Submergent Church: Do you still believe in the “church” today?

I have a simple question for my readers about the evangelical church today. We have big churches, small churches. There is so much good that is done and yet so many stories of things gone awry as well. Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother. What do you think?

Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

75 comments

  1. Yes.Without the local church, we do not have a national church, and without the national church we do not have a global church… We would just be a bunch of ignorantly independent followers of ourselves. I do however believe that our generation is going to cling to the “house church” model, where church happens everyday in our neighborhoods, coffeeshops, pubs and parks versus the corporate gathering one morning a week.

    Thanks for allowing me to think and respond!
    DG

    1. Dennis, so “institutional church” is a “no” for you and house church is a “ye”?

  2. Yes.Without the local church, we do not have a national church, and without the national church we do not have a global church… We would just be a bunch of ignorantly independent followers of ourselves. I do however believe that our generation is going to cling to the “house church” model, where church happens everyday in our neighborhoods, coffeeshops, pubs and parks versus the corporate gathering one morning a week.
    Thanks for allowing me to think and respond!
    DG

    1. Dennis, so “institutional church” is a “no” for you and house church is a “ye”?

  3. Yes.Without the local church, we do not have a national church, and without the national church we do not have a global church… We would just be a bunch of ignorantly independent followers of ourselves. I do however believe that our generation is going to cling to the “house church” model, where church happens everyday in our neighborhoods, coffeeshops, pubs and parks versus the corporate gathering one morning a week.

    Thanks for allowing me to think and respond!
    DG

    1. Dennis, so “institutional church” is a “no” for you and house church is a “ye”?

  4. Yes.Without the local church, we do not have a national church, and without the national church we do not have a global church… We would just be a bunch of ignorantly independent followers of ourselves. I do however believe that our generation is going to cling to the “house church” model, where church happens everyday in our neighborhoods, coffeeshops, pubs and parks versus the corporate gathering one morning a week.

    Thanks for allowing me to think and respond!
    DG

    1. Dennis, so “institutional church” is a “no” for you and house church is a “ye”?

  5. Yes.Without the local church, we do not have a national church, and without the national church we do not have a global church… We would just be a bunch of ignorantly independent followers of ourselves. I do however believe that our generation is going to cling to the “house church” model, where church happens everyday in our neighborhoods, coffeeshops, pubs and parks versus the corporate gathering one morning a week.

    Thanks for allowing me to think and respond!
    DG

    1. Dennis, so “institutional church” is a “no” for you and house church is a “ye”?

  6. >Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?
    Yes, absolutely. The local church has a mission to fulfill the needs and roles God has given them for their area. However, the generalizing statement: “Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother.” Simply isn’t completely true. Sure, there are some who view the church as an institution, bother, etc., etc., but that is not an accurate blanket statement as it discounts the incredible diversity found within the richness of our faith. God chooses to bless certain congregations (and people) with specific missions to fulfill and without the diversity of mega, house, local, national, churches the body would not be a body, but simply a single part. We need the elbow to be an elbow, so that the hand may fulfill its role also.

    The church is Christ’s bride, and he will one day return to claim in all of her glorious, spotless beauty. We should be doing all we can to help the body work together in unity, so that Christ is glorified in our work–regardless of the label attached to her.

  7. >Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?
    Yes, absolutely. The local church has a mission to fulfill the needs and roles God has given them for their area. However, the generalizing statement: “Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother.” Simply isn’t completely true. Sure, there are some who view the church as an institution, bother, etc., etc., but that is not an accurate blanket statement as it discounts the incredible diversity found within the richness of our faith. God chooses to bless certain congregations (and people) with specific missions to fulfill and without the diversity of mega, house, local, national, churches the body would not be a body, but simply a single part. We need the elbow to be an elbow, so that the hand may fulfill its role also.
    The church is Christ’s bride, and he will one day return to claim in all of her glorious, spotless beauty. We should be doing all we can to help the body work together in unity, so that Christ is glorified in our work–regardless of the label attached to her.

