Guest Post: Why We Don't Do Church

It's the first Monday of the month and that means Layne is back!
Her previous posts include this one and this one.

If you didn't know, Layne and I had a blog together with a pretty epic cult following. We were known as LaySay. And we had a weekly post called The Sunday Sizzle.

Our life together for those 2.5 years was nothing short of beautiful mix with a bit of crazy.
We lived in Hawaii.
We rode camels next to the Pyramids.
We sat in front of the Colosseum in Rome.
We painted on the wall between Israel and Palestine.
We jumped off the cliff in Santorini.
We swam and had a mud bath in the Dead Sea.
I could go on but it gets a bit ridiculous.

Enjoy yet another post from my dearly loved sort-of-Canadian friend, Layne.

Once upon a time, long ago in a faraway land, I went to church every Sundaymorning and night that is. I went Wednesday nights and sometimes Fridays too. We also had a lot of overnight prayer meetings at church.
I never, ever, Ever missed. If I didnt feel well, I went to church. If there was inclement weather, we just left earlier. Missing wasnt an option.
I simply dont count the one time we didnt quite make it because my mum tried to get us there after a 3-4 foot snowfall. We and our stuck Volvo made it onto the evening news which was actually quite exciting.

For over a decade I did puppets for kids church on Sunday mornings and went to practices on Monday nights. For a decade I was on the church drama team-we had practices on Sunday afternoons and performed often. I filled in for the pre-school teachers when they were absent and I was on the nursery roster too. The only reason I wasnt on the worship team is because they didnt want me-something about me singing in whatever key I could find just didnt do it for them.

My entire life breathed in and out through the four walls of my church family.

I would go as far as to say that in the first two decades of my life alone, Ive been to church more than many Christians go in their entire lifetime. This is not a boast; its just facts.

I was recently at a friends wedding and it was so beautiful to see her parents with their friends. Theyd known each other for decades, raised their kids together, and many of them had gone to church together for years on end.

I loved their history.
I craved their deep intertwining of lives.

For what does our life look like? We travel a ton-like over 3 months last year. That does Nothing to help our Perfect Attendance for Sunday School record.
And we work a lot. Like a ton, like 60-70 hours a week when we are home, including most weekends. Over the last 6 months, there have only been two Sunday mornings when we were even in town/at our apartment during church time. This is not an exaggeration.

But, and I will hazard going here, even if we could go to church every Sunday, right now we just wouldnt.

Jonathan came home a few months ago and said, I want us to always live radically and love Jesus with our whole hearts, but I am over the whole Sunday-morning-church-thing.

[At least for now.]

This seemingly out-of-the-blue declaration was a long time in coming and I only sighed in relief.

Weve spent the last two years of our marriage trying to reconcile our hearts and convictions to one of our local church bodies-they are lovely but it just wasnt working. The alternative of walking away into the unsanctioned and unknown, however, felt nothing short of terrifying.
Almost all my Christian friends still embrace the beauty of the Sunday morning ritual and some of my best friends in the entire world are pastors.

Going with the flow is always easier.

And awhile back, I had someone tell me with not a little judgment in their voice that God would bless my life more if I made coming to church on Sunday mornings a better priority.

Insert a looooooooooonggggggg pause here. If we go to Sunday morning church more, God will bless our lives more.


Lets talk about this.

Is this, then, how God and Christianity work?

I mean, I get the general philosophy behind this Thou Shalt Go To Church belief-Ive been a Christian long enough for that-see paragraph #1.

Of course Ive heard all the sermons about God saying we need to go to Sunday morning church. I believe the verse referred to actually says, And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
And I love that verse. I think its awesome. I love me some good meeting together with other Christians who want the deep stuff of God.
Its arrogance for any of us to assume or act as if weve arrived at some great spiritual plain and dont need anyone or anything else along the way.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it certainly takes and intentional, dedicated group of individuals to keep us belligerent adults in line too.

We need each other. In Togetherness to pray, to encourage, to love fiercely.

I love the beauty of living in fellowship and constancy with a group of like-minded people. I want to grow old with a group of fiery-minded, big-hearted, courageous souls who dare to live differently, to challenge the status quo, who are in love with God, His kingdom and bringing heaven to earth in tangible ways every single day.

I love spending time with anyone who challenges me, who asks the hard questions, who wants to go to the marrow of the Spirit and of God.

And what, after all, is The Church?
Is it a building, four walls, a Sunday morning service? I hear Christians across the nations decrying, NO.
But is that how we actually live?
Where are we putting our money, our lives, our time?

