Should People Who Have Left Church Come Back? Or Try Something Different?

American churches are in decline, losing members.  In an attempt to slow or stop this decline a group called, National Back to Church Sunday,  has set a day for church members to invite their friends to come back to church.  As many as 14,000 churches are expected to participate in this nationwide outreach on September 16, 2012.

However, is inviting people to come back to typical church services after they have given up on them going to have a lasting effect?  If people come back to what they have left and it hasn’t changed, won’t they probably just leave it again?

Perhaps the church needs to make some adjustments in how Sunday morning meetings are run and give people something fresh and exciting to come back to.  Instead of inviting people back to the same thing, perhaps we should offer them something different.

Most Sunday church meetings are highly programmed, structured, and controlled from the pulpit.  There is seldom (if ever) any opportunity for spontaneous participation.  People are basically expected (after singing a few songs) just to sit passively for an hour and listen to a preacher.

Can’t church be more than that?  We serve a risen Savior.  Can’t Jesus take the wheel and run a church meeting all by Himself, without human control and/or domination?  Yes He can!

Church becomes exciting when Jesus takes control because from that moment, nothing is organized by man.  Instead the Spirit of the living God takes over and begins to prompt people to show and tell what God is doing in their lives.  This is not just a wild idea — it is the way Apostle Paul told believer to hold church meetings (see 1 Corinthians 14:26).

Americans don’t like stuffy programmed meetings where they have to passively sit and listen.  That’s why talk shows like The Oprah Show are so popular.  That’s why social media has exploded on the scene.  American’s want spontaneous, meaningful participation.

So if you go back to church on September 16, don’t just go to a sit-back-and-listen type of  church like the one you left.  Instead try a different kind of church — a participatory one.  Come visit Nashville’s most unusual church — The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45.  (At least it won’t be the same ole same ole.)

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 1 Corinthians 14:26, 2012, alternative lifestyle, American, American church, American history, Americans, Apostle Paul, Berry Street, Berry Street Worship Center, Biblical concept, Christ, Christ followers, Christ-centered, Christian, Christian community, Christian history, Christian organizations, Christian values, Christianity, church history, church meetings, church programs, church roles, church structure, evangelism, evangelistic meetings, followers of Christ, I Corinthians 14:26, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus Take The Wheel, lifestyle Christianity, move of God, movement, Music City, Nashville, non-church movement, non-traditional church, organic church, participatory church, popular culture, post-Christianity, salvation, Salvationists, Savior, show and tell, simple church, spiritual awakening, spiritual formation, spiritual growth, testimonies, The Salvation Army, We serve a risen Savior and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Should People Who Have Left Church Come Back? Or Try Something Different?

  1. elizabeth s says:


  2. Bruce Dickey says:

    Steve, are you saying that we believers are the true priests of today? Are you saying that Christians should participate whole-heartedly in church? One has a song, one a scripture, one a tongue another an interpretation? Another has a prophecy fresh from the throne of God to meet needs, encourage the discouraged, to build each other up? If that’s what you are saying, I agree. People want to be participants. We don’t need intermediaries between us and God. He is our father, not our distant relative. Jesus is our savior, but he calls us friends. We are so fortunate and blessed to be a part of the family of God, and members of his kingdom. We have to reclaim the great commandment, Love God and Love People. We have to reclaim the Great Commission to GO and tell the good news. We need to come back to church, the ekklesia, a gathering of loved ones, a family on mission together. Jesus said where two or three are gathered together, that he would be in our midst. We need to come back. Back to Jesus idea of gathering, loving, and living.

  3. David says:

    Yes, Its time we return to what Christ really called us to as a body of believers engaging the Spirit and not a programmed machine driven by money, power, and religious control Lording over its followers..

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  5. Hi Steve! I really have to agree with you, again…I love geting up early in the morning and asking God for his will for the day. Recently it has been more exciting than ever because on Sunday when I go to church at Berry St. the message I receive from God that morning–reflects the message I receive during the service!! Are you surprised? I am! And it’s exciting!! It motivates me more and more every Sunday to be sure that I pray, search for God’s will for the day, and then come to church to have it confirmed. Try it–it works..

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