  8. >Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?
    Yes, absolutely. The local church has a mission to fulfill the needs and roles God has given them for their area. However, the generalizing statement: “Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother.” Simply isn’t completely true. Sure, there are some who view the church as an institution, bother, etc., etc., but that is not an accurate blanket statement as it discounts the incredible diversity found within the richness of our faith. God chooses to bless certain congregations (and people) with specific missions to fulfill and without the diversity of mega, house, local, national, churches the body would not be a body, but simply a single part. We need the elbow to be an elbow, so that the hand may fulfill its role also.

    The church is Christ’s bride, and he will one day return to claim in all of her glorious, spotless beauty. We should be doing all we can to help the body work together in unity, so that Christ is glorified in our work–regardless of the label attached to her.

  9. >Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?
    Yes, absolutely. The local church has a mission to fulfill the needs and roles God has given them for their area. However, the generalizing statement: “Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother.” Simply isn’t completely true. Sure, there are some who view the church as an institution, bother, etc., etc., but that is not an accurate blanket statement as it discounts the incredible diversity found within the richness of our faith. God chooses to bless certain congregations (and people) with specific missions to fulfill and without the diversity of mega, house, local, national, churches the body would not be a body, but simply a single part. We need the elbow to be an elbow, so that the hand may fulfill its role also.

    The church is Christ’s bride, and he will one day return to claim in all of her glorious, spotless beauty. We should be doing all we can to help the body work together in unity, so that Christ is glorified in our work–regardless of the label attached to her.

  10. >Do you still believe in the local church today? Why or why not?
    Yes, absolutely. The local church has a mission to fulfill the needs and roles God has given them for their area. However, the generalizing statement: “Today we see the local “church” as an institution, as something we go to, or as even as a bother.” Simply isn’t completely true. Sure, there are some who view the church as an institution, bother, etc., etc., but that is not an accurate blanket statement as it discounts the incredible diversity found within the richness of our faith. God chooses to bless certain congregations (and people) with specific missions to fulfill and without the diversity of mega, house, local, national, churches the body would not be a body, but simply a single part. We need the elbow to be an elbow, so that the hand may fulfill its role also.

    The church is Christ’s bride, and he will one day return to claim in all of her glorious, spotless beauty. We should be doing all we can to help the body work together in unity, so that Christ is glorified in our work–regardless of the label attached to her.

  11. Hi Kevin,so you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church? Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

    1. >you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church?
      I’m not sure what this means.

      >Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

      If by “that is how we measure our success” you mean numbers and church size, then I would say that is an incorrect way to measure success. However, I would not say that it means we are believing in the institutional brand too much. I would agree with Dennis below and say that the “institutional church” can be very effective. You can evaluate that on resources alone.

      For example, Mega-Churches can quickly rally lots of helpers and resources in times of need (ie. Katrina, Haiti, etc.), and while small churches can support the needs, they can’t do it on same scale as a mega-church.

  12. Hi Kevin,so you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church? Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

    1. >you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church?
      I’m not sure what this means.
      >Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?
      If by “that is how we measure our success” you mean numbers and church size, then I would say that is an incorrect way to measure success. However, I would not say that it means we are believing in the institutional brand too much. I would agree with Dennis below and say that the “institutional church” can be very effective. You can evaluate that on resources alone.
      For example, Mega-Churches can quickly rally lots of helpers and resources in times of need (ie. Katrina, Haiti, etc.), and while small churches can support the needs, they can’t do it on same scale as a mega-church.

  13. Hi Kevin,so you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church? Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

    1. >you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church?
      I’m not sure what this means.

      >Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

      If by “that is how we measure our success” you mean numbers and church size, then I would say that is an incorrect way to measure success. However, I would not say that it means we are believing in the institutional brand too much. I would agree with Dennis below and say that the “institutional church” can be very effective. You can evaluate that on resources alone.

      For example, Mega-Churches can quickly rally lots of helpers and resources in times of need (ie. Katrina, Haiti, etc.), and while small churches can support the needs, they can’t do it on same scale as a mega-church.

  14. Hi Kevin,so you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church? Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

    1. >you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church?
      I’m not sure what this means.

      >Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

      If by “that is how we measure our success” you mean numbers and church size, then I would say that is an incorrect way to measure success. However, I would not say that it means we are believing in the institutional brand too much. I would agree with Dennis below and say that the “institutional church” can be very effective. You can evaluate that on resources alone.

      For example, Mega-Churches can quickly rally lots of helpers and resources in times of need (ie. Katrina, Haiti, etc.), and while small churches can support the needs, they can’t do it on same scale as a mega-church.

