Tis no secret that I’m overly dissatisfied with church. I didn’t tear apart Anne Rice, if anything I totally understood where she was coming from. And I don’t need to waste your time with listing all of the ways in which Christians have messed it all up, and plenty of all writers are detailing each mistake painstakingly.
I could have done a long build up over weeks, each post a separate treatise about some aspect of conventional churches that I think miss the mark, all before finally revealing the larger thing really goin’ on in my mind.
(In fact I already started when I wrote about the problem with hiring pastors based on educational qualifications, though surely you can probably still expect some posts in the future about the problem with sermons, worship music, church buildings – among other things).
Truth be told I’ve never gotten much out of Sunday morning church services. In childhood I slept whenever possible (my dad aided in this, my mother the opposite). I outright avoided them in high school by arranging my work schedule to put me in a retail store the exact time of the service. In college I moved churches though I volunteered in Sunday school with children because I felt like I was wasting an hour and a half of my time (and I got far more out of the young adult group I was apart of).
Today when I go I usually end up journaling the whole time, or lately, bouncing my daughter on my knee and ensuring she doesn’t cry.
I’ve been dropping hints lately to my wife that I’d like to seek an alternative. We recently switched churches, dropping the one we met inside of so that we can form relationships as a couple in a new environment. The new one is certainly one of the cooler ones in town (though the one we left is certainly super hip too), in fact at the last service every song performed was released within the last year by major Christian artists and a spoken word/poetry slam artist delivered a piece.
Problem is, we didn’t change much. And the issues I have with church are leaning me toward a house church style of things. That’s what I’ve been dropping hints about.
I dread Sunday mornings most weeks, and its not because I’m opposed to God. And from what I’ve seen the whole point of a church gathering is community helping and sharing in life, which is rarely accomplished by sitting and listening to a speaker week after week.
I want to change to a type of church that values community more than performance. And I don’t want my daughter to be raised believing that church is something you attend, a place that you go to. I want little Noelle to see the church as a body moving boldly, and I don’t mean to the latest worship song being belted out by the band.
So this post is much less of a statement and more of an asking – what is your experience with house churches/organic church (ie non-traditional/institutional churches)? What are its inevitable downfalls? I hope to read some books on the subject, mostly by Frank Viola and maybe Neil Cole, though if anyone else has other suggestions on the matter fire it up please!
(oh and for the record I currently attend City Church, and I have nothing against its people or leadership, and I have no personal beef with them, I’m just not into church services).