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Turbo
April 11th, 2005, 04:45 PM
When Christians Quit Church

Lynn loves God, praises His name, studies His Word, serves His people and helps build His kingdom. She just can't be bothered to go to His house anymore.

The Spirit-filled believer who spends many of her working days at Christian conferences is more likely to be found slumbering on Sunday mornings--or washing her clothes.

"I'm sick of hearing pastors talking for themselves," she admits candidly. "I don't want to go and hear the same thing I did last week, sing the three fast, the three slow. ... I just don't want to spend 3-1/2 hours at church. I prefer to sleep in, do my laundry or prepare for the next week."

Lynn is in good company. Thousands like her who by all litmus tests would be gauged as devout, even zealous, Christians are voting with their feet and becoming "stayaway saints."

"It's not like I'm backsliding," she cautions, describing her daily commute prayer-and-praise sessions in her car. "Only people with a religious spirit who think you have to be 'in church' say that. I just have a hard time with the routine of it. ... It's not fresh."

...

Observers trace several factors behind the trend. They point to the way the increasing fragility and mobility of the family has weakened the "brand loyalty" that historically meant children grew up with a strong sense of connection to the church of their parents.

They also see the church-dropout wave as a barometer of the influence of the wider culture's me-centered nature as well as the unfortunate excesses of the "seeker-sensitive" movement that has aimed to make church less intimidating to people with no religious heritage.

Says Larry Lewis, national facilitator of denominations for Mission America: "There's a consumer mentality that says I go to church not to give anything or to be challenged or instructed, but to be helped, and there's a tendency to turn the prophetic message and its challenge into the ear-tickling messages of self-help lectures with very little biblical content.

"You can't reduce ministry to that," he adds. "We have a prophetic role that we must fulfill if we are to be true to our calling. ... I can't imagine Nehemiah or Job or Amos going down the street with a clipboard in hand and asking, 'What do you want us to preach about?'"

"It's a biblical fallacy to say we don't need church," Rainer comments. "The New Testament pattern is very clear--that there was some type of formal gathering of believers on a regular basis who had accountability to one another. I quite frankly don't buy that church can be anywhere."

But even those with serious concerns about the results of so many Christians bailing on church commitment see a potential silver lining in it--if, rather than just deciding that they don't like what church is, those leaving get serious about what they think it should be.

"I'm happy that people are asking the questions," Hunter says. "I'm sad that it is keeping them away from church."

Steve and Ellen, who say they felt led to leave their Spirit-filled church after more than 20 years, believe there is a growing "new counterculture of the disaffected and unsatisfied ... looking for something authentic, a real expression of the kingdom of God."

They are still in touch with friends from their former church but now take Sundays as they come--recently hosting guests, going on a retreat, hunting and praying for the U.S. national elections on consecutive weekends. "We are just out here trying to be obedient to God," they said. "[He] is breaking us of reliance on anything other than Him. We are the broken, the needy, the helpless."

From his studies of the phenomenon, Strom sees not just a bunch of belligerent, AWOL worshipers but "a grass-roots hunger for change in the church, for reality ... more than the latest church-growth stuff or conference."

"They want to see revival, not some latest fad that sweeps through the church," he says.

...

They're not backsliders, but they're not typical disciples, either, so what do you call committed Christians who don't turn out for the usual Sunday morning services anymore? Post-congregationals, says Alan Jamieson, who has done some of the most serious research on the movement to date.

A sociologist and pastor at charismatic Wellington Central Baptist Church in the New Zealand capital, he began to study the phenomenon 10 years ago after seeing youth-group members drift away and recognizing his own growing dissatisfaction with church life as it was. He discovered that, far from being people on the fringes of the church, most of those opting out had been heavily involved. More than 90 percent of those he tracked had been in some sort of leadership role, and almost 33 percent were former pastors.

Jamieson also identified four main reasons why people leave a church--cultural preferences, personal factors such as broken relationships, disagreements over doctrine and changing stages in their faith development.

Full article (http://www.charismamag.com/a.php?ArticleID=10434)

BillyBob
April 11th, 2005, 04:48 PM
One of the main purposes of church is Fellowship. It's hard to fellowship if you don't congregate.

Lovejoy
April 11th, 2005, 04:50 PM
Do you have an opinion on this phenom, Turbo? Myself, I treasure the fellowship of my brothers and sisters at church (as well as the accountability), and am sometimes concerned for those that leave (as there seems to be a bit of a hazy, postmodern rebellion issue with some of it). However, I am reminded that there are many church-less missionaries about!

