Ahh, the local church. It’s one of my favorite places, but it may not be yours. In fact, you may not want to attend or get involved in a local church at all. You might not even know why, but something about attending or getting involved in your local church just puts you off.
If that’s you, I thought you might enjoy my top 8 reasons you should definitely avoid your local church:
1. You hate deep relationships and you don’t want real friends.
You prefer to live life alone, by yourself, as lonely as possible. You don’t want to talk to people or have anyone get to know you. You don’t want to share your life with other people of similar beliefs, passions, and goals.
That’s a great reason not to attend or get involved in a local church, because if you DID get involved in your local church, you would invariably make friends. Those friends would have approximately similar beliefs as you. Some may have similar backgrounds. They would understand that life as a Christ-follower is not always easy.
The new friends you would make at church would cry with you when you cry and laugh with you when you laugh. They would be there for you when your kid has surgery, when your marriage is rocky, and when you’re discouraged about life. Some of them would even be covenant friends who would be willing to take a bullet for you.
Having friends and community like that would be awful, wouldn’t it? If you don’t want that, stay away from your local church.
Related post about friendship: It's Time To Ask the Tough Questions
2. You don’t want to grow.
At a good church, you would hear the preaching of the Word every single week. This preaching and teaching will inevitably challenge you.
In addition to being challenged by the teaching of the Word, you will also be challenged by other believers at your local church:
- You will see people who know God better than you know Him.
- You will meet people who love others more than you do.
- You will see people who move and minister in more power than you have.
- You will see people who are more faithful and diligent than you are.
You know why God puts us together like that? To challenge us. To inspire us. To make us hungry. To give us something to emulate. To help us learn. To woo us and make us jealous, so we will seek Him all the more… and seeking God all the more means WE GROW.
So if you prefer not to grow, you should stay far, far away from a local church. That way, you can stagnate in peace.
3. You love your sin and want to keep it.
Anytime you get life-on-life with people, things come to light. Being around a community of fellow believers tends to reveal things inside you… like sin that you’ve been holding onto. For example:
- You might suddenly find yourself confiding in people when you never planned to confide in anyone.
- You might hear a sermon that addresses your secret sin—bitterness, for example—and you never realized you were harboring that sin.
- God might give someone a burden to pray for you. They start to pray, even if they don’t know exactly why… and God uses their prayers and begins to work in your life, convict you, and change your heart.
Being around a huge source of light, such as a Bible-based, Spirit-filled church, tends to reveal the dark things.
If, on the other hand, you stay far, far away from your local church—especially from getting involved if you do mess up and darken the door once in awhile—you can keep your secret sins private. You can hang onto your apathy, your bitterness, your unbelief, your pornography, your adultery, your hatred… or whatever your preferred pet sin is.
Yup. If you don’t want to take that next step upward toward holiness and purity, definitely stay far away from your local church. (And for pity’s sake, if you’re already attending service once in awhile, at least don’t get involved in anything else. Occupy a seat if you must, but don’t take it any farther.)
4. You don’t want a place to invest in the Kingdom or see results.
If you prefer to sit on all God’s money and resources (including time and labor) and not invest in the Kingdom—at least, not invest it where you can personally see it grow—then PLEASE stay away from your local church.
Why? Because the funniest thing happens when you get involved in a church: you see what that church is doing to feed the poor, house the homeless, give backpacks full of school supplies to students in inner city schools, get kids out of gangs, and on and on… and you get so fired up about it that you want to give.
So then you give money (God’s money, by the way), and you start to see your money at work:
- Your church starts to reach more and more people.
- God starts blessing you financially for giving, but suddenly you don’t care about the money so much.
- You start caring about people more, and you weep with the burden to reach more people.
- Then you want to get even more involved than ever, so you start to reach people yourself.
- You start going on mission trips and even sponsoring missionaries if you can’t go.
- You start coming up with new ways to reach people.
- You start loving on everyone you meet, because you made an investment in the Kingdom that grew and grew.
It’s a slippery slope, really. The local church is THE ideal place to invest in the Kingdom because your own life will be changed by your investment. If you don’t want to invest—or if you don’t want to see the results of your investment—do me a favor and stay far, far away from your local church.
5. You are perfect, so you don’t want to be around any imperfect people.
The local church is full of imperfect people. It’s like a hospital for the sick:
- It’s full of people that want to grow (meaning, they NEED to grow and they know it).
- It’s full of people who are leaving their old lives and old ways, and trying to embrace the ways of God (meaning, they haven’t always got the new ways down pat yet).
- It has plenty of people who are learning what it means to be a real friend—a hard journey when you’ve never had real friends yourself.
When you’re perfect, I’m sure being around imperfect people can be challenging. (I wouldn’t know this from personal experience, not having reached any level of perfection myself. But I’m trying to identify with you here.)
- You are sometimes inconvenienced by the imperfect people around you.
- You sometimes have to pick your battles, live and let live, and agree to disagree.
- Sometimes you might—MIGHT—even have to pray for somebody that is imperfect, unlike yourself.
All of those challenges would be terrible to deal with. Especially that last point, about praying for people who are not perfect like you.
Heaven forbid we should bear with one another, making allowances because we love one another. Heaven forbid we should celebrate what people are, instead of looking at what they’re not. Heaven forbid we should let anybody have a new start and not be tied down by an imperfect past.
No, it’s better for all the perfect people to avoid the imperfect people, right? That way, in your state of superiority, you will never be inconvenienced by anybody who is not as perfect as you. Yep. If you’re perfect and can’t stand to be around any imperfect people, that’s definitely a good reason to avoid the local church.
6. You love to disobey God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The Word of God commands us to gather together more, not less, as we near the return of Christ. Therefore, if you really love to disobey God, that's definitely a great reason you should avoid attending (or getting involved in) your local church.
7. You do not want to see God glorified.
The local church body is where God is glorified. Ephesians 3:20-21 says:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
If you don't want to see God get glory…
… if you don't want to see Him lifted high and enthroned on the praises of His people…
… if you don't want to see Him magnified in worship, preaching, teaching, and testimony…
… then you should definitely avoid the local church.
8. You don't want the gift of Jesus' Lordship and presence.
Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us:
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Christ is given to the church to be the head over all things. He Himself is a gift from God to us. If you don't want anything to do with Him, you should definitely avoid the local church.
Why? Because when you walk in the door of your local church–or hang out with the people who comprise it–or start investing your time in it–you're going to see Jesus. You're going to feel His presence, sense His affection, see His face, and hear His voice.
Jesus is God's gift to the church–to His people gathered together to worship and obey Him. It's all about Jesus. If you want nothing to do with Jesus, avoid the local church. If you want to avoid His fullness and ignore His Lordship, stay away from your local church. Don't attend, and most especially don't get involved or be a faithful, covenant member of that church.
Ahh, the local church. It’s definitely a place to stay away from if you don’t want real friendships, don’t want to grow, don’t want to become more like God, don’t want Kingdom investments to change your life, don’t want to be around any imperfect (but growing) people, and don't want to have anything to do with Jesus or His glory.
What other reasons can you think of to avoid the local church?
Image courtesy of Patrick McKay on Flickr.