Sunday church services are boring and probably not very biblical

On May 17, 2011 · 66 Comments

I find Sunday services in most churches to be the most boring events on earth. I mainly go to them because of peer pressure and a place to find fellowship. There I said it, and I know that statement could get me in trouble. But realistically I do not think anyone locally really reads my blog posts anyway although a few say that they read them. If they do, nothing I have said recently has been worth a response from them. It reminds me of an old friend who calls a couple of time a year and tells me that she loves my website but I know she has not even looked at the website in many years or she would know that my website now has this blog. Apparently she forgets that every time she calls.

So how did we get from New Testament Christianity into a boring Sunday service? It probably started when the clergy became the new high priests of the Church. They soon made everything in Christianity revolve around them and they ritualized the assembling together that was primarily for Christian fellowship and Body ministry. Worship of God is important but to think worship in spirit and truth can be fulfilled in a ritualized service one hour a week in some building is getting way off the mark.

By the time Christendom got to the time of the Roman Church the ritualism became a fine art so that only the clergy really understood what the rituals were all about. They retained Latin in their rituals and it all soon became a mystical exercise where priests receive spiritual powers that they pass on to the common people through their liturgy, blessings, cants etc.

After the Protestant reformation the service was changed, the Mass was deleted and a biblically based sermon was added but it was still a ritualistic event orchestrated by the clergy to fulfill some Sunday ritual obligation. Later the low churches generally adopted the one or two-hour Sunday format that we still have in our Bible churches today. The service was and still is mainly an hour of Sunday school based on the Bible followed by a service that contained a half-dozen songs, a prayer or two, some announcements and about a half hour sermon from the pastor/elder of the church. Catholic and Protestant services have not changed much over hundreds of years. I think few get anything spiritual out of these formal services but I can’t speak for you or God on this matter. I know one thing for sure and that is unless there is some fellowship before or after the Sunday service there really is little Christian fellowship in churches.

Evangelicals is what I will dwell on in the rest of this post because there is a better chance for Hell to freeze over than there is to change the services in the Catholic and high Protestant churches. Evangelical churches are generally in the low church class. (Low church: minimizes the emphasis on the priesthood, sacraments, and the ceremonial in worship.)

I have been in scores of Evangelical churches and this is pretty much the way the two-hour service goes in the vast majority of them.

There will be a Sunday School starting about an hour before the worship service. Once upon a time they had Bible teachers that did a lot of independent study and then conducted an in-depth study in their class on some portion of the Bible. That has degenerated into most everyone now teaching prepackaged lessons that come from a Christian publishing company. The teacher will still have to do a bit more study mainly for talking points. In other words, he is now more a facilitator than a teacher and the object of the lesson is almost always to lead the class into some application for living a Christian life. (The magazines take the safe ground because making passages applications for living avoids theological doctrinal differences among churches.)

The obvious problem I have is that the teachings are shallow and the applications are sometimes misapplied because the scripture are misapplied. You could go through all these lessons all your life and never learn anything other than the evangelical writer’s opinion about a few hundred applications for living that they repackage all too often. In fact, I find these lessons to be so basic and boring that I often find myself trying to change the subject in class. I think there is good reason why you seldom find any church elder attending any Sunday School class.

The worship service varies in Evangelical churches but mostly in style. They will all still have the 4 to 8 songs and then the sermon. The main differences are: do the songs come out of hymnal, or from choruses projected on the wall, or a mix of the two;  is there a worship team, a choir or song leader or some combination; does it only have an organ or piano, or all kinds of instruments, or no instruments at all. There will also be one solo usually around the time of collection and once in a while there will be a skit.

Sometimes the Charismatics and Pentecostals get a little more free in their style of music worship but it too often allows the pastor to use music to manipulate the people into a state of mind to buy into whatever he is pushing this week. Most of the mega churches will have a top-notch entertainment service for 15 minutes or so; if you’re going to one of these, you might pass the popcorn.

The sermon always comes after the music worship. Most sermons today are just some standard application for living that the pastor purchased or downloaded from the internet and then customized to make it look like he was the author. If you can stay awake through these you have a high boredom threshold or a spouse poking you in the ribs. There are some exceptional pastor/teachers like John MacArthur that have exceptional knowledge and understanding of the Bible and their teaching should keep any Christian awake but from experience I know they usually will not be found near where most of us live. Few churches have expository teaching anymore, they seldom systemically teach through the Bible or even a book of the Bible with the exception of Calvary Chapels.

After the sermon there is a benediction and then you file out either to say a few words to the pastor or to find another exit to avoid the lines or to avoid the pastor and that is the crux of the Sunday morning Christian fellowship for most evangelicals.

I would be remiss not to bring up these other standard rituals.

There is the greeting each other handshaking ritual that is best at spreading germs. I do not think this ritual substitutes for real fellowship in any way shape or form and I could do without it especially during the cold and flu season. Perhaps pastors and the denominational leaders that started this ritual should be required to take Health 101. Try demonstrating this handshaking ritual in your restaurant the next time your health inspector shows up.

There is the collection ritual of course. God wants your tithes to go into that basket to take care of all His overhead.

There is the communion ritual (now I am going to get in big trouble). Some churches do this ritual weekly and some monthly and some quarterly but it is preceded by everyone putting on their most solemn face mask. One might think we Christians should rejoice over Jesus shedding His body and blood for us or we would be hopelessly lost in sin.

