Can We Please Make It Harder to Go to Church?

Jesus takes up his crossCan we all just agree right now to discourage some people from going to church?  Jesus said that his followers would “take up the cross to follow him.”

Does going to church ever feel liketaking up a cross” ?

There’s value in the cryptic. There’s power in having to work for it. At times we try to dumb everything down the lowest common denominator in an attempt to be inclusive. This approach doesn’t really include anybody. In fact excludes everybody.

Seth writes today,

The problem with this approach is that you can never be simple enough. And of course, the bigger problem: Once you dumb it down so every single person gets it, you bake out the magic and the mystery and the elegance. Simple example: it’s not obvious how to use an iPhone, not obvious what to do when you walk into a church for the first time, not clear what to do when you visit Facebook for the first time either. At the symphony, should there be big applause signs so that people don’t clap at the wrong time?

We can up the level of commitment by making it harder to engage. If people need to ask for help we then have an opportunity to treat them with respect. It’s disrespectful to assume no one is smart enough to get it.

Are we ready to bring the cross back to church?

6 Responses to “Can We Please Make It Harder to Go to Church?”


  1. 1 chelan August 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    make it harder for people to go? i don’t know about that, but make it hard for them to sit there & listen, heck yeah. i was just telling a friend how when i go to church, i’d like it to be comfortable… but not. i want my spirit to squirm. i want to hear about the blood and the cross and the seriousness sin!

  2. 2 anne jackson August 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    i loved that post from seth today and thought the same thing!

  3. 3 blogsology August 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Dude – I get where you’re coming from but “taking up your cross” refers to living for Christ in a world that doesn’t, not going to church! The church is supposed to be a place of encouragement and exhortation to live for Christ, sing spiritual songs, and exercise the spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. The church is supposed to be refreshing for believers, not a tough place to go! If you’re not fully committed to Christ, it should make you uncomfortable in a challenging way but nobody wins if you make people enter through the fire exit or get the musicians to all play in different keys just to make things tough!

  4. 4 Billy Chia August 5, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Chelan,
    Yes! I love the Blood! What can wash away my sins? Nothing else. That’s kinda gory and weird, but it’s true.

    Anne,
    I love how you’ve created a community that responds – there was so much insight in people’s comments on your post.

    Jeff,
    Great comment! Really got me thinking:

    “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'” – Mark 8:34

    He said it to the crowds – sounds like a corporate experience to me.

    “If you’re not fully committed to Christ, it should make you uncomfortable in a challenging way”

    agreed – that’s what I’m talking about!

    “nobody wins if you make people enter through the fire exit or get the musicians to all play in different keys just to make things tough!”

    lol, also agreed – making things hard just for sake of making them hard isn’t authentic. But dumbing everything down isn’t authentic either. Simply being real and staying true will make things hard enough to successfully exclude the people who shouldn’t be there.

    “The church is supposed to be refreshing for believers, not a tough place to go!”

    kinda agree – Church can be so easy that it doesn’t really refresh. If church was a little more difficult it would be more refreshing.

  5. 5 blogsology August 6, 2008 at 6:23 am

    GREAT points, Billy. I’m not trying to be flagrantly self-promoting but I was really blessed that just last Sunday our pastor spoke on fasting and laid out a fasting plan over a 1-month period that we will be doing together as a church. It’s not necessarily seeker sensitive to tell people “Hey, why don’t you not eat for a while?” but it’s something that believers need to be challenged in.

    Good post – if you’re bored being a Christian, then you’re not getting the real story!

  6. 6 Randy Miller August 6, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I lead my church with this phrase:

    “We need to lower the barriers so that people want to come to church
    but set the bar high for becoming a member”

    If someone comes off the street and attends my church, I want to take away all the excuses, all the distractions, and anything that would prevent them from coming again. At the same time, when they begin to think about becoming a member of the church, I set the expectations high (and the expectations are all centered around our vision) so that they realize this isn’t just a “club” or “social network”.

    A book I would highly recommend is “Membership Matters” by Chuck Lawless.


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