Lovejoy
April 11th, 2005, 04:52 PM
One of the main purposes of church is Fellowship. It's hard to fellowship if you don't congregate.
Agreed! And to fellowship, we have to find a way to get along and agree, or at least agree to disagree. Some find that to be hard work! It may just be immaturity, perhaps?

logos_x
April 11th, 2005, 05:39 PM
Steve and Ellen, who say they felt led to leave their Spirit-filled church after more than 20 years, believe there is a growing "new counterculture of the disaffected and unsatisfied ... looking for something authentic, a real expression of the kingdom of God."

I've personally found that many times a churches' dogma doesn't match my own faith. This in itself is problematic...but if a church is centered more on dogma than spirit-led living, you find yourself in the position of compromise. You either leave, or find yourself in opposition to church rhetoric. many times this kind of situation splits churches.
This is why independent Churches, home churches, etc. are growing

Lighthouse
April 11th, 2005, 11:46 PM
Currently I am just hungry for a church that is centered on some of the things I believe, but can still challenge me. And where I can challenge others.

Lucky
April 11th, 2005, 11:57 PM
Full article (http://www.charismamag.com/a.php?ArticleID=10434)
Thanks for posting this. Post-congregational... that pretty much describes me.

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 01:08 AM
Thanks for posting this. Post-congregational... that pretty much describes me.

That's kinda close to what I am. I attend a home church occasionally. Once in a while I attend a Baptist church.

The home church I attend is pretty much my favorite of all of the churches I've ever gone to. I can fellowship with 15 or so people a heck of a lot better than I can with 500+. We're close on doctrinal issues, which is probably another reason why I like it so well. When you are in such a small church you can agree to disagree on non-salvatory issues without feeling like a hypocrite.

The Baptists are fairly close in doctrine to what I believe. But honestly, although I enjoy the sermons and the music, when I come out of that church I feel like I've just come out of a movie. The participation is so limited and choreographed that it's almost non-participation. It's not just a feeling that I haven't gotten anything, as Lewis suggests in the OP article. There's a feeling that I haven't given anything either--that something has gone undone. Like I've showed up, gone through the motions, accumulated X units of "church time" and I leave feeling frustrated. It's difficult to put into words, but it feels as if church is over and some vital part is missing.

If I were able to add one thing to churches as they exist today, I'd add the old Jewish custom of sitting on the synagog steps any old day of the week discussing theology, praying together face to face, not lined up like sardines side to side. I want to be able to experience my faith, share it with other Christians, live it with them, learn from them, and work with them personally, not just sit in a huge room full of people on a Sunday or Wednesday evening but as someone who is living and functioning as a part of the Body of Christ. There is a place for formal worship and teaching, and there is a place for social functions, but in the churches I've been part of, it generally stops there.

This may not make much sense to some of you, but I have talked to numerous people who feel the same way. Something is missing.

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 01:14 AM
Currently I am just hungry for a church that is centered on some of the things I believe, but can still challenge me. And where I can challenge others.

I've had the same kind of feeling.

Lucky
April 12th, 2005, 01:30 AM
when I come out of that church I feel like I've just come out of a movie.
I've never thought about it like that, but that's basically been my experience with churches too.


"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Crow again."

SOTK
April 12th, 2005, 02:33 AM
I feel funny saying this, as I have avoided church the majority of my life, but I feel church is what you make of it. I have forced myself to get involved and to take a chance on letting people know who I am. If I just went to church every Sunday and just sat in the pews, I think I would feel like some of you. I don't do this. I attend adult Bible Fellowship classes, go to fellowship events and get togethers, do service work at the Church, call brothers and sisters throughout the week, go out to dinner with people from my church, and am a leader of a small group. A church is supposed to be an immediate family of the greater Body of Christ.

I have really grown to especially appreciate the small group idea. I guess you could say it's kind of like Home Church in a way. If you happen to attend a larger church, I think small groups are the ticket. :up:

Again, if you sit in the back of a church, so to speak, what do you expect? I learned about this while attending Alcoholics Anonymous as well. I sat in the back of the meetings, complaining usualy, and didn't get anything out of it. It wasn't until I got involved and let people in that the miracle happened.

julie21
April 12th, 2005, 02:52 AM
I feel funny saying this, as I have avoided church the majority of my life, but I feel church is what you make of it.
Could not agree more with that statement. I hear how so many cannot find a church that fits them...not necessarily referring to those on here, but rather those I have contact with elsewhere. Sometimes some see everyone else as the problem...but do not see that the problem may move, every time they do.
Just an observation.

Frank Ernest
April 12th, 2005, 04:17 AM
-snip- If I were able to add one thing to churches as they exist today, I'd add the old Jewish custom of sitting on the synagog steps any old day of the week discussing theology, praying together face to face, not lined up like sardines side to side. I want to be able to experience my faith, share it with other Christians, live it with them, learn from them, and work with them personally, not just sit in a huge room full of people on a Sunday or Wednesday evening but as someone who is living and functioning as a part of the Body of Christ. There is a place for formal worship and teaching, and there is a place for social functions, but in the churches I've been part of, it generally stops there.

