Stop Going To Church

August 4, 2023 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By John T. McNeal  

Two weeks ago, my pastor asked our entire congregation to stop going to church.  He was very sincere in his delivery of this message and everyone was motionless. If someone from the upper sound booth had dropped a pin, it would have made a terrible crash as it hit the floor. What was even more perplexing was when he started to really look serious. It seemed that we were waiting for the punch line as if he had just told a joke. The only problem was there was no joke told.

He said it a few more times and I could not believe my ears. Then he said it one more time: “Stop going to church.” Then he cocked his head ever so slightly sideways and gave a little smile. He hesitated for a moment. Then he scanned the room to make sure everyone was paying attention and he said, “Stop going to church and start becoming the church.” He went on to explain in more detail how many people go to the church building on Sundays and Wednesdays but, they fail to touch their Bibles except in times of trouble.

The message was basically put, to stop going to the church building and start being the church. He encouraged us to focus more on what is on the outside of the church building than what is on the inside. If the Body of Christ, A.K.A the Church, would start focusing on the hurt, wounded, and lost, then we as Christians could have a far greater impact on our communities.

So I ask you; When was the last time you helped an elderly lady shop for her groceries? I’m talking about before you start shopping yourself. Walk up, introduce yourself and explain your intensions. It can go like this; “Hi, my name is John.”  (I would suggest you use your name and not mine, unless your name is John.) “I am a Christian and I am here to help out my community. I would like to push your cart for you, reach items you can’t reach, and load your car up with your groceries at the end of your shopping experience.” This will give you some time to chat and find out if she goes to church and if she knows Jesus.

There are many ways we as Christians can serve our greater communities. A small church group could go to the local school and put out some flowers by the school sign. They might even clean up trash and debris off the school’s playground. A small group could go through a business area and wash windows and clean up trash along the highway. Some mechanically inclined individuals could change oil and rotate the tires for single moms while they are inside the church getting free haircuts for themselves and their children.

I know what you are thinking; “Wow, I have so much on my plate now. When would I fit all that in? I have very little time to myself. I don’t have much money, either.” You’re probably right, but if it was a golf game or an hour or two of shopping with your friends, would you find the time for that? Maybe you could squeeze in a couple of hours by turning off the television or computer.

Because my Pastor fully believes this message, he has canceled our upcoming Sunday services to organize an outreach to the community.  Our church has over twelve hundred members and we have split into twenty-six different groups to work at schools, non-profit organizations, nursing homes, and a large local park. Each group will be responsible for bettering our community in various ways, including cleaning up trash, planting flowers, cutting grass, pulling weeds, and visiting the elderly. And if that’s not enough, over two hundred people reached out to those in various neighborhoods by knocking on doors and handing out goody bags.

In Chapter 11 of the Book of Acts, Barnabas and Paul worked within the community for a full year telling them about Jesus Christ. What better way to share the love of Christ than by showing that love in action.  It is one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk. When did you last take time to truly show the love of Christ to others?


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