Non-Church — Discovered In Japan & Other Places

I recently read about non-church when I heard about a Japanese man named Uchimura Kanzo.  He  started meeting with a group of friends in a small Christian gathering in Japan in the early 1900s where everyone was equal and everybody had the opportunity to teach and share with each other.  His life was never the same.  He described his experience as non-church and began to talk and write about it.  Soon there was a non-church movement in Japan.

I personally discovered a non-church group (unrelated to non-church in Japan) when, as a freshman in college, I attended an informal gathering of believers at The University Of Tennessee, Martin.  My life has never been the same.

In my experience non-church involves believers relating to each other as family, rather than as members of an institution.  It is heart-felt rather than organizational.  It follows the Holy Spirit’s leadership rather than a set-in stone plan.

Non-church is more about personal connections between people rather than ritual, entertainment, performance, or tradition.  I have found non-church to be somewhat like a support group and to follow the biblical instructions in First Corinthians 14:26.

Throughout history many people have independently discovered non-church in various parts of the world:  such as; John Wesley and the Methodist Class Meetings in England; Watchman Nee and other house church leaders in China; the underground church in Russia; George Fox and the early Quakers in England.

Experience a non-church gathering for yourself, right here in Nashville @ 225 Berry St., 37207; Thursday nights @ 6:30 and/or Sunday mornings @ 10:45; meeting @ The Salvation Army Berry Street.

Here’s a great description of an early Methodist Class Meeting in the early 1800s in Middle Tennessee:  click here.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
This entry was posted in burning heart, China, Christian, Christian community, Christian history, Christianity, church, church history, church roles, church structure, congregational, East Nashville, heart-felt love, house church, I Corinthians 14:26, Japan, Methodist class meeting, Methodists, movement, non-church movement, non-traditional church, organic church, participatory church, priesthood of the believer, relational church, religion, simple church, spiritual formation, support group, the way we do church, Uncategorized, unprogrammed church, What is church?, worship and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Non-Church — Discovered In Japan & Other Places

  1. Naphtali says:

    Totally agree here. The organized church has become an institution. I pray the blinders will fall of them to see what God wants his church to be.

  2. David says:

    Excellent Post Steve!!! Thanks

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