  15. Hi Kevin,so you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church? Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

    1. >you admit that even though not completely true, that the view some of institutional church?
      I’m not sure what this means.

      >Does our behavior show we believe in the institution brand too much when that is how we measure success of church?

      If by “that is how we measure our success” you mean numbers and church size, then I would say that is an incorrect way to measure success. However, I would not say that it means we are believing in the institutional brand too much. I would agree with Dennis below and say that the “institutional church” can be very effective. You can evaluate that on resources alone.

      For example, Mega-Churches can quickly rally lots of helpers and resources in times of need (ie. Katrina, Haiti, etc.), and while small churches can support the needs, they can’t do it on same scale as a mega-church.

  16. Rich,I do believe the”institutional church” is and can be effective… Ultimately I say yes to both and believe they both have a very necessary place, I just see a generation pursuing intimacy in community versus structure in service.

    Whatcha think?

    1. Structure is a good thing, Dennis…but institutionalism is not a church, even if church uses the tools of institution. Numbers cannot be all the measures what a church does. How do you measure intimacy and community? We need ways to build those things, but it goes against institutional controls, which is fine by me.

  17. Rich,I do believe the”institutional church” is and can be effective… Ultimately I say yes to both and believe they both have a very necessary place, I just see a generation pursuing intimacy in community versus structure in service.
    Whatcha think?

    1. Structure is a good thing, Dennis…but institutionalism is not a church, even if church uses the tools of institution. Numbers cannot be all the measures what a church does. How do you measure intimacy and community? We need ways to build those things, but it goes against institutional controls, which is fine by me.

  18. Rich,I do believe the”institutional church” is and can be effective… Ultimately I say yes to both and believe they both have a very necessary place, I just see a generation pursuing intimacy in community versus structure in service.

    Whatcha think?

    1. Structure is a good thing, Dennis…but institutionalism is not a church, even if church uses the tools of institution. Numbers cannot be all the measures what a church does. How do you measure intimacy and community? We need ways to build those things, but it goes against institutional controls, which is fine by me.

  19. Rich,I do believe the”institutional church” is and can be effective… Ultimately I say yes to both and believe they both have a very necessary place, I just see a generation pursuing intimacy in community versus structure in service.

    Whatcha think?

    1. Structure is a good thing, Dennis…but institutionalism is not a church, even if church uses the tools of institution. Numbers cannot be all the measures what a church does. How do you measure intimacy and community? We need ways to build those things, but it goes against institutional controls, which is fine by me.

  20. Rich,I do believe the”institutional church” is and can be effective… Ultimately I say yes to both and believe they both have a very necessary place, I just see a generation pursuing intimacy in community versus structure in service.

    Whatcha think?

    1. Structure is a good thing, Dennis…but institutionalism is not a church, even if church uses the tools of institution. Numbers cannot be all the measures what a church does. How do you measure intimacy and community? We need ways to build those things, but it goes against institutional controls, which is fine by me.

  21. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and Karin , Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: Click here http://bit.ly/hPxo9w to answer this Q: Do you still believe in the local church? […]

  22. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and Karin , Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: Click here http://bit.ly/hPxo9w to answer this Q: Do you still believe in the local church? […]

  23. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and Karin , Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: Click here http://bit.ly/hPxo9w to answer this Q: Do you still believe in the local church? […]

  24. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rich Kirkpatrick, tehillamusic.com and Karin , Worship Mythbusters. Worship Mythbusters said: RT @rkweblog: Click here http://bit.ly/hPxo9w to answer this Q: Do you still believe in the local church? […]

  25. Ah Rich, you’ve hit the nail of my great internal dilemma right on the head. In my heart or hearts I believe in the working together of the Body of Christ, which is the church. I work daily to equip and encourage the Body of Christ, the local churches across the world. Sometimes these churches meet in congregational models as we’re most accustomed to here in the west. Sometimes they meet in homes, often in secret. My heart is to equip and encourage and love on those that lead.
    Which is somewhat odd.

