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Discussion regarding the Great Unchurched Body of Christ

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In this forum, someone mentioned a Church in Ohio that sounds like a dream come true, something I've only imagined in my mind. It had beautiful modern CCM, friendly people who greeted you but didn't overwhelm you, and then a good message to leave you feeling great about God. Although I attended Calvary Chapel, and many other similar churches in Southern California and Seattle (Calvary and Overlake), I generally find them cold, and impersonal; I've never seen anything like was described... because in small churches, you don't get that kind of music, with such great CCM! I've just been married, and my husband and I moved together to a new town. We are just getting to know each other now, actually (married in less than two months) and although he was attending church at the time... with his teenage children... now we have become one of 36% of the Christian "Church" - the body of Christ - that is officially "unchurched".

We keep the original Sabbath as a day of rest, and the Lord's day as well. But I need to get those kids into bible school; they haven't studied years of the Bible as we have. As someone I saw here said, they would like to find a Messianic church; so do I, that would be fantastic. Because I don't want to be in a church that doesn't observe the Sabbath, and yet, I also don't want to be a Seventh Day Adventist and certainly I can't be Jewish, so where is there a church for me, really? I'm praying maybe a Messianic Jewish church would work out for us too.

At the moment, though, we're "TV Evangelist" watchers and fellowshipping online and with friends. Most people find this disturbing, so I get a lot of criticism for being momentarily unchurched. But you know, I've the fellowship on this website now, and in the past on others while I've been through surgery this last year -- and filling in also was good ol' Joel Osteen down at the Lakewood Church. Yes, on TV. Joyce Meyers, too. I love them both. Do most people find that wrong?

Somehow I think TV evangelism is seriously knocked by the public. The church with awesome current CCM and a quiet small setting sounds fantastic, and of course I would join in a minute - but I wonder how you find that, in Orange County California - hit or miss? And until then, barring not knowing a soul in this town - is there anything wrong with TV Evangelism? I know I'll probably go back to a solid church like Calvary for teaching my children the Word of God, in the next few weeks. But until then, Joel gives some great, uplifting, spiritual messages I feel are important to my family.

Thanks to some of you also, for kicking off a topic that has been rather controversial, because 36% is a really big demographic; but nobody seems to talk about it, and the unchurched are sitting in obscurity, perhaps misjudged that they do not love God. Rather the opposite, I love Him so much that the crowds and questionable actions of others inside these "churches" that hurt people, and color our feelings about churches in general, and yes I've watched churches turn people off from God entirely; I do enjoy home churching, but that is hit or miss also on the quality of the fellowshipping too. Your thoughts? God bless you. :smile:
 
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I'm alittle surprised no one has answered this yet.I walked into my church without ever being saved, but knowing about it. My mom and her sister are Hebrew lineage, and my aunt had been saved since she was 19, so I knew both sides, but never had any interest in it. After going 6 weeks, morning and evening service, I finally surrendered my life to God. That was 12 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. My growth has been strong, and quick, so I have learned alot, and being involved in all the different things I have been in the last 12 years, have had many opportunities to work with alot of different people in alot of different congregations. I have heard and seen many things done in the name of God, not all good.

The one thing that God has shown me is this: we go to church to give, not to get.We should be willing to go with a heart to serve. There is no such thing as a perfect church, because they are filled with imperfect people. I have seen, in my own church, the spirit of division, which was the most horrible thing my pastor has ever been through. It's hard to face betrayal, then be able to forgive. But, by the grace of God, he has been able to do that. I know the people in my church are human, and subject to failure, as I am.

I think alot of people ARE looking for a perfect church, and when they don't find it, stay away. I also know alot of people have been hurt, and when it isn't settled, also leave.
I don't think it's a good thing to stay away from church, Hebrews tells us to not forsake the assembling together. There are reasons for that, we are to pray for one another, and encourage one another, we can't do that if we're not there.
 
