Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You Know You're Completely Out Of The Institutional 'Church' When...

Philippians 3:13-15, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as shown here, he is referring to the modern day, man made, business entity, Institutional 'Church' System. When the word church is rendered in all lower case lettering, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Legitimate, House church, which He created and continues to build.

I had a funny thought today. As I was pondering just how different things are since I left the Institutional 'Church' System, I thought of Jeff Foxworthy's famous 'You Know You May Be A Redneck When' series. I decided to jot down some observations of my own, and even enlisted a few ideas from a *friend. I wanted to list some tongue in cheek, humorous antidotes and oddities for those who may appreciate having a good chuckle at their own expense. Some may seem a little poignant, but I figure, what the hey. I might as well throw in some serious notables that will get us to think a little. I realize that those still inside the Institute that dare to read this may not be amused, but others who 'have been freed from the Institute' will 'get it.' Be that as it may, I hope that it is edifying to all in one way or another. So without further delay, I'd like to post my thoughts on, 'You Know You're Completely Out Of The Institutional 'Church' When,'

You discover that when you run into a former 'Church' member he asks you, "So, after you left our 'Church' where do you pay your tithe?"

You realize that you feel cheated because you never got your 'Going Away Social' with cake and ice cream.

You finally wake up on a Sunday morning 'Stress Free' because you realize that you don't have to face whoever you didn't want to face and then pretend you're glad to see them.

You realize you don't have to wear a suit and a tie.

You realize that Jesus never commanded a tithe from His disciples, Apostles, His church, or even imposed it upon Himself.

You realize that when you get your paycheck you don't have to choose between paying an urgent bill or paying your tithe.

You discover that Jesus leads through His church rather than being asked to bless and be a spectator.

You are stunned when a concerned, loving former 'Church' member approaches you and asks, "What happened to you Bob?" as if you had a disease or something.

You notice that no one monitors to see if you filled out your tithing envelope any more.  

You discover that you can give directly to the people who need help instead of funneling your funds through a Senior Pastor, Deacon, Trustee or Treasurer.

You realize that you can read whatever Christian Author you want without asking your pastor's permission.

You discover that a pastor isn't supposed to be interviewed and 'hired' from afar, but home grown and recognized by the body as an elder through his testimony, walk with God and wisdom.

You realize that you can ask questions during a meeting and not feel ganged up on.

You notice that the singing time is directed by the body and not a Director of Music.

You notice that there are no longer men who try to imitate a famous preacher when they give a message.

You realize that you no longer have to tell your kids, "Stop running in church!"

You discover that there are no more group cliques.

You notice that there are no memorial name placards attached to the seats.

You discover Elder Consensus decision making is the norm for Christ's model for church.

You realize that Missionaries aren't supposed to go on Deputation to raise support. They live by faith as shown in Scripture.

You realize that collection plates are great when used for target practice.

You notice that there are no ushers roaming the aisles tapping their flashlight to see if the batteries are dead.

You discover that there is no Pink Lemonade Social sponsored by the Missionary Ladies Auxiliary Committee.

You discover that although you've tithed for years, you never really knew what the Bible said about it. If you did, you would've left a long time ago.

You realize that you may have gotten your indoctrination by listening to a 'Tape Series.'

You discover that an old 'Church' member says that you are 'a cancer,' even though your doctor gave you a clean bill of health.
You discover that Pastors, Elders, Bishops, and Shepherds are words used for the same thing.

You discover that your old Pastor see's you as a threat to the Enterprise of the business entity 'Church' you came out of.

You discover that your old Pastor has been telling people that you left because you weren't tithing.

You realize that in house church you have a plurality of pastors that are co-equal.

You discover that many people who were your 'friends' in the Institute aren't answering your phone calls or E-mails.

You remember your former pastor giving you a farewell using the words, "You are cursed with a curse," because after doing an extensive Bible study you no longer believe in tithing.

You realize that Jesus is our offering; not money.

You have a V-8 moment when you realize that the years wasted spent in the Institutional 'Church' system, although sincere ones, have come at the expense of our families, friends and finances.

You realize that Pastors are not supposed to draw a salary from the church.

You discover that you no longer have to stare at the back of someone's head during the meeting.

You notice that nobody cares that you mistakenly put on two different colored socks.

You realize that the so-called Altar in the Institute is not the altar mentioned in Scripture.

You notice that when you pull into the driveway, you don't see 'Church' buses.

You realize that there is not supposed to be an Invitation or "Altar Call."

You realize that you don't have to confess your sins to a man.

You notice that the church is a body of Believers, not a mixture of the saved and the lost.

You see from Scripture that the Lord's Supper is celebrated as a full meal and not a formal token ceremony.

You're stunned that no one has offered to give you a lapel pin for perfect attendance. 

You are relieved that the pastor won't ask you to be the back end of a horse costume during 'Round-Up Sunday.'

You discover that no where in the Bible are the words "Under Shepherd" used together to describe a pastor.

You now see that you are one of the lively stones that make up the church, not the brick and morter of a Building Project.

You realize that there is no 501(c)3 tax status.

You notice that there are no more choir practices.

You realize that your family time has increased exponentially because you're not always busy maintaining a building, running a bus route or preparing for a Promotion like Vacation Bible School.

You notice that your family isn't fragmented throughout a building.

You've become upset because while you were a member of an Institutional 'Church' you paid for a Summer Camp and then found out that your kids were molested by a staff counselor. And, you still received no refund. (Double Ouch!)

You notice that the Holy Spirit determines the agenda through the body because there is no longer a liturgy of service.

You notice that no one seems to be in church to Network their business.

You notice that there is no 'Church' constitution. Scripture is our standard.

You notice that after conferring with your old pastor in private that you didn't agree with his sermon, he retaliates with a public sermon to support his view regardless of what Scripture says.

You notice that there are no buses to freeze up on a cold winter's morning.

You notice that your house church does not have a name or checking account.

You realize that the only sign around the door you enter into reads, 'Welcome To Our Home.'

You realize that 'preaching' is a positive command to evangelize the lost; not a negative one to tear down the saved.

You realize that the face and Head of the church is no longer the pastor, but Christ Himself.

You realize after you left the Institute who your friends really are.

You realize that the priesthood of the believer is recognized and utilized and not politically manipulated or ignored.
You discover that church is no longer synthetic, but authentic.

You realize that at the end of the meeting you no longer conclude with eighteen consecutive stanzas of 'Just As I Am.'

And lastly, You know you're completely out of the Institutional 'Church' when,

You find out that some will count the number of points on this list (66) and conclude that the author is no longer saved.

*Some points on this list were suggested by John Vuckovich. Thank you my friend.


  1. I thought I alway's had the
    disease or something?

    1. I hear that you can take something for that.

  2. #67. You're no longer afraid to answer your front door; fearing that there will be two blue haired old women, one pink haired, and a deacon - all armed to the teeth with extra large, XXL print Bibles - to find find out why you missed Tuesday Bingo Night, early first service on Sunday morning (although you Were there for second and third service), and Thursday choir practice. No more informing you that you can make up the losses by leading the cooking menu for the families of the recently deceased for the month as punishment.
    Your front door finally belongs to you again. :)

    1. I have many more I could list, but perhaps that'll be good reason to write a Part II. Thanks for your comment.