Why Don’t You Go To Church?

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67 Responses

  1. Anon says:

    For anyone new to a community or has moved into a new township, it is absolutely frightening to connect with those who are entrenched into the church. I can listen to quality expository preaching any day on the internet. Church? Community is important. But how hard does one have to work to make inroads? And how long? 6 months? 1 year? I move frequently, every 3-5 yrs. I am social. Outgoing. But not one to use narcissism to connect with church members. It is not about my social standing, job, or other attractive attributes. It is about more than a friendly hi, a handshake. Do people sup together? Hang to do what Phoenix does on his blog? Talk? Discuss? Share? Does that really happen? I am certain it does, but how many churches does one visit to find that? And of course, if picky about how the “Word” is presented, then you narrow your choices down even further. So…I go sometimes, but it is disheartening to know that to connect with other brethren in the body takes an enormous amount of time & energy with possibly no positive outcome. So why go to Church?? What does it offer? If we find more to connect in an anon post via Phoenix and those who likewise respond and share, then what does that say about the state of the Church?

  2. Michael says:


    Well said.
    How much time would you sacrifice to make those connections if you thought it possible?

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    You can’t throw a rock without hitting a church in Georgia. Unfortunately most of them preach bullstuff.

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    We are working out way back into a church fellowship after a long time away. Too long in my view.

  5. Anon says:

    Time has no boundaries if people are willing to reciprocate. One example since this has roots to CC. After trying every conceivable church w/ any basic doctrines in this small tight community, I started attending a CC about 20 minutes away. 50-70 attendees. Attended 2-3 times per month. Had kids w/ me. Stayed frequently 15 minutes afterward to hang and talk. It went no where for 1 yr. Pastor has limits. He works FT. Great guy. I emailed him a few times about coffee but nothing. Yet he is intentional. He knew my name. And after not going for 1 yr, he reached out via email and asked how I was doing. Problem is…church is more than the pastor working his butt off to connect with each and every person. This guy has a newborn, has a FT job , studies the Word to preach on Sundays…it is not his job to try and connect with every person that walks in the door. But I have to ask, what about the 50-70 attendees that all know one another? The tight community that is forged via their community roots, their relatives, their relationships that are grounded in various aspects of knowing one another for years and years? If one person was to suggest hang time, lunch, or just coffee, or inquiring about who I am…then you have a connection. I know more about you, Michael, your faith, your thoughts, your passions by reading some of your blogs in 1 year than I know of anyone in this community. I register Anon, but not really an Anon. I do not comment other than maybe twice previously. Point being, I vest time to your blog not because of CC info or scandals, I vest the time because you took the time to be vulnerable and transparent and whether I agree or disagree, unless I am mistaken, you would be a friend, a caring member of the brethren, one whom if I reached the depths of despair, I could email one on one and I bet you would be there. Just saying. Why a blog to find those little grains in the sand? So…long response, little answer,…but it gives weight to why some fail to attend Church.

  6. Anon says:

    Dan, I am in Georgia also….and in the community I am located…it is tight. Probably gives away the church i reference possibly but that is ok….this is a discussion.

  7. Michael says:

    Anon @ 5…that was powerful stuff.

    You can email me anytime…I don’t have many answers, but I try to be available.

    You make a great point about the pastor…one of the things I was determined to do in our church was to create ministers of everyone so I wasn’t necessarily the first person called.

    They do a great job of taking care of each other and I’m not the focal point.

    We’ve spent a lot of time talking about outreach…not to grow the church,but the kingdom.

    My guess is that we have a lot of lurkers who think you just wrote their story…

  8. Michael says:


    How big of an issue is preaching for you?

    I would think you have a lot in common with anon…

  9. CostcoCal says:

    I know I am burrowing my way into this conversation. Forgive me if I am intruding.

    I wanted to point something out from my experience. I do go to church every day of the week. The reason is that I am in the full time ministry. I wouldn’t go to church as often as I do had it not been for that. I am confessing that right now. But because I am in the ministry, I am “signed up” to go to a church service on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Not to mention some entire weekends for retreats.

    I don’t regret it in the least bit.

    And I wouldn’t have chosen it on my own.

    It kind of reminds me of Jesus preaching from Peter’s boat. He asked Peter to push it out into the water. So Peter was “forced” to listen to Jesus preach as he pushed it out and probably held it in the sea. Peter never regretted it. Soon he would follow Jesus full time.

