used denotes merely the meeting together of Christians.

    When early Christians came together, they did not gather in the name of any denomination, but simply as members of the one Body of Christ, the Church.

    Jesus said, “Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

  73. Robin,

    Relationship has always been important to me. People so bound up in rules and traditions often miss that most essential component to our walk with Christ – Relationship. Relationship with Him and with others.

  74. meripng

    Obviously this is a very hot topic, and I am sure I won’t say anything that people haven’t already said, but just to put my 2 cents in. :) My husband is an assistant pastor. He gets paid a small amount at church, but it is definitely not enough to pay all our bills so he works two jobs. He is an assistant pastor because he loves the Lord and loves people. If he wanted to he could pursue another job that made a lot more money. The Bible does say that a worker is worthy of his wages and don’t muzzle an ox while he is trodding. But it definitely isn’t about money. It really is a calling to try to love people.

    And yes, a lot of churches do get slightly messed up. There is no perfect church.

    I think though that one thing that is really important is that church is supposed to be a place where we can reach out to people in love.

    There have been many times that I as the assistant pastors wife have wanted to leave our church, but obviously I can’t. There were years and years of hurt. But what I have realized is that the Lord really wanted to teach me things when I thought other people should be taught things.

    By being willing to be hurt by other people and then communicating with them and trying to resolve the problems that have come up we have all grown in our relationships by leaps and bounds. Often I think that it is easier to run (be a peace-faker) than to try to resolve things and work through difficult things (be a peace-maker). Working through things can take a lot of very long conversations. It brings up weaknesses and sins in ourselves and other that we often don’t want to see. But the Bible says we are to be iron sharpening iron. Sometimes sparks fly.

    Now if you have truly tried to resolve an issue and you have gone to a brother and tried to work through things and they are unrepentant, unloving, and not willing to change than I can see why you would leave. But so many people get easily offended and don’t go and talk and communicate with the people who offended them. The Bible clearly states that if we are offended or if we have offended someone we are to go to that person even before we go to the altar.

    Talking and communicating with people not only helps us, it helps the other people. Perhaps that person does not realize the sin and weakness in their life and the Lord may want you to help show them these things so they don’t hurt other people and they can be more loving.

    I guess that is all I really have to say. I know it is so easy to want to leave when you have been hurt, but I don’t really know if it is Biblical to leave church if you are just hurt. I believe it is Biblical to try to be reconciled to your brother. However, if you have tried to be reconciled to your brother and they won’t hear it than you can leave. But many people don’t go and try to resolve things first. We are there to help each other become more like Christ. Sometimes it gets sticky. Very, very sticky. But that doesn’t mean we can give up on people, because that is what, other than the Lord, our Christian life is about. Trying to love other people the way Jesus loves us.

  75. Louise Scott

    Wow! This is so awesome and on time for me. I was searching the web trying to find answers to the way I have been feeling and this page hit everything right on the nose about what and why I have been feeling this way about church, fellowship etc.
    Everything that you have mentioned is what I believe that the Lord has been dealing with me about and because I have ignored it for so long helps me to understand why I have suffered for so many years and I am tired of suffering because of the way I feel about todays church and wanting to seperate myself from it to draw closer to God, because being in an organized institution has not drawed me closer but farther away from God and that is not God’s will. I believe the Lord is calling for me to make him my all, to learn to obey him and not man, to put my trust totally in him.
    And as you stated, we are the church, but most thing I hear from leaders when I try to explain it to them they will say “Forsake not the assemble yourselves” and then I reply” Where two or three or gathered, he is in the midst”

    You are led to feel like you are crazy and on your way to hell if you are not under someone, when in fact I am. I am under the authority of Jesus. Anyway, thank you for this and God bless you… For Jesus said he will never leave us nor forsake us.

