There is a growing number of believers who are becoming uncomfortable with church as we know it. Their dissatisfaction is often discussed in secret. They fear being ostracized, ridiculed and considered heretical, simply because the 'church system' no longer appeals to them.
Recent research by the Pew Research Center found that one-in-five adults have no religious affilication. They labeled these people as 'nones'. Similarly, Dr. Josh Packard published a book that reveals a growing category of 'DONES' emerging. These are people who are done with the 'church' but not their faith in Jesus Christ.
I have 'pastored' for over a quarter of a century. The people I have served are in my opinion, some of the greatest on earth. They allow me to pursue God without restricting me to perform 'church' stuff just to appease their religious appetitites. They are mature and strong in their faith. They too have the same inert desired to become all that the Lord Jesus has called them to be.
In my journey, my view of the 'church' as we know it has changed. The main reason is that I can't find much of what we do today in practice or principle in the bible. It seems as though we just do stuff for the sake of doing it. It feels as though we spend more time protecting and maintaining a system, than we do reaching the lost.
The most powerful thing I have discoverd is that the 'church system' as we know it, was built on a shaky foundation. When I found that the Greek word ekklesia was willfully mistranslated to church, my view of the 'church' as we know it shifted. Ekklesia is what Jesus said He would build. Church is what man substituted. Ekklesia and church are miles apart in principle, practice and history.
We Love Jesus, but...
Too often it has been assumed that those of us who are becoming uncomfortable with the ‘traditional church’, have somehow lost our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is so far from the truth. The more I seek His face, the less I see the form and format of the church, as we know it. I love Jesus, but question the 'church system' and its effect on the Body of Christ.
Don't assume that those who are troubled with the 'church system' are lacking in their relationship with Jesus Christ. We have not abandoned our faith.
Is this the Great Falling Away?
Another assumption is to label those leaving the 'church system' as proof of the Great Falling Away (1Timothy 4:1; 2Thessalonians 2:3). I disagree.
Those leaving religious systems are not leaving their faith. In fact, many have been quoted as saying they found Jesus after they left the 'church'. I know some will not like to hear this, but often religious systems are a hinderance to developing a true relationship with Jesus Christ.
Revisit first century Christianity
I challenged those who I fellowship with to re-read the book of Acts. In it, you will read that people were healed – but there were no ‘healing services’. There was prophecy – but there were no ‘prophetic services’. People were delivered from demonic attack – but there were no ‘deliverance services’. Think about it, since when does a devil schedule themselves to be cast out?
The first century believers lived life and through Jesus Christ and turned their world upside down. They were the ekklesia that Jesus declared He would build. They gathered from house to house, they were governed by elders, they were empowered by five-fold ministers, but they were never contained in a religious system.
The building plans have been distorted for hundreds of years by man-made systems. However, since the Reformation, God has been restoring what had been hijacked by institutional churchianity.
Re-reading the book of Acts will start you on a path to discovering the Lord's ekklesia. Programs and events will have less attraction, and the desire to make a difference will begin to emerge.
Declare your love for Jesus Christ
Jesus said to "...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.(Mark 12:30-31).
First, I encourage you to pray over the current state of the ‘church’. Remember, 'churches' are filled with good people who are confined in a man-made system. Their eyes can only be opened by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Second, discover your purpose in the Kingdom. You have unique gifts that will benefit the Body of Christ. Seek ways to serve among believers (1Corinthians 12:7)
Third, gather with other believers to address needs and issues around you. Remember, you were given authority to collectively bind and loose on earth, what has been bound and loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:17-19).
I believe that Jesus Christ is still committed to building what He said He would - His ekklesia; His powerful ruling council that possess the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is building with believers like you who have the revelation that He is the Christ, Son of the Living God! TLK
Tim Kurtz is the founder of The Ekklesia Center developed to help believers desiring to pursue New Testament values and structure. He teaches extensively on what the impact the mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia to the English word church has had on the Body of Christ. He has served in numerous capacities in the 'church system' including being a Pastor for over 25 years. He is the author of several books and the primary contributor to the EKKLESIAInsights Blog. Tim is also the host of Good Morning Ekklesia, broadcast live on Facebook. In these daily Study Starters he provides key information that believers can use to study ekklesia deeper. He and his wife Carolyn have been married 46 years and live in Michigan. They have two adult children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.