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Well, this is precisely why I was saying that soon - which is this weekend now - I'll be taking my children, myself, and my husband back to church. In this new town, I wouldn't know where else to go except Calvary Chapel, but that's good enough for me. They're in every town and just about the same type of service is offered every time. Although, I absolutely must get into a church that isn't on the faith-only side of the acts/faith division I've been watching. Although I've served in Church before, even in choir, your point is very well taken that we should go to church to serve; and certainly I need to do much more of that; not to self-aggrandize but my charity has been for many years with great difficulty and in the name of God, but no, not inside the church. There is a place for those of us who serve outside the church in Jesus's name in my humble opinion. And since the church is the Body of Christ, meaning you - and me - and everybody who truly believes, and changes, turns toward God and away from sin, then truly any form of fellowship, be it home churching, this website, TV evangelism, praying together with friends - is all "fellowship". And "fellowship" is what the Bible calls us to do. Isn't it? I may be wrong here, if so, please correct me if I am, but it calls us to fellowship with each other. Perhaps I'm ignorant on this, which I might be - my belief is that we are not called to be within buildings of wood and stone, but rather know that Christ is within us, the law is written upon our hearts (Heb.) and that we should ALL be helping each other be strong in Christ, pretty much every minute, every hour, and every day as Paul told us to, pray for ourselves to be Christians, because it isn't easy to BE Christian? My children need bible study, that's my main reason for going, and I feel the "professionals" who study in theology school and Sunday school teachers are best at that. As for going to services, I go only because I love sitting listening to a good sermon while holding my husband's hand. But you know, we do that at home, too. My children, I feel, need the "tradition" and the "ritual" of church to fully understand Jesus, God, scripture, and why we observe the worship we do, in its full scope. But as adults, I would expect them to choose whether or not they wish to be "involved in the church" itself. Other than this, no, I don't feel a great desire to serve within churches, although perhaps I should and I'm open to any scripture that says this is something important beyond fellowshipping and strengthening each other in a general sense; my calling has been generally in the Body of Christ wherever it expresses itself. That's why missionaries are called to work as well; it is an outreach from a church. In a sense, I feel like I'm a personal outreach after attending Calvary, Overlake, and others for decades. And I don't think I'm alone, nor would I judge the other 36% of Christians who do the same as I.

Beyond the rationale that I should go to serve an institution (organized religion) in which I do not believe is guaranteed holy, unless there is another justification for why an established church might be better than worship in a home church, then I would like to soon try to establish or join a local home church instead.
Please share with me your thoughts, as one person in a crowd of Christians - who I believe some are as strong as I am in their faith - that comprises over a third of all - the Unchurched - or rather DE-churched Body of Christ (since I was attending, and will attend again). I'm very interested to understand your viewpoint. As a matter of fact, I'd generally love anybody who could give me an explanation for the focus I see on attending "services" with Christians that are strangers to me, and for the most part, stay that way, because by the time we arrive, people have pretty much settled - those of us who move or travel pretty much are on our own. I'll also admit that yes, I've been disappointed in the past by "church-going people" horribly disappointed, I won't deny that, you've made another excellent point - but I've forgiven them, then again, there is a point when one feels unclean in their presence - I just don't necesssarily want to BE with them, which seems to be our instruction from Paul, again, when talking to Timothy about the "end of days" (2 Tim 3). It seems to me that the reason the group I'm in that is in love with Christ, but is outside the "traditional church", is so huge, isn't a matter of not being forgiving (and by the way, the post "Flee, Fight, or Forgive" was excellent by Jen, and I'm so happy to see another very forgiving person. I didn't respond because it seems to be addressing issues/events that occurred here that I'm not aware of so I felt it was unwarranted) because the instant I even *think* about not foriving somebody, I get a tap on my shoulder from the Holy Spirit reminding me, if I don't forgive, I won't be forgiven by Him. So let's just assume one thing: I'm definitely a "forgiver", that's been my problem I think; most churches aren't full of people who are very judgemental, not very forgiving, from what I've seen so far, in a quarter of a century of attending. That is precisely what has let me down to the point of real hesistation. Jen's point was made because she's seen so little forgiveness from Christians, and this dismays us all in this same fashion. So please, don't think I'm judging in this way, I realize it's just a fact of life, but maybe I'm just one of so many to try to avoid it. And if you want to call Paul's words in 2 Timothy "fleeing", I can accept that, and I will consider that I might be in flight from all matter of conflict possible when that many people assemble for any purpose. My brother, your words are taken well by me as good instruction to change my attitude. And I will think on that matter, and hopefully in turn, you will consider my logic and sentiments. For my last defense in the times in which I do not wish to attend large, organized churches, in one prophecy that I've heard, all mainstream churches would be corrupt; yet instead, since I do not know the source of that quote, I'll merely claim weariness with different interpretations, rules, and "doctrines" -- not to mention people who are too busy in this big, big church full of activities that seem to divide more than bring together with those who are *new* to the church such as myself. It's more a matter of wanting depth instead of breadth in my worship of Jesus, and sharing with people I feel are important - my family - and that never changes. I feel lost in these big churches. to be frank, as well. Home church is great, in my humble opinion, if you choose people who really know the Bible well - it's small, intimate, and can be quite powerful. Even the churches I've attended that are truly huge have had systems of breaking down the group into pieces - that essentially creates a "home church" together during the week. If I can get a home church going here, I tell you, it would guarantee a lot more time spent in worship for myself and my family - and who is to say we are not serving the people who also want to home church, and normally wouldn't have a way to worship - since they are also unchurched for their own particular reasons, whether it be disability, or simple inability to be quite as social as others?