  76. Louise Scott

    I do believe it is a authroity issue and because many are not walking in the authority of God, it’s hard to follow such people who does not have the fear of God in them. They don’t obey God, they use the word of God to manipulate and as long as that is going on, who would would want to be under such confusion.
    We can’t say what God won’t do to protect his own who wants to live holy and can’t because of such places.
    However, I agree wholeheartedly that we should gather together for worship, we need that encouragement from our brothers and sisters only if it is sincere and on one accord.
    Today unfortunately, there is a lot playing church going. God is not pleased. So, for some he has to separate the wheat from the tares in order to teach them himself to go back and set God’s house in order.
    Jesus did not turn the tables over for nothing. He was angry and so should we be when we see wrong doings in the house of God. And for that many of us won’t be liked. So, are we pharisees and scribes or real saints of God? I am a true follower of Jesus. I do not compromise when it comes to the word of God. I aim to please God not look politically correct.

  77. Louise Scott

    Amen!

  78. Louise Scott

    Deliverance and healing is definitely needed in the body of Christ that’s for sure.

  79. Louise Scott

    I believe that’s the whole point, waiting on God to lead you to a church that is just right for you. God said he would give you pastors after his own heart. Every pastor can’t pastor you, there is a pator that God has specially designed and fiited just for you and for your gifts and callings..

  80. Very well said. Thank you.

  81. Thank you for expressing your thoughts in a kind spirit and with which I agree. I’ll keep it short. I read the whole article. I’ve felt the same as many of those who have shared here. I’ve been judged for not being at church every time the doors open. I was abused by a Leader in a church I once attended. I stopped going for three years. Bottom line; I was disobedient to the Word of God. We all are, daily, hence our need for a Saviour. Someone once reminded me “IT’S NOT ABOUT ME” and I have to remind myself that on many occasions. When people let me down and they always will I must keep remembering it’s all about Him. He suffered and died and we argue and judge. We can dress it anyway we want to but the Word is clear. Each one of us will give an account for every act good or evil. So those who judge you for serving too little or going or not going are wrong as well. We are to take each thought captive and if it goes against His Word I believe the discussion is null and void. Don’t take my word for it, read it in His Word.

    I have decided not to purchase this curriculum after all. I know it’s been said that the article isn’t about going to church or not going but I cannot teach from materials written by someone who fails to recognize the issue is disobedience. I’m sad for those who will read the article and comments and will feel they have permission so to speak to be disobedient. Written with true sadness and love for all.

  82. Carlos

    Wow. I’ve know this for quite a long time. It’s good to know I’m not alone.
    I wonder what’s next.

  83. Anonymous

    Concise reasons why I do not want to go to Church anymore:
    1). Did not feel connected but like an outsider. After yrs. of faithfulness & loving everyone regardless of race I got a rude awakening when I was chosen to substitute teach for our Sunday School class while the Teacher was on vac. I prayed and prepared using the outline the regular instructor gave me. No one but 5 people out of 25 showed up the first day. 4 more showed up the second Sun after hearing that I conducted an excellent study. Others would look in the door, see me then walked away.
    I don’t want to play the race card or appear too sensitive but I was the only black out of a Church filled with elderly whites. I still loved them in the Lord but for the first time I recognized how shallow and superficial Christians can be.

    ). I joined a different Church after the Pastor of the above Church admitted to an adulterous 2yr. affair. It was downhill from there because the other Church also had a Pastor who admitted to having an adulterous affair with the female Children’s Minister. I joined a third Church and it was a repeat of the same. In all 3 Churches there was a Church split and it was never the same. (TRUE Story)! Some others backslid & others have become wandering sheep. Pastor are not Jesus or little gods so I was not expecting them to be God but just godly leaders who would lead by example and care enough about us to not willingly cause detriment to the Church.