    Because it is the abuses and character flaws (for lack of a better term), pride and failure of those in leadership to love deeply that have made me doubt the local church. I go to church about once a month when I’m home. I don’t really have a church home. I struggle when I read church blogs or twitters by most pastors. In my heart of hearts – if I’m honest – I don’t ever actually want to attend church here locally. The self-promotion, the lack of love and humility, the excess I see haunt my heart. Yet from time to time I see success and feel actual love.I am impressed by the love I see when I am with close Christian friends. And I go back to hoping once again…..

    I will say this in closing. I do believe in the local church. I love the local church with all my heart because she is the Bride of Christ and the hope of the world. She is God’s chosen vessel. But right now I have an uneasy relationship with the church as we see it mostly modeled here in the USA. I don’t quite trust it. I have seen it’s flaws too clearly – and I see little done to correct systems that I believe are hurtful.

    Thanks for asking.

    1. Jan, what we think church is in America is very narrow and lacking for sure. I am wondering how much of it truly is biblical and true which is the nut of my question. Of course, I believe in the biblical local church–but not all we call that by name is truly a functioning church.

  26. Ah Rich, you’ve hit the nail of my great internal dilemma right on the head. In my heart or hearts I believe in the working together of the Body of Christ, which is the church. I work daily to equip and encourage the Body of Christ, the local churches across the world. Sometimes these churches meet in congregational models as we’re most accustomed to here in the west. Sometimes they meet in homes, often in secret. My heart is to equip and encourage and love on those that lead.
    Which is somewhat odd.
    Because it is the abuses and character flaws (for lack of a better term), pride and failure of those in leadership to love deeply that have made me doubt the local church. I go to church about once a month when I’m home. I don’t really have a church home. I struggle when I read church blogs or twitters by most pastors. In my heart of hearts – if I’m honest – I don’t ever actually want to attend church here locally. The self-promotion, the lack of love and humility, the excess I see haunt my heart. Yet from time to time I see success and feel actual love.I am impressed by the love I see when I am with close Christian friends. And I go back to hoping once again…..
    I will say this in closing. I do believe in the local church. I love the local church with all my heart because she is the Bride of Christ and the hope of the world. She is God’s chosen vessel. But right now I have an uneasy relationship with the church as we see it mostly modeled here in the USA. I don’t quite trust it. I have seen it’s flaws too clearly – and I see little done to correct systems that I believe are hurtful.
    Thanks for asking.

    1. Jan, what we think church is in America is very narrow and lacking for sure. I am wondering how much of it truly is biblical and true which is the nut of my question. Of course, I believe in the biblical local church–but not all we call that by name is truly a functioning church.

  27. Ah Rich, you’ve hit the nail of my great internal dilemma right on the head. In my heart or hearts I believe in the working together of the Body of Christ, which is the church. I work daily to equip and encourage the Body of Christ, the local churches across the world. Sometimes these churches meet in congregational models as we’re most accustomed to here in the west. Sometimes they meet in homes, often in secret. My heart is to equip and encourage and love on those that lead.
    Which is somewhat odd.

    Because it is the abuses and character flaws (for lack of a better term), pride and failure of those in leadership to love deeply that have made me doubt the local church. I go to church about once a month when I’m home. I don’t really have a church home. I struggle when I read church blogs or twitters by most pastors. In my heart of hearts – if I’m honest – I don’t ever actually want to attend church here locally. The self-promotion, the lack of love and humility, the excess I see haunt my heart. Yet from time to time I see success and feel actual love.I am impressed by the love I see when I am with close Christian friends. And I go back to hoping once again…..

    I will say this in closing. I do believe in the local church. I love the local church with all my heart because she is the Bride of Christ and the hope of the world. She is God’s chosen vessel. But right now I have an uneasy relationship with the church as we see it mostly modeled here in the USA. I don’t quite trust it. I have seen it’s flaws too clearly – and I see little done to correct systems that I believe are hurtful.

    Thanks for asking.

    1. Jan, what we think church is in America is very narrow and lacking for sure. I am wondering how much of it truly is biblical and true which is the nut of my question. Of course, I believe in the biblical local church–but not all we call that by name is truly a functioning church.

  28. Ah Rich, you’ve hit the nail of my great internal dilemma right on the head. In my heart or hearts I believe in the working together of the Body of Christ, which is the church. I work daily to equip and encourage the Body of Christ, the local churches across the world. Sometimes these churches meet in congregational models as we’re most accustomed to here in the west. Sometimes they meet in homes, often in secret. My heart is to equip and encourage and love on those that lead.
    Which is somewhat odd.

