I know that it’s time to blog about Faith when I get emails from readers about a post.
Since the time in 2014 that I blog about the topic of Church, namely this post, The Search for a Church. There have been some personal updates on my end.
I have stopped searching since September 2015, after being in a new church for one year. Not that I have found the church where I finally feel that I belong but rather, I have decided to move on (again).
There is this disconnect that I feel from churches, all churches that I have attended so far. With this latest one, the people are nice, the leadership in church are genuine, the sermons from the Pastor are good.
But there is something deeper that I hope to get from church, in terms of deeper fellowship amongst Christians, and I am not getting it from church, any church.
After being a veteran of Church-search the last couple of years, I have decided to throw in the towel from January 2016, to be officially free from attending ‘Institutionalised Church’.
I have decided that I rather not be tied to the cultural or religious stigma of belonging to any church.
It’s ok for you reading this to assume I am now less Christian or have fallen away from the faith, just because I choose not to attend church weekly on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t mind being judged 😛
Church is still a good thing, I never said it was bad.
Just that it’s not working out for some people…and I believe I am not the only one. I truly believe there are more people who are feeling the same disconnect from church as I do. Indicated through a random post that I wrote in 2014, which started a conversation with a fellow sister of Christ whom I don’t know personally, who shared with me that she feels the same disconnect from church. And she is courageous to acknowledge it.
Would getting involved in some ministry or a cell group in church help to ease that disconnect?
When we get busy enough with activity, getting into the motion of doing things does help to convince one that you are a key part of a group or gathering of fellow believers, make most feel good about yourself, believe that you are doing good and feeling that you are contributing to the Kingdom, all through the activities of a church.
That’s not a bad thing.
I have tried attending cell groups over the course of the churches I have attending the last 15 years. Coming together with the same subset of the people whom I am meeting on Sunday, just don’t cut it for me.
In some gatherings, it becomes about the potluck or the spread of food that the host generously provided for the gathering. Maybe I am just the weird one out, who struggle with having to be open and vulnerable to share my current challenges in my life to that few people in the group I just can’t seem to be comfortable with, for the fear of being judged.
So does all that activity, bring true Ekklesia amongst a group of believers? Maybe. It might work for some people. Just not for me, or this other lady who I have been conversing with.
So what does people like me feeling this disconnect do?
Quitting church temporary then seeking God fervently on your own helps. It’s crucial to come to a point to ask yourself, ‘What do I really want from attending Church?’
Some people attend church to listen to sermons. While some others attend church to ensure that their spouse or their child get some exposure on the ways of God.
Another young lady wrote to me recently to share that attending church for her was necessary, as she feels that it helps her to be more aware not be sinful or fall into the world’s ways of doing things. I think attending church is beneficial when it brings about conviction for a change of heart and a change of ways to be walking closely with God.
Have we asked ourselves, is that truly working out for me? I did. And I realised church-going doesn’t make me a better person. The conviction of the change of heart only lasts for a few days after listening to a sermon, and after a week, I am back to my rotten old self.
What made the difference for me was the time I set aside seeking God daily on my own. Reading the bible, listening to sermons online, meditating on the word from the bible, spending time in quiet reflection and in prayer.
Having an accountability partner, also made a difference. Someone that you can meet weekly to share about your spiritual walk, life struggles and being there for one another for constant edification and encouragement.
Church = Ekklesia
Have we asked ‘What does God want for me?’ or Christians knowing what is God’s will for us, when it comes to church.
The best way to find out what is God’s will for Christians, is to read the bible. So what is church exactly?
In New Testament, church actually means Ekklesia. So what is Ekklesia anyway?
Ekklesia is a Greek word which definition is “a called-out assembly or congregation”. In the New Testament, Ekklesia is translated as “church”. Ekklesia is definitely not defined as a membership to a physical church, but a called-out assembly of people.
What does it mean by ‘called-out’?
Does attending a specific church or calling yourself a Christian automatically makes a person part of the ‘called-out’ assembly?
This verse from 1 Peter 2:9 gives a very good explanation of what God called us out from;
‘Called out of darkness into His marvelous light,’ what this means, is that being ‘Called-out’ ones have to be different from the world.
If you belong to a church or a gathering, that looks to the world, or encourage you to embrace worldly principals. Then in order to walk with God truly, you need to run, run far far away from this church or gathering.
This site have addressed this to-the-point, ‘God has called the church to be separate from sin (1 Peter 1:16), to embrace fellowship with other believers (acts 2:42) and to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). God has called us unto Himself, “Come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
So Ekklesia can mean any form of gathering of people who are called to be separate from sin, embrace fellowship with one another and be a light unto the world. Not just a gathering of people who believes in God, who are gathered weekly in a physical building which is commonly known as ‘a church’, and then go on to behave like a non Christian on a regular day when there is no church to attend.
There is a common assumption amongst Christians these days, that one has reach a certain level of maturity spiritually, if you are actively involved in some ministry in a specific church, or even better, be some kind of leader at church.
Learning about the definition of Ekklesia has changed my paradigm of what I used to think church was about.
One can find Ekklesia beyond the walls of a physical church and definitely need to be walking the Christian life daily to be a light unto the world. Christians are called to be the Church, and not just religiously go to a church weekly, or keep ourselves busy with church activities.
Ekklesia can be found anywhere, even in coffee shops, where 2 or more believers gather together to have coffee and just talk about God, share their walk with the Lord and encourage each other in the faith. Or it can be even found in homes, something that I have been doing with a dear friend for some time now. While Ministry or Kingdom work can be found beyond the walls of a church.
Is church truly working out for you?
If you are already finding that deep connection and fellowship with a fellow believer in your church who can consistently encourage you to walk closely with God and can give constant spiritual support, and someone whom you can openly share your heart with. Then I am glad for you. Keep at what you are doing.
But if you have experienced the same disconnect from church.
Maybe looking for another church and getting to know other believers in a different church gathering might solve the issue. But once you feel the disconnect, you will find that the deeper fellowship that you may be looking for cannot be found in churches, and have to be sought after some place else.
If you are one of those who feel the disconnect. Could it be time to acknowledge it? Is it time to take that courageous step to find that deeper fellowship amongst Christians and support for a deeper walk with God that you are looking for.
Stop being focus on just going to Church and keeping yourself busy with activities in church, but BE the church, everyday of your life.