Surf to Google. Type the phrase “Can I be a Christian…” into the search box. Helpful as ever, Google will start suggesting popular queries. The top search?
“Can I be a Christian without going to church?”
This is a question people are asking. They are asking it a lot.
I’m a Pastor’s Kid who grew up in Church World1. Growing up, I knew there were people who asked this question, but it was always for bad reasons.
They didn’t want accountability. They didn’t want to quit their bad behavior. They didn’t want people to know they were Christians. That meant they were “ashamed of the Gospel.” The idea that people could become Christians without becoming like us made no sense. One of the things that defined us was gathering together weekly for worship and service. That was church.
Fast forward more than three decades, and Kelly Bean’s (Website / Facebook / Twitter) new book hits the shelves with a pot-stirring title: How to be a Christian Without Going to Church. The sub-title? The unofficial guide to alternative forms of Christian community.
So, what have we come to? Were my childhood assumptions true? Are Christians wanting out of accountability, community, and mission? Are they just wanting to be like the culture around them? Slope-sliding into a world of grey standards and compromise? Is this “unofficial guide” a handbook for Christianity light?