Yeah, you read it right.
Stop going to church.
I realized years ago that I was tired of merely attending church services. No longer did the hymn sandwich and prayer of invocation cut it for me. I am not sure that it ever did. I soon realized that my soul was being stirred and longed for something more. Sunday morning and I were like a petty middle school relationship and I was ready to break up. For quite some time I wrestled with feelings of frustration, hopelessness and hurt. I was tired of showing up.
After many soul sessions whilst driving my car, waking up in the middle of the night, and doodling during my college classes a phrase formed among the black ink scribbles.
Start being the church.
Stop going to church and start being the church.
This is what we call a light bulb moment. The light kept on shining. I realized that being a disciple of Christ didn’t involve pew sitting but a lot of hard work. Messy work. Non-stop work. Most of the time it didn’t show “results” or numbers. Thankfully, “results” aren’t necessarily what I’m looking for. What I’m looking for is the tiny glimpse of glory in the mundane. The sparkling moment of the Spirit in the hurting and in the painful. That tingly feeling that this who I am called to be and that there is much much more to do. More people to serve, more hurt to heal, more hungry to feed. All the while, I realize that there is much work in my own heart to be done. More layers to peel, less judgment to be given, and lots more stretching and growing.
And so proceed the growing pains. Not just for me, but for us all. Individually and collectively. As we move forward from church going to church being we will all feel the uncomfortable stretch, and for some it will hurt more than others. But we must encourage each other in this process rather than allowing frustration to take over. Patiently, with open palms we must reach out and help each other out of the dusty pews and out into the mission.
So with much hope and love, I dare you to stop going to church and start being the church.