Don’t just go to church, be the church

Adam McClane recently reposted a comment he received from T.C. Porter about how Porter does church. I’ve read it a few times over the past few days and it continues to stick in my mind. The posture towards church that Porter adopts is both no-nonesense and rooted in the Bible. It’s also challenging to the status quo. For starters, their sermons are no longer than seven minutes, which leaves the congregation plenty of time to interact and support each other.

Here’s an excerpt from the Porter’s comment; you can read the whole thing at Adam’s blog on “Guest Post: Be the Church:”

– do it. stop talking about it. leave your church and do what you are saying. that’s the message i keep getting, and increasingly i have less time writing about church reform because there is, as you say, so much work to be done. people want this but we are on the leading edge and it is hard work. nonverbals are the message – what is our message – go out and get it done and build it; know that it will take a long time so you have to start now, stop writing about it folks. […]

– a big trend that has to be bothersome is this rising chorus of critique against the church without a rising army of folks living out the alternative. gen x got its name from being meaninglessly, non-committal, and complacent. and i know too many of us who are not really engaged and fighting the good fight with a covenant community, we’re just saying things like “church is everywhere” and “love your neighbor” and yet it looks like a ministry of convenience more than anything. i like to write so i blog; i like to feed the hungry so i do that. i like beer so i drink with my neighbor. … all fine and good, but: are we becoming a generation of disciples and disciple-makers? is this generation being shaped and formed into Christlikness against he prevailing tides of individualism, hard-work, consumerism, well-touted charity, etc.

I’ve been writing for for a few years now, and before that I attended a Christian college. I’ve heard and read the “Church is failing!” argument more times than I care to count. Rarely, though, do people take all their anger about the church and turn it into something positive. It’s refreshing.

What do you think of Porter’s comment? Are there there things you wish your church did that were more in line with what Jesus taught?

6 Responses to “Don’t just go to church, be the church”

  • Sean Scott says:

    After I got saved by Christ two years ago I became a member of a United Methodist Church because my in-laws go there. I love the church and my brothers and sisters there. Yet there are times that I feel as though the church is stagnant because of “tradition” and our denomination is so large and bureaucratic that it is hamstrung.

    When I read of Jesus’ teachings in the gospels, I picture the Lord sitting in the shade of a tree with disciples sitting and relaxing with Him. Jesus went where the people who needed Him were, which was not always in the established temples and churches of the day.

    Jesus was also a man of action. He went out and taught, healed, and gave to everyone who would give Him the opportunity.

    I feel that if He were to visit us now the Lord may not be as pleased with us as we hope. We are stuck in convenience and materialism and prevented from fully doing the Lord’s work. I certainly agree that the body of Christ can and should do more in the world. How can the unbelievers think that we offer a better alternative when all they see are older people going “tsk tsk” at them while having the bake sales and dinners attended only by themselves? It is no wonder that attendance is dropping since churches have gotten so far behind the curve of society.

  • Sister Mason says:

    I can not agree more, churches have become more and more materialistic and it hinders baby saints who wont have anything to do with it, they are not blind.

  • As I agree with the comments above, I’m glad to say that that our church is active in our community, we go out and reach out out side the four walls of our church. We are the church, we are the temple in witch Jesus dwells. Every opportunity that is giving to us we have to and must take advantage to talk about God and the wonders He stills dose. We are a missionary church and reach out out side of the USA but like my pastor says “evangelism should be in everyones heart, we can reach out and place a seed of salvation at work, the bus stop, super market, your neighbor and even at home”. Opportunities are endless we just have to have the Love for the souls that don’t know Jesus, that doer spirit. God bless

  • Diana says:

    wow,Porter’s comment just spoke to my heart. It’s so true. It’s frustrating for a young believer when all you see is apathetic and passive people who are content with just living a “good” life and are distracted with their busy lives. My question is: how do you “be the church”? Are we talking ministry? I am asking because although I have been a Christian for a few years, I feel that I haven’t had much guidance in this area.

  • Carol says:

    Diana, you asked “how do you “be the church”. Well, by sharing with those we meet in our everyday lives the joy of knowing Christ Jesus as Savior.
    Let them see it in your countenance,in your speech, your actions.
    How?Think about as a youngster after receiving a special gift,you couldn’t wait to show this wonderful gift to everyone!
    Unfortunately too many Christians keep the joy of the assurance of salvation through the blood of Jesus to themselves only allowing that joy to surface in church.
    Will some people scoff reject you? Sure some will,they did it to Jesus, to his desciples and the prophets.
    That said,some will ask things like “Why is it every time I see you your so cheerful the economy stinks,the weather is miserable our nation is in a mess.”
    There you have the perfect opportunity to share with them something simple such as;Because I know no matter how bad it looks that God is in charge.
    Here’s one example:
    A woman that works at our local market recently told me she hates her life and is better off dead,admitting she’s thought about taking her life and that she’s not saved.
    After consolling her I gave her the message and explained however bad she thinks her life is here an eternity in hell would be millions of time worse and that is unending torment!forever!She has my number I told her to call anytime she needed to talk, also called her that night to be sure she was okay.So far she hasn’t called but did approach me in the store Thursday with a hug.

  • Constance says:

    As a person who has attended church since childhood, began playing the keyboard and/or organ for Southern Gospel groups as a teenager, and then traveled in the ministry with various evangelists … I feel that can speak from experience.

    The greatest mistake being made by some churches and pastors, NOT ALL — is they will immediately raise money for a stranger off the street who comes in saying, “they are going through a difficult challenge in life and lost their job and do not have a place to live.” Oh, the people can’t wait to raise a big offering and then tell everyone the following week how they helped this homeless person. But what about a Christian, or perhaps a minister and his wife, or the wife of a minister after losing their home, was left to start over with nothing. How many churches reach out to them? NONE!! Even when they have been told of the awful sudden problem, it is completely ignored. Is that what a church should do? Should they ignore Christians and help strangers who usually leave and you never see them again? Our Bible tells us that “Charity begins at home.” That doesn’t mean our place of abode, but “home” could mean our church, or wherever our ministry might be.

    Why do you think Tammy Faye Baker-Messener turned to celebrities and gays for help after her husband went to prison? Because the churches turned their backs on her. The same for Michael English after his fall, his music was removed from the shelves in Christian book stores and he no longer had invitations to sing in churches. How was he supposed to make a living when the church world turned their backs on him? He went to country music, feeling deeply wounded because his so-called friends were nowhere to be found. Churches and Christians could have cared less what happened to him, Tammy and others who have had problems. Churches and Christians seem to set themselves on a pedastal above those who might have fallen or no longer in the spotlight. Yet, when those hurting people in the ministry are turned away by the church and turn to the secular world — they are then written off, talked about, removed from fellowship of the church. WHO IS WORSE?

    When they repent and are still turned away from the arrogant church members and pastors — their blood will be on the hands of all of those “pompous ministers and so-called Christians” who turned their backs on them. God help us as Christians to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have a need. DON’T TURN THEM AWAY!