“Out of Church Christians”: a book by Andrew Strom.

Andrew Strom did a lot to promote the term “Out of Church Christians” and yet, taking a look at the majority of people he places under this label within this book, we can see how wrong the use of the term is.

Strom’s label is steeped in the idea that “church” is a type of organised institution with a particular structure, meeting regularly to be addressed by an appointed leader. The people described in this book don’t see themselves as “out of church” – they see themselves as a more authentic expression of what church IS. They have departed the traditional and routine organisations with their weekly passive meetings to seek genuine Christian relationships that last longer than an hour or two a week in meetings where most of the time the most they see of others is the back of their head.

With this book and with the first incarnation of his revival school forum, Strom brought together hundreds (maybe thousands) of hopeful believers who for various reasons had left traditional churches. His resources gave them links to others around the world in similar situations. It was an exciting time – until Strom withdrew his apparent support of this large group of people, a move that broke up and scattered them around various new internet forums.

Strom has since grown seemingly weary of those who were once his hopeful supporters and dismisses them as being “anti-leader”, “anti-body” lone rangers. Maybe it’s time he revisited his own book and renewed his acquaintance with those who helped to give him a brief time of recognition as the “leader” he wants to recognised as. Sadly he wasn’t content with the group he helped to bring together.



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6 thoughts on ““Out of Church Christians”: a book by Andrew Strom.

  1. It is true that the church isn’t a building and it isn’t an institution, it’s the body of Christ. The only question I’d have is can an individual Christian be a “church of one?”

  2. An “individual” christian is always a part of THE church so is never a “church of one”. The question is whether an individual will, or can, remain a christian if they deny themselves fellowship with other believers.

    Note there is a difference between someone who is denied fellowship through circumstances beyond their own control and those who refuse fellowship when its available. There is also a huge difference between fellowship and church attendance. I’ve attended a few churches that were nothing more than a few songs and a talk followed by a social gathering of people discussing sport, cars and the weather and yet I was seen to have fulfilled the “fellowship” requirement because I’d attended a church service.

  3. Good points, Tim. I considered “fulfilling” my obligation for fellowship online and with occasional coffee discussions with a couple of fellows. While online fellowship is tempting since it involves little effort, it’s ultimately unsatisfying because there’s no way to experience the full range of human interactions. While I find “going to church” frustrating at times, it also yields opportunities for learning and frankly for (informal) teaching I otherwise would lack.

    The church service sometimes Is almost beside the point. It’s all about the people and an opportunity to encounter God.

  4. James,

    The way you phrase the question points to your misunderstanding. Let me ask you a question: Do you belong to the same Church body as the Apostle Paul, or does the fact of Paul’s physical death put him outside your church?

  5. I was fine with “out of church” meaning out of a local or denominational organization; we understand what that means. I actually find that to be the main meaning of the word “church” — but I perceive that most people have different meanings than are in the Bible, and I’m prepared to go ahead and use those meanings. I don’t see “church” in the Bible but do see the body. It seems manifestly unfair, or something like that, to be pro out-of-church as a guy who is out (or between) and then anti (not just doing something different, or happy to be back in the saddle); as a guy who is in. I’m pro both… or either.

  6. Randy-USA asks where we then take “our gifts, our tithes, our love” and says sadly that we go to the streets. Now that’s a beauty! Not only streets per se — people. AMEN. BE the body, as the Body was given to you.

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