6. THE GATHERING AT YOUR HOUSE
I understand that this one will be a little controversial, but most of the time, that gathering in your house ain’t church either.
Even if you gather to pray, study scripture, fellowship and celebrate communion, it may still not be the church. Why?
Too often house church functions as a community of people who are fleeing the church, who have been hurt by the church, or who are rejecting the local churches in their neighborhood.
Rarely (I mean rarely, it’s not like it never happens) do I see a house church really embrace the full mission of the church, which would include evangelism, baptizing new disciples, community service, giving financially beyond itself and an outward focus that brings more people into the Kingdom.
If that happens—and occasionally it does—then that is church. The problem of course, is that when you embrace all of that, it won’t be long until you outgrow your living room…and you start gathering in public space because you can’t squeeze into a home anymore.
But if it’s just the eight of you year after year after year after year…it probably ain’t church.
7. A WALK IN THE WOODS/ON THE BEACH
I love nature. My wife really loves nature.
Almost all of us feel closer to God in nature. And some personality types feel extremely close to God in nature—maybe even closer than they feel in church.
But your subjective feeling is no substitute for a timeless mission. God didn’t just call us to feel him. He calls us to serve him.
8. FAMILY DEVOTIONS
I love my family. You love yours. And family devotions are wonderful.
When you’re on vacation, I get that you may do family devotions on a Sunday rather than a long drive into a local church.
But a steady diet of family devotions—even daily devotions—isn’t church because your family isn’t baptizing people, reaching out into the community, serving, or even moving beyond itself to engage the world for which Christ died.