    My point being is sometimes when we are “forced” to hold the boat, or teach a class, or pass out bulletins, or run a bookstore, or watch the babies, or lead a youth group, or organize a softball time, or direct a charitable outreach, or… It keeps us tied in. And that’s not (necessarily) a bad thing.

    Spurgeon has been known to have said, “If you can do anything else besides the full time ministry, then by all means, do it.” I think I disagree with Spurgeon. (That is kinda precarious right there). I think being in the ministry is a way to “tie us” to the people. We are “signed up”, so to speak.

    Our hearts must be right though. If they become Martha-like and despise those that are sitting at His feet, it might very well be time for “Martha” to take a break and have a seat.

    Just my thoughts on these things.

  10. Descended says:

    Just started attending a church, but for the longest time I was:

    Gun shy about giving time, relationships and money to an organisation that can barely remember my name after 13 years, nor really care if I leave.
    Wondering if everyone that walks through the church doors is perceived as a sheep in need of a shepherd, or a potential volunteer for Sunday School teacher, or AWANAS director.

    Hard to find a church that teaches straight from the Word without plagiarizing canned sermons or commentaries, without brow beating, without serving up a Moses Model superiority complex.

    So we’ll see. Can’t friend the internet, though I believe you are sincere.

  11. Descended says:

    Seeing as how the good pastors are burned more often, I bet it goes both ways.

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael (8)…at work so can only fire off short comments at any one time…preaching is not top dog in my life. In GA, where there are plenty of IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) churches, preaching is usually tops. We refuse to go to an IFB church because of past abuse in my wife’s life. Here in GA we have run into a preacher who asked for $2000 from every family, and a preacher who said that depression is a choice. We also have the wonderful Creflo Dollar (ironic name, huh).

    Basically for us genuine fellowship and brotherly love go a LONG way.

  13. Dan from Georgia says:

    BTW Michael, thanks for opening up this topic where people can be HONEST, and hopefully won’t be judged or questioned as to why they are not churched under any one particular faith tradition/denomination!

  14. Michael says:


    Thank you…I want to hear honest answers to this question.
    I hope we get some more good input!

    I wouldn’t go anywhere near an IFB church…

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    …continuing thoughts from post #12…we want real people to fellowship with. I wouldn’t mind going to church and speaking with a fellow who loves Jesus who just happens to be wearing a Boston or Journey rock band t-shirt.

    We do want solid preaching, and I personally don’t mind topical preaching.

    We also want a church that practices the Lord’s table.

    I personally would like a church that has an artist’s fellowship/study/group, but that may be hard to find.

  16. Some random thoughts…

    I often wonder how I would relate to church if I wasn’t a pastor. I resonate with what Costco wrote above. I find myself “tied” into church by my responsibilities, which I don’t regret one bit. Maybe God knew I’d need to be connected vocationally to stay well connected.

    But, if I was a Christian not in full-time in ministry, I think these would be the things I would desire from being part of a local body.

    -Gifted, yet humble leadership
    -Significant opportunities to hear/process/apply the Word
    -A church with a sense of reverence, as well as a sense of humor.
    -The ability to serve in a way that makes real impact upon lives.
    -A rich but basic statement of faith, not too much in the weeds.

    Those are the first things that come to mind.

    As a pastor, I must say one of the biggest challenges I face are the expectations. People have so many different ideas of what a pastor does, that it becomes a bit ridiculous. I thank our Starbucks driven culture a bit for that.

    Before God, I have to remind and re-remind myself of my calling. Not because I forgot, but because the culture keeps trying to reform my role. Feed, lead, protect, equip. That’s my job.

  17. Randall Slack says:

    Let’s see…

    1. Pastors building their own kingdom.
    2. Pastors unaccountable to their congregations.
    3. Pastors enriching themselves.
    4. Pastors failing to teach the Word.
    5. Pastors unwilling to tolerate any disagreement with the beliefs they teach.
    6. Entertainment instead of worship.

    Living here in the “Bible Belt” there is a great deal of religion, but very little real life change. They are either stanch Baptist or trying too hard to be “hip and cool.”

    So, my two cents…

  18. Michael says:


    So…what would a church look like that you would want to attend?
    How could you discover one?

  19. One more for my list, and maybe the most important: A church marked by the presence, influence and power of Jesus. A church that makes Jesus big in everything. Humble hearts listening and responding to Christ’s caring lordship.

