“Out of Church” Christians and the “lone ranger” syndrome.

Continuing with a topic I addressed recently, I ask: “What is the REAL situation with ‘lone ranger’ Christians”?

 Let’s look at myself as an example.

 I attended the same church for around a decade. At the time I left I was the youth leader and occasionally asked to preach to a couple of hundred people in Sunday and mid-week meetings.

I was introduced to Kenneth Copeland’s teaching and gathered for home prayer with a small group from the church mentioned. It was members of this group who had made me aware of Copeland.

A new church started closer to home. I attended a few meetings on Sunday afternoons, in between my regular church meetings. I got along well with the pastor. He asked me to preach one afternoon.

I moved from my original Church to the more local, much smaller fellowship and the pastor appointed me as an elder.

I stayed with that church for a year and a half before I entered a 15 year “spiritual crisis” – I left the church and wandered from one group to another for a few months – meeting with a few other established fellowships trying to find direction

Churchless with my faith wavering, I cried out to God but was met with silence.

15+ years later God answered.

With newly reawakened faith I started to look for a church, meeting with pastors and attending home “cell group” meetings. I tried many fellowships – but found none of them suitable. They were interested in organised meetings but not in developing relationship. Everything was centred on getting more people into meetings, or to other church organised events

I still had leanings towards WOF and tried watching Copeland on TV, buying his sermons and receiving his magazine. DESPERATELY I wanted his teaching to be the truth, but found myself being more and more closed to it.

I saw mention of  an “Out of Church” (OOC) movement in Charisma magazine but didn’t buy the magazine to read it. However the topic of the article intrigued me. *

Not long after that  I came across Andrew Strom’s Revivalschool forum and saw the possibility of something beyond traditional Sunday service centred churches. It had a big OOC membership and I later found Andrew had been mentioned (maybe quoted) in the Charisma article. He was seen as something of a champion of the OOC believers but he soon rejected those who once saw him as someone who could give some kind of cohesion to this “movement”. Many left or were banned from his forum and some of them started their own, picking up many of the other disillusioned exiles from Revivalschool.

About six years ago I moved to my current home town and attended a Charismatic fellowship for several months until I could no longer ignore their false gospel and their tendency to follow every new fad that came along. They were very keen followers of the “Toronto Blessing” and various associated ministries.

After leaving that group I befriended a minister from a traditional church who was new in town. I attended his church for a year and a half until our different theological viewpoints became too much. I left before our increasingly heated disagreements started to disrupt bible studies etc.

He was a Calvinist very steeped in church tradition who had originally shown openness to my views but became more entrenched in his “theology” when families of reinforcements came to the church, who had attended the same theological college as he had.

At that stage, approaching three years ago, I stopped trying to find a church.

 A significant thing I’ve found whenever I’ve moved from a church – though retaining my faith; even though I’ve tried to maintain contact with people from that church, there has been NO reciprocal effort to maintain contact with me from those involved with those churches.

It is those CHURCHES or more accurately those church members who had been friends that made me into a “lone ranger” Christian. I want to meet in fellowship with others, but they are more committed to church than they are to brothers and sisters who are not part of THEIR particular church.

 THAT is the kind of “Christianity” that I assume other “lone rangers” can have no part of.

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  *  http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/covers/260-cover-story/10434-when-christians-quit-church