Why I'm Stepping Out of Church

I feel like a broken record lately. 
No, I’m not going to women’s bible study. No, I didn’t go to the women’s event at church.No, I’m not going to MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) this fall.No, I’m not going to volunteer in another area.  
And no, I’m not going to apologize either.
And here’s why:because in the past I have said yes to all these things and more.  What happened was that I went to church events out of fear of what others would think if I didn’t, or because others told me I should.  And the result was that I became overwhelmed with the time commitments and I eventually ended up resenting the fact that I had said yes in the first place. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do – I was going out of obligation!
It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’m glad that I did.  Because I have so much more confidence saying the word “no” now.

See, I don’t believe that you have to be in church every time the doors are open.  

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Church. I understand it’s purpose and it’s power. Actually, for most of our lives, my husband and I have either volunteered or been on staff at a church. And we currently serve and lead in several ways on a weekly basis.
Having a deep faith doesn’t mean being present every time there’s a service, class or event taking place.
Is being a part of a local church essential to growing in my faith?  Yes.  Are my closest friends (those I consider family) part of my church family? Yes.  But, do I want my week to be full of church activities, surrounded by church people? No!
And here’s why: they don’t need what I have.
Jesus said He came for the sick, not the healthy. If I am to carry out His mission on the earth then I need to go out  to where there are sick people and bring to them the healing power of Jesus.
As I’ve thought about the fall and creating new routines and rhythms for our family, I’ve asked myself some hard questions and spent time reflecting on the answers:

When was the last time I invited someone from outside of my church over for supper? Or out for coffee?

When did we last double date with someone outside of our church circle? Or with someone of a different faith?

How well do I know my neighbors? Co-workers? The parents of my kids’ classmates?

As I started to truthfully answer these questions, I realized that my beliefs and my actions looked different.
So, this is my own personal challenge as I go into the fall.  As I regroup my family around new schedules and weekly routines, I am making it a point to get out of my church bubble and into the community in which I live.  The hurts and needs may be completely different from what I am used to, comfortable with, or have any knowledge of how to help.
[Tweet “ I am to be a light, but not inside the church. Because the light already exists there.”]
My faith can only grow as it is flexed and tested, just like any other muscle.  Therefore, I must choose to put myself in circles and circumstances where I have no alternative but to grow. 
Let’s step out.
Let’s do the scrap-booking class, but find a way to do it with our neighbors.
Let’s have the Friday potlucks, and the college football BBQ’s, but let it be an opportunity to open our homes to someone new.
Let’s connect with the parents of our kid’s classmates, the people next door, the guy who sits on the other side of the cubicle wall.
Let’s be neighborly and loving and take what we have, to the world who needs it.
It’s time to step out of the church.