This may not make much sense to some of you, but I have talked to numerous people who feel the same way. Something is missing.
It makes all kinds of sense to me.

I haven't attended church in a church building for over 40 years. I am in church every day for at least an hour. Fellowship for me is a few local friends, telephone and internet.
What's missing from organized churches? Scripture. Bible study. Teaching the word of God.

Too many pastoral renderings sound like after-dinner speeches. Find a Bible verse. Forget context and history, then beat it to death for an hour or so with personal anecdotes. Emphasis on being entertaining.

Politics. Who's who of the "Fellowship." Who's out - who's in -- this week.
Brand Name Syndrome - Unless you belong to (name brand) church, you cannot be saved or you're not a "real" Christian, etc.

Fundraising - We always need a new building, new school, new this -- and it will be expensive. The buildings have become the church, not the people in those churches.

No roots. New-age, new-testament. Old Testament is outdated, update the Word to the 20th-century psychobabble lingo. Tell 'em only what they want to hear. Rev. Dr. Phil syndrome. Everything started with Hippie Jesus. No context for the truth. Emphasis on making people "feel good about themselves."

Legitimizing sin - homosexual clergy, "It's ok, God (Jesus) loves you anyway", no consequences to sin. Relieve stress by being confirmed in sin as virtue. God forbid you should feel guilty about something you did. It's always the "other guy" who screwed you up.

In short, the lie-beral secular political line, part and parcel, has entered the Body of Christ and taken root in the mainstream. Doesn't "sell" all that well, does it?

Yes, :crow:, I agree. Something is missing from a lot of churches. He is called God.

Berean Todd
April 12th, 2005, 05:30 AM
Hebrews tells us "not to forsake the gathering together of the bretheren", and the word 'saints' in the NT is almost entirely used in the plural. There are literally dozens of commands in scripture that we cannot fulfill if we are not connected to a body of believers. We are not doing what Christ has called us to do if we are not connected to a body of believers. A church is a body, and we each are a part of that body. If you cut off a toe, what happens? It dies. And the body suffers. Both are negatively affected. We are to be a part of a local church body, to not do so, is to not follow God's plan for our lives.

Frank Ernest
April 12th, 2005, 05:48 AM
Hebrews tells us "not to forsake the gathering together of the bretheren", and the word 'saints' in the NT is almost entirely used in the plural. There are literally dozens of commands in scripture that we cannot fulfill if we are not connected to a body of believers. We are not doing what Christ has called us to do if we are not connected to a body of believers. A church is a body, and we each are a part of that body. If you cut off a toe, what happens? It dies. And the body suffers. Both are negatively affected. We are to be a part of a local church body, to not do so, is to not follow God's plan for our lives.
Church, Greek ecclesia = assembly. Does it say anywhere that a "church" is a building?
Jesus said that whenever two or more are gathered together in My Name, He is there also.
"We are to be part of a local church body." Where does God command this? Which local church body does He reference? There are many in my area, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, AME, etc.

Am I not following God's plan for my life? If not, how not?

Berean Todd
April 12th, 2005, 06:27 AM
Church, Greek ecclesia = assembly. Does it say anywhere that a "church" is a building?

I never claimed it's a building, it is a body of believers.


Jesus said that whenever two or more are gathered together in My Name, He is there also.

Wrong, read the passage, it comes in the course of a discussion of church discipline. If it literally meant that He was with believers when we gather, what does that mean for his omnipressence we believe in? You see God is allready everywhere. The scripture you are butchering though comes in the course of discussion of church discipline, and He is basically saying that if two or three brothers stand correcting a fallen brother, He is there with the correctors.


"We are to be part of a local church body." Where does God command this?

Do not forsake the gathering together of the bretheren. (Hebrews) The literally dozens of commands we are given that we can not fulfill unless we are a part of a body. The fact that we are told we are part of a body, but what part of a body is not connected to the body?


Which local church body does He reference?

Well, how about the churches at Phillipi, Galatia, Corrinth, Rome, Thessalonika, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. How about the fact that this: there are two meanings for the word church, there is the universal church of all believers, and the local body of believers. The word church appears in the NT over 100 times. Only 4 of those times does it reference the church universal, every other time it is directed at a local body of believers.


There are many in my area, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, AME, etc.

That is not church, that is denomination, and that is another issue entirely. The point is we are commanded to be a part of a body of believers, we can not fulfill all the things we are commanded to do unless we are.


Am I not following God's plan for my life?

You are not being faithful to His commands if you are not a part of a body of believers.


If not, how not?

see above.

