Home

Leaving the Church



LEAVING THE CHURCH: It is God’s Idea

By Josh Ross

(This entry is re-posted from Scot McKnight's blog at patheos.com)

It has been said that Memphis has more church buildings than gas stations. You would want a city with so much religious influence to not have to face the past demons of Auction Street where over 1,000 slaves were sold per year, or the noticeable racial tension that still exists, or the reputation of being a crime-ridden city, or the place where Dr. King was assassinated.

But if you’re going to tell stories of Memphis churches fueling racism, protesting the Civil Rights Movement, or not engaging its people with compassion to restore dignity, you also have to tell other stories. It was the local church that cared for thousands of people who laid dying and sick from the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1878. There were numerous churches that did fight for civil rights. And today, churches are reaching into their communities and local schools to implement change, and to be the change.

So is this just my experience? How have you seen the local church act as a means of restoration?

I have a close friend in Memphis who has been the Chief Jailor of 201 Poplar (a infamous city jail) and the Director over the Penal Farm (a local penitentiary). Occasionally he goes before the County Commissioner to ask for grant money. Believe it or not, some of the very best rehab programs are in correctional facilities, and grant money often provides training and preparation to reengage into society. However, he is often denied grant money by the Commissioner, who says, “I’m not going to give you money for that. The church should be doing it.”

Where does he get this idea from? Whether he realizes it or not, the County Commissioner is making a pretty bold statement about the local church.

Some people are right; the church has made a mess of itself throughout the years. She has gotten off track. She has lost her way. But when it comes down to it, the church was God’s idea. And I think the powerful force of the local church still remains God’s idea.

Recently, I asked my friend, Kemmons Wilson Jr.—a native Memphian, the family behind the successful hotel chain Holiday Inn, and a passionate Jesus-follower in our city—about the influence the local church can have in a city. He told me, “The local church is one of the most critical components to any area or region.” And I think he’s right.

Scripture is pretty clear that God cares about cities. I think it’s one of the reasons Paul argued from baptism more than he argued for baptism. The water symbolized more than status change, but that they were now ushered into a movement that existed to spread restoration, redemption, and resurrection power.

When the local church is on, we bring entire communities to life. When the church is on, weekly worship gatherings are so much more than a destination or a place you go to balance out the sin in your life; it’s a the space where people are launched to live differently throughout the week.

A few years back, Barbara Brown Taylor challenged the church to do something different when celebrating the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist). Usually we take the bread and wine either facing the front of a church building or walking to the front. She encouraged the church to take a week to set up the elements outside on the sidewalk, and to take communion with your back to the facility and your face to the community. As the bread touches your fingers and the cup touches your lips, open your eyes to the community around you to be reminded of our mission and purpose.

The local church doesn’t just gather and we don’t just scatter. It’s a dance between the two. And when she is moving with this rhythm, she is a beautiful and powerful force in this world.

24 comments (Add your own)

1. k wilson wrote:
Thank you for this blog. I am a member of the church in Billings MT and just having a hard time with "church". I have been a Christ follower all my life. I'm a working wife and we have 3 boys. My husband hasn't gone to church in a few years. He is a believer but has his own issues with church. recently, last 6-8 months, I have been attending about once a month. I really don't know why my fire for going has fizzled . Can you please provide scriptures for church. I think my view of church has changed, I am discouraged. I am not blazing anyone, our minister , our shepherds. I know its me. I need to study this more. Thank you. K wilson

Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 6:06 PM

2. wrote:
Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your posts.
Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the
same subjects? Many thanks!

Saturday, October 6, 2018 @ 11:45 PM

3. wrote:
It's appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
I have read this post and if I could I wish to
suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to
this article. I want to read more things about it!

Monday, October 8, 2018 @ 2:51 PM

4. wrote:
Right here is the right website for anybody who
wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with
you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been written about for a
long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 @ 3:51 AM

5. wrote:
Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I
am impressed! Very useful information specially the last part :
) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time.
Thank you and best of luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 @ 9:44 AM

6. wrote:
Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would really
like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would appreciate your work.
If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 @ 4:29 PM

7. wrote:
Why users still make use of to read news papers when in this technological
world all is accessible on net?

Friday, October 19, 2018 @ 4:54 PM

8. wrote:
Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
I mean, what you say is important and everything. But imagine
if you added some great visuals or video clips to give your
posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this
website could certainly be one of the best in its niche. Superb blog!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 @ 5:45 PM

9. wrote:
I got this site from my friend who informed me regarding this
web page and at the moment this time I am browsing this web site and reading very informative
articles or reviews at this time.

Friday, November 2, 2018 @ 8:36 AM

10. wrote:
Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the challenges.

It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, November 4, 2018 @ 4:09 AM

11. wrote:
Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful &
it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like
you aided me.

Friday, November 9, 2018 @ 5:22 AM

12. wrote:
Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you
could be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark
your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a nice evening!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

13. wrote:
Sling tv coupons and promo codes for november 2018
Very nice article, exactly what I wanted to find. Sling
tv coupons and promo codes for november 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 7:57 AM

14. wrote:
I know this web site offers quality depending articles and
extra stuff, is there any other web site which provides such
stuff in quality?

Sunday, November 18, 2018 @ 10:09 PM

15. wrote:
Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely
enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
that go over the same subjects? Thanks a lot!

Thursday, November 22, 2018 @ 9:26 AM

16. wrote:
Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering
if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment
form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Thursday, December 6, 2018 @ 2:59 PM

17. wrote:
You're so awesome! I do not think I've truly read through anything like that before.
So wonderful to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject matter.
Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

Saturday, April 13, 2019 @ 3:17 PM

18. wrote:
Its such as you read my mind! You seem to understand so
much approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
I feel that you just can do with a few percent to power the message house a little bit, however other than that, this is fantastic blog.
A great read. I'll definitely be back.

Sunday, April 28, 2019 @ 9:41 AM

19. wrote:
At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming again to read additional news.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 @ 3:43 AM

20. wrote:
I'm not sure exactly why but this site is loading very slow
for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
I'll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

Friday, May 17, 2019 @ 4:04 AM

21. wrote:
Wonderful goods from you, man. I've take into account your stuff previous to and you're just extremely
wonderful. I really like what you have got right here, really like what you are saying and the best way during which
you are saying it. You're making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to
stay it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is
really a terrific website.

Friday, June 28, 2019 @ 8:27 PM

22. wrote:
Hi there! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look
forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 @ 2:19 AM

23. https://www.vmeasymigration.com/ wrote:
Hi,
I found your internet site using Google whilst searching for a similar subject, your internet site showed up. I will see to it to bookmark it as well as come back to read more of your helpful information. Many thanks for sharing such an excellent info.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 @ 10:50 PM

24. wrote:
My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be
just what I'm looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating
on some of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web site!

Thursday, July 18, 2019 @ 8:03 AM

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.