Not Part of a Church: the good, the bad, and the ugly

“I am not part of a church.” Have you ever said that phrase? Depending on what you meant it could be a good thing, a bad thing, or an ugly thing. The following, in my opinion, is the good, bad, and ugly meanings of this phrase. Which do you fall under?

Good: I have not defined myself by being part of a certain subset of Christianity. I will not seclude myself to fellowship and mutual edification with a select few based on our agreement on certain theological issues, musical stylings, ethnic or racial similarities, or anything else. I will not ignore the rest of the body of Christ, limiting my interaction to those who meet in the same building as me. I will not assume that others are wrong because they are not part of my church. I will not assume certain people are right because they ARE part of my church.

Bad: I am not part of the kind of community of believers I read about in the New Testament. God wants me to be part of the church in this way. Being part of a church means supporting each other, caring for each other, and working together to share the love of Christ with others. These are great things, and honestly these are things I lack in my life. The reason I am not? Well the easy answer, the answer that lets me off the hook, is that this kind of church doesn’t exist around me. But that is an excuse. What is the real answer? It is hard and time consuming and I am lazy and unwilling to have these kinds of relationships. I don’t like people knowing my business, let alone sharing their thoughts on my business, and I am too selfish to care about helping other people with their struggles and hardships.

Ugly: I am bitter and angry and think I am better than everyone else. Because of this I would rather try the lone man approach to my walk with Christ. There is no one to challenge me, no one to tell me I’m wrong, and no one to argue with. There is also no one to encourage me, no one to help me grow up, and no one to edify me. It is an incredibly selfish and lonely approach to trying to follow Christ, if you can even call it that.

Have you ever said you were not part of a church? What did you mean? If I were to be honest I would have to say that I have felt each of these things, and possibly I mean a little of each of these things, when I have said “I am not part of a church”

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

5 responses to “Not Part of a Church: the good, the bad, and the ugly

  • Alan Knox

    While I am “part of a church” in both the scriptural and the traditional sense (since we’re a kind of hybrid), I’ve used similar phrases out of pride… which is just as ugly as bitterness or anger.

    -Alan

  • Bobby

    I, too have meant all three of these things. Even though I strive hard against it my greasest fear is being a part of a group that starts out in the good and ends up in the ugly.

    • Dan Allen

      Bobby

      I think you make a good point. It is not as though we necessarily stay in one area or another. We may move around or mean more than one of these thing at once, or, most dangerously, we may think we mean the good thing when we really mean the bad or the ugly.

      Dan

  • Jon

    Speaking for myself, I am looking for brotherhood. Not brotherhood because we happen to be part of the same church, but brotherhood that stems from a genuine concern and love stemming from a connection to Christ, a brotherhood that exceeds or rises above church boundaries.

    As for me, that is a desperate need in my life. Perhaps my resistance to “church” has blocked some of these relationships in my life.

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