The conversation went something like this while helping deliver some groceries to his car from the church food pantry.
Me: (friendlies of “how are you?” “Nice weather today.” “How many people are in your home?” “Where are you originally from?”…)
Stranger: (with not much of a response…)
Me: “When you gather with other believers, where do you gather?
Stranger: “Oh, I’m a Christian, but I don’t go to church anywhere.”
Me: (usually with a puzzled look on my face) “Really, why not?”
Stranger: “I just don’t believe in organized religion.”
Me: (I don’t always answer like this…) “Oh, so you believe in unorganized religion?”
Stranger: “What?… ummm. (uncomfortable eye shifting, etc.) No, that’s not what I mean. You know, I should just be honest with you, I don’t like going to church, if I did, I would rather it be an organized church.”
Me: “Well, if you find yourself desiring to gather with other believers who want to know God, we gather here at 10:30 on Sunday Morning.” (while I give them a Bible, a 180 DVD, and a gospel tract written by Charles Spurgeon.)
Stranger: “Thanks, good-bye.”
Me: (Praying for them after they leave…) Lord, bless them from the kindness of your organized people. May you awaken him (or her) to love your church with deep affection.
Me: (hoping to have that conversation again soon.)
What do people really mean when they are saying they don’t “believe in organized religion”? I have come to think that they likely don’t know what they mean by that. They’ve likely heard someone say that before and it resonated with them.
It may be equally true that some who belong to local churches don’t know why they “believe in organized religion”.
Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth has been a pleasure to examine for more than a year on Sunday mornings. I began preaching First Corinthians in September of 2013. I look to conclude the exhortation of this rich letter to the church in early 2015.
All sermons in the series are here. Listen, download and share.