Your question—the one about church and “why go?”—has stayed suspended in my molecular space and will not leave for the life of me.
And I’ve been ruminating, rolling the query over and around.
Now it sits, just there, a small burden in my belly.
Because the thing is, I don’t believe all Christians should go to church, but I absolutely believe, from every angle of my feeble heart, that all Christians need to do Church.
I have not had a wounding experience from the Church to speak of, no fracture lines that read “religious institution.” For another reason altogether, I have not (regularly) lighted the threshold of formalized church in more than a decade.
There was this stirring fire inside me, a need to unearth, explore and just see if there was a cathedral of worship outside the walls of church and steeple, if there was a Christ-meets-personal-expression that had my God-given name on it. Because it wasn’t for cynicism or frustration or disillusionment that I walked away and stayed away; it was a Divine calling to be who I was made to be and manifest Church in the way I was born for.
I am utterly convinced this globe needs me to be who I am and sometimes that means not necessarily following tradition.
So I committed, with my man, to a small village of exquisite people, and we traversed our way through the new and the foreign. We tried and we failed and we became different people and broke no one but ourselves through the process of error and redemption. We were a hot mess of humanity that kept doing Church (whatever it meant) because we valued perseverance and somehow knew we were on to something that touched the heart of Heaven.
And do you know what? Ten years we have pressed into who we are as a people of God and it was worth every moment of struggle and triumph to discover together what felt like uncharted relationship territory—a place of knowing God that was designed just right for us.
It’s all very simple, really. We practice Lectio Divina, share silences and break His bread. We pray hard on our knees, hold each other to cry, garden with our neighbors and serve soup to the poor. We make meal plans for new mamas, pay each other’s utility bills when jobs are lost and form big decisions through communal conversation. We love to dance our hearts out and raise our glasses and celebrate real loud.
We’re together—with intention—through life’s most important moments and we call it church.
Is it still a given that all believers should walk through the double doors to find God and fellowship? Because I have given up on “givens” and “shoulds” to ask questions and listen to the story of Christ as He wants to reveal it through our lives. I believe there are as many colorful Christ-expressions of Church as there are believers in the Body. If we all do the same things because it’s what has always been done, we could sell ourselves short of who we were created to be and what we were created to do.
This is not about one way of church being “right” and the other way being “wrong”; it’s about you composing Church from your heart—whether that’s within an established building or with resonate relationships on your front porch.
Only God knows your heart—but I can’t help but wonder if the rub you feel, the place inside you that lifts this question, is actually a medium to launch your personal quest into what church looks like for you, your family and possibly a few friends?
Be permission-ed not to go to “church.” Explore. Fly. Wonder. Dance around the Cross with your own creativity. Ask God what church looks like for your family.
But for your sake and for Christ’s sake, don’t be independent.
This article was reprinted from A Deeper Story with permission.