    Because it is the abuses and character flaws (for lack of a better term), pride and failure of those in leadership to love deeply that have made me doubt the local church. I go to church about once a month when I’m home. I don’t really have a church home. I struggle when I read church blogs or twitters by most pastors. In my heart of hearts – if I’m honest – I don’t ever actually want to attend church here locally. The self-promotion, the lack of love and humility, the excess I see haunt my heart. Yet from time to time I see success and feel actual love.I am impressed by the love I see when I am with close Christian friends. And I go back to hoping once again…..

    I will say this in closing. I do believe in the local church. I love the local church with all my heart because she is the Bride of Christ and the hope of the world. She is God’s chosen vessel. But right now I have an uneasy relationship with the church as we see it mostly modeled here in the USA. I don’t quite trust it. I have seen it’s flaws too clearly – and I see little done to correct systems that I believe are hurtful.

    Thanks for asking.

    1. Jan, what we think church is in America is very narrow and lacking for sure. I am wondering how much of it truly is biblical and true which is the nut of my question. Of course, I believe in the biblical local church–but not all we call that by name is truly a functioning church.

  29. Ah Rich, you’ve hit the nail of my great internal dilemma right on the head. In my heart or hearts I believe in the working together of the Body of Christ, which is the church. I work daily to equip and encourage the Body of Christ, the local churches across the world. Sometimes these churches meet in congregational models as we’re most accustomed to here in the west. Sometimes they meet in homes, often in secret. My heart is to equip and encourage and love on those that lead.
    Which is somewhat odd.

    Because it is the abuses and character flaws (for lack of a better term), pride and failure of those in leadership to love deeply that have made me doubt the local church. I go to church about once a month when I’m home. I don’t really have a church home. I struggle when I read church blogs or twitters by most pastors. In my heart of hearts – if I’m honest – I don’t ever actually want to attend church here locally. The self-promotion, the lack of love and humility, the excess I see haunt my heart. Yet from time to time I see success and feel actual love.I am impressed by the love I see when I am with close Christian friends. And I go back to hoping once again…..

    I will say this in closing. I do believe in the local church. I love the local church with all my heart because she is the Bride of Christ and the hope of the world. She is God’s chosen vessel. But right now I have an uneasy relationship with the church as we see it mostly modeled here in the USA. I don’t quite trust it. I have seen it’s flaws too clearly – and I see little done to correct systems that I believe are hurtful.

    Thanks for asking.

    1. Jan, what we think church is in America is very narrow and lacking for sure. I am wondering how much of it truly is biblical and true which is the nut of my question. Of course, I believe in the biblical local church–but not all we call that by name is truly a functioning church.

  30. Funny, I was just thinking about this topic this weekend. If I didn’t go to church, here is what I would I want instead…
    1. Be around fellow believers on a regular basis for support and encouragement both on a personal and a spiritual basis.
    2. Be around fellow believers for prayer.
    3. Be around fellow believers for instruction and teaching.
    4. Have a person in a mentoring / leadership role who could provide spiritual guidance.
    5. A place to worship with others.

    So in short, if I didn’t go to church, I’d replace it with something that looked and felt just like it.

    Now I could go a little deeper with this and talk about the institutional environment and like you mentioned the local church supporting a national church or just “the Church.” And the next thing you know, we’d start talking about church policies and politics. Policies and politics well, that’s just our human-ness expressing itself in, typically, selfish means.

    In the end, the question one must ask is “why would Christ want me (or anyone) to go to church?” I think the answer is in my points 1-5.

  31. Funny, I was just thinking about this topic this weekend. If I didn’t go to church, here is what I would I want instead…
    1. Be around fellow believers on a regular basis for support and encouragement both on a personal and a spiritual basis.
    2. Be around fellow believers for prayer.
    3. Be around fellow believers for instruction and teaching.
    4. Have a person in a mentoring / leadership role who could provide spiritual guidance.
    5. A place to worship with others.
    So in short, if I didn’t go to church, I’d replace it with something that looked and felt just like it.
    Now I could go a little deeper with this and talk about the institutional environment and like you mentioned the local church supporting a national church or just “the Church.” And the next thing you know, we’d start talking about church policies and politics. Policies and politics well, that’s just our human-ness expressing itself in, typically, selfish means.
    In the end, the question one must ask is “why would Christ want me (or anyone) to go to church?” I think the answer is in my points 1-5.

