Don’t Go to Church!

July 14, 2008

I was working the cash register at our family business the other night when I noticed a teenager a few customers back with a t-shirt that had, “Don’t Go To Church!” on the front. I couldn’t stop looking at that shirt and by the time he was in front of me, I let him have it. “Alright, kid. What’s with the shirt?” He seemed a bit frightened, looked down, then spun around. On the back were the words, “Be the Church!” For the rest of the night I couldn’t stop thinking about the differences between going to church versus being the church.

At my house, going to Church includes getting five kids up and ready and out the door in record time. It doesn’t matter what time my husband and I get up, we are still rushing out the door at 9:20am. When the kids were all younger, I use to say that by the time I got there, I needed Jesus real bad or somebody was going to get hurt.

Too often, we say we’re “going to church” instead of the correct “going to worship with the church.” We should be careful not to confuse the terms church and worship. We go to Wal-Mart. We go to the doctor. But we don’t go to church. We are the church.

I wonder how it would impact others if we started using the correct phrasing. Would others realize how important worshipping our God is to us if we used such phraseology as:

“We’re going to worship God.”

“Please go worship God with me.”

“We’ve just been worshipping with the church.”

Doesn’t it sound more meaningful and sincere to use the term worship? That’s what we do, isn’t it? We worship. We study. We encourage each other. We assemble with the Saints. We are the church 24/7, however, we go to church a couple times a week. Going to church won’t save souls, won’t encourage others, and won’t help us to be better people. Being the church will.

I’ll step down off my soap box now. Any comments?

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8 Comments Add your own

  •    wjcsydney  |  July 14th, 2008 at 5:38 am     Reply

    Paula, I have issues with “going to worship God”. Worshipping God isn’t something that only happens in an assembly of Christians. I worship God when I serve others, when I pray at home, when I wonder at a sunset, as well as when I meet with my fellow Christians at one of tha ppointed times at the appointed place. We need another phrase!

  •    JasRandal  |  July 14th, 2008 at 12:13 pm     Reply

    Hi, Paula, point well taken. At the same time, the Greek word for “church” means “meeting, assembly,” and is so used even in the NT of a secular meeting. So one could argue from the meaning of the term that it is possible to “go to church (=meeting).” But again, your point is well taken about being the church 24/7.

  •    Royce Ogle  |  July 14th, 2008 at 7:43 pm     Reply

    Great post Paula. As for the comments, you just can’t win can you? Yes, the church is an “assembly”. But, it is a combination on individuals who have been born from above who are bits and peices of “the church”.

    His peace,
    Royce

  •    TREY MORGAN  |  July 14th, 2008 at 11:01 pm     Reply

    Amen Sister … preach on!

  •    AncientWanderer  |  July 15th, 2008 at 3:40 pm     Reply

    Paula-
    I say Amen to Royce.

    Hey girl you have officially become SOMEONE. People feel free to correct your every move. Get ready it is an exciting and bumpy road ahead. 😉

    You hit a home run today.
    You got a “everything I do is worship” {{I always wonder if they have the Scripture TP in their bathrooms}} AND a “the Greek says” comment {{You ever wonder if Paul when he said “come together as the church” had some little old Greek dude correct him?}}

    HooRah!!!!

  •    Lisa  |  July 29th, 2008 at 4:52 am     Reply

    I know this is an older post, but I’m pretty behind. As usual. :o) This post really resonates with me because it was something my mom always drilled into us. She chafed at the saying, “going to church.” And now I do. Especially with children of my own, I find myself being pretty careful about the words I use to describe where we’re going on Sunday mornings, evenings and Wednesday nights. I try not to sound too legalistic about it, but I would like for my kids to naturally think of it in terms other than “going to church.” Sometimes I’m amazed that it’s still so commonly heard — why hasn’t it sunk in yet that the church is a people, not a place?

  •    Anonymous  |  September 25th, 2011 at 12:32 pm     Reply

    For whatever its worth, I wanted to share that our family in NH, has found that we no longer DO church the way it is culturally accepted. I have 4 children and have to admit, this new journey has been riddled with guilt. We don’t GO to a church anymore. At all. I have found I am growing in leaps and bounds wiht the Lord. I still get together with other Christians, just not at a specific time and place. Think about WHY we “go to church”…and does it really make a difference if you don’t? I have been asking myself these questions for months now, as I come to grips with the implications of NOT going. People ask, “Where do you go to church?” I answer, “We used to do that and choose not to now.” And with that answer, we are assumed to be “lost” and one of the “them” again. And yet, on this journey, I have found so many others whom God has called out. We feel like Abraham, learning how to worship God for the first time. Just thought I’d throw this out there. LOL Just for the record, I believe in a personal relationship in Jesus Christ and obedience to Him. In this, we feel as though we are obeying Him. I don’t think He is calling everyone out of traditional church, but He is for sure, teaching us, as His church body to go deeper in Him. Past cultural definitions of worship and church.

  •    Paula Harrington  |  October 9th, 2011 at 10:00 pm     Reply

    Anonymous,
    Will you email me privately? I’d like to discuss this with you and share a story.
    Thanks 🙂

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