  20. Things I find meh (and sometimes bleh) in churches:

    Hype. I know of one mega church pastor in my town who tells his staff that every Sunday needs to be super bowl. So they are creating and recreating all the time trying to connect with people’s senses. I think they worship creativity, not Jesus. The bigger and better approach to ministry is bound to grind people down.

    Some churches seem like VBS to me. The pastor tries so many catchy things to keep people’s attention. Illustrations. Object lessons. Crafts. I’m good with a well-crafted, well-thought out message.

    Trendiness. Trying to keep up with the “cultural Joneses.”

  21. Randall Slack says:

    Michael, perhaps the following:

    1. A pastor who is approachable. We do not need to agree on everything, but we do need to agree on the essentials.
    2. The Word taught simply, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
    3. Centered on Jesus.

    That would be a good start. In fact, we are going to a new church this Sunday and hopefully, prayerfully, this will be the one.

    Good to hear from you, brother.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think the bigger question would be “why do people continually go to Mega Churches and / or independent churches?

    We saw this on the Boise threads – people continually returning to mega / CC type churches and complaining that no matter where they go they are ignored and / or abused.

    But no one wants to break the mold.

  23. Anon says:

    I stopped going because of pastoral abuse.

  24. Mariner says:

    A Church in my area that keeps the seventh day sabbath would bring me back

  25. Paige says:

    I have nearly 46 years of experiences with various Calvary Chapels…. when I moved to Portland, I visited one of the local ones and it just didn’t click for me…. don’t know why. So we visited a Christian church and liked it right away. People and pastor were very friendly, it was easy to participate in service. We lasted 6 weeks there until the pastor’s series on Tithing and guilt tripping the people.
    Then, we visited a mega Jesus Church… exciting, but huge. We felt too poor and too old there. We stuck it out until the teaching pastor made three devaluing remarks about women, his DIL and wife during the sermon.
    Then, we landed at a charismatic Baptist church (yes, really) with a primarily Black congregation. Incredible worship. Very friendly people –to a point– Pastor is an excellent preacher, but over time, we realized how legalistic the teaching was, and ultimately left during a heavy guilt tripping building program.
    Then, we visited a local large “Bible” church… terrible worship, unfriendly people, but we stuck it out so we wouldn’t be ‘unchurched’… but finally left after hearing the pastor teach that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer active.
    Then, we visited a friend’s ‘community’ church (aka Baptist). Very friendly people, easy to get involved, lame worship, and again, ultimately left after the pastor taught that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer in operation today. How do pastors discard at least 3 chapters of the New Testament?

    We spent that summer attending The Church of the Backyard. Worship and reading the Bible in our beautiful yard, seeking God’s guidance.

    Finally, we were invited to Calvary Chapel Portland. Very old school. Totally loved it. Small, sweet worship, good teaching, friendly pastor, friendly people, easy to get involved in serving.. We were home at last.
    A year later, the pastor retired (honorably) and our little church was over taken by Crossroads Community Church of Vancouver, WA…. We are now a satellite, video streamed church. Lots of great changes. It’s a bit of a challenge for us seniors (it’s LOUD), but overall, it’s great to see so many young people SO on fire for Jesus and the Word. I am ‘proud’ of Daniel Fusco for great teaching, as I’ve known him quite awhile and consider him family.
    Church is different… and we are hanging in there, trying to not be old fogeys… Seeking the Lord and serving however we can. it’s been quite a journey.

  26. bob1 says:


    Really? That would draw you to a church? Why?

    The only 2 denoms. I know that do that are the SDA and the SDBaptists.

  27. Rick says:

    I have been a Christian 40+ years, including ~6 years as an elder of a non-denominational church. Functionally ex-communcated from my church of 22 years (no ecclesiastical due process) after questioning leadership regarding their taking a more authoritarian posture. Long story, stayed away from church attendance for a year or so. Tried to find a liturgical church near us (as we visited out of area liturgical churches I found I could rest in the service). But mostly stayed away–my skin would crawl just being in a general cultural evangelical service.

    Mostly to honor my wife, I began to attend a non-denominational church again, with a pastor with a high view of grace and a great blending of those who I would consider both cultural and counter-cultural regarding traditional church. Took several months before my skin stopped crawling…I am physically there but not engaged at a deep level and not sure this side of heaven that I will ever engage at a deep level inside the walls.

