A new exodus is occurring in the Christian community.
It is an exodus of those who aren’t satisfied with the status quo; they have tasted God and desire to have more of Him in their lives, to know Him more, and to operate as Christ intended for His Body.
It is an exodus of those who are beginning to realize that the way church is “done” today is fundamentally wrong, that it doesn’t resemble the Church that Christ established, and that they will never be able to operate as God intended them to operate as long as they remain in the church building.
They have gone from church to church to church seeking to find more of Him but have not; they have only found more of the institution wherever they go.
But deep down they know there is more of the Lord to be had and know what they seek cannot be found in the institution.
I use the term “institution” to describe what today is commonly called the church.
For many years I regarded the various church buildings as places to go to find God.
I saw them as places people went to experience God’s Presence in various ways and to commune with others who did so. They were also places where one would go to learn more about God through sermons and Sunday school lessons.
Church to me was an institution of higher spiritual learning; a place to go to learn from those who (supposedly) had a deeper understanding of God and His ways. It was a place where one went to find good people.
But lately I’ve come to see it as more of a mental institution than one of higher spiritual learning. By this I mean that, just as in a mental institution, people are placed in (spiritual) strait jackets and fed a diet that has been deemed good for them (and good for the institution).
They are taught what the pastor teaches them, what the denomination stands for, and how things are done at that particular church. They are taught what the institution believes to be true about God.
In essence the people have been programmed to think that what is happening around them (in their church building) is all there is concerning the body of Christ.
And many are happy with the status quo, being quite happy and contented with how things are. They simply show up, sit down, shut up, and listen.
Oh, and they put their money in the plate when it’s passed under their nose (and the guilt trip laid upon those who don’t!). They are contented in sitting there, passively whiling away the morning, listening to the orations of someone more qualified than they are about the things of God.
What people aren’t fed (at least not very often) is they are actually part of a body of believers; they have divine gifts bestowed upon each of them (1 Corinthians 12:4-26) to do the work the Lord has set forth for the body for the good of all.
I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where anyone has been bestowed the gift of pew warmer.
The problem for those who actually have the unction to step out and be the body is there is such a spirit of control over most churches that they wind up being unable to operate in their gift (especially if it is prophecy).
They wind up being relegated to the office of pew warmer, where their spiritual gifts waste away unused and ineffective for the Kingdom of God.
Thus, those who realize there is more to church are becoming fed up with the status quo and are finding a thriving body of believers operating outside the typical realms of the institution.
Related article: “Truth, Authority, and Roles” by Roger E. Olson