I think the long face is because some think we need to repent of our sins before we eat the cracker or we will be in some mortal danger. However, if you read the entire chapter of 1 Cor:11 in context, it is clearly saying that some were sick and died because they did not discern the needs of others in the Body of Christ. The point given was that some were eating all the food before the others even got there and it was selfish actions like these that led to an unhealthy Church. We are all one body and one blood and we should always consider the needs of the other members.

The point was not repenting of sins before taking the communion service cracker (it was really one loaf). The point was that there are many Christians that were not acting as if they were in one body. They were selfish and they only were concerned with themselves and for that reason the whole Body of Christ suffered and that sin brought condemnation on their own mortal bodies.

The early Christians had communion at their love feast and suppers because it was a love fellowship. They were celebrating with the brethren that are one spiritual Body in Christ. It was not a funeral service. What is going on in most of our churches is much like the funeral services at the Catholic Mass. Jesus is not being crucified again on the altar; this is a remembrance of what Jesus did to save us. He whose body was broken for us and whose blood paid for our sin has risen from the dead and all that trust in Him are members of His one spiritual Body and we also will rise with Him. So let us honor the remembrance of His sacrifice for us by also remembering the spiritual Body that He died for.

Having said all that, here is my main point. How is this rather boring Sunday ritual like the Christian community of the early church? The only thing more boring than the Sunday morning ritual is the Sunday evening ritual that tries to do the same thing as the morning service with 1/5th of the people. The bore factor is the real reason why it is so hard to get Christians to even show up for the services each week.

Some Evangelical pastors try to play the guilt card to try to make people show up but they are usually preaching to the choir so that does not work. Heck, the Catholics even tried telling people they will go straight to Hell if they miss the Sunday Mass and even that did not work very well. Others are trying to make the Sunday gathering more entertaining but your church will not out entertain the world, so entertainment is not the answer for a not very biblical Christian gathering model for two hours each Sunday morning. I am not sure what the solution is other than getting back to the model of the persecuted Church with home fellowships and Christians actually living daily as if they were family.

 


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 Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.


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66 Responses to “Sunday church services are boring and probably not very biblical”

  1. Don, you and I are starting to agree on things more and more as the clock ticks down. The church I thought was THE ONE after searching for one for about 3-4 years is leaving me with a whole lotta questions. EVERY SUNDAY the Pastor and Mrs. Pastor get up, make sure everybody is happy happy joy joy, we sing afew songs, the tithe speech comes out, worship music is played, announcenents are made (and GOD FORBID if you MISS OUT on this teaching or that) and then the “3 point sermon” comes out, followed by the inevitable “alter call” for whatever the topic was. Forget about a legetimate alter call; IT DOSEN’T MATTER. Meantime, in the past couple of months, NOT ONE WORD has been mentioned about Japan, The Delta flooding, the Midwest tornado swarm, Israel, NOTHING! I swear by the risen Christ, I really am starting to believe that NO MORE THAN8-10 PERCENT OF ALLEGED CHRISTIANS EVEN REMOTELY WANT JESUS TO COME BACK! Hey, it might interfere with the “You Go Girl” teaching or the Fathers DAY cookout and antique car show. I’m so disraught at the way things are, I almost can’t stand it, but I think I kinda know how Lot or Noah felt. God KNOWS I ain’t perfect, but daily this burden of being here is getting harder and harder. The ONLY thing I can conclude is that HE must still have something for me to do before the final whistle blows. ANYBODY got any feedback to this? I’m not looking for sympathy; I KNOW we’re in for a bumpy ride. I’m just looking for some reason.

  2. J.W.No Gravatar says:

    Well, Don, you might get in trouble but people can be touchy when it comes to their traditions.

    I agree with your comprehensive report for the most part. I was fortunate to attend a church where the pastor is a true Bible teacher and draws his sermons from close chapter-and-verse reading. Not surprisingly, the church numbers are small but stable. By the way, he is in Southern California if anyone is looking for a church. (However, the structure of the service is just as you described.)

    Yes, most churches have become boring to both the lawless and Bible believers. That’s the irony of all the phony teaching that’s so commonplace.

    Our standard should be Matthew 18:20, and it’s not as rigid as our traditions have become.

  3. HA!!! Don, you’re on BIG trouble now!!! I’m telling Abba on YOU!!! ;-)

    Thanks for this honest appraisal…and yes, I know it can get you in trouble…I’ve gotten in trouble this way before too.

    I’ve been blessed to be in worship communities that didn’t seem to be delivering the “packaged” material, but I can see that happening more and more.

    From the beginning, I’ve seen the first-century Church as being the model that I would measure our one worship/learning/service by.

    Here are a few of my pet-peeves:

    1. Congregations & leadership that think that evangelism is “packing the pews” to get “get ‘em saved.”

    2. C & L that think that ministry ONLY happens in the context of the activities happening in the worship building.

    3. C & L that think you aren’t doing anything for God if you aren’t cramming the “Four Spiritual Laws” down the throat of everyone you meet.

    4. I’ve most always found the “greeting” ritual to be VERY off-putting. “Now, let’s be SOCIAL or else you’re NOT spiritual enough!”

    5. Communion is almost THE MOST JOYFUL experience for me!!!!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

    Judi and I are most comfortable in a non-denominational community and worship style. When people ask us “what religion we are,” we always reply “Christians” and they say, “No. Are you Baptist, Methodist…” and we say, “No, we’re just Christians.” We are pleased to worship with anyone who lives by the basics of the faith (covered by by the Nicene Creed).

    Really, these days, I’m most comfortable in a “house church” setting.