    I am engaged outside the church walls with other Christians; both ministering to and being ministered to. I see Jesus in others more outside the walls than inside; I think I understand common grace much better now than I did–grateful beyond words for that.

    The church I would be inclined to engage is one that is invitational, not imperative, one that welcomes questions and recognizes and supports diversity in thought and belief within the context of adherence to the historical creeds. A church that recognizes that not all paradox must be explained or resolved. A church that sinners would feel welcome in; likable in the ways that sinners liked Jesus and wanted to be around Him. I find the liturgy to be invitational even in the context of an authoritarian church structure–I find refuge there even if it surrounded by, for lack of a better word, strangeness.

  28. Pinecone head says:

    Because church is boring.

  29. surfer51 says:

    The reason I said Its boring to me because I am not wanting entertainment. I want to experience God just walking into church. I want the spiritual atmosphere not the amped “Christian Rockstar” noise. I want to dig into scripture and discover stuff. I want to enjoy other Christians collectively where we can discuss stuff as a group and not just one dude sharing only all the time.

  30. Duane Arnold says:


    These responses are great… they should be kept in a book.

  31. one of the little people says:

    My daughter was molested while she was sleeping by the adult son of popular church leaders. Most of the other leaders put pressure on us not to report the molestation of my child to the authorities and then not to cooperate with the police after we did. They also didn’t want her to go to professional counseling (they wanted to handle it in house) as the crime would have to be reported. Our family was devastated and the leadership increased the burden on our backs. The youth pastor tried to come up with all the reasons why this young man hadn’t done anything wrong- my daughter might have been walking around in her nightgown without underwear; maybe my daughter and the young man were fooling around and it went too far; maybe they were in a secret relationship and she was afraid to tell me- no, while we were staying at their house, he snuck in to where my daughter was sleeping and molested her on multiple occasions. He thought he’s gotten away with it. Months later, I read her diary and there it was. When confronted, he lied and told his parents he wanted to kill himself. They believed him and I watched him lie and manipulate the people around him. Church leaders whom I’d heard in prayer meetings cry as they interceded for victims of sex trafficking, ignored us and did not speak to us for nearly a year. The pastor, to whom I told what had happened, made the young man an usher. Men and women I’d looked up to shunned us or worse, tried to ram scriptures down my throat, all the while preaching about family and revival. It made me sick. I’ve been in the church, serving, worshiping, even preaching sermons, for 35 years. I’m disgusted with the hypocrisy. And if I have to sit through one more sermon about revival while the congregation is wallowing in spiritual sickness, I think I’ll scream.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Did you end up calling the cops?

  33. one of the little people says:

    Yes. He was convicted and placed on the Sexual Offenders website at our insistence. Unfortunately, in California, you can be removed after a few years and your record expunged.

  34. Michael says:

    One of the little people,

    Thank you for sharing that…unfortunately, we have too many stories like that in the church.

  35. Michael says:

    Thank you all for your responses…keep them coming…

  36. Deb says:

    Not attending a church currently nor for the last year. After three church splits and angry angry brothers and sisters and churches hating each other due to a split. I’m scared to attend another church. Scared to get connected to professing christian brothers and sisters, just to find out it’s all a lie. I just want some good teaching and true fellowship.

  37. Contention says:

    I agree with Randall’s list. Buy my specifics are I had such a bad experience in the CC I attended for 13 years. I was a new Christian on fire for the Lord and that CC was my first real church experience other as a child in RCC.
    The first pastor there was an older man, then he left to plant another church and a very young guy from CCCM took over as lead pastor. Romaine had been his mentor. Anyway he was strickly by the book CC, prideful and would not tolerate any questions. I never questioned him but a few others did. After some issues the Lord opened my eyes and I felt He told me to leave. Then if course after leaving I was treated like a leper. All those who had told me they loved me over the years and we were family, lol, I never heard one peep from any of them.
    I tried a few more CC’s but could never quite settle in. I tried other denominations and church’s but I found myself so brainwashed by CC that I compared everything other churches did not quite right and I nitpicked them because they were different from CC. Then so many churches started the entertainment, soft approach, no sin and repentance sermons… which I consider pablum.. So eventually I gave up. I still feel like I should be going somewhere and have been thinking of trying again. I just hate church visiting, I’m an introvert and it’s just hard for me.