    3). In my disallusionment I decided to study my bible for myself verse by verse line by line from Genesis to the end of Revelation. Another rude awakening took place when I discovered much of what I had been taught was a distortion of the Good Character and Nature of God. Pastors failed to explain the full meaning of Grace (unearned and unmerited favor). Their failure to adequately explain and teach Grace as a free gift for all aspects of necessities and life situations (was in my view) an attempt to control people with obeying man-made rituals, traditions and rules due to hidden agenda’s and to enforce Old Covenant laws that never at any time applied to Christians living under the New Covenant and Dispensation of Grace. Example: Each Pastor used a verse in the Old Testament that the Lord gave to Jews before the Crucifixion of Christ and his death to fulfill the law in our place. This verse was in Malachi 3:6-8 that to not tithe and keep God’s laws was to be placed under a curse resulting in the lost of God’s favor and blessing. However, Galatians 3:13-14 declares that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by dying on the Cross that the blessing of Abraham would come on the Gentiles by faith in Christ. The entire book of Galatians pointblack deals with Grace vs law-keeping for favor with God. How can they teach you are redeemed from the curse yet fall back on the curse of the terms in the Old Covenant? Very illogical. Peter called lawkeeping for right standing with God in Acts 15:10 A YOKE OF BONDAGE! Paul called it a yoke of bondage in Galatians 5 verse 1-4. He even went as far as saying to keep one law meant you were obliged to keep them all (all 613) not just the CIRCUMCISION LAW BUT BUT ALL! Circumcision was before and after the law was given by Moses yet no Church promotes it or Sabbath keepin which is Saturday starting Friday night to Sat. evening yet they over look the other laws and push tithing with guilt, fear and manipulation by distorting the New meaning of the New Covenant. I can no longer trust in man to teach me his Word but must be lead by the HOly Spirit as my guide, teacher and revelator. I still believe in giving a tenth or more when it is in my ability to do so but not out of fear of a curse or mandate. Paid in full means just that and it is too bad they do not explain what all this entails!

  84. Anonymous

    I forgot to also mention the Prosperity word of faith doctrine has ruined the true word of God and message to take up our Cross and follow Him (Jesus). The Cross was an instrument of death in Jesus earthly life time. Prosperity Teachers preach another Gospel as in ” sow your money seed into their pockets then you can become rich enough to take up your truck load of money and follow him. Where does it say the seed is money???? Another obvious distortion. As for these Word of Fake Teachers such as Frederick Price Sr, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Hagin Sr. They have messed up the body of Christ by promoting man and demoting Almighty God. Bottom line is they donot have faith in Jesus as their objec but they have faith in their positive confessions. God is Sovereign over all his universe & creations period!

  85. Stacey, I am sorry you had a bad experience and I can see how that would cause you to have issues with trusting to find a “church” again to attend regularly. However, as a child of God you absolutely CAN trust Him to lead you to a Bible believing and teaching church,because HE is ABSOLUTELY trustworthy. One cannot say they trust God, yet not allow Him to lead them safely.
    Our family too, left a church 2 years ago that we attended for 7 years, for several reasons ( including hurt )but that did not keep us from attending services elsewhere. God is always good and He will deal and hold accountable those who hurt others, besides, who among us as believers, have not hurt another believer ( intentionally or unintentionally )???

  86. Stacey,
    it is a very lonely place when we forsake the regular fellowship with other believers who gather to worship the Lord.
    I am also not sure it is ok for a pastor to teach women that if their husbands don’t want them to go to church, to stay home with them. I feel a husband who does not want his wife to attend a believers assembly, is asking her to sin against God’s way for believers. It is the enemy who wants us isolated because it causes us to weaken and when trials come, we will have much trouble to be able to stand without the encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ. A wife must obey her husband only then, when it does not go against what God has ordained. After all, the husband may be the head of the wife, but even the wife must give God first place in obedience. She must do so humbly, but also firmly.

  87. @meripng…Amen, Sister!! It is always easier to run with an holier than thou attitude, rather than trying to be taught of the Lord how to work out our relationships. We CANNOT make it on our own and I know this because my mother stopped “going” to church years ago because she is a smoker and they told her that if she didn’t quit, she was no longer welcome there….was that wrong? YES! But i don’t think she should have left there and never try to attend anywhere else…today and many years later on her own, she knows a lot of bible but is a rather bitter and lonely woman, who has no contact with any of our family other than myself. And she too, always used to say she doesn’t need church. Well, let me tell you, We do. We were made to share our lives in Christ with our brothers and sisters…it’s not always easy, but it’s so much harder alone.

