Wake up at Church

I’ve enjoyed the reaction I get from people here in Toronto when I inform them that I’m not going to a church on a Sunday morning. One person said ‘that’s not too good of an idea.’ The other looked at me with sort of a confused, he must be back-slidden kind of look. I told one person that I wasn’t going to go to church because I was going to stay and clean up my church.

I guess being in Toronto and attending a service on a Sunday morning has completely lost its appeal to me. Unless I’m actually plugged into the community, listening to some guy preach at me (where I can get the same sermons online) and listening to some fumbling musicians try to play some worship (which I can listen to Hillsongs on my computer whenever I want), throwing money in a plate and listening to announcements isn’t my idea of something I want to do on my Sunday mornings. One could argue that the fellowship of believers is important, but that 1 minute (if that) meet and greet time is more awkward than anything and before and after the service most people are in their car before the musical finale is finished.

The conversation usually progresses into me explaining how my apartment is my church. Hence why I wanted to stay home and clean my church. The guys that live at this apartment with me are absolutely phenomenal. We all have great relationships with each other. They are all very different with each person separately, yet at the same time I would venture to say they are based on the same values. We hold each other accountable and encourage each other. We talk spiritual discussions constantly and challenge each other in our beliefs. Maybe people just aren’t used to that kind of community around them all the time.

Maybe its heresy to say, to most Christians I know it must be, but I really don’t think I need to attend a Sunday (or any day) church service to do the right thing in my Christian walk. When did a Sunday church service become a pre-requisite to a Christian lifestyle? I’m still in my community, I’m still reading the bible and other books to challenge me, I’m still praying and going forward in my walk with God and others.

Could it be that we’ve elevated Sunday Services to a position of eloquence that it was never meant to have? Have these two hour programs taken the place of a 24/7 lifestyle? Not that they aren’t beneficial, because they are. I just don’t think they are as spiritually necessary as we have created them to be.

So this year, I probably won’t be going to your typical church service every Sunday. I’ll be living at this apartment in the best community that I know and hopefully be having, what we call church services, every single night.

11 thoughts on “Wake up at Church”

  1. Nathan, my brother, in many ways you are wise beyond your years. On this subject, however, you’re not.

    Having a strong, critical mind as you do is both a blessing and a curse. Your insights can be profound, and the church needs those insights to keep from becoming absolutely entombed in we’ve-always-done-it-this-way concrete. The downside is that arrogance often creeps into that kind of intelligence. If you’ve come to believe that staying home and cleaning your apartment is better than joining in the Sunday worship assembly with less exceptional mortals, then you’ve let arrogance get the better of you, my brother. Seldom do I recommend that a Christian simply suspend his own judgment and trust 2000 years of Christian tradition. But in this case, you’d do well to choose 20 centuries of saints over Nathan.

  2. Nathan.
    Because of this blog I have fallen. I cant attend church anymore as I will be cleaning my house on Sunday mornings! Ha.

    I always looked at church in my life never to attend to “get stuff” for myself (like the good word or the worship) but to find out where I can get involved. Your right Nate, how can you possibly go to church down there and not get involved? If would take at least 6 months for the church to get to know and like you and then “maybe” you could assume some responsability with there church.

    That doesn’t make any sense. Maybe for centuries people have been getting the wrong picture of church and simply just wanting to attend church for entertainemnt. Go to the movies if you want to do that. The shows are much better there anyway. So if you want to serve your community and call it church, then my hats off to you.
    Peace fella.

  3. so at this apartment church of yours, who’s the janitor, huh? can’t have a church without a janitor. darryl is my vote for janitor. and who’s gonna be the receptionist. gotta have a receptionist. i vote for one of those jon guys. and finally, i’ve been in your apartment, and if cleanliness is next to godliness, then i don’t think God lives on your street. actually, he probably lives two blocks away…

  4. Hey.
    I have absolutely no idea why I’m even writing this because I haven’t been in a church service for months and months, and I’ll tell you right now, just out of honesty, I don’t miss it at all.
    I don’t understand Christianity, I never have, though at times I tried to tell myself I did, and I know I probably never will. It doesn’t make any sense man.
    I was raised in church and in church we learn stuff like the story of the good samaritan, like our job is to ‘go out into the world’ ya we all know that one. But then when we are defending where we stand in our ‘Christian walk’ or whatever, we say things like ‘I’ve been going to church, I read the bible, I read other books to challenge me’. So what is the point exactly to our Christianity if we have it? To make sure we read the bible a lot? To make sure that we commit ourselves to going to a church service every week, to make sure we fork out 10% of our cash every week?
    I don’t even know what I believe any more, but I’ll tell you one thing, as far as Christianity goes, I don’t understand it at all, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but when I read stuff like these posts, about if we should or shouldn’t go to church, if its really beneficial, it just makes me cringe, because I have heard these discussions my entire life, nothing ever changes, we just always try to figure stupid crap out, when really I think our focus should be on hey that guy really can’t afford his groceries this week, we should pitch in and help him out. Hey that homeless guy only has one shoe, I’m gonna give him both of mine.
    But instead we just get stuck on a friggen retarded topic like trying to figure out if a church service is important.
    I just don’t understand it to be honest with you. I think church is so screwed up. And I know I said I don’t understand anything, and I don’t claim to, but one think I do know is that church is screwed.
    No offence to the people who like the pew time, I just don’t get it.

