I hate going to church meetings

Confession: I hate going to church meetings.

Yeah, I said it.

I don’t like “church” meetings.

The small-talk. The forced hyper-spirituallity people feel the need to put on. The facade that everything in life is going wonderful. The focus on sin. The focus on our works. The survivalist mentality.

You get the idea.

I hate going to church meetings

Now hear me right – not all meetings are like this! It just feels like this quite often to me.

What a hypocrite!

So now you are thinking – “What a hypocrite! Just last year you spoke at over 250 meetings!”

I’ll be honest with you… sometimes I do feel like a hypocrite.

But I’m not.

I want to let you in on a secret of mine. I’m more of an undercover agent.

(Don’t tell the pastors of any of the churches I’m going to ;) )

My goal is to help people discover that there is more to Christianity than the weekly Sunday service, prayer meeting and home group.

That their faith should be impacting their lives 24/7.

Light doesn’t deminish in the presence of darkness – rather it appears to shine all the brighter!

I firmly believe the following:

If you struggle “in the world” but not at church – then you have made church your source of life and not Christ in you.

So why the meetings?

Because the people who need the message I preach the most (aside from the lost) are those who live in church meetings.

My job is to help people to discover Christ in them the hope of glory. From there the meetings can become a small piece of a wonderful, delicious pie that is life in Christ.

My dream is that I can do myself out of a “job”. I love day-to-day life way more than meetings and my goal is to help people get to the same place.

So that’s my challenge to you today.

Are you thriving between the meetings?

Or are you just surviving?

To what degree are you aware of Christ’s indwelling presence in your day-to-day life?

Because until everyone can say they thrive, fully aware of “Christ in them the hope of glory”, I’ll still do meetings.

No matter how much I dislike them.

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20 Comments

  1. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” ~James 5:16

    Well, at least now you can be healed from the sin of disliking meetings! :-)

    • @Kevin
      James isn’t addressing, he is addressing ‘faults’ which are committed to one another. This is the only logical context of this verse (James 5:16) because Romans 8:1 clearly says that there is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ. This verse is about promoting healing among believers in their relationships. It has nothing to do with what you are saying.

    • Haha – that’s funny Kevin! I hope so!

      Although sometimes I think God likes being out in the world a whole lot more – Jesus definitely shows us a God who loves hanging out in the world with the sinners :)

  2. Phil,
    Thanks for a great word. I definitely used to be one of those people who lived in church meetings and was just surviving the rest of the week. Truly if all we are living for are those meetings while the rest of our days are boring, mundane, or filled with struggle, then “we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:18). I really appreciate your stand for the truth that “Christ in us the hope of glory” is a 24/7 reality. Also, I read your book “You Do Not Have a Sinful Nature” and was really blessed by it. Thanks for boldly proclaiming an important truth that can be shocking and/or offensive to some Christians. It is greatly needed!
    Be blessed,
    Travis

    • Thanks Travis – it is my greatest passion to see people wake up to the truth of Christ in them!

      So blessed to hear that you enjoyed the book! Appreciate your kind words! :)

  3. Shame on you, Phil! ;) I definitely understand where you are coming from, coming up under strict church up-bringing. My dad still feels he’s sinning if he misses church, he told me the other day, “I know the Lord understands why I had to miss.” I may not dislike church meetings as much as you, but I do believe my message is very similar. Helping church people understand the Light of the Glorious Gospel and our Union with Him. There is nothing holding us back from being powerful in Christ 24/7.

    • That is a shame Brock to hear that your dad feels that way. There is still so much of a hangup about “going to church” rather than being The Church.

      We are all getting there though.

      Honestly I probably wouldn’t mind church nearly as much if I could pick a local body of believers and do life there. I just travel so much it turns me off doing more meetings than necessary! haha

      • I totally understand, Phil. I remember one time I was in a church service as a teenager and I thought , just being shut in the church every weekend can not be all there is to the Christian life. It reminds me of a song by Jason Upton he put out a few years ago called “Lullaby For a Petrified Sacred Society” if you havent heard it, I think you will love it!

        • Thanks Brock – I’m in a room with a bunch of other people right now but will check out the song as soon as I get a chance :)

  4. Good article. I don’t see anything wrong with attending meetings as long as you realize church as we know it isn’t what God intended. Church are those of us who are followers of Christ. We are His body, and all equally functioning parts. Christ is the head, not a pastor or elder. Like you said, living as one with Christ is a 24/7 life. Fellowship happens anytime two or more gather, no matter where or when, in Christ. Meetings are a nice extra of being around brothers and sisters, but the more important and intimate fellowship is realizing we are one with Christ day by day.

    • Great thoughts! I couldn’t agree more – Church happens every time we get around other believers… if that is at coffee or on a Sunday morning in a big building… praise God! :)

  5. Hi Phil, I take your point that if we look to the Sunday meeting for sustenance but don’t know how to live in Christ, we’ve got the cart before the horse.
    For myself, I live by God’s grace on a daily basis, and I love it. However I also think that when you experience Christ on a daily basis that Church on Sunday (or whatever day people meet together) becomes the most exciting day of the week, or should be, as we come together as the body of Christ to celebrate what He’s done in our lives.
    Love the work you are doing Phil. I see your name pop up all over the place and can see that God is scattering your message far and wide. We need the younger leaders like yourself to move forward the message of grace and Christ in us! Keep it up mate!

    • Thanks Peter! I totally agree that gathering with believers throughout the week can be a tremendously exciting thing. I certainly didn’t want to take away from that fact.

      My point was, as you said – that even that is secondary to living in Christ. That we must, again, as you said, not put the cart before the horse.

      In fact almost every area of “church” I dislike comes from a lack of understanding of these truths… if we did I’m sure our church meetings would be a very different deal altogether!

      Nice to hear that you’ve been seeing some of what I’ve been putting out and that it is having the impact I hope it is. Appreciate all you are doing to preach the gospel yourself!

  6. Yesterday, I had one of those ‘Out of the mouths of babes’ moments. I was driving into work at the church office and my 12yo niece was with me. She is visiting from interstate and is the only person in her family who go to church. My Parish has three churches. At one of the churches held a Maundy Thursday service but I didn’t plan on attending it. In the carpark, I ran into one of the stalwarts of the church who said he was disappointed he was the only person who turned up to the service and then went on to say how special Holy Week used to be with him but not any more since so few people seem to go to church during that week. My niece (with no prompting from me) said “Every week should be special when you have Jesus”

  7. Hi Phil,
    Like you, “church” just drives me crazy. Maybe I’ve missed the blog somewhere, but what do you think the biblical role of a pastor and local church body should be?
    I’ve really appreciated your website, the Lord has used you to help me through a rough time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Windy

    • Hi Windy – I don’t really have too much on this topic to be honest. I don’t think there is a “biblical” model for churches and pastors outside of the following…

      Church is anytime believers get together if it’s in a stadium or in a pub it doesn’t matter… although I know which one I prefer.

      Pastors are not there to tell people what to do but to equip people in their beliefs. Help them on their journey with God. It is God who tells them what to do (although most of the time He doesn’t even do that – haha).

      I’m sure I could say much more but those are the basics for me that are essential.

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