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 06:39 AM
Hebrews tells us "not to forsake the gathering together of the bretheren", and the word 'saints' in the NT is almost entirely used in the plural. There are literally dozens of commands in scripture that we cannot fulfill if we are not connected to a body of believers. We are not doing what Christ has called us to do if we are not connected to a body of believers. A church is a body, and we each are a part of that body. If you cut off a toe, what happens? It dies. And the body suffers. Both are negatively affected. We are to be a part of a local church body, to not do so, is to not follow God's plan for our lives.
I am connected to a body of believers, but I'm not connected to a body that meets every Sunday for 3 hours and Wednesday night for 3 more. The home church meets sporadically as we all work different days and different shifts.

A church, in the sense of the article quoted, is a body of believers. But it is far from the only body of believers and the only way believers assemble.

I've gotten more out of the informal collections of believers that gather to worship and learn and the relationships I've formed with them and with other believers online and with other Christians that I've met by chance and fellowshipped with than I have ever gotten in a formal church setting.

It's sad to say, but in the formal churches I've attended the main goal has been to pay for and maintain a building and grounds, see that the regularly scheduled functions take place in a neat and orderly fashion, and that the choir all has matching robes.

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 07:41 AM
One of the difficulties I encountered when I was actively seeking a church is that Acts 9 dispensationalist churches are few and far between. The closest I can find is about 100 miles from my home. I would like to find one close enough to be able to attend. I don't think that a formal church would meet my needs, but if I could just find one that taught well, I would attend it.

As Frank said, most churches don't teach comcepts in context. They pull out a few verses, beat them to death, say a few encouraging things, and when it's over you feel like you've just listened to Dr Phil's dinner address.

I can remember a sermon on the Paul's ministry at one church, and it sounded like a travel log, with no sense of how key Paul's gospel of grace is to the body of Christ--more like "here's the sights Paul saw."

Chileice
April 12th, 2005, 08:19 AM
One of the difficulties I encountered when I was actively seeking a church is that Acts 9 dispensationalist churches are few and far between. The closest I can find is about 100 miles from my home. I would like to find one close enough to be able to attend. I don't think that a formal church would meet my needs, but if I could just find one that taught well, I would attend it.

As Frank said, most churches don't teach comcepts in context. They pull out a few verses, beat them to death, say a few encouraging things, and when it's over you feel like you've just listened to Dr Phil's dinner address.

I can remember a sermon on the Paul's ministry at one church, and it sounded like a travel log, with no sense of how key Paul's gospel of grace is to the body of Christ--more like "here's the sights Paul saw."

I think you have said many good things in your posts on this thread, Crow. I think what we are all looking for is authenticity and a sense of belonging in an environment where we can grow. We need friends who can see our warts and still love us. We need friends who can rebuke us and still love us. I think small groups are always better for that kind of relationship. I think there may still be a place for big worship where experience a certain transcendence. But that is not what keeps us coming back. That is stale if it can't be shared.

One question I have for you is why is it so important to you that the people you worship with are in 100% agreement with you doctrinally? Could you not fellowship with folks who are not Acts 9 disps. Or even with non-dispensationalists altogether? I have had some very warm fellowship with people who hold pretty different doctrinal stands than I do. Yet, in the end we are trusting the same Lord and Saviour. Sometimes I think we all (me included) look too much for conformity. Perhaps the Holy Spirit uses the differences to knock off the rough edges on all of us. What do you think?

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 08:25 AM
I think you have said many good things in your posts on this thread, Crow. I think what we are all looking for is authenticity and a sense of belonging in an environment where we can grow. We need friends who can see our warts and still love us. We need friends who can rebuke us and still love us. I think small groups are always better for that kind of relationship. I think there may still be a place for big worship where experience a certain transcendence. But that is not what keeps us coming back. That is stale if it can't be shared.

One question I have for you is why is it so important to you that the people you worship with are in 100% agreement with you doctrinally? Could you not fellowship with folks who are not Acts 9 disps. Or even with non-dispensationalists altogether? I have had some very warm fellowship with people who hold pretty different doctrinal stands than I do. Yet, in the end we are trusting the same Lord and Saviour. Sometimes I think we all (me included) look too much for conformity. Perhaps the Holy Spirit uses the differences to knock off the rough edges on all of us. What do you think?

It is not important to me that people I fellowship with be in 100% agreement. In the home church I attend, we are in agreement about the basic issues--salvation by grace and not by works, the deity of Christ, trinitarian doctrine. They are dispies that don't realize that they are dispies.

But church is more than mere fellowship. I can fellowship and worship with the people in my homechurch anytime. I've fellowshipped and worshiped with Catholics, AOG, Methodists, Baptists, and non-denominationals. A brother in Christ is a brother in Christ.

I want more than fellowship. I want good teaching that is scripturally based and makes sense. I don't need entertainment.

beanieboy
April 12th, 2005, 08:29 AM
There is a great book called Qutting Religion without quitting God.