  4. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Michael,

    That is a point that I missed. Few talk about relevant things of importance going on in the world that mean anything to anyone. That is one reason why their sermons are so boring. Its like don’t rock the boat and talk about anything relevant or worthwhile in the world. D James Kennedy was intrusting because he talked about relevant world issues and still gave a biblical message.

    I just can’t imagine the early Church not talking about the dangers of the world system. Like God forbid if we say anything about the drought going on in Jerusalem. The early Church even warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem because people wanted to kill him so obviously they talked about things that were relevant to the Church in those days, at least for those with a brain.

  5. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Brett, thanks for those insights. I have been threatening to write something on the almost morbid Christian communion service for years but it is like legalistic tithing, pastors want to believe what they want to believe. I once explained it all to a former pastor over lunch and it just did not register.

  6. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah Don, I’ve experienced this in some churches myself but I’m Oh So thankful that I found Calvary Chapel early on in life.

    Even with Calvary Chapel though, I would have to say that the best fellowship is NOT at or around the time of the services…I have always found the best ‘true’ fellowship times were going to the church at odd times, maybe during the week…for REAL fellowship with other believers.

    Michael Angelo,

    I totally understand what your saying.

    NO MORE THAN8-10 PERCENT OF ALLEGED CHRISTIANS EVEN REMOTELY WANT JESUS TO COME BACK!

    Yep, I couldn’t have said it better myself…then again, when Jesus Christ actually sets foot on ‘The Mount Of Olives’, we believers will have already been raptured beforehand.

    For me, I think if a pastor is not talking about the obviously (look at the world we live in & prophecy) imminent coming of Jesus and instead focusing on the feel good, humanistic speeches, then he’s wasting my time.

    This is just my opinion, but I think that those who are not longing in their heart for the rapture and for Jesus’ return do not truly love him with all their heart.

  7. I’ve been *so blessed* that from the beginning of my walk with Jesus, I’ve been around people who can’t wait for His return. I’ve always has this excited sense that He could come for us *anytime* and often as I get ready to drop-off to sleep I think “It could happen tonight! Or even tomorrow!!”

    I *so much* want to meet Him face-to-face, and to hear from Him that He knows my heart and that I really *do* love Him! (My greatest fear is that I will meet Him and He will tell me that I never really loved Him – not that I’m not saved, just that somehow I fooled myself into thinking I loved Him when He saw into me, deeper than I could see myself and He knew that I didn’t really love Him after all. I think I would then beg Him to dispose of me.)

  8. JimNo Gravatar says:

    This is why I don’t like Sunday service. Your right Don, there is hardly any fellowship whatsoever. I learn more by talking with my Christian friends and family over dinner than sitting in church.

  9. DonNo Gravatar says:

    People join cults because it is like being among family and friends 24/7. Apparently they have found a better model than our institutionalized churches. Why are Christian retreats so fulfilling? For the same reason. The answers is for Christian fellowships to become true Christian fellowships and not a Sunday ritual.

  10. In some aspects i think all the churches have similarities but i like my church, Living Waters Assembly of God. The pastor preaches what we need to hear and the things going on in the world, unlike the last church i attended in which everything is rosy, buy my tapes, prosperity gospel. Spiritually dead. But yed they do follow a format, music praise with drums, guitar,keyboards, etc. I do not like the modern worship even when i was younger. I feel it distracts people from worship and the holy spirit because you are concentrating or preoccupied with the music vs the spirit which is why i like the traditional hymns. Our pastor just says we are taking tithes and offerings and no speech on it unlike the last church who spent 20 minutes on bringing all the tithes to his church and no outside giving of the tithe to another church, organization. After morning music he will tell of the origination of a traditional hymn, writer or authour of the song, and his history and it is usually from several hundred years ago. He then has prayer time and other elders go to the back of the church while a quiet hymn plays and they pray for those that want prayer. He is not afraid to preach fire and brimstone, speak against abortion, alternative lifestyles, and even says we will be imprisoned one day for our beliefs. We are not persecuted here in America but inconvenienced he says, but if we say nothing we will lose our so called free speech to challenge those that are leading the world astray and that Christians around the world are being imprisoned and put to death for their beliefs. He also told a story of how the bible is a sacred book in other countries and that in China a chinese christian whenhe was here could’nt believe how people just tossed their bibles on a table, couch, etc when they treated it like the ark of the covenant because bibles were hard to come by. phewww I have said enough.

  11. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Hey’a Robert Rivera,

    I like your church already, sounds like a good one…I think your pastor is right.

    That is so cool to hear : )

    And, I agree with the Chinese Christians on this issue.
    The Word Of God is sacred…I think we should revere it much higher and be more thankful for it.

  12. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Brett Blatchley,

    I am in no way an authority on this, however, I can tell you that I’ve been reading your posts since I’ve been here and I have been of the opinion on your writings that…WoW, Brett really loves the Lord very much.

  13. steve JNo Gravatar says:

    Don:

    I like your article, but I have to be in the minority. While my church (a small independent Baptist Church), has a standard format (songs, tithe, then sermon), I believe I am in a Bible preaching / teaching Church. My Sunday School class (total of 10 people) is lead by an induvidual who STUDYS the Word of God and comes in with pages and pages of highlighted hand written notes to teach us. I am sure this is from no purchased text. And while sometimes mundane (due to me not properly preparing myself for worship, our Pastor, speaks on issues that do not tickle the ears (literal hell, sin, judgement, rapture as well as grace, forgivness and the Cleansing Blood of Christ). As well, for a small church we have a vast missions support all over the world and John and Romans printing press for english and foreign languages as well as translating Bibles into arabic to smuggle into foriegn, unfriendly countries. I know I am a bit off point as to your article, in that worship has changed over time. I am blessed to have found such a place to take my wife and children to worship God.

