Saturday, June 11, 2011

How To Be The Church (You Tell Me!)

Vieux Montréal 1889. Église presbytérienne St.Gabriel's Church of Scotland, rue © 2009 Philippe Du Berger | more info (via: Wylio)
A few months ago Brett McCracken wrote an article for Relevant Magazine asking why so many young evangelicals are leaving the Church. Throughout the article (which he wrote in between his numerous blog posts drooling over Terrence Malick movies), McCracken basically suggests it's all because of our generation's rampant individualism. While there might be some truth to that, here's the reason why I think so many young people are leaving the Church:

We do a really crappy job of being the Church.

Let me give you an example. McCracken's right when he says there are a lot of young evangelicals who have a "me first" mentality, but that's only half of it. In my own experience I've seen whole families that treat the Church like it's only something you do for an hour every Sunday and that's it. They get into their nice little polo shirts and khaki pants (or if you're a girl, a blouse with open-toe shoes), sit in the pew, sing the songs, listen to the sermon, take communion, and then when it's over they go straight home where they eat their Sunday meal and then watch football (because nothing says "keeping the sabbath holy" like watching men grope and pulverize each other). Then it's the same thing next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, etc.

The problem is Church is more than just a Sunday ritual. In fact, if I'm reading my Bible right, it's not something you do . . . it's something you are.

It's the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5).

It's being Jesus' ambassadors to a dying world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

It's about living in community and having all thing in common (Acts 2:44).

And yes, I do a crappy job of being the Church just as much as the next Christian.

So I want to ask you, my dear readers, how you and your local faith community try to be the Church. I want to know how you try to live like an actual family rather than a bunch of individuals who only see each other once a week. I can't wait to hear your answers.


  1. Hi Brett,

    I've just come across your blog and I can say that it pretty well resonates with where my husband and I are at.

    We spent most of our lives inside a very small, conservative, traditional synod until just 2 years ago. Since then we've attended a "missional" non-denominational church. But about 10 months ago, our work and school schedules completely conflicted with the program times and church services that gave us any connection to the community at all. And unfortunately, once we weren't able to be involved no one checked in with us to see how we were doing...we just got a couple facebook comments like "hope to see you in church!" or "we miss you!"

    Anyway, long story short, it made is take a step back and think about what "church" means. And you're spot on with your definition of
    what the church is.

    So yes. I have also failed at being the church. I know I'm naturally bent toward independence, but I also know that I need other people. I want to be in community. But the question is, is being involved in church programming and showing up to church on Sunday to sing a few songs and hear a message the only way to be apart of a christian community?

    I sure hope not.

    And to answer your question, I'm trying to get to know the people God has put in my life at this time. I'm trying to love them...though my selfishness often gets in the way. I'm trying not to judge. I'm praying God takes care of the rest.

    Disclaimer: I'm totally generalizing and basing this post off of my own experiences.

  2. Sorry, I saw the label "brett" and assumed that was your name. So sorry!

  3. Love your blog, thanks for sharing & I am looking forward to your future posts!! :)

  4. Perhaps it is like the adage of how a sculptor works, by just removing everything that doesn't look like the work. Just that, would be a great beginning, and go a long way to reveal how to be the church. Things like, buildings, programs, Reverends, Dr.'s and the like, pulpit, pews, denominations, orders of service, committees, boards, membership lists, laymen, clergy..... How's that for a start?