As a Christian I understand that God’s plan for his followers is for them to spend time together. We see examples of this in the book of Acts. Early believers gathered together to share their joys, their sorrows and to encourage one another. In Hebrews all believers are encouraged to continue this practice.
Our modern equivalent of this early Christian practice is known as church. I am a third generation church attendee. As a young adult I attended Bible College and then spent 14 years pouring myself into the modern concept of church. During that time I explored different church growth philosophies and found many that had a proven track record of filling church seats with attendees, but none that consistently produced disciples. A unique aspect of the early church was that they produced disciples. Disciples were people that did more than simply attend and participate in a weekly meeting. They lived a life that turned their culture upside down.
I know that many people stop attending the modern version of church because other people mistreat them. Thankfully, that was never my experience. During my time in the modern institution of church, I could not have asked for better treatment. The issue I had was modern church’s long track record of failure to produce disciples. I know of people who have attended church for 30-40 years and their primary concern is making sure they attend a weekly meeting to “get fed”. I assume that getting fed means singing 4 songs, taking up an offering and listening to a sermon. After 40 years, I hope that I would have a reputation similar to the first Christians. Remember, they turned their culture UPSIDE DOWN! I wrote more on the issues I saw with modern church in the post “Power Failure”.
I share this to encourage other sleeping giants. If you attend church weekly, then spend the rest of your time doing things that have little to no eternal impact, all the while knowing that God made you for something much more (AKA a disciple), then you are a sleeping giant. Once you embrace that concept you may also begin to see how ineffective the current church model is. I want this post to encourage you. You are not alone and you are not losing faith! Also, I know that it is uncomfortable. As a third generation attendee, with no “church hurts”, it was hard for me to take a critical look at the institution that had become the only real evidence of my Christian experience. You are brave and courageous and as you seek God’s solution for your life he will be faithful to surround you with others who are seeking the same. Remember, he is the one who originally designed the church, he is big enough to make sure you never fail to experience it- in all of it’s POWER!