We say we dont put God/Christianity/the idea of fellowship into the rigid confines of two hours on Sunday morningsbut I am here to suggest that sometimes the ideas are so linked in our small human brains that dislodging one from the other is so painful and scary that weve barely tried.

When I was little my mums best friend loved God but didnt go to church and I remember all our feelings and judgments on the subject. Clearly, she was in rebellion and Not Really walking in the fullness of Christianity. We held our relationship with her with tenterhooks.

Really, people-who the hell do we think we are?

Just to be clear, we did not leave the traditional Sunday morning scene
because we were hurt and offended. Sure, as everyone has, weve had our share of messiness in the church. But people hurt people-welcome to relationships. Thats no reason to walk away.

because we think we are too good for it. That would only be pride.

because it doesnt do any good. There are many, many, many incredible churches out there. And if we ever live in Dallas, we will go to church with you A. Or out west, we will go to church with you M & A. And there are many churches in our own city who are doing great and wonderful things. We just dont have the same DNA as any of them and thats okay too.

because we were bored of it. Okay, welllllllllmy mum had this philosophy when I was growing up that I had a good brain and should never be bored. I have always embraced this ideal to the best of my ability. Besides, is Sunday morning church for us or for God?

I remember a few years ago, when I first joined YWAM, hearing one of my leaders talking about having church at a local coffee shop. I immediately wrote her idea off as sacrilegious and strange.

Almost 7 years later, I still think its strange, but I like it.

Ive had some of the most extraordinary and stimulating conversations of my life, right at the local coffee shop. Or with friends in our apartment over a long dinner and maybe a little wine. Friends and I have explored the deeper questions of life and God as weve walked down the road or waited for a train.
And Im a better person and stronger Christian for it.

So I guess Jonathan and I are just wondering if it is, in fact, possible to love radically, live wholeheartedly, serve endlessly outside of our small-minded, man-made confines.

We think that maybe, just maybe it is.

Maybe Jon and I dont want to DO church
but we do want to BE the church.
In our marriage.
In our community.
In our job.
In every conversation we have.

It sounds beautiful-and it is. But its hard too. Really, ridiculously hard. It means loving people past their uglies-and letting people embrace us past our own. It means getting down in the trenches and getting our hands dirty. It means giving of ourselves, our time, our money even when it hurts. And it hurts often.

It means taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones, hugging humility and giving it our all every single day.

But its worth it too. Oh-so-worth-it. We believe with all our hearts this is true. So, Come on church-lets dare to try, together.

 Layne lives in southern Ontario with her husband Jonathan where they have been running their media company since October 2011.

She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism. She interned at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan and has volunteered for PhotogenX since 2009.

Layne co-authored “Act Here. Love Now.,” a culmination of stories, photos and practical ways to impact your own community, city and world. “Act Here. Love Now.” was a finalist in the Multicultural Non-Fiction and Current Events/Social Change categories in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Their business was recently featured on Wedding Chicks, one of the premiere wedding planning sites.


  1. I loved this. It really got me thinking. I'm part of an established church here in England, and so hungry for those deep relationships to grow, and for us all to awaken to the reality of the Kingdom and step into this FREELY. You are right that often the four walls and the establishment can drain life, I feel that we are redeeming this abit in my church. And praying for Jesus to Come and Crash in on us!!!!!! Crash in on our agenda. (that's what I want anyway)
    I was also thinking about how I think the bible is clear that structure of "leadership" in christian community is important... so I want to see that work itself out in the midst of loving, relationship based community that is really hungry.
    Good stuff...thanks for giving me a story to add to my thinking

    1. Hey Chloe!
      Thanks so much for sharing your heart and thoughts. So beautiful. Jesus crashing in on our agendas is needed, powerful and sometimes painful. But always Good and Right!
      I think about the leadership piece a lot too-I'm often checking in with God to make sure I'm not just trying to do life on my own, unwilling to submit to any sort of leadership. Eeeee. We are currently still working with YWAM so we have leaders over us there.
      These big questions are all so interesting to pray through. Come have coffee and a heart walk over here with me in Canada?

    2. Sooooo good! Thank you for replying...sorry I am only just getting back to it. I love these kind of conversations, thank you for being open about your experience and your heart. It's how we grow, right! When I'm in Canada you can bet on it! Ever heard of Swindon? If you venture there you know who to call.... :)


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