Friday, August 12, 2011


I mentioned Rachel Held Evans in this blog about Donald Miller's love posts. Side note: he has since removed the posts and issued an apology. I wholeheartedly accept his apology and appreciate his humility! Back to Rachel's blog. She has a series going this summer of "Ask a..." where she introduces someone from a denomination or different religion and her readers get to ask questions, the most popular questions are chosen and the guest gets a post answering them ( ie: Catholic, atheist, Mormon, Orthodox Jew). It is SO interesting and just great. Pease check them out. They've really been helpful for the faith journey I'm on right now.

When Benji and I first moved to the Phoenix area we searched relentlessly for a church family. We still aren't going to church regularly, and man, it really sucks to have to say that. It got us to questioning what type of church we should look for and what we believed as far as doctrine. Benji was raised in a Christian home and went to a United Methodist Church, now this isn't to say he was raised as "a Methodist". And I became a Christian when I was about 16, going to Young Life was a huge reason for this. One of my biggest issues with Young Life is the lack of helping new believers into a church family. That was my experience anyways. They had club and a more intimate Bible study, but I don't remember anyone really inviting me into a church. This got me feeling like I didn't need church to be a follower of Christ. I just needed my Bible and prayer and whatever. Well, now I am really seeing how much Scripture talks about Church, and I truly believe that God intends for us to be united with each other. Benji and I started discussing what the differences could be in other denominations and how we had no clue what those differences were or where we stood on some of the issues. We knew what churches we wanted to avoid (here's looking at you giant, mega, performance churches) and we knew we wanted the Bible to be the basis of the sermons and teachings. But, um, that's a lot of churches yo! Most of it boils down to theology and how different people interpret different Scriptures. It really hits me in a weird way to drive down a street and see two churches right across the street from each other. I mean, do they both feel like They are teaching The Truth? And what about church planting in America? We have a heckalotta churches. Are people in a town who aren't already going to a church, really going to attend a newly planted church because it has a different name and a new pastor? I'm talking non-churched, non-believers. Or is the newly planted church just taking people from other congregations? Doesn't that mean that when someone plants a church, he/she is just planting a preference? Really think about this. I understand that people who plant churches really believe it's out of love and desire to see a great community. And that some communities might really need a more active Body of Christ. I'm just throwing out some of the things that have come up when Benji and I have talked.


Disclaimer: I am not in seminary and neither is Benji. We are merely prayerfully seeking to the best of our ability.


  1. I believe that attending church is imperative in a believers spiritual growth. Obviously all who are saints are what makes up the church and so when Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not forsake assembling together I think it's saying just that. We need to regularly meet together with other believers in fellowship, worship and learning in order to grow spiritually and to edify others in the body. I also think that since each person has various gifts throughout the body it is clear some are gifted in teaching and others aren't. That's not to say we cannot glean truths from scripture on our own. But it also important to place ourselves under solid teaching in order to gain greater insights that God may reveal to them through their giftedness. And also, to hold us accountable. We may begin to believe in things untrue or develop sinful habits as to where if we're regularly involving ourselves in solid teaching and fellowship the accountability in our lives (ideally) grows greater and keeps us sharp.

    That's my take anyways. :)

  2. So here's my disclaimer: I love church. LOVE. CHURCH. Coming from a family that went through some very tough times, I found in church a larger family that loved me for who I was and was honestly seeking to see me grow. Don't get me wrong, my family loves me dearly, but I found a greater sense of community there.

    With that in mind, this is my opinion about why there are so many different churches and why I think church plants are still important: Those very things that you said about the church (not that any of that is wrong), could, in fact, be said about people. If we really stop and think, there are a heckalotta people on this planet. Why does God keep sending so many more when there are plenty of people who, quite frankly, waste the life and the opportunities they've been given? There are too many people who are content to simply eat, breathe, buy an iPod and die. But because we have so many people on this planet, I think it's appropriate to have a variety of churches. People connect in different ways and different churches have different people they are called to reach. Just as you said that you're not interested in a giant, mega-church community, well, for some people that's the best environment where they can connect to Jesus. I think that it's important that church planting is still continued, especially in America and in areas where people aren't connecting to the gospel, because maybe they have a way of communicating the Gospel that reaches a specific culture group or age range or type of person or maybe they have a system of outreach and servanthood that the area is lacking or... it could go on and on and on. But I do believe, too, that it's just as important to come alongside with the churches that already exist and try and help them reach more people and serve more people and love more people, all in the name of Christ.

    I think that the thing people need to remember when it comes to the differences in churches is that it's not a competition. We're all playing for the same team. If in the scenario you presented where there were two churches across the street, and one found that they reached person A better but the other found that person B was growing in Jesus and being challenged at their church, then that's ok. It's not a numbers game, or trying to see which church has the prettier building, but it's an issue of connecting people to places where they can grow in their faith.

    In the end, that's what I think church is about- helping Christians connect with other Christians and find people who can help challenge them and further their walk with Christ.

  3. WOW! Thank you both for your thorough responses!

    Megan, totally agree with you on church being edifying and necessary for growth as a believer. Thank you for the verse references!

    Mackenzie, while I get where you are coming from and I applaud you for being brave and commenting, I have to say I don't see the church-peaople analogy. God created people, created us, out of love. And churches, while they should be created for GOD, can be turned into something quite different (Westboro Baptists anyone?). The Bible calls us to be the Bride of Christ, and I believe in One Body. And while churches for different people and their different gifts/abilities might look like a good idea on the outside, I think those things can become toxic to a church. How is anyone suppose to grow if they all have the same way of looking at life? If we all only went to churches where we felt the most like the other people, we would be pretty closed off from others. Like Megan said, we all have different gifts, we need a whole lot of different people to really BE the Body of Christ in a community. Now, I'm not against church plants at all. Or even different denominations. I just think we should examine WHY we are making NEW churches instead of trying to GROW the ones that are already there. And while some churches have minor doctrine differences, some have major differences. Obviously all the founders of the different church schisms felt they needed a whole new denomination in order to reach people for what they believed the Bible was saying. And there are more schisms happening all the time. This is scary to me. I want to see the Church of Christ coming together, not finding more reasons to disagree.

    Thanks so much for input. BOTH of you gave me some things to think about, and that's exactly what I wanted!

  4. Good points! And I'll admit I didn't think through that analogy as much as I should have. :P

  5. Hey cousin!

    When we first got married, we tried a few different churches to see what fit for us. It is hard to say that you will ever find a perfect doctrinal fit with any church, due to our own sinfulness and imperfection. But we did find a good fit with a local Methodist church (she was raised Presbyterian, I was more non-denom). This took a while to find. Once we decided to stay, we really had to get involved by volunteering, and has ended up being a wonderful church home.

    We like that our church has done small/life groups. This has been a really great way of plugging into an even smaller core group within the church family.

    I pray that your journey to find a church home will be fruitful. The fact that you feel called to be in church to fellowship with other believers is a wonderful thing!

    - Adam


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