Inside Church, Outside Church
Going to church is not the test of being a disciple.
Just because you are a Christ-follower doesn’t mean you go to church every Sunday. The simplest example of this is the millions of Christ followers worldwide who can’t go to church, because they have to live their faith deep underground. Another example are people who are “in between” churches having moved from one place to another. Another example would be Christ-followers who are traveling in places where there is no church. Another, people who have been hurt by a church but are still earnestly seeking to follow Christ (another “in between” example).
On the other hand, being a Christ follower is not an excuse NOT to go to church. There is obviously a power in corporate worship and a role for the “temple” as it were.
In this Think Tank with Roy Moran, one of the ideas we discussed was:
+ there are some people who find the principle safe place to discuss spiritual ideas to be in church. Outside church, the discussions may be invalid or unsafe for them. Getting them in to church is therefore a key part of their spiritual journey.
+ there are some people who think they will never come to church – they don’t think of it as a safe place – but they would be open to exploring spiritual ideas outside of church. A Bible study in a home, or a cafe, or some other “neutral” ground is the only way forward for them.
(See also this and this, about the Saddleback example where 120% of their Sunday attendance is in weekly Bible studies.)
The decision between these two approaches should not be made on the basis of what is most convenient for us (inviting someone to church, let the church handle the Gospel presentation and the discipleship) but what is best for the person in their spiritual walk.