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The Way We Do Church

Updated on October 26, 2010

I am writing this short hub especially to those of you who are leaders and pastors in your church. To anyone else that wants to check it out, I believe it would be extremely helpful.I am in the process of reading a book by Frank Viola and George Barna entitled Pagan Christianity published by BarnaBooks, an imprint of Tyndale House

The book deals with the tradition that has entered the modern church over the centuries that can harm and suffocate the Holy Spirit's work in our midst. I will be the first to mention that this book probably isn't for everybody. I believe God will have to prepare you to read and accept its message. It goes against almost everything that we have been taught in our churches. I am not speaking of the doctrine, but the way the church is run.

The main tenet of the book is that our church service is based upon pagan roots rather than the model of the New Testament church as found in the book of Acts and the Epistles. As I said, this book is not for everyone, but if you want to be challenged in your Christian growth and you are not afraid to test your comfort zone, I believe that many of the thoughts of this book would revolutionize your church services.

The table of contents reads--1. The Church Building; 2. The Order of Service; 3. The Sermon; 4. The Pastor; 5. Sunday Morning Costumes; 6. Ministers of Music; 7. Tithing and Clergy Salaries; 8. Baptism and the Lord's Supper; 9. Christian Education; 10. Reapproaching the New Testament; 11. A Second Look at the Savior.

Much of what we do in our churches today have no Biblical basis whatsoever and Barna and Viola bring this to light. I must say I do not agree with everything that the authors mention, but for the most part, I believe applying some of the Biblical principles shared in this book just might cause some churches to experience revival. I'm praying my church does.

If you choose to take this journey, I'd be interested to know what you think. Leave a comment or email me. I'll be waiting.

Do you believe your Church follows the New Testament pattern for holding Church services?

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    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 

      8 years ago from West Allis

      I will definetly check the book out. My wife and I discovered this truth about church quite a long time ago. We created a Home Assembly in order to follow the Spirit of Christ, rather than the procedurial law of dates and times for worship. We assemble at anyone's request, when anyone needs it or believes we should have it. Since our lives our in our Creator's hands, it should not be a burden to drop everything to see to the needs of our fellow members in the body of Christ. Society has placed a burden on us that makes worship difficult. I've been reading a lot on the early Puritans and how they could have service all day without anyone questioning the need or time it took to accomplish it. To me, that is freedom! Peace.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. If you haven't read the book, I think it would really be a blessing to you. Thanks again.


      Thanks for stopping by as well and sharing your comments. You're a blessing.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Lifegate, I find this quite confirming. I have seen the gradual transitioning away from the main purpose of God’s Church by our local congregation. Several years ago after much prayer my husband and I started a “Ministry Beyond the walls” However, we remained faithful and continued to attend and support our local church body that was going through many transitions…. After many break ups, pastors leaving, splits… We knew that overall there was a shift causing the spiritual growth of the membership to spiral…

      I think it is really important to keep in mind that the purpose of God’s Church is to grow us spiritually and add souls to the body of Christ….

      What is interesting as you stated “Much of what we do in our churches today have no Biblical basis whatsoever” Amen! After several years of hosting the citywide revival there was also no new converts or any wanting to recommit as well? When trying to peaceably bring this to attention it was not well received…. Which was even more interesting?

      The Church starts in the home and when we come together to worship it should be to honor the Lord! We have stepped out on Faith and continue to seek the Lord’s will for us to Worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH! Christianity is a daily lifetstyle! Thank You for sharing, In HIS, Love, Grace, Peace & Blessings! GOD truly is GOOD!

    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Great hub with timely message. I believe we have to pray for the revival in our churches. Let us pray that we will have a glorious church which is powered by the Holy Spirit not merely by theologies and precepts of men. Thank you for sharing this information and bringing out this into light.Blessings to you and regards.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      His Daughter,

      The church is certainly made up of individuals. For sure, that's where it starts. Glad to see you're off to a good start.

    • profile image

      His daughter 

      8 years ago

      Sounds very interesting, lifegate. In our church there has been much discussion along this line. My feeling is that God will even use what we are going through to get us back to where we should be and that most definitely starts with us individually in our own lives. God bless.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      8 years ago from West By God

      Lifegate, you can delete my comment to David now. I just got his email response. Thank you

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      V. Thanks for stopping by. I hope maybe there are some things for you to at least think about and consider. If you have any specific questions, just let me know. I'll do my best to clarify.

    • v_kahleranderson profile image


      8 years ago from San Jose, California

      Hello Lifegate,

      Obviously, I am not a Pastor, but I came by to read your hub, and read what everyone else had to say. I am not sure I am in the space to say much about it, but I am here to learn nonetheless.

      God bless,

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      I see you see what I mean. Routine can get old quickly if we aren't careful. Thanks for stopping by.

    • bayoulady profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      I agree that churches have developed a hard and fast routine.(open,prayer,songs,lesson,prayer...)I am pretty sure church should be more of a fellowship and sharing with a leader/ to house.But I am happy at my church. We have many meals together one or two times a month we do potluck and fellowship.At least when God interrupts our services and routine aforementioned, we do recognize it and flow with it!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Follow God's plan for your life. That's what it's all about. What I've found is that in some of the traditions of churches (and we all have them), it sometimes interferes with Christ as the Head. I could try to explain some things, but I think the book brings it out much better. If you get a chance, I'd recommend the book. I don't agree with everything, but I do get the point the authors are making. Take care, Brother and focus on the agnostics and atheists--write some more hubs on your findings!

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 

      8 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      While I believe that God is far more interested in the hearts of His people than in the structure of our gathering together, it is worth noting that if He truly has our hearts, we will strive to follow His instruction on all things. Glad you wrote this. I'll look more intently on the subject matter as God leads. Right now He still has me focused on apologetics. There are so many agnostics and athiests that are searching for a logical reason for faith.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Thanks for your comments and input. It sounds like you know were I'm coming from. By the way, I'm a Baptist, but first and foremost a Biblicist. Thanks again!