    My intent is not to advocate that I belong to some “super” church, I just wanted to share with you that there are still, a few, and in my opinion “real worshipping” churches out there.

    I am sure there is a reason my church is a small (in numbers) church. Probably because it is not a “ear tickling feel good” church to begin with.

    Thanks for all of the vast articles and blogs. I may not call you but I do read daily / weekly!

    As always, take care

  14. WayneNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Don,

    I’ve been reading your blogs, along with everything else on your site and quite enjoy it all. Thanks for the effort you’ve applied.

    As to your most recent blog on the church service I wanted to tell you of my experience. I stopped attending church years ago – because the state of my faith at the time, not for church the church did – and am having the time of my life. I attend a Presbyterian church here in Toronto, Canada and the fellowship during the service and after is amazing! I’m attending the alpha course every Wednesday and bible study every other Friday.

    I’ve found the congregation, including the minister, to be very supposrtive and loving. The love I’ve received has caused me to become more and more involved. It has only been 6 weeks since I started attending and hope not to end up in the same place you and others have found yourself.

    I wonder if you have given yourself to the church to do all you can to be a bleesing to the members and adherents. Please, I ask this in love.

    God Bles,

    Wayne

  15. AmmiNo Gravatar says:

    We left a church after 25 years because it drifted into the seeker sensitive and then the church growth emphasises. Before leaving, I took a year to do self study with Zola Levitt Ministries, Dr. Jeffery Seif, and then followed with a year of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. What I learned revolutionized my understanding of the word, world events, and helped me to understand what the bible means when it says we are to “grow in the grace and KNOWLDEGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.” Services and churchianity that emphasise men with its brand of constant personal biblical application, will always leave us empty.

    We were led to attend a little country, non-denominational church, that is elder run, male dominated, bible centered, having very humble worship times, still the somber monthly communion, potlucks !!!, expository bible preaching and teaching, many home groups, and folks just learning to do life together. We are blessed and thankful for a preaching elder who spent 25 years on the mission field, teaching in seminaries in the Philippines. Several others are retired missionaries as well. But GRACE is taught and lived here. We are bursting at the seams because of the influx of believers, like us, who are leaving their self-centered churches for some bible teaching. It’s a sign of the times. I think when love is in the house, you can’t be bored.

    We gather because we love to worship God together, to see a need and help to meet it, to share, to use our individual gifts for the body and to be salt and light outside the walls. I know that I need to grow in the area of loving others and boy, this place is the place to do it. I know that there is no good thing in me except His Spirit as a down payment, “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” But as usual, we take the simple but powerful formula that Christ gave us to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, (with His spirit, He being the truth) and we’ve corrupted it by turning church into a place we were worship ourselves really.

    The more I learn about our incredible, incomprehensible Triune God, the more I want to know Him and be with Him where He is. Come Lord Jesus.

  16. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Wayne,

    I would think that most people that read and comment on my posts are in exceptional fellowships be it a formal church or a home group. My article was not directed at my fellowship either although there is always room for improvement – the boredom factor is found across the board. I have probably been in attendance in 200 churches in my life looking for a new fellowship every time I move (I have moved to more than 20 locations in the last 40 years) I also know what people tell me about. Church shopping is not an epidemic in this nation because people are pleased where they are at.

    Six weeks in a church is hardly a good measure of what you will think of that church in six months from now or six years from now. Obviously new members in a large church will find plenty to explore.

    What applies in that article to the church I am in is the Sunday school method, the communion service, and the fixed style which are found in almost every Southern Baptist congregation in the nation. I know I am not about to change it. I live in a rural area and I have visited almost all the congregations in this area that I would ever be willing to attend and they are more boring than mine.

    I obviously could get more involved in my local church but then I could not be spending all my time writing and commenting on these blogs and emails. Also more functions or trying to put square pegs in round holes to fill a church pegboard does not necessarily make it less boring for the peg. What churches need in my area and most areas is home fellowship groups and real Bible studies.

  17. 2shalbe1No Gravatar says:

    Don, thank you for your article it was a relief to hear someone challenge the status quo. Seventeen years ago our family left denominationalism and began meeting with a few other families “outside the camp” and from house to house. Some questions we had to ask oursevles; If we are one in Christ don’t denominations, by nature, deny that truth? Or how about the sacred cow, tithing. Should we use Old Testament terms and thought to wring out of the lambs enough to pay for a building, a pastor, a song leader, youth leader, children’s church director etc. should those positions be EMPLOYMENT? What about the saints using their gifts as the Holy Spirit directs? The list goes on… I know by experience others could not stomach our answer to the issues you raised, but my heart hopes more of the beloved will examine these questions before a Holy God.

    Thanking God for richly blessing us with His Son, even so, come Lord Jesus.

