Yes, but not for us
by Jim Gordon
It seems when I mention that my wife and I left the organized church, people assume something happened to hurt us or make us mad.
Just to be clear on this subject, neither one of us have ever been abused by the church. Neither one of us are mad about some event or some person at church. Unfortunately, abuse does happen in the church system and many people are hurt by others, but that was not the case with us.
After nearly sixty years in the organization, and after the last ten or so of those years feeling that something is not right with the system, we made the decision to leave and follow Christ outside the walls of religion. To be clear, that is our decision and we certainly do not expect everyone to agree and do the same thing. Many people are part of the organized religious system we know as church, and they truly love God and want to serve God.
We believe the Church is a community of people and not a building nor a service held one day each week with paid professionals leading the service. We believe the Church is each of us who follow the example of Jesus and see Christ as the head of his body. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and each of us are equally functioning members making up the body of Christ.
We believe that forsake not the assembling of yourselves means we need one another. We live each day having fellowship with those God brings together, no matter where it happens. We never truly found real fellowship when we sat in an organized service for an hour looking at the back of the head of the person in front of us. We believe true fellowship is not just sitting together with other people in a room, but it is daily loving, encouraging and praying for one another and meeting the needs of those we are able to help.
The temple in the Old Testament was only a shadow of what was to come in the New Testament. God now lives in us, and we are the temple. God is our leader rather than another human being we call pastor. There is no hierarchy in the Church today. Each of us are equally important parts of the body and able to teach, encourage, build up and pray for one another. It is truly a priesthood of all believers, not a one man or woman show.
Those with specific gifts for helping the Church are not better or more spiritual than the rest. They are brothers and sisters who walk along beside those who need encouragement. They are those who have learned a spiritual lesson and are there to help those who are still learning. They are servants and friends rather than spiritual authorities.
So, when I say that we have left the church, it is only the building and organization I am talking about. We left, not because we were mad or hurt but because we believe the religious system most people call church is far from what God is building. God is building a group of people who will daily follow the leading of the Spirit outside the walls of religion, loving God with all their heart, loving their neighbor and accepting all they meet along the way.
Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org