      For sure there's more Laodicea than Philadelphia. Our churches need to see God the way Isaiah did--high and lifted up. Instead all too often there's a tedency to try to bring Him down to our level. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      8 years ago from West By God

      @DavidWS10, I sent you a PM. Sorry for the interuption, you can delete this if/when he gets it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I will definitely buy and read this book! I tell you--I feel like a fish out of water sometimes. Not doctrinally, but in the areas you mentioned.

      I appreciate you Lifegate, for your Christ-like desire to shepherd His flock in the Biblical example of the New Testament Church.

      From a fresh set of Christian eyes, I see too much Laodicea, and not enough Philadelphia these days. I am saddened by the trend. I feel helpless to do anything about it. So I study more at home, just me, my Bible and God. I pray unceasingly and trust in the Almighty to take of it.

      God Bless you, your family and your Church! Excellent hub, by the way--thanks for shining a light on this issue.

    • aka-dj profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Not sure what denomination you are in (although I have some suspicions). However, it's not just a problem limited to mainline churches, although it is very entrenched there. I have seen it in many other smaller churches too.

      It's more show, than anointing. In many cases, the services look and sound "right", but don't "feel" right. And I am not referring to feelings in the emotional sense. It seems of target somehow. Words can't always convey accurately what I am speaking about.

      I have not attended "church" for nearly 2yrs due to work commitments, but even then, it was missing something. I look forward to seeing where it's all gone in that time.

      Wish you well in your journey, and hope you don't hit major "brick walls" as a result of initiating change!

      I am amazed at how, we as believers are mandated by God TO change, and yet so many of us resist change SSSOOO much. As if change was a mortal sin or something.

      I'll stop there, though I could say lots more. Blessings

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Go for it! As you read the book, you may begin to understand why you are not taken seriously. It all has to do with the service itself. Anyway, if you don't feel you can voice your opinion, maybe you could just buy the book for your pastor as a gift. What he does with it is up to him, but you've done your part. Thanks for checking in!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Brother Quill,

      Thanks for your insights. You're absolutely right about the consumer society mentality. Also glad to hear you'll be starting a new group based on Bible principles. I'll be praying for you. I know, as you do, it's a tremendous undertaking.


      Thanks for your comment. I've been aware of a stifling of the Spirit in our church for quite awhile. A missionary passing through gave a practical demonstration as to how the New Testament church was to function and our people are excited about it already and we haven't even implemented any real changes yet. The book details from Scripture what the Head expects from His body. If you get a chance, I'd give it a read.

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I would love to read the book! I know that there is so much room for improvement in our churches. I have said it time and time again, but being a lay person, I do not feel that I am taken seriously. I also do not know "how" to voice my opinion. I am going to look into getting the book...thanks!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you LG, for your bold move, I can't argue with you,because I agree with you. Thank you for putting the truth bread of life out there. God bless you. Creativeone59

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Brother... as a Pastor I stood by and watched the decline in the Church for the last few years. I go back a few years to the release of the book "The Shack"... fictional in nature but there were many principles in the book which address this matter.

      Yet another author who addresses this issue is Wayne Jacobson in his book "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore"... also a fictional book but it takes a very serious look at what Churches are doing to their people.

      The book of Acts has a wealth of information on the simplicity of simply loving each other in a home setting, all without the need of a multi million dollar building catering to every need from drive through coffee to a gym, high tech worship performance along with far to many programs. What I find happening today is people have taken the consumer society mentality to the church and expect the same, fail and they will go where the performance is better.

      We are starting a home fellowship, based on sharing a meal, a time of study of Scripture, praying for the needs and simply fellowship where trust and love is given.

      I have attended a few conferences where Frank Viola has spoken and he is a wonderful writer and teacher, a book I will be ordering for certain.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Lady G.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Have a great day.


      Yes, it truly defies logic. The more I look into this matter of New Testament churches, the more I see the need to make changes, and I'm excited about the outcome.


      Glad to hear that your church is doing well with the changes. God blesses obedience to His Word.

    • profile image

      Michael Adams1959 

      8 years ago

      Awesome hub Lifegate, I do appreciate it also. Our church has made changes that has rocked some of the other like churches in our area. Missions boards dropped us real quick, but, we are there for the people as Christ said we need to be. Our pastor a young man( by that I mean under 40) had the strength and conviction to see it through and we have started growing in an amazing way. Three new families in the last three weeks is a testimony to his stand. Thank you for being bold enough to publish this hub, Amen and Praise God!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good morning LG. You and I, being ministers in the same denomination should see eye-to-eye on most matters, and surprisingly, we do. I believe that next to RC's, our denomination is the most deeply stuck in the traditions of men concerning the order of our services and church government. Although it pains me to admit it, ours is also the most resistant to change. What I don't understand is how a group of people who have heard and read Jesus' teachings on the traditions of men can still fall into the same trap with the Pharisees. This denies logic to me. I've also noticed that the higher the average age is in a congregation, the more susceptible they are to being in this trap. But anyways, I'm rambling. LG, thank you for providing such food for thought, and for your boldness in posting such a controversial idea/hub.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      8 years ago from West By God

      I am a minister. My church or the people that I teach are the Internet. You can read how I became one after several pleadings from Jesus on one of my hubs, I heard Jesus's Call. Don't forget the story of entertaining angels unaware throgh your ministry too and how you relate to others who are not of your faith or religion. Love is all there is. I learned that What I Learned When I went Home. Liten to your heart because that is where Jesus is and have a wonderful day. Hugs


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