  32. Funny, I was just thinking about this topic this weekend. If I didn’t go to church, here is what I would I want instead…
    1. Be around fellow believers on a regular basis for support and encouragement both on a personal and a spiritual basis.
    2. Be around fellow believers for prayer.
    3. Be around fellow believers for instruction and teaching.
    4. Have a person in a mentoring / leadership role who could provide spiritual guidance.
    5. A place to worship with others.

    So in short, if I didn’t go to church, I’d replace it with something that looked and felt just like it.

    Now I could go a little deeper with this and talk about the institutional environment and like you mentioned the local church supporting a national church or just “the Church.” And the next thing you know, we’d start talking about church policies and politics. Policies and politics well, that’s just our human-ness expressing itself in, typically, selfish means.

    In the end, the question one must ask is “why would Christ want me (or anyone) to go to church?” I think the answer is in my points 1-5.

  33. Funny, I was just thinking about this topic this weekend. If I didn’t go to church, here is what I would I want instead…
    1. Be around fellow believers on a regular basis for support and encouragement both on a personal and a spiritual basis.
    2. Be around fellow believers for prayer.
    3. Be around fellow believers for instruction and teaching.
    4. Have a person in a mentoring / leadership role who could provide spiritual guidance.
    5. A place to worship with others.

    So in short, if I didn’t go to church, I’d replace it with something that looked and felt just like it.

    Now I could go a little deeper with this and talk about the institutional environment and like you mentioned the local church supporting a national church or just “the Church.” And the next thing you know, we’d start talking about church policies and politics. Policies and politics well, that’s just our human-ness expressing itself in, typically, selfish means.

    In the end, the question one must ask is “why would Christ want me (or anyone) to go to church?” I think the answer is in my points 1-5.

  34. Funny, I was just thinking about this topic this weekend. If I didn’t go to church, here is what I would I want instead…
    1. Be around fellow believers on a regular basis for support and encouragement both on a personal and a spiritual basis.
    2. Be around fellow believers for prayer.
    3. Be around fellow believers for instruction and teaching.
    4. Have a person in a mentoring / leadership role who could provide spiritual guidance.
    5. A place to worship with others.

    So in short, if I didn’t go to church, I’d replace it with something that looked and felt just like it.

    Now I could go a little deeper with this and talk about the institutional environment and like you mentioned the local church supporting a national church or just “the Church.” And the next thing you know, we’d start talking about church policies and politics. Policies and politics well, that’s just our human-ness expressing itself in, typically, selfish means.

    In the end, the question one must ask is “why would Christ want me (or anyone) to go to church?” I think the answer is in my points 1-5.

  35. Hey, Rich! Long time since Redding. I am CERTAIN that you are blessing Murrieta big time.
    Ditto to Christ from 2/7 on his 5 points.

    The “club” thing is what hurts so many churches — treating what God is doing in the world as if it were like a secular social concern. Fear that some new person is going to garner too much influence, etc. Since god is involved, there is unlimited room for everyone to SERVE one another and the Lord.

    Legalism is the other killer. Eve added to the word she received and that resulted in the deaths of all of us! “Touch not, taste not, handle not” — blah, blah blah, blah, blah.

    Finally, let me add that I have NEVER seen a worship leader do what you do. Like you said, you work yourself out of the job by building up the church you serve. You get it, man! Very rare.

  36. Hey, Rich! Long time since Redding. I am CERTAIN that you are blessing Murrieta big time.
    Ditto to Christ from 2/7 on his 5 points.
    The “club” thing is what hurts so many churches — treating what God is doing in the world as if it were like a secular social concern. Fear that some new person is going to garner too much influence, etc. Since god is involved, there is unlimited room for everyone to SERVE one another and the Lord.
    Legalism is the other killer. Eve added to the word she received and that resulted in the deaths of all of us! “Touch not, taste not, handle not” — blah, blah blah, blah, blah.
    Finally, let me add that I have NEVER seen a worship leader do what you do. Like you said, you work yourself out of the job by building up the church you serve. You get it, man! Very rare.