  88. anonymouse

    Ditto. I came out too and have found the true meaning of Christ. May God bless you and continue to lead you on His journey.

  89. I recently started going back after being told I could no longer preach in their organization. They now let me preach without too much contention. Wonder how long that will last?

  90. Coetzee

    Well, I know that it sounds like a quibbling over words but words are important, when Jesus said that He is building the church on the foundation of the apostles what did He mean?

    Most of the new testament is written to churches which the apostles planted by the command of Christ. These churches didn’t refer to some “life of the believer” on his own somewhere. No, they were organised places of religion where the people of God gathered regularly. In fact we read in Hebrews that this coming together should not be forsaken.

    Home churches? Yes, in the apostolic times in many places they gathered in houses, but this is only because there was either not funds to actually build a building especially for that purpose or they had to meet in secret in houses because of persecution, just as we have those in China doing.

    The New Testament continuously speaks of churches as corporate and organised gatherings of the people of God. The fact is, that is the way it is supposed to be, that is the way that the Lord inspired the apostles to order the church. If you do not believe this, then you must throw essentially all of, at least Paul’s books out of scripture, for what will church offices such as elders and deacons mean if it’s not in an organised corporate gathering?

    Why do I not want to go to church anymore? Because I want to do it my way. I don’t want to listen to some egotistical guy on a pulpit telling me what to do and what not to do. I live my own busy life which doesn’t fit into the way the church is organised. How dare they not allow my wife to preach? What business is it to the church if I live with my girlfriend and have extramarital sex? What gives them the right to stick their nose in my business and discipline me if I do what they perceive as sin?

    No, I live a true religious life. I don’t need others to tell me what to do or how to worship, I have Jesus and he accepts me the way I am!

    See, those are the real reasons people don’t want to go to church.
    1. They don’t want to hear that they have sinned. Well guess what, then you won’t like what Jesus has to say to you!
    2. They don’t want to be disciplined when they have done wrong. You’re not gonna like Jesus then!
    3. They don’t want the responsibility of helping others and giving up part of their lives for others… pretty much they don’t want to do what Jesus did for the church.

    The point is, everyone who doesn’t want to be part of an organised group (and I am not talking about a huge presbytery or something, a small independent congregation and home church is OK) has some reason, which is always, not sometimes, always, guided by sin and selfish desires. This church won’t allow me to do this or that, so then I just change my view of the church.

    Even reasons for starting home churches are usually, not always, guided by some sin which he refuses to let go of and the church organisation he was in rebuked him.

    If you do not wish to be in an organised congregation where the people of God gather and in which you can use the Gifts the Holy Spirit has given you to serve the Lord by serving others, then you do not wish to be in the church of Christ. Will I call those who do no wish to be in an organised church a brother if they confess the name of the Lord Jesus and walk in His ways (baring the attendance of corporate worship)? Yes, I will, I believe he can be a brother, albeit it a mistaken one with a mistaken identity of what the church is.

    Let us unite in truth, let us reform the church to what it was in the apostolic times when those appointed by Christ, planted these churches as organised corporate gatherings to worship the Lord!

  91. Coetzee

    Robin

    You are saying that passages like, 1 Tim 3, Titus 1 and many other passages where it speaks of the church offices and elders to be called to lay on hands etc, are un-biblical and inconsistent with the early church practises?

    Um, the Bible is the account of the early church, that is our authority. It’s so clear that the early church was a corporate single place f gathering where people could worship. a place where there is preaching with elders’ supervision, taking in of thives, people singing hymns and psalms and using their gifts in specific ways in corporate setting.

    I think we must allow the Bible to tell us what is biblical and what is not.

  92. The early church did not have paid pastors, youth ministers, music ministers or children leaders. There were no steeples, now pews, no pulpit where the pastor could look down on the folks. They did not meet on Sunday.

    Church history begins on the Day of Pentecost. These Jewish Christians adopt a messianic theology and continue to follow the Law of Moses. They did not celebrate pagan holidays, Christmas, Easter, etc. In the other words the early church looked NOTHING like the churches today.