  38. JD says:

    We quit going to the last one after our ministry was canceled. No biggie, we have left and even been kicked out of churches before. Still on good terms with all of our ex pastors, even though all but a couple of them were habitual liars. 😕

  39. mk says:

    Why don’t you go to church?
    >>>We’ve tried and are still seeking to find a healthy church. Two of the churches we’ve attended, the pastors stepped down due to having extramarital affairs. The third church, the pastor has been unaccountable to church order and unkind to those challenging him.

    What might bring you back to church?
    >>>1.) A sincere church not seeking the limelight.
    >>>2.) A pastor not seeking to be famous.
    >>>3.) To hear God’s word preached and being challenged to grow in the faith.
    >>>4.) Music – to hear more hymns, I think.
    >>>5.) For people in the church to show kindness and welcome newcomers. A place where my family and I feel welcome to worship in their church, even if we can only attend on Sunday mornings.
    >>>6.) A church who reaches out to the community and gets involved serving the needs of their community.

  40. UnCCed@UnCCed.com says:

    Well, here’s a hint. Even here will I no longer stick my head in the lion’s mouth.
    Ok, now let the groupthink, insinuations, and attacks commence.

  41. mk says:

    Dear UnCCed,

    Is your comment directed towards my post or the overall comments?

    I own my words and observations based on my own journey. This topic is of great interest to me and learning others’ stories. In my own community, my family has had a difficult time finding a church to settle into.

  42. Tim says:

    I’ve been a Christian for 20+ years. I have been through things that would make for a nice story about “why I don’t go to church anymore.” Personally, my faith in God and my desire to be faithful to Him leads me to still ‘go to church.’ There are good ‘institutional’ churches out there people. I’ve perused threads here off and on and have heard a lot of church horror stories. I have a few myself. CC first 15 years as a Christian…. CCBC, etc. We are now at a reformed baptist church that we love. Good fellowship, love, freedom, solid teaching, missions minded. There are good local congregations of Gods people out there. Anyone in Indianapolis, hit me up. I’ll point you to a few. Peace.

  43. JM says:

    Oh, Michael, what a question. I wrote out a whole answer to this and then erased it because I just don’t want to get slammed for being honest. So, I’ll give a short answer:

    Lack of prayer. Jesus said his house would be a house of prayer. It isn’t. Not around here.
    Lack of power, enough so to deliver people from their prisons. The church doesn’t know how to appropriate that by faith and prayer.
    Worship music that is no different than a secular concert.
    Little empires run by men who are building family businesses and have no one to answer to.
    Indifference to the widows and orphans.
    Programs that make listening to the holy spirit unnecessary.
    Canned Bible studies by “celebrated” Christians.
    Worship that is just singing. I’m tired of singing.

  44. Babylon's Dread says:

    I see worldview changes, lifestyle changes, simple marketing changes… the reality is that what seemed authentic to baby boomers seems canned and rote to this generation. Also, the over-hyped claims of what was coming in history simply have proven to be errant at least in the attention span of our present world.

    A clear interest in this-worldly over other-worldly concerns is a big deal.

    But I have an observation. The same generation that has rejected the church has rejected family structure promoted as Biblical. The prophets they have listened to are secular and fill the airwaves with stories that do not include traditional families that work.

    So do not be surprised that the generation rejecting the church has also rejected marriage and family as depicted in the Bible.

  45. Michael says:

    “So do not be surprised that the generation rejecting the church has also rejected marriage and family as depicted in the Bible.”

    I am not surprised…because the generation that raised them gave lip service to family values while divorcing each other without remorse and having the schools and TV raise their children…

  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wounder if polling companies, or those who hire them, were wringing their hands in the 60s (prior to the Jesus Movement) asking and polling “why aren’t people going to church anymore?”

    Or is this a modern day polling company created issue.

  47. Michael says:


    It seems to be a concern in your own group…

  48. dusty says:

    So much pain and sorrow…praying for
    Dan from Georgia
    Randall slack
    One of the little ones

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “It seems to be a concern in your own group…” because we get suckered in too.

    But the question is – was anyone asking the question when the 60s kids dropped out of church — or is it a normal cycle?

    The Lutheran problem is that we don’t breed at the same rate we did in the past.