  18. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Wayne,

    By the way the Alpha course in your church would raise a big danger flag to me. You might find fellowship in the group but some of what is taught is not based on sound Christian doctrine and unfortunately that is also true in much of the teaching in the largest Presbyterian denominations.

    http://www.pfo.org/alpha-cr.htm
    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/a09.html
    http://www.thebereancall.org/node/1186 (mp3)

    For example PCUSA
    http://www.newswithviews.com/Duigon/lee100.htm

  19. David HenleyNo Gravatar says:

    I go to seacoast church in charleston, sc. It’s great. Seacoast.org

  20. Emily TartNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with your post about the state of the church in these days. I have been in some of these churches that you describe and have experienced their worship style. My husband and I are now currently in a very conservative Prostestant church and although that sounds boring to some people, this church is a bible preaching church. Many times I think we look for a perfect solution while forgetting that all churches here on earth are still man centered or at least based on man’s ideas of what should be done. How wonderful it will be when we can all worship according to God’s desires and plans.

  21. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    :))))))))))))))))))))) this is probably the best article I’ve read in the last 5 years or so. If there weren’t brand new Christians among my Facebook friends, I would translate it and put it there for everyone to read. You might get in trouble though :)) If your pastor is reading this blog and the comments – man, Don is saying the truth! Now I’ll read the comments :)

  22. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    To Brett Blatchley,

    Ya’know Brett, you got me thinking and I can tell you that I question myself at times on if I’m doing like the Lord wants me to do in my daily walk, and yes, I question the sincerity in the depths of my heart at times…so Brett, you are not alone.

  23. EduardoNo Gravatar says:

    Speaking about Sunday services, the church in Jerusalem had a very varied spiritual diet.

    Act 2:46-47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    They had big meetings in the temple (daily meetings) and small meetings in the houses. Because of the size of the group, these two meetings have different applications: the big one for teaching and the small one for fellowship. I think that if anyone of us is focusing only on the big one or trying to get much fellowship from it, than we will probably get frustrated. People rush out from these big services; although my wife and I like to stay a while, talking to friends and making plans to go to eat together, until almost no one else is around.

    Here are 4 things we should be doing as a church.

    Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

    We could be doing several of this on Sunday service.

  24. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Martin,
    My pastor says he reads my Blog :shock:

    Eduardo,
    They met daily in the Jewish Temple before the persecution started in order to share the message with those with ears to hear but after that I would think that they just met in big houses, upper halls and courtyards until the time of church buildings.

    My wife tells me that Christians in Honduras fellowship much more often than they do here.

    By the way, I read an article today that warned that the political situation in Honduras might be about to do a left turn. I hope not, stay safe.

  25. EricNo Gravatar says:

    Don

    I do not think there will be any true 1st century churches in the USA until our country collapses and the govt outlaws christianity in the form of extreme hate speech laws. People are too lax an most od society are without a clue. Most people who go to church on Sunday live like the world during the week. It’s all one big show. My church does teach the bible for the most part but it’s canned religion. People go for a few hrs put on a happy face then back into the world. They push the 10% tithe constantly and then not realize we have 20% unemployment, the reason why they cannot make their budget. The pastor says it’s bc people don’t give enough.

    I am disillusioned with it all and have giveen Up hope there will ever be a true new testament church unless and until we see massive persecution of Christians. If I did not young kids and wife I am not sure I would even go to church anymore. I only wish I could find like minded believers who would return to house fellowships and long to see the return of Christ.

  26. EricNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry for the typos.I am using a iPad and it’s not the best for typing

    One final question, what then do we do Don? How is are my kids going to be truly rooted and grounded in their faith so as to endure the massively insane godless world? We don’t even want our kids to attend any public schools in college. How does God expect anyone to survive both spiritually and physically in the years ahead when we know this world is going to be he’ll on earth?

  27. I think “house churches” are the way things will go…it does seem to be much more of the 1st century pattern. It’s also what you see when government forbids or co-opts institutional Christianity.

    From what I understand, meeting in smaller groups is growing here in the US as believers are finding it increasingly difficult to fellowship among nominal Christians.

  28. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Eric,

    All Christians that ever lived died at some point. If Christians walk in faith they have nothing to fear since death is nothing but getting rid of the tent they dwell in. Christians here will survive the same way others in other countries and times did. God is quite able to take care of His children and if there is actual hell on earth the true Church will not be here. Grounding your kids in biblical Christian doctrine and by your Christian example is your responsibility what they do with it after that is theirs.

    What do you do about the boring institutionalized church services? You might try to start a home fellowship group but you might have to do it apart from your church since many churches fear them. You will need to find a grounded teacher for the group or else get some good teaching CD’s from well respected teachers but the main emphasis should be a family get together maybe over a pot luck meal where people will be real with each other and not put on airs. It is also a good place to invite neighbors but don’t invite people that you know are hostile toward Christianity – they will kill the fellowship.

    Frankly, if a pastor was always talking about tithing and their budget I would not be attending that church. Churches need to be content with what God gives them just like people.

  29. CynthiaNo Gravatar says:

    What a great article, Don.

    I work in the church office of a Southern Baptist church here in my hometown. I have not attended services for the past 2+ years because of a physical problem I have. I’ve heard many times “how can you come to work but can’t come to church?” My answer is I “have” to work but I don’t “have” to attend church so I endure the pain for the paycheck. They have tried several times to guilt me into attending church again.

    I’m an introvert so I do not miss fellowship. The only thing I miss is the singing so I agree 100% with everything you said in your article. In the office during the work week, current events are never discussed and so I’m positive they aren’t mentioned in the church services. You ask my pastor a question about world events and he usually has no answer. Once in a staff meeting he asked for prayer requests and I said pray for Israel as there was a major problem there at that time and he said “oh…yeah”. It had never entered his mind.