  93. Most assemblies have decided that authority to establish church government, make rules, set policy and determine requirements for membership belongs to them. Many even go as far as to determine the very requirements necessary to be saved as though salvation is something to be voted on. They feel they can attach their own list of parameters apart from God’s word. They also believe it’s within their power to deny salvation by denying church membership to anyone who fails to obey their rules.

  94. Rhonda

    As believers, we are to be led by the Spirit of God. If the Holy Spirit leads you to move on, then move on. Maybe you were only supposed to be there for a “time” or “season” in the first place. If the Spirit leads you to stay, then stay, and He will give you the grace to do it. But do give your emotions time to subside before coming to any drastic conclusions. Reacting out of emotion only stifles our ear to hear from God.
    I can relate to many of the comments made here, and at one time was very bitter for many of the same reasons. It was a long hard recovery for me, but I grew tired of hurting. Forgiveness really is the best remedy, even if you choose not to go back.

  95. Wow! What an amazing number of responses. Causes me to reflect back on my many church involvements over the past 50 years–some good & some not so good. (And yes I could tell stories! Only a few were the bright spots of a church doing it “right”–God’s way NOT man’s way.)

    How can I summarize those thoughts into something that might be useful to someone else?? — Yes I have read the book that this blog refers to and do not judge the author for his direction or focus. That is not mine to do. Each of stands accountable to God for our obedience to His Word and especially our relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Yes, I hunger for relationship. I do believe that is part of how we are designed: to need each other. Our western society tends more to independence (“I did it my way.”) Yet God made us as human beings–not human “doings”.

    Jesus said that if we love the Lord your God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves, that all of the law & the prophets can be summed up into these.

    So where does church fit into this? All I can relate is what God has shown me over time. If I look to man (church)to meet my needs, man (church)will most always let me down in one form or another. First and foremost, I’m to put my trust in God and seek Him first. Second, when I turn my attention outward and look for ways to minister God’s love and truth both in church and out of church, God sends people my way who need to be loved, listened to, cared for, instructed, or whatever the need of the moment.

    When I don’t go to church, it usually is about SELF. (I’m unhappy. Nobody spoke to me. Somebody said something cruel or unkind or unnecessary. I don’t fit in. Someone is a hypocrite. ETC) I look at that, for me, as an excuse not to love as Christ would have loved. And a previous poster spoke well of the pain & struggle involved in getting along with others…seeking to make things right…going to someone when offended and working through the issue. But I do believe that those are opportunities for me to grow. And growing often is NOT comfortable, nor easy, but it is always worth it.

    I know for a fact that there are plenty of church places that I would choose not to attend, and most recently our family left a church we had been at for 5 years. We worked on an issue for 1 year, but nothing was going to change because that is how they wanted things to be, from the top down. — But I still believe that God has directed us to be a part of both a corporate body as well as the living body of Christ worldwide.

    Blessings to each of you as you seek daily relationship with Christ. May you walk in obedience to His Word as His light gives guidance to your path.

  96. My husband & I have been struggling with this same issue. Thank you for posting this!

  97. Shemicka Pettis

    Thank you so much for posting this. For a few years, my family and I have been struggling with this. See, I grew up one of those “Sunday School” kids. We went to church ALL week long. As I grew older, I realized that I was only doing it because my family taught me to, not because I had a desire to go. God told me a few months ago that He was teach me a different way. I got tired of being hurt, I got tired of the cliques of people, I got tired of when my family was in need the church would go to the books to see how much tithes we paid in order to help us! Reading this has been a great conformation for me! I refuse to conform to society ideas because I know that most of everything they believe goes against the Word of God. Please pray for me and my family that He will use us for His purpose! God bless you!!

  98. When are people going to realize that the Church is not a physical building but the Church is anywhere two or three redeemed saved people are gathered together in His (Jesus)name?