And while he leaves the church, he still meets with friends on Sunday Evenings and worships.
And he makes great points. For example, Jesus didn't spend every Saturday going to Temple, and the building is not what makes the church.

Servo
April 12th, 2005, 08:30 AM
One question I have for you is why is it so important to you that the people you worship with are in 100% agreement with you doctrinally? Could you not fellowship with folks who are not Acts 9 disps. Or even with non-dispensationalists altogether? I have had some very warm fellowship with people who hold pretty different doctrinal stands than I do. Yet, in the end we are trusting the same Lord and Saviour. Sometimes I think we all (me included) look too much for conformity. Perhaps the Holy Spirit uses the differences to knock off the rough edges on all of us. What do you think?

Church should be sanctuary. We go there to recharge our batteries and build each other up. When going to church becomes about debate, it has the opposite effect. The whole agreeing to disagree thing does not work for me. We are in the battle all week long with the world. I need one place where I can go and NOT debate and just regain my strength and learn from a pastor who knows more than I do.

Crow
April 12th, 2005, 08:36 AM
Church should be sanctuary. We go there to recharge our batteries and build each other up. When going to church becomes about debate, it has the opposite effect. The whole agreeing to disagree thing does not work for me. We are in the battle all week long with the world. I need one place where I can go and NOT debate and just regain my strength and learn from a pastor who knows more than I do.

I can live with agreeing to disagree on some issues. I could fellowship with Nori and Aimiel easily despite the fact that we disagree on some issues.

But I need to learn from a pastor who is rock solid scripturally based in his teachings. I don't want to listen to a sermon on how Christians have a duty to tithe, for example, then go into scriptures and see that this was a requirement for Jews, not Christians.

Servo
April 12th, 2005, 08:44 AM
I can live with agreeing to disagree on some issues. I could fellowship with Nori and Aimiel easily despite the fact that we disagree on some issues.

But I need to learn from a pastor who is rock solid iscripturally based n his teachings. I don't want to listen to a sermon on how Christians have a duty to tithe, for example, then go into scriptures and see that this was a requirement for Jews, not Christians.

I look for consistency from the pastor, that is what I am most concerned about. On some minor issues with other believers, if we disagree, that would not really bother me too much. But I would hope that I and the other believers would be open to correction if any of us is wrong. Looking at the principles of our beliefs and staying consistent.

Everglaze
April 12th, 2005, 10:21 AM
I never liked church...

No matter how much I tried to fit in, I couldn't.

Fellowship isn't just going to church and singing a few hymns together and listening to the pastor, then coming home.

Fellowship should be accountability, helping each other grow spiritually and discussing God together. I get none of that and I can't find a building where that's available either (also having to worry about whether they are biblically sound or not at the same time). I hate having to travel halfway across the city to find a place that supposedly has that.

In fact, I get more fellowship and help Online...

Chileice
April 12th, 2005, 11:01 AM
I never liked church...

No matter how much I tried to fit in, I couldn't.

Fellowship isn't just going to church and singing a few hymns together and listening to the pastor, then coming home.

Fellowship should be accountability, helping each other grow spiritually and discussing God together. I get none of that and I can't find a building where that's available either (also having to worry about whether they are biblically sound or not at the same time). I hate having to travel halfway across the city to find a place that supposedly has that.

In fact, I get more fellowship and help Online...


I'm glad you get what you need online, but isn't that a bit sad? I learned a poem once that goes like this:To live above with saints we love,
that will be bliss and glory.
To live below with saints we know,
now that's a different story!

I do think that if Christ is living in us we should be able to have accountability and the trust ¡needed to grow. Not always to be comfortable, but to grow. It seems that REAL (non-cyber) interaction is where we put what we say we believe to the test. I enjoy TOL. I am here more than I should be., probably. But this is not the real world. We can project ourselves as we wish to some degree and people interpret us as they choose. There is no need to compromise or even be polite in a forum like this. In the real world we have to treat one another the way we really want to be treated. That is why, in spite of the many real and perceived deficiencies of the church, it is still a place we should gather for worship, grow in our faith and prepare for the struggle of life.

What impedes us from doing in real life what we do in cyber-space? Maybe we should be working to erradicate the barriers that prevent true fellowship (not just pot-lucks but real caring, sharing and nurturing).

Everglaze
April 12th, 2005, 11:59 AM
I'm glad you get what you need online, but isn't that a bit sad? I learned a poem once that goes like this:To live above with saints we love,
that will be bliss and glory.
To live below with saints we know,
now that's a different story!

I do think that if Christ is living in us we should be able to have accountability and the trust ¡needed to grow. Not always to be comfortable, but to grow. It seems that REAL (non-cyber) interaction is where we put what we say we believe to the test. I enjoy TOL. I am here more than I should be., probably. But this is not the real world. We can project ourselves as we wish to some degree and people interpret us as they choose. There is no need to compromise or even be polite in a forum like this. In the real world we have to treat one another the way we really want to be treated. That is why, in spite of the many real and perceived deficiencies of the church, it is still a place we should gather for worship, grow in our faith and prepare for the struggle of life.

