By Travis Williams
Travis is a full-time STF Staff member with a great heart for the Family of God
Why is it good to be in fellowship with other believers? A primary reason may be because we were originally designed to live in a perfect creation and to experience family-style relationship with each other, and most especially with God as our Father. Christian churches are full of people because they desire to know God more, and be with others who feel the same way. God’s desire is that we have freedom, peace, and love in our lives. Unfortunately, the Enemy has been able to infiltrate the Church and by adding many systems it can create bondage, hopelessness, and a lack of knowledge about God’s love for us.
As someone who has been around Spirit & Truth Fellowship (STF) a long time, I’ve had the blessing of hearing sound teachings that create an understanding of who God is and what Love is. And yet, even with this knowledge of love, I still struggle with the question, “Where’s the balance of being in supportive to other Christians in my life, and sharing the truths that organized Christianity is hiding?”
To date one of the most impactful books I’ve read regarding this topic is, So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman. I agree with many of the ideas presented, the main one being that a church or “institution,” as he calls it, should exist to serve the people, not the people the institution. Although this may sound very obvious to some, the fact is many churches start out serving people but eventually in most there comes a point when a switch occurs. The church may do many wonderful things but then, as the authors state, “laced through the wonderful things you have a system of religious obligation [oftentimes to the institution itself] that distorts it all.”
For many this leads to negative thinking towards churches or organized Christianity as a whole, which is clearly not the correct response. Sure, sometimes evil things are done by people inside the church, but evil things are done everywhere outside the church too. It’s the result of our sin nature. Rather than attacking the institution or walking away from it, the correct response is to have compassion for the people, and determination to fight the enemy in his attempts to bring bad out of people’s good intentions.
One possible solution to derail the “switching process,” of serving the institution versus the people, is by focusing our gatherings on being a “Family of God” get together instead of making it into a “meeting.” We should always remember that the admonition in Hebrews is to “not forsake meeting, it does not say don’t forsake meetings! Our life with God and one another is about Family Life in His family.