  37. Hey, Rich! Long time since Redding. I am CERTAIN that you are blessing Murrieta big time.
    Ditto to Christ from 2/7 on his 5 points.

    The “club” thing is what hurts so many churches — treating what God is doing in the world as if it were like a secular social concern. Fear that some new person is going to garner too much influence, etc. Since god is involved, there is unlimited room for everyone to SERVE one another and the Lord.

    Legalism is the other killer. Eve added to the word she received and that resulted in the deaths of all of us! “Touch not, taste not, handle not” — blah, blah blah, blah, blah.

    Finally, let me add that I have NEVER seen a worship leader do what you do. Like you said, you work yourself out of the job by building up the church you serve. You get it, man! Very rare.

  38. Hey, Rich! Long time since Redding. I am CERTAIN that you are blessing Murrieta big time.
    Ditto to Christ from 2/7 on his 5 points.

    The “club” thing is what hurts so many churches — treating what God is doing in the world as if it were like a secular social concern. Fear that some new person is going to garner too much influence, etc. Since god is involved, there is unlimited room for everyone to SERVE one another and the Lord.

    Legalism is the other killer. Eve added to the word she received and that resulted in the deaths of all of us! “Touch not, taste not, handle not” — blah, blah blah, blah, blah.

    Finally, let me add that I have NEVER seen a worship leader do what you do. Like you said, you work yourself out of the job by building up the church you serve. You get it, man! Very rare.

  39. Hey, Rich! Long time since Redding. I am CERTAIN that you are blessing Murrieta big time.
    Ditto to Christ from 2/7 on his 5 points.

    The “club” thing is what hurts so many churches — treating what God is doing in the world as if it were like a secular social concern. Fear that some new person is going to garner too much influence, etc. Since god is involved, there is unlimited room for everyone to SERVE one another and the Lord.

    Legalism is the other killer. Eve added to the word she received and that resulted in the deaths of all of us! “Touch not, taste not, handle not” — blah, blah blah, blah, blah.

    Finally, let me add that I have NEVER seen a worship leader do what you do. Like you said, you work yourself out of the job by building up the church you serve. You get it, man! Very rare.

  40. I do still believe in the local church. Even in all our human-ness & all of our differences we still need each other. We need fellowship, we need to sharpen one another, we need to love one another. I believe the local church is a place of discipleship to prepare us to go out into all the world because there’s a harvest waiting….even so, I too wonder how biblical it all is….

    1. Michelle, thanks for commenting. That is always a good thing to wonder. What is biblical or not? I believe in her, too!

  41. I do still believe in the local church. Even in all our human-ness & all of our differences we still need each other. We need fellowship, we need to sharpen one another, we need to love one another. I believe the local church is a place of discipleship to prepare us to go out into all the world because there’s a harvest waiting….even so, I too wonder how biblical it all is….

    1. Michelle, thanks for commenting. That is always a good thing to wonder. What is biblical or not? I believe in her, too!

  42. I do still believe in the local church. Even in all our human-ness & all of our differences we still need each other. We need fellowship, we need to sharpen one another, we need to love one another. I believe the local church is a place of discipleship to prepare us to go out into all the world because there’s a harvest waiting….even so, I too wonder how biblical it all is….

    1. Michelle, thanks for commenting. That is always a good thing to wonder. What is biblical or not? I believe in her, too!

  43. I do still believe in the local church. Even in all our human-ness & all of our differences we still need each other. We need fellowship, we need to sharpen one another, we need to love one another. I believe the local church is a place of discipleship to prepare us to go out into all the world because there’s a harvest waiting….even so, I too wonder how biblical it all is….

    1. Michelle, thanks for commenting. That is always a good thing to wonder. What is biblical or not? I believe in her, too!

  44. I do still believe in the local church. Even in all our human-ness & all of our differences we still need each other. We need fellowship, we need to sharpen one another, we need to love one another. I believe the local church is a place of discipleship to prepare us to go out into all the world because there’s a harvest waiting….even so, I too wonder how biblical it all is….

    1. Michelle, thanks for commenting. That is always a good thing to wonder. What is biblical or not? I believe in her, too!

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