  5. Thanks for the invitation to continue the dialogue. There’s not that much to say, really. The blessings to both you and the church for participating in the worship assembly is best understood by having spent some time participating. My advice to you: give it an honest try for 10-20 years. If you still don’t see the benefits, then let’s discuss it further. Peace.

  6. I hope I don’t give the impression that I think cleaning my apartment is my fallback to attending church on a Sunday morning. I also think there is much value in attending a service on Sunday mornings. I would never discourage it for anyone. In fact, if there is one thing I will miss about attending a Sunday morning service is the musical worship of other beleivers around me (which I do attend a Sunday night music worship night at my school). I will also miss the corporate gathering of Christians.

    However, I’m still having trouble seeing where attending this ‘service’ on a Sunday morning (or anytime) has any ‘extra’ value or worth than me not attending. Besides going to church for the sake of following tradition, what will the value be to me or to the church of me sitting in a pew on a Sunday morning?

    I don’t want to seem arrogant, which I guess I already have. I’m not trying to say I don’t need the local church or I don’t need what the church has to offer and the church doesn’t need me. I’m just trying to define what the local church is. If the local church is simply a two hour service, then maybe i just need to suck it up and be going anyway. However, I think the local church is much more deeper and abstract than that. I think that the apartments of beleivers that surround me, the four guys in my apartment and my friends that I’m in constant communication with is much more of a church than a two hour service will ever be.

    Looking back on my life, it was never this two hours that brought me to where i was. It was the communitty that surrounded me. Joe, Dom, Darryl, Ron, Phil, Kevin and Philip were my church. We all went to different churches at times, and we still go to different churches on Sundays, but they are still the immediate church that is closest to me.

    Is it really necessary that I attend a service on a Sunday morning of a local congregation, even though i’m leaving in 8 months, I don’t have time to get involved (seeing as i’m involved in many ministry activities elsewhere), and I will barely get to know the people there?

    I respect the saints, the church fathers, the biblical tradition and the routines that have been pinned to our history for the past 2000 years, and i don’t want to just disregard it and clal it useless, but i do want to challenge it and say that if all it is is routine or tradition and that’s why I’m doing it, I don’t really see the need of it?

    Please continue to comment. People on this site are my way of accountability also, and one of the many reasons I post on this site is so people can question and challenge me on some of my beliefs and actions also.

  7. Kevin, I 100% agree with you.
    I love the church too. I guess i’m just having a hard time figuring out what the church is. The four other guys in my apartment, the girls across the street the other 13 apartments in my little area, is that not my church just as much as a building full of Christians?

  8. Hey Nate,

    I agree with you in that often times the fellowship and the edification we recieve from close friends who are believers can be far more encouraging than today’s typical evangelical church service.

    However, I’m reminded of the Derek Webb song “The Church” where part of it says:

    “there is none that can replace her (the Church)though there are many who will try and though some may be her bridesmaids, they can never be my bride”

    I think what Webbis trying to get across here is that no matter how many parachurch organizations or Christian fellowship groups we might build, none of them can ever replace the Church.

    Sure, we can argue that the Church is not a building but rather the people inside of it; I agree with that. But the Church is something that Jesus ordained his followers to be a part of , it’s something that has stood through the times of history, and it’s something that can never be replaced by any group we might start up.

    Church must mean more than hearing a message, singing some Christian karaoke, and fake fellowship. If that’s all it is, then we’ve missed the boat.

    But the Church is unique, and I’ll continue to argue that it’s a crucial part of the Christians life. Yes, so is fellowship, Bible study, prayer, devotion, etc… but we should be thankful that we even have the chance to go to it and not be persecuted.

    I’m just rambling… just wanted to say that I love the Church even though I get burned by It.


  9. Nathan… how are things my philosopher friend? Many thanks for your comments. James says hi to you as well.

    In regards to your thoughts on church, I like the fact that you don’t put sentimental value on a specific building, because too many churches fight over the building they own anyway. The apartment fellowship idea sounds really cool, and if you guys are living out the principles that the Bible teaches the Body to live by, then go for it. However, what are the practical implications of having church in your apartment? Why did church in big buildings get started in the first place? What happens when the amount of people coming gets too big for the apartment? Do you turn some people away? Send them to a big traditional church?

    The house church concept was there before the big church concept, but I think there is practical reason for big churches now that there are hundreds of millions of Christians in the world.

    I really believe in the traditional church setting (as you already know… lol) but not everybody does, and maybe your apartment church is just the place for some people out there that never seemed to meet with a meaningful experience when they went to a big church. God bless you dude, and may those people find your apartment door to be the gateway to a connection with the people of God.


  10. i really don’t understand these conversations at all.
    first, nathans apartment wasn’t being referred to as a church, in that new people come and eventually it will be too big, he was simply saying that there is an awesome community and understanding between him and the other guys in the apartment. a big traditional church has a bunch of strangers in it, nathans apartment has a few guys that have a real community, and that is what church is supposed to be.
    but either way, christians spend FAAAAR too much time discussing this pointless stuff, what does being a christian really mean anyways? we’re talking about church, church is typically once a week right. so what does a christian do when they’re not at church, or talking about church, i mean typically, what is one to do if they are a christian?
    what benefit is a christian to the rest of the world if all they do is talk about crap and debate topics among christians, what are we really supposed to be doing, and not the ‘go out into the world’ etc. i mean in reality, relevant to todays society, what are christians supposed to do?

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