Just some thoughts.

God bless you for responding, I was rather suprised nobody responded as well - but then - I do not know if de-churched or unchurched people frequent the section called "church". In the Love of Christ, Mrs. Califlower
 
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My pastor started our church in his house.So, is there anything wrong with house churches? Absolutely not. When they outgrew it, God provided land and money, all that was needed to build a church. He was in Gods will by doing that, so he did it. Not everybody is going to do that, so they stay in a house enviorment. It's still a church. It's still the body of Christ coming together to worship, serve one another, and learn of Him. The important part is the gathering together. We also need accountability one to another, which can only be done within the body.
The important thing is that we find a body of believers to worship with. Whether it's 12 or 200 isn't the point, I don't think.
My church has small groups that meet during the week, that you spoke of. It's a good thing, it's a time to connect and be closer. I understand your point about big churches, tho mine is 125 on a good Sunday, including kids. So, we're not big. But God does mighty things thru us, when we are willing. I agree with working and serving outside the church, we all need to show Gods' love in a practical way to a lost and dying world. In our church, it's a food ministry. It's a blessing, I'm so glad God called me to head it up. It's so much more than just giving out groceries.
I agree we need to be under the authority of people who are called by God to teach and preach. That is scriptural, to be submissive to the authorities of the church. We are to support them, pray for them and love them. So your plan to go to church is a good one, and if I were you I would pray about where God wants you to serve, cause I can gaurantee you He wants you to. When you serve others, you serve Him. It's His body, and it pleases Him to see us be there for one another. I don't do the ministries I do for my pastor, my husband, or any other human, I do it for God. And they're all outside of my "comfort zone", which is how I know it was Him who put me there. Changing me, and showing me where I need to be. The Bible tells us we all have gifts, and we are to use them, inside the church, as well as outside.
Romans 12:3-8 gives us a good example of how we are to use them within the church. 1 Cor. 12 also talks about how we are different parts, but still one body, and we need each other. All is ministering and serving, that is what we are called to do. Ephesians 4, also, from verse 11 to 16, talks about the work of the body within the body.
So, there ya go, some things to think about, and read. I truly believe, we are so blessed when we give, with the love of Yeshua, to one another. He said the world will know us from our love for one another, and we are to serve those we love, as well as those in the world.
 
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Thank you very much for such a great post. And I've already been called to my service for decades; now it's branching out, which is why I am probably quite idiosyncratic in my feelings on it, since I feel no need for more organization, I guess - because I'm already surrounded daily in a Chrisitan organization that is developing. It has been for years, and rather explains my departure; however, although I've been an instructor in college and in Sunday School, I will not do this for my children - I agree with you that my children should be taught by the professionals in the church, and I hope they will develop good friendships with the Christian children there that also attend their middle school. But for me, it's definitely a different story. Daily I'm surrounded by good Christians who feed me, and help minister my direction on the projects - because I've learned to only accept and work on Christian projects. On the weekends, I very much want to be with my husband and church is a nice way to spend Sundays. By the way, a note on the features: Here at TalkJesus there are really handy ways of getting to know people, through their "profile", which is sometimes judicious before we dispense advice of that nature, that helps us to know the direction in which the receiver is thinking, or acting on their beliefs - so mine is pretty clear. You might want to check out my profile right here on this post, and look at the website if you'd like to see the way in which I have been led to serve Christ in the past; that project has led me to where I serve now. I dropped to my knees and prayed one day - my husband, and the projects, showed up in a day or two. Isn't God incredible. Love in Christ and welcome to talkjesus.com - And thank you very much for responding to my posts here. God bless you. - Mrs. CaliFlower
 

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