  50. Listening Lucy says:

    Wow! What a hard thread to read if you have been called to Christian ministry since your youth! I just want to say that we are not all hypocrites, whoremongers, or extortionists. Many pastors are victims too! Just trying to slug it out in a world that hates our guts and has found every excuse possible to not attend CHURCH! . Oh Lord, send another revival before the end and take care of your true servant who are quitting their callings and losing their church homes at record rates!

  51. David H says:

    I still attend church every Sunday. I didn’t attend for several years after leaving our local CC.

    I’m not totally content where we are now, but it’s better than where we were.

    Evangelical churches around here are market driven. Numbers of people, numbers of baptisms, number of tithing, etc. They seem to do whatever it takes to fill chairs, whether that means watering down the message, or scaring people into Heaven.

  52. filbertz says:

    I wrote a long explanation and deleted it.
    I left because I was weary, disillusioned, and profoundly disappointed.
    I left out of a sense needing to be honorable to my kids who were so maltreated by the youth ministries of the churches we attended.
    I stayed away for there were no safe harbors and no honest conversations.
    It has become a habit and lifestyle.
    I have ventured out a couple times lately and have a glimmer of hope.

  53. Sisterchristian says:

    Very interesting topic, and have appreciated everyones comments ….
    Its easy to agree with most.

    It seems…or at least appears to me
    There is a genuine lack of love and authenticity in the church…
    Performance is high
    Worship teams acting like wanna be rock stars
    Seems many in leadership are either numbers or sucess driven…
    The little guy, the single mom, the stray and random visitor is often treated as insignificant, overlooked and discounted.perhaps no more important than a nickle and a nose…

    Somewhere in scripture it states that there should be no partiality, that all members of the body are important…that we are to esteem others more than ourselves and to not only look after our own concerns but also the concerns of others…and that the role of the pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry….i see that… much along the lines of a good coach assisting his team with not only object lessons and defining rules, but with understanding and having a sense of each ones gifts and talents
    Strengths and weaknesses., then encouraging and equipping., training and placing them in such a way that they develope and utilize the talents God has bestowed to the greater good of the body, the community, the individual and to the kingdom and glory of God.
    Perhaps thats more idealistic than practical,
    Ive yet to personally witness a pastor get that involved in the lives of people outside of a few very rare exceptions.
    Perhaps thats one reason many stay away?
    They get lost in a sea of faces, finding it difficult to connect or participate on a significant level due to lack of “coach involvement and encouragement”
    And see church as a mini concert with a lecture and then out the door…
    And is the pastor to be a physician of the soul?
    I take example of the late Richard Baxtor
    The reformed pastor; whom if memory served me correctly …that he took personal interest in the state of the soul of each individial of his 800 member congregation
    Making personal visits each year…stated something to the effect…
    ” that ten minutes personally discussing matters of the soul with a congregate had more value and made more impact than 100 sermons
    Should the church body be a family?
    Can it truly be a family in a mega setting?

    I have spent significant time in mega churches
    Medium churches (500-1000) and smaller local churches… spent much time in ministry – voluntarily -not for wages.

    Stepped out of church about 6-7 years ago due to a major traumatic family event
    Made a drastic relocation
    And have visited many local churches
    Have yet to get settled into one…
    While my soul is saved
    I feel lost in the world of churches

    Just throwing this in the mix for whatever its worth
    Blessings to all

  54. Xenia says:

    Hello Sisterchristian! Great to see you!

  55. Contention says:

    Oh how times have changed from how “church” was originally done. Notice how simple it was and the unity.. No bells and whistles..

    Justin Martyr’s “First Apology” is the oldest (non-New Testament) record we have of how early Christian worship was conducted.

    Excerpts from “First Apology” by Justin Martyr:

    Note: In Chapter 62. it is implied that Christians removed their footwear before worship.

    Chapter 65. Administration of the sacraments.

    Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands.

    And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γEνοιτο (so be it).

    And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

    Chapter 67. Weekly worship of the Christians.

    And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things.

    And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.

    And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.

    Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.

    And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

    But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.

    For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

  56. em ... again says:

    #52 – same here – each of your six points, amen

    especially hard to watch one’s children disrespected (for want of a better word) when they are where they should be mentored and nurtured

  57. Disillusioned says:

    PTSD. Triggered by Churchianity.

    I echo the sentiments of those who are sickened by the calls for holiness from a pulpit that won’t practice it.