    Anyway, since I’m not attending church, I listen to John MacArthur or Adrian Rogers on Sunday mornings. I read the Bible every morning. I pray. I give monetarily as the Lord directs. I do all of this because I committed myself to the Lord and I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in the last 2 years. I spend every day seeking and searching and learning. Much more than I did when I spent 2 hours every Sunday in church and God has blessed my life so much.

    Thanks again for this article.

    Cynthia

  30. AmmiNo Gravatar says:

    Self feeding is the answer. Then share what you have learned with someone who is hungry, too. Force feeding is counter productive. Parents are responsible to teach their children. The church is made up of people, it often becomes an organization, but in reality it is an organism. This forum is a place to fellowship and encourage one another as we see THE DAY approaching. KEEP THE FAITH BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Our lives are hid in Christ, who is the head of the body, which is made up of individual believers. We are the church.

  31. AmmiNo Gravatar says:

    One more thought. An awful lot of folks go to “church” to get a blessing. My advice is don’t go unless you want to BE A BLESSING. It seems more in keeping with Christ’s attitute of service to me and I can use some work in that department.

  32. DougNo Gravatar says:

    Another good article, Don. I really appreciated it because this is often how I feel . . . and then I wonder why? And feel guilty. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. One thing I’ve gleaned from reading the above posts is that it seems the more fulfilled writers here attend the smaller churches. I have been very comfortable for the last 32 years in a very small church here in Colorado Springs. We are non-denominational, which I prefer because “denominational” churches tend to be burdened with the beliefs of their founders. And, because so many denominational churches have become liberal/social organizations and have drifted from the simple message of the gospel. They may very well be the Laodocian churches mentioned in Revelation. We do lots of book or topic studies and money/tithing is *NEVER* mentioned. Yet, for a church of fewer than 100 people, God has provided for all our needs — even a paid up building.

    Cynthia — I too have learned much more on my own than from the sermons. I find Chuck Missler a particular blessing.

  33. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks everyone, for all the honesty I am getting. One thing is certain, If people do not get to know people in their church they certainly are not getting Christian fellowship there.

    Martin, your comment was deleted because it was totally off topic. I pick my topics for a reason and hate to see them diverted to an unrelated subject even if it is headline news. I do have a email address if people think I need to be informed about something but if it is in the news there is a very high probability that I am already aware of it. There are topics that you can find in the search box and under comments that deal with Israel or most other topics. Thanks.

  34. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Amen and amen! I’ve had similar thoughts for years and have wondered what my church would do if the Holy Spirit suddenly decided to move in a dramatic way some Sunday morning. I mean, if it’s not in the church bulletin…

    As far as your blogs are concerned, I read them all and as a small group leader, have used a few as a supplement/or springboard to Bible lessons. Your pieces are thought-provoking and invariably get some great discussions going. I’ve noticed, however, that those of the Reformed mindset don’t appreciate your insights as much.

    I wonder why. :)

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Me again.

    F.Y.I.-I just posted this on my FACEBOOK page.

    Good stuff.

  36. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Chris, I was a Presbyterian for awhile. Reformed services will bore the dead. I think the reformed need to get reformed and start reading the Bible for themselves. They can’t even agree with each other anyway. Instead of just believing what their denominations say why not study the scriptures with an open mind?

    If nothing else I want to see Christians study the Word and start critically thinking and not just going with the popular flow or the politically correct position.

  37. Tom PorterNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks to Don, who linked me to Jack Kelley and his Holy Spirit-inspired website, GraceThruFaith.com, Carol and me no longer need to warm a pew on Sunday morning. We have learned more from Jack in the two years since we left the Church at Sardis (PCUSA) than we have in a life time of mundane denominational worship. And I don’t need “fellowship” to complete my faith. The Lord, the wife and me are all the fellowship it takes to lead a spirit-filled, productive life in His service. Tom

  38. Fellowship can occur in many ways. In the traditional “church” setting, it is “supposed” to happen during services and related activities…

    Meaningful interaction with fellow believers in-person is a wonderful thing, but I’ve also found that some of the very best fellowship I’ve had with my believing brothers and sisters has occurred online through blogs, forums and emails. God works in these ways too. Beyond my wife, my two other best friends in Christ are both far away from me and we email, IM, Skype and point each other to our blog comments. We also pray online, in emails and on the phone. We are each *deeply* involved in each others’ lives and we encourage each other in Christ and share His *extravagance* with each other as we pray for these in each of our spheres of influence…Anyway, I view the relationships with these believers (and others such as you all) to be every bit as meaningful and profitable AND holy as those times I have with my believing friends and acquaintances in person…

  39. DougNo Gravatar says:

    Just came across your site for the first time today. You seem like a pretty bitter man from the few posts I read over from past years. At least that is my first impression.

    I go to church to serve and am never bored, though I could choose to be if I was constantly thinking about my personal preferences. People have needs, Jesus loves them and wants more people to follow him, to come to salvation. Our home groups are vital to our church and I could never have provided the leadership in our own group if I changed churches every few months or even years.

    By the way. I am a broken man with little insight and little to offer. Even though I have a Ph.D. I view myself as mostly ignorant and a person with few skills. I learned long ago about the importance of my weakness to Him. My brokenness comes from an area of my life that I cannot discuss here. But it keeps me in a position of needing and receiving His grace daily and many times a day. I really love the Lord for what he has done for me, for you, for my family, and many of my friends.

    I don’t judge you, just feel sad about the harshness which perhaps indicates a lack of satisfaction in spite of your considerable knowledge and understanding. Bless you. May the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

  40. WayneNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Don,

    Thanks for sending me the links regading the Alpha course. I found them quite interesting. The main thrust of the concerns expressed centered around ‘experiences’ or ‘physical manifestations of the spirit’.