What impedes us from doing in real life what we do in cyber-space? Maybe we should be working to erradicate the barriers that prevent true fellowship (not just pot-lucks but real caring, sharing and nurturing).


Yeah, but check this out. If Christians don't act like Christians Online, what makes you think they really are Christians Offline? A Christian should act like one both On or Offline...

Funny thing is, I haven't found the same type of fellowship as a lot of these people so I really don't know. What I do know is that, those who I have met online have been much better help and were more caring.

It IS sad, yes...but that's how it has turned out to be for some people. How am I supposed to connect with Christians in the real world when I'm starting to believe they don't even exist locally? Everywhere I look (locally), there's only a minority in some areas...that's it. I don't find large groups of Christians walking down the street everyday or hanging out even. The only place I can even go to look for Christians are the churches and I don't even trust the churches.

Chileice
April 12th, 2005, 12:57 PM
Yeah, but check this out. If Christians don't act like Christians Online, what makes you think they really are Christians Offline? A Christian should act like one both On or Offline...

Funny thing is, I haven't found the same type of fellowship as a lot of these people so I really don't know. What I do know is that, those who I have met online have been much better help and were more caring.

It IS sad, yes...but that's how it has turned out to be for some people. How am I supposed to connect with Christians in the real world when I'm starting to believe they don't even exist locally? Everywhere I look (locally), there's only a minority in some areas...that's it. I don't find large groups of Christians walking down the street everyday or hanging out even. The only place I can even go to look for Christians are the churches and I don't even trust the churches.

Maybe if you don't trust them, you could start out by checking them out online. Many churches now have webpages that keep people up with what their church is about. It's a possibility anyway.

God_Is_Truth
April 12th, 2005, 01:44 PM
in regards to the OP, i sort of have the same problem up here at college, but not as bad. i dont' go to church here on saturday or sunday, but do go to the college ministry on thursday nights, which is equivalent. at home however, i enjoy going on saturday nights. the message never seems to be just something to entertain us, nor does the music come off that way.

just the other week, we participated in communion in a different way than normal in that we had each person be served by another and then serve another person themselves. it was also a time where people could get together and pray for one another or simply give encouragement.

my church focuses heavily on small groups (nearly everyone is involved in one) which i also believe is a very helpful thing especially in a larger church (over 1000). i do have a small group up here at college, which is beneficial as well.

so while i'm sure my church at home is not perfect, i think it does do many things right and is striving to grow in God's word and build up the body of believers so they may be fully equipped for the service of God.

Nineveh
April 12th, 2005, 02:14 PM
Personally, I had to quit going to a church building to get saved. I was "raised in the faith" so I guess everyone there just assumed that everyone else who warms a pew is saved.

I'll admit, some of the sermons were extremely boring and reduntant. How many times did I need to hear "Jesus loves you..."? I find it much more fulfilling to listen to the context and history with the Scriptures presented than just hearing a few verses pulled out of context to fill an hour before lunch on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps part of that was not caring because I wasn't a Christian at the time, and maybe some of it was the feeling of a "dead spirt" in the building itself. I know quite a bit of it had to do with believing being in His Church meant being in a building for an hour or two a week then spending 40 hours a week in public school where nothing from the Sunday before seemd real. It wan't until much later after I was saved that I realized being in the Body was a 24/7 thing :)

Lighthouse
April 12th, 2005, 11:01 PM
I've never thought about it like that, but that's basically been my experience with churches too.


"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Crow again."
I gave her some, in your honor.;)

Lighthouse
April 12th, 2005, 11:25 PM
I think it's about time for me to start the thread I wanted to about why I left the Charismatic belief system behind.

Yorzhik
April 12th, 2005, 11:50 PM
I had to leave the church because I found that I could be friends with Calvinists, but they couldn't be friends with me. They get stuck on a set of laws and since I don't follow them, it puts me on their blacklist.

Zimfan
April 13th, 2005, 12:16 AM
I think it's about time for me to start the thread I wanted to about why I left the Charismatic belief system behind.

What exactly is the charismatic belief system?

Lighthouse
April 13th, 2005, 01:03 AM
Well, I think there will be some excellent explanation of that in my thread, ZImmy. But it's a bit much to post in this thread. I don't want to hijack, unless it's for spam purposes.:chuckle:

Frank Ernest
April 13th, 2005, 04:01 AM
Wrong, read the passage, it comes in the course of a discussion of church discipline. If it literally meant that He was with believers when we gather, what does that mean for his omnipressence we believe in? You see God is allready everywhere. The scripture you are butchering though comes in the course of discussion of church discipline, and He is basically saying that if two or three brothers stand correcting a fallen brother, He is there with the correctors.
M't:18:18: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
M't:18:19: Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
M't:18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Hmmmmm. Seems it ain't me who's doing the Biblical butchery.