  99. I tried to click the the likes button on Carol’s comment but nothing happened. I benefited on what she had to say!

  100. My comment to Admin is: The early Church was not perfect and pure in doctrine either, they had their doctrinal differences too.
    The disputes were on which Old Covenant laws to adhere to, such as circumcision and Sabbath. Paul had to write not to judge people on these other Mosaic laws like Sabbath and eating what was once considered unclean foods. See Col. 2:16 their were Judaizers in the Church who wanted Gentiles to keep the Old Covenant laws, it was addressed in Acts 15 and there had to be a meeting about this with the original Apostles and the Apostle Paul. A letter was given to Paul to take back to the Gentiles with instructions Acts 15:28
    I do agree that once the early followers of the Way (Jesus) were kicked out of the Synagogues they had to meet in houses and latter scattered to other cities because of the heavy persecution after the death of a Deacon named Stephen who was stoned to death!

  101. WOW, you are waaay off and leaning heavy toward anti-semitism. Paul NEVER taught against Sabbath or the dietary laws EVER! He kept the Sabbath, Feast days and the dietary laws his entire life as did all the apostles. He taught against Judaising–salvation by works or tacked on man’s rules. He never taught again the law (Instruction).

    The Apostle Paul kept the Sabbath. Notice Acts 17:2 -”And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Notice Also Acts 13:42 -”And as Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next SABBATH.”

    This was forty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and Paul was still preaching weekly on the Sabbath day.

    The Bible records no dispute between the Christians and the Jews concerning the observance of the Sabbath day. There was a dispute whether the Gentile converts to Christianity were to be circumcised or not. A dispute so great that a general church council was held to settle the matter.(Acts 15) The fact that there is absolutely no council held nor dispute concerning Sabbath observance proves that Christians kept the same day as the Jews did. Adding to this, Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles kept it “as was his custom”, we can see no real reason to believe that the early church kept another day.

    In Romans 14 Paul is confronting the RELIGIOUS bickering not God’s law.

    In Col 2:14-16 Paul addressed the people of the Church in Colossae which God had called out of very pagan environments. The pagan communities in which they lived were JUDGING them for keeping God’s Feasts and Sabbaths (as they should have been) because they were drinking wine and feasting and not following pagan rituals of self denial.

    Paul’s Sabbath keeping:
    Acts 13:14 “on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down”
    Acts 13:44 “And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God
    Acts 16:13 “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
    Acts 17:2 “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”
    Acts 18:4,11 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath.

  102. Your title caught my eye. I wrote a similar post “I’m not good enough to go to church” http://www.imperfectpeople.net/post/2011/01/20/Ie28099m-not-good-enough-to-go-to-church.aspx
    But it’s true church is not the building but the people. Thanks for your post!

  103. Subella

    There’s obviously a heartcry for reality, and genuine relationship with the Lord AND His people here.
    It seems from the posts on here that we’ve all got that longing.
    Most probably, in God’s economy, the desire for true fellowship is in our hearts because we are going to HAVE TO FELLOWSHIP LOCALLY IN HOUSES IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

    What if petrol becomes impossible to buy ? Persecution,etc,etc ??

    There is sadness over abuse issues, over programs that are boring, superficial, or even unscriptural, on here, but I don’t think there is rebellion against the Lord Himself.
    What constitutes ‘a church’ and what doesn’t ?? It can be hard to judge, and who are we to judge a brother or sister who is willing to walk in God’s will for them ??

    I once lived in a hamlet where there was a ‘proper church’, and a house church. Which to attend ??
    The individual situation must decide it.

    The ‘proper denominational church’ had an unsaved minister and a lot of religion ‘by the book’ – their ‘prayer book’.
    The house church of six people were Bible-obeying, Holy-Spirit-filled believers in Jesus.

    This is the sort of choice we have, and we should not judge anyone who is trying to get it right.

    Let me agree that church youth groups and even children’s-church groups can be very worldly and spiritually dangerous. Wise-up parents!

    I just found .
    This is what I long to be a part of, as the Lord leads, because God’s presence is just not in the places I know as ‘houses of God’.

    God guide us all.

  104. Subella

    supernaturalhousechurch is what I found. Thank you !