    I must say that I chose to attend a Presbyterian church because of their conservative views and style of worship. Admittadly I missed the first few videos on the Alpha course by Nicky Gumbel and have seen 3 in total. So far the videos have been practical and have not mentioned anything regarding physical manifestations of the spirit.

    Let me say that I am fully against anything that remotely smacks of charismania: I don’t believe in speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, or even worse barking, shakeing, etc… Although when I was much younger I attended a full gospel business men’s breakfast and did have an experience where someone laid hands on me and I did fall down and had this incredible feeling of peace. I have since decided that it must have been due to suggestion or something other than the Holy Spirit.

    While it is unfortunate the Presbyterian church in the U.S. has decided homosexuality is not a sin, I don’t believe we are close to that here in Canada. As for experiences, I believe the spirit can and does move in many ways and it might be wrong to limit Him to expressions we decide are appropiate. On the other hand, teaching people on how to experience the Holy Spirit, ie how to speak in tongues, etc… is dangerous.

  41. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Brett Blatchley…thank you for your kind words as always.

    Wayne…is that how they do it ? They actually teach people to speak in tongues ? No wonder I didn’t do it @ baptism when I went to that Pentecostal church in Louisiana…but I wonder why they looked down on me because I didn’t…I never thought about that until you just wrote that.

    Barking ??? Oh good, my dogs must be saved then ?

  42. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Doug,

    that may be your impression but you said you just got here, so I think you have much more reading to do before you can make that judgment.

    You say you have home groups at your church, well I have been saying that is a solution. The best places I attended had home groups and I did not move away from them because I did not like the church or the fellowship. Just about all the many moves were job related.

    Thanks for your input.

  43. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Wayne,

    Maybe your church thinks homosexuality is a sin but that is not true of largest Protestant dominion in Canada. So believe me Canada is leading the way in acceptance of homosexuals in the leadership.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Canada

  44. DonNo Gravatar says:

    I will make one more point. My wife goes on medical mission trips with MMI when women show up from UCC she cringes because it it all about social works for them and nothing about giving the gospel. She really has to question if these people in UCC even know the gospel of salvation.

  45. CynthiaNo Gravatar says:

    @ Doug –

    I’ve been reading Don a long time and I don’t believe he’s bitter at all. Just real.

    Are you thinking he should be more “religious” and more “spiritual”?

    No way.

  46. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Well, since Cynthia said something, so will I.

    TERSE is a word I think that might describe Don…if you want the hard facts and topics that you won’t hear anywhere else, then tune into Dons blog.

    Add to that…very few that I’ve read, have his knowledge and wisdom.

    If you want fluff, then your in the wrong place.

    Just my opinion.

  47. Don FrittsNo Gravatar says:

    Sir , I totally agree with you. For the reasons you so clearly state I went to Christian Books,
    Bible Commentaries , and cassete tapes / CD”S many years ago. Some Churches do have some very good Sunday School classes and small group Bible studies , but Sunday Morning Church usually
    leaves me unfulfilled , no spiritual food there.

  48. Don FrittsNo Gravatar says:

    As I read the comments here , I notice several from people who have attended Presbyterian Churches ( PCUSA) . I have always been a non denominational Christian. For the past 2 1/2 years I have been attending Eastminster Presbyterian in Wichita,Kansas since I retired and moved here from California. Sunday Morning is very traditional and boring , but there are some a lot of small groups bible studies that are excellent. There is a movement at Eastminster in Wichita getting under way to remove ourselves from PCUSA and become non denominational, especially since PCUSA has voted to ordain gay/lesbian as clergy, elders and deacons. Pray we suceed in this effort or I will leave. Someone mentioned Chuck Missler at http://www.khouse.org, really an excellent teacher of the word , check him out. Don Koenig , you are terrific , keep it up!!

  49. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Don,

    I lived in Wichita. If your church does not work out I can recommend a really good church there.

    It is in the Church of God Anderson Indiana denomination. They do not have a boring service, they have excellent Sunday schools and fellowships and they have home groups all over the city.

  50. DougNo Gravatar says:

    Don, thanks for clarifying some of the background. David, thanks for your comments and Cynthia for a good question. I attend a church where the senior pastor is very “real” and there is little fluff. Many feel that he is a solid Bible teacher. Yet, he has made enough comments through the years that make it quite clear how disappointed he is in the congregation – in their level of commitment and practical understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I would go so far as to say that at times he views us with contempt. While he may be correct in some of his observations, the leadership style does not invite people to go deeper and provides few tools for doing so. As a leader in the church, people often approach me wondering why our pastor displays so little love, joy, kindness or gentleness. As these are four fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23, I have no answer for them .. or for myself when I ask the same question. This may provide you with some context as to why I am perhaps overly sensitive to the way the truth is sometimes presented.

    Thanks for listening and for your forbearance – another fruit of the Spirit!

  51. CynthiaNo Gravatar says:

    The wife of a Deacon in my church came to the office one day. I could tell she was mad
    before our eyes met. She asked a question. I answered her. She left.

    Later that morning others came to me asking if I’d seen what she had written on Facebook and of course I hadn’t. She had written to her friends (other church members) that the church secretary was as friendly as a rattlesnake. She didn’t even know my name and she most certainly didn’t know my heart. She ended up writing a public apology and called me on the phone and explained that someone had made her mad before she even got to the office.