Do not forsake the gathering together of the bretheren. (Hebrews) The literally dozens of commands we are given that we can not fulfill unless we are a part of a body. The fact that we are told we are part of a body, but what part of a body is not connected to the body?
Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot. Wanna split a soda?


Well, how about the churches at Phillipi, Galatia, Corrinth, Rome, Thessalonika, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. How about the fact that this: there are two meanings for the word church, there is the universal church of all believers, and the local body of believers. The word church appears in the NT over 100 times. Only 4 of those times does it reference the church universal, every other time it is directed at a local body of believers.
Want another soda?
[quote]
That is not church, that is denomination, and that is another issue entirely. The point is we are commanded to be a part of a body of believers, we can not fulfill all the things we are commanded to do unless we are.
Tell me what you just said here. Looks very conflicted.


You are not being faithful to His commands if you are not a part of a body of believers.
:sigh:

Frank Ernest
April 13th, 2005, 04:06 AM
I am connected to a body of believers, but I'm not connected to a body that meets every Sunday for 3 hours and Wednesday night for 3 more. The home church meets sporadically as we all work different days and different shifts.

A church, in the sense of the article quoted, is a body of believers. But it is far from the only body of believers and the only way believers assemble.

I've gotten more out of the informal collections of believers that gather to worship and learn and the relationships I've formed with them and with other believers online and with other Christians that I've met by chance and fellowshipped with than I have ever gotten in a formal church setting.

It's sad to say, but in the formal churches I've attended the main goal has been to pay for and maintain a building and grounds, see that the regularly scheduled functions take place in a neat and orderly fashion, and that the choir all has matching robes.

:thumb: :first:

Sold Out
April 15th, 2005, 09:36 PM
Currently I am just hungry for a church that is centered on some of the things I believe, but can still challenge me. And where I can challenge others.

As long as a church keeps their focus on reaching the lost for Christ, then other issues are secondary.

I have attended many churches over the years. Most were politically driven, run by the deacons, and going nowhere. They fought over carpet, lightbulbs, pastors, decor...you name. All those things kept them from focusing on what the church is really here for - bring the gospel to the world!!

The church I attend now has one focus - share the gospel, share the gospel, share the gospel....oh and did I say share the gospel? We have seen people saved EVERY SINGLE WEEK since we started 4 yrs ago. The pastor is the head of the church, not the deacons. The deacons are SERVANTS - which is what the greek word for deacon means. We have ministry leaders that handle the business of the church. None of the pastors (head pastor, assoc pastor, youth pastor) have anything to do with the money. They don't know who gives and who doesn't and they don't want to know.

We are not perfect, but we are trying to honor God in the best possible way by sharing the Gospel with every person who steps into the building. No one slips thru the cracks.

I didn't mean to go so long, it's just when you find the RIGHT thing, you can't stop talking about it! Keep looking Lighthouse.....God has a place for you to serve! I will be praying about it, k?

Lighthouse
April 15th, 2005, 09:54 PM
I'd like to find a place that believes the gospel to be what I believe it to be.

Frank Ernest
April 18th, 2005, 05:19 AM
I recommend finding a place where the Bible is taught as it is, not what some believe it to be.

Sold Out
April 18th, 2005, 07:24 AM
I'd like to find a place that believes the gospel to be what I believe it to be.

What do you believe the Gospel is?

Lighthouse
April 18th, 2005, 09:30 AM
FrankiE-
That's what I meant.

Sold Out-
The gospel is that Jesus died and rose again, to set us free from sin. Well, that's it in a nutshell.

logos_x
April 18th, 2005, 09:05 PM
There a really cool website that puts this phenominon in perspective...and it does it in the form of a story.

Chapter 10 has just been posted recently...but I really can relate to the main character.
Heres the link. Since this is a book I really don't expect any kind of response soon...but it would be nice to discuss it sometime in the future...

So...you don't want to go to Church anymore (http://www.jakecolsen.com/)

Enjoy!

Lucky
April 18th, 2005, 11:00 PM
So...you don't want to go to Church anymore (http://www.jakecolsen.com/)
I've seen that site before, but I can't remember how I came across it. Maybe this time I'll actually read some chapters.

logos_x
April 19th, 2005, 07:45 AM
I've seen that site before, but I can't remember how I came across it. Maybe this time I'll actually read some chapters.

It's really good. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

beanieboy
April 19th, 2005, 07:55 AM
What is your opinion of the stadium churches with the high tech whatzits and the band, etc.?

