I think you should stop just going to church.
No, really. Stop it.

I grew up in the church.
I work at a church.

Why don’t I think you should just go to church? Well…

Jesus isn’t asking us to go to church

Wait, what?
That’s right. Jesus does not ask us to go to church.

Where in the Bible does he ask you to revolve your faith & life around visiting a building for 1 hour a week? I don’t see it.

Here’s what I do see:

When Jesus began his ministry, he said things like:

Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” and “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matthew 4:17b & 19b)

It would make sense for Jesus to start his ministry with what’s most important to him. He would want to build a firm foundation with his teachings & actions. If all Jesus wanted for his disciples’ lives was to go to a building one hour out of the week, wouldn’t he have just said that? Wouldn’t Jesus have just made a really great 1 hour show in the temple courts or another popular gathering place?

Instead, Jesus goes on to invest in people, teach, heal, criticize selfish religious leaders, and ultimately is crucified by the religious & political powers of the day, only to be resurrected. He sets a pattern, one that costs a bit more than a 1-hour weekly investment. A pattern of faithfulness, death, & resurrection.

So, if Jesus set a pattern for those who follow him that doesn’t revolve around going to a building 1-hour a week, what does he want his followers to do?

Jesus wants us not to miss out on his vision for a full life. And we will miss out on something special if all we do is go to church. If you just go to church, then…

You’re missing out on The Church

Jesus’ earthly ministry as detailed in the scriptures ends with him commissioning his disciples with this message:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 27:19-20)

With his last earthly act, Jesus asked his followers not to go to church, but to go make disciples of all nations. What will be the mark of new disciples? What will be the indicator of a fresh follower of Jesus?

That they obey his commands.
And what will be the motivation for disciples of Jesus, what will keep them going for years & years to come?

That Jesus is with them til the very end.

I’m not hearing go to church 1-hour a week. I’m hearing be the Church 168 hours a week through the empowerment of Christ.

Jesus wants so much more for us than to just get our spiritual fix once a week. He wants us to live a life of devotion.

Jesus wants us to follow him daily. He wants us to live lives empowered by the Holy Spirit to boldly do the same things he did. He wants us to know he’s with us every step of the way. And it’s not just for us.

It’s for everyone. Anyone can follow Jesus if they will turn from an old way of life towards a new, fresh way of life. These people that do that, that turn from an old way of life to a new way of faithfulness-daily following Christ’s commands together-that’s The Church. All the followers of Jesus that answer his call.

And maybe for a lot us, where the extent of our faith is just going to church once a week, we need to hear the call of Jesus.

Jesus calls out to each of us, “Come, follow me.” Jesus asks of each of us to heed this call, to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

Will you take an honest look at what your faith means to you? Is it just something to make you feel good once a week? Is it just an excuse to socialize?

Maybe it can be more than just that. Maybe it can turn into a full, life giving relationship with Jesus & other follows of Jesus. But our trust in Jesus can only grow if we’re willing to turn from an old way to a new way.

The local church matters. The regular gathering of followers of Jesus matters. I love what we do on Sunday mornings! I love the powerful experience of worshipping as one body, reaching people, and growing together! But if Sunday morning’s aren’t a springboard for us to faithfully follow Jesus as the body of Christ ALL WEEK, we’re missing out.

Stop just going to church. Be The Church.