    I honestly don’t know how to go back.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t speak from a pulpit – but in my everyday life I try to call people to holiness even though I don’t practice it.
    Because I fail, or a pastor fails, is no reason to give up a piece of our vocation to call others to holiness.

  59. em ... again says:

    FWIW – Disillusioned and MLD ‘s 57 & 58 deal with something very key to this topic, i think…
    from one aspect a Believer shouldn’t depend on the piety of church leadership, God doesn’t lose His holiness or His majesty when the leaders play fast and loose with it, but on the other hand, how does one stomach duplicity and hypocrisy…. with the resulting betrayal of our trust?
    i’ve been wondering if one shouldn’t call a church that interests one and make an appointment to meet with the pastor – can’t get one? don’t go there… if the man is genuine and his focus is on the Faith, maybe he needs your support, no matter what the congregation’s warmth… dunno – just thinking on other’s thoughts here … again

  60. JoelG says:

    “i’ve been wondering if one shouldn’t call a church that interests one and make an appointment to meet with the pastor ”

    Before my sojourn to a Lutheran Church the Pastor went out of his way to meet with me twice. Good Pastor. Good church.

    Good advice Em.

  61. Disillusioned says:

    Em, I just love your balanced insights. You are correct in your assessment that hypocrisy from the pulpit is really hard to stomach.
    An interview is an excellent idea.

    MLD, it’s one thing to exhort others. It’s another to preach, let’s say, about Christian relationships, but then refuse to make one’s own relationships right. That whole thing Jesus said about leaving your gift at the altar…

  62. filbertz says:

    a mentor of mine said years ago (long before I left church) that out at the fringes of the Church are many of the godliest, wisest, and well-instructed christians who have left the church. I was surprised at his observation and now, at his insight.

  63. JM says:

    Filbertz: That’s an interesting comment. Some of the most godly people I have met are outside the church. They can’t stomach what has changed in the last 25 years and they are sickened by watching it happen. One day they just say, “Enough!” and they leave.

    I don’t know if I can ever go back. I try from time to time. But then I have to listen to the worship music that could have been written to worship a best friend or a lover because there is so little of God in it or nothing to make it distinctively about Jesus or the Father. Then I get to sit and be entertained for 40 minutes by a sermon. Most times I could actually fall asleep and sometimes I close my eyes and lower my head because it’s putting me to sleep.

    There is so little depth in the teaching and preaching these days. Muy attitude is that if you’re going to teach, then, darn it, teach something with a takeaway. I used to think that there were 50 standard topics of sermons and everyone used them. I’d like to see someone go beneath the surface into the real stuff, the hard stuff, the stuff that is life changing, but I don’t see it.

    So then I go home and forget about church for another year.

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:


    “That whole thing Jesus said about leaving your gift at the altar…:

    But we sin there also – so does that mean that you clam up and don’t tell others to do “the right thing”

    I have more issue with those who preach / teach a new form of antinomianism because they are in sin or have been in sin. This is where you will hear a lot of “the law has no hold on me.”

    The ideal is we all quit sinning – ain’t gonna happen this side of heaven.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    from your earlier #59 – ” but on the other hand, how does one stomach duplicity and hypocrisy….”

    It’s the question I ask myself every morning when I look in the mirror.
    Are the same folks who are offended by their pastor equally offended by themselves? If not, then they are the true hypocrite

  66. Tim Loughman says:

    My personal opinion of why it has become so difficult in todays church to be committed to attending, seems to be a few points i cannot seem to look past. The Church is run like a corporation and mirrors the world corporate structure. Attendees are clamoring to find favor amongst the lead Pastors, or Pastor. Jockying for position and title or influence. Bible knowledge being pulled out to quote scripture to prove intellect, and haughtiness. Believers always having the answer. Churchs using slick marketing schemes to try and spur growth, which is insulting. Never have seen a lead pastor attend a Mens Ministry night as an attendee, showing humility to follow as well as lead. Or a work Saturday for that matter. Limited Faith, they preach follow the Holy Spirit – yet have their yearly calendar full. And yet when these issues come up, you are branded a dissenter or a cynical person. In short, lack of true intimacy with God, and with each other. Pastors unwilling to talk about abortion, sexual brokeness, sexual abuse, physical abuse, self abuse,…… all the wounded people that Jesus would be spending time with. Church is outta touch

  67. Deb says:

    Thank You Dusty!

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