  105. Jesus came to save us and give us a personal relationship with God and fellowship with other believers in the body of Christ. The Church is not a physical building but the church is each member of the body which Christ is the head. People are thirsty and longing for a genuine experience with the Lord and want to experience his presence, not just dead rituals and warmed over sermons.
    I have an issue of wanting to attend a Church where no one speaks to you from the time you walk into the parking lot till when you leave.
    If all someone is doing is attending a church where you stare at the back of someone’s head in the pew in front of you and don’t interact with fellow members you might as well stay home and watch a Church service online or television.
    We are called to be a body jointly fit together with our spiritual family for sharing, caring and encouraging one another.

  106. I want to Thank You for your bravery in publishing this article. It is exactly how I feel and what I am going through. :) I now understand what others have gone through over the years. I also can understand those who have been considered “back Sliding” when it had nothing to do with it.

    I think a lot of the churches today have a lot of gossip, hatred, and putting down others. Why in the world would anyone want to be there to be put under a microscope and picked apart like a bug when they walk in the door? I believe it is a change within that God makes in us. We are made in his image and if we don’t like what he made then we really don’t like him. So I have recently had a struggle with the…. ” What Church do you go to.” because some people don’t understand that it isn’t the affiliation that you belong to but the body of Christ that we personally are held accountable to. Not a building, Not a congregation, Not a preacher, but solely to God. Thanks again for being able to put it all into words so well! God Bless and keep the work going. :)

  107. j.elohim

    YEAH SUSAN! she called the anti-christ a nazi!
    and now she’s under attak by the nazi’s world-wide..
    ………………..
    since unconstanttine (sic) declared paganism a state religion and REQUIRED ALL to be in it(and killed the true believers, btw)
    since before 312a.d., the enemy of Christ, the enemy of life, the enemy of truth, the enemy of all that is good and right – yes! the ANTIChrist has built zillions of churches all over the world.
    and JUST LIKE TODAY FOR YOU FEW TRUE -
    “The pagan communities in which they lived were JUDGING them for keeping God’s Feasts and Sabbaths ”
    so it is today, worldwide, everywhere.
    so,
    don’t be surprise what firey trials await you…
    and don’t worry if
    you are still in a church-
    stay there, for now, if you can… THEY WILL KICK YOU OUT SOON because you love the truth and stand up/speak up for the truth(no chruch can stand the truth to be proclaimed).
    just like JOAN OF ARC, just like MRTN LUTHEr,
    just like CHARLES CHINIQUOY ,
    just like “all of the saints whose blood was shed BY THE CHURCH”,
    the church WILL KICK YOU OUT if you LOVE THE TRUTH.
    …..
    PEACE! SHALOM! outside the walls, in truth, in Christ, in Yahshua’s LIFE in YHVH….
    no peace in the evil church.
    question it? did you know that the word church is not even in Scripture?
    and
    that ekklesia is! “called out ones”
    CALLED OUT OF HER(pagan church/society) BY THE CREATOR…
    by the CREATOR- listen to HIM ONLY, ABBA ELOHIM.

  108. Covey Scott

    Thank God for this site. I was recently baptized at a Christian church (brick and mortar building). The very first thing the Pastor said even before I was baptized was,”Now you can pay tithing.”
    I may be a new Christian but I know I’m not under the Law.
    I was appalled that this Pastor said this to me when the opportunity presented itself for him to thank God for my salvation. He might have said, “Praise God for the gift of salvation, I’m so happy you found Christ.”
    Needless to say I haven’t been back to that church. You are right, Church is the individual not a stone building.
    My worship is done at home and I assemble with other Christians socially via work, shopping, running errands, home Bible studies, etc.
    I’m happy to see I’m not the only Christian who was feeling the way I was.

  109. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning
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  111. Carrie Sue

    This article is certainly thought-provoking, and you have obviously touched a sore point with many believers. While there are some points I agree with, I too must quote Hebrews 10:25. I know that after a long week, I am ‘recreated’ on the Sabbath and assured that I am not alone in this walk. I once heard a pastor say – Think not what the ‘church’ can do for you – but rather what you can do for the church. Sometimes we expect more from others than we do ourselves. The ‘church’ has its place – this of all those mission fields!

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