Poly
April 19th, 2005, 07:57 AM
Lucky, I just noticed your new user title. :chuckle:


I tried to give you some rep points for it but lo and behold...
"You must spread some around before giving them to Lucky again" :blabla:

I don't even remember giving you any yet. :o

logos_x
April 19th, 2005, 07:57 AM
What is your opinion of the stadium churches with the high tech whatzits and the band, etc.?

Welcome to the 21st century.

What do you want? The Dark Ages again?

Sold Out
April 19th, 2005, 08:34 AM
FrankiE-
That's what I meant.

Sold Out-
The gospel is that Jesus died and rose again, to set us free from sin. Well, that's it in a nutshell.

That's it....(I Cor 15:1-4)....thanks!

Sold Out
April 19th, 2005, 08:37 AM
What is your opinion of the stadium churches with the high tech whatzits and the band, etc.?

We have this mega-church here in the city I live in. They have the huge building, youth center, book store, coffee shop. It's real showy, and they do believe and preach the gospel, but it's too much. People get too comfortable with all their temporal pleasures, including nice buildings, fancy worship music services, etc. My son goes to some of their youth functions, and he tells me about all the drugs and stuff going on up there. There's too many kids to keep up with. I think when a church starts getting too big, then another sister church needs to be planted.

Mr. 5020
April 19th, 2005, 09:51 AM
The gospel is that Jesus died and rose again, to set us free from sin. Well, that's it in a nutshell.You can't find any churches in your area that believe that Jesus died and rose again to set us free from sin? Even the mormons believe that.

Caille
April 19th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Is anyone here a listener of Harold Camping's call in show on the Family Life Network ? His focus is that we have reached the end of the "church age" and that churches are superfluous.


A false prophet. He first predicted the end of the world to take place in 1994, and now claims the church age has come to an end. Phil Johnson notes:


Harold Camping has finally gone completely off. Having proved himself a false prophet by predicting that Christ would return to earth on September 6, 1994, Camping continues to make false prophecies. His most recent one is the absurd claim that the Church age has come to an end, and the Tribulation has begun. God is through with the church, Camping insists. He wants all Christians to leave their churches and trust Family Radio to be the vehicle through which the gospel is preached to the whole world. (You can guess where Camping thinks you should send all your money.) This once-fine ministry is a tragic example of what can happen when one man is given too much control with no accountability.

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c166.html

Everglaze
April 19th, 2005, 10:43 AM
I'm thinking of going back to my old church...

Turbo
April 19th, 2005, 10:58 AM
I've seen that site before, but I can't remember how I came across it. Maybe this time I'll actually read some chapters.
I got about halfway through chapter one when I came across this:


"And with all that love, [Jesus] was completely honest. Yet even when his actions or words exposed people's darkest motives, they didn't feel shamed. They felt safe with him. His words conveyed not even a hint of judgment, simply an entreaty to come to God and be freed by him. There was no one you would trust more quickly with your deepest secrets. If someone were going to catch you at your worst moments you'd want it to be him.

"He wasted no time mocking others, nor their religious trappings."
:doh:

Lucky
April 19th, 2005, 11:07 AM
I got about halfway through chapter one when I came across this:


"And with all that love, [Jesus] was completely honest. Yet even when his actions or words exposed people's darkest motives, they didn't feel shamed. They felt safe with him. His words conveyed not even a hint of judgment, simply an entreaty to come to God and be freed by him. There was no one you would trust more quickly with your deepest secrets. If someone were going to catch you at your worst moments you'd want it to be him.

"He wasted no time mocking others, nor their religious trappings."
:hammer:

I actually read through chapter 2, and I can't say it gets any better.

Crow
April 19th, 2005, 11:32 AM
I got about halfway through chapter one when I came across this:



"He wasted no time mocking others, nor their religious trappings."
:doh:
Of course not. It was time well spent! :thumb:

Turbo
April 19th, 2005, 11:39 AM
I wish that's what he meant.

Crow
April 19th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Yup. But it just goes to show that even a broken clock is right twice a day. :chuckle:

Lighthouse
April 19th, 2005, 01:39 PM
It's really good. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
I read the first two chapters, last night.

pwbayon
April 24th, 2005, 06:00 PM
To go to church or not. That is a difficult question. I have gone regularly during some times and others have not. Church is about fellowship and helping one another. That is needed. But I cannot find a church that I can agree with their doctrinal statement 100%. So I feel I have to keep my mouth shut on some issues and that limits fellowship. But an organization has to have its positions or you have chaos. We do need organizations to run outreach/missions and that comes through churches.

Lighthouse
April 24th, 2005, 11:49 PM
I actually went to church this morning.

logos_x
April 25th, 2005, 12:41 AM
I read the first two chapters, last night.

Good isn't it.

Lighthouse
April 25th, 2005, 01:02 AM
Good isn't it.
I need to read the rest. It was interesting...