    I’m not sure why I’m saying all this, and hope I’m not off topice, but I guess it’s that it’s easy to perceive someone as being a rattlesnake, especially thru the written word, but without knowing a person’s heart, the judgement is unfair.

    That’s all I’ve got :)

  52. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Doug,

    I once had a pastor that was always beating up on the congregation because it was not growing. Well actually his father did it more than him. I soon had enough and left and joined another church. That pastor soon dissolved the Church and started somewhere else.

    Some Pastors are good teachers but their pastoral skills and social skills are almost non existent because they are introverts. I guess there should be more room for paid teachers in the churches. That is possible in big churches but small churches often get stuck with a pastor who does not have an outgoing personality or they would be elsewhere.

    Believe it or not, I think there are too many small churches. Often there is two or three churches or more of the same denomination in one very small town. It really limits all the churches in that town. I want small groups but I do not want small churches, they can get really boring because they try to have all the programs of a big church without having the gifted people to carry them off. If the church is formal you still will not really get to know anyone in even many small churches.

    Cynthia, woman will be woman…meow :mrgreen: Facebook can be dangerous. Look at this way, she now knows you and I am sure she will never say that again.

  53. DougNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Cynthia and Don. Yes, some have suggested his title be teaching pastor, not senior pastor, as he does not seem to exhibit those skills/gifts. I appreciate the conversation!

  54. Don FrittsNo Gravatar says:

    To Don Koeing , I really appreciate this article , what you said really needed to be said and I
    am delighted you said it. I e-mailed all my Christian friends in California and recommended your website to them. I will keep in mind your recommendation if I change churches, it is probable I will check out Calvary Chapel in Wichita. The Church in America has become too much of a business and THE CHURCH has no commercial purpose anywhere in scriptutre. BLESSINGS to YOU

  55. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Calvary Chapel, Wichita…I can 2nd that.

  56. dettemc1611No Gravatar says:

    Whoa! 55 posts! I would say that people are thinking what you have said on this post. I know I have been thinking about it. I am very tired of the tradition/rituals as well. I think churches should stay as small as possible so that the “shepard” knows his sheep! I think there should be more personal testimonies in church! I think there should be more hymn singing! I think there needs to be more honest , heartfelt preaching! I know that when my pastor gets fired up and tells us about a personal damascus road experience that a past saint had…like the story of the guy that wrote Amazing Grace? I know when it gets down and personal…we all get more out of the Truth.
    There’s this radio program called “Unshackled”? Listen to it. This is what we need in our churches. Real Stories about Real Blood bought beleivers!

  57. PreacherNo Gravatar says:

    Don.
    Sounds like you and a lot of your responders are a little sold on your selves. If you go to church so you can receive feed back on YOUR blog. There seams to be a lot of this new evangelical superiority going around. Maybe you ought to try an old fashioned non-compromising Baptist Church but be ware you might get your ego stepped on but at least there would be an altar call.

    Preacher

  58. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Preacher,

    I already do go to an old fashioned non-compromising Baptist Church with an altar call. I certainly do not go to Church to get feedback on my blog although it has happened. Why don’t you address the issues that I and all us Christians sold on ourselves brought up?

  59. Don FrittsNo Gravatar says:

    Reply to preacher , The only person on this blog I speak for is myself. In NO WAY do I consider myself superior to anyone so what evangelical superiority are you talking about ? Refusing to compromise on The Word of God is not being superior , it’s being faithful. Church is not a social activity for me. I agree with you there should always be an altar call at every service. If I was sold on myself I would be bankrupt, I’m sold on Jesus as both Lord and Savior. I appreciate Don Koenig maintaing this blog as an avenue for Christians to have some meaningful dialogue with each other. As far a I’m concerned the only thing we have to agree on is : Salvation is by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Jesus Christ Alone to the Glory of God the Father Alone. Jesus declared the truth , he never debated it. Your criticism of Don Koening serves no useful purpose here. BLESSINGS to YOU !!!!!!

  60. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    In reply to ‘Preacher’, I’ll 2nd what Don Fritts said above.

  61. Don FrittsNo Gravatar says:

    David ,
    Thank you my brother for your kindness. The Only One superior is Jesus. BLESSINGS!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. I’m with Fritz and David.

    Don calls the balls and strikes like he sees them – no fluff. We don’t have to figure out where he stands. To me, that is not ego. It is knowing where you stand and why AND being able to clearly state it.

  63. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Remember the Preacher was putting many of you people in the same mold as me because you also dared to question what has been established. We are all suppose to be good lemmings and that is how the institutions get and stay institutionalized.

  64. CynthiaNo Gravatar says:

    I am definately not sold on myself. I need Jesus every minute of every day. I 2nd and 3rd the last 6 posters – after Preacher.

  65. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    I have enjoyed reading this blog entry and some of the conversation that took place among all of you. I will admit that I skimmed through the comments, but after skimming I can’t help but notice that ‘church’ is repeatedly referred to as a specific place/building/gathering. Don – I think you make some good points. I also think that many of those commenting on the post have good points. However, until we stop using the word church to refer to something we ‘do’ and start using the word to refer to who we are as the body of Christ we are still missing out. I recently ran across a group of believers in Christ in a large city that are meeting in small groups in homes during the week (and doing life together) and then they gather collectively as a large group to worship once a week. Personally, I think they are on the right track. For them, church is not something they ‘do’. They are the church and are living that way daily.

  66. DonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I agree in general but we are often are talking about churches in America not the Church. In general the Church does meet in church buildings. I agree that part of the answer is small groups.

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