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Growing Up In Fellowship, Not Religion

March 13, 2013


“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2: 22

Today at my daughter Lydia’s school they gave out character awards for their Five Star program.  Five Star is a voluntary character building and equipping program that focuses on 5 key points.  Those important points are Respect, Responsibility, Sacrifice, Courage, and Integrity.  Last year Lydia was the only one out of 150 students to earn the Integrity award.  Today she earned 2 awards.  One for academic excellence and the other one is called “The Extra Mile Award”.

The “Extra Mile Award” is given to the students who excel in all five key points of character and show the most leadership potential.  In order to receive this award she had to be nominated by 2 coaches and approved by the Five Star coordinator.  The coordinator told me after the awards that Lydia was a very special and gifted child; and that she was excellent in supporting and serving her peers.  He also noted that she was adept in developing relationships.

None of this surprised me, but to hear such praise of my child did bring me great joy.   To me this totally affirmed the effectiveness of totally free & open, Spirit led relational fellowship.  All my children were born and raised totally outside of traditional/institutional “church” or religion.  My children did not grow up in Sunday school or youth group.  They grew up without sermons or conventional bible studies.  And guess what?  They turned out just fine.  I would say better than fine. Do they stumble at times?  Sure, but they love Jesus and allow Him to pick them back up every time. 

All my children grew up in open fellowship.  Their teacher has been The Holy Spirit teaching them directly or through Mom & Dad or the other followers of Jesus we have gathered with over the years.  To me the true test of any church style is the generational test or how well our children and grandchildren follow Jesus.  My children were raised to be free in Jesus and to follow The Spirit and no other Pastor or Leader.  They have not been programmed by the “church” system of Babylon.  They understand that every member of the Body is a Priest before both man and God and I am so, so grateful for that.

Often the first question people wrestle with regarding leaving the traditional “church” for more relational fellowship is, “What will we do FOR the children?”  I say the much better question to ask is “What will we do WITH the children?”  True Church fellowship is about relationships and not programs or classes.  Both children and adults need deep intimate relationship with both God and their other family members in Christ to really ever grow up into maturity in Jesus.  This takes dialogue and interaction, face to face and heart to heart.  If we share the Truth in Love with one another instead of listening to preaching, teaching and other forms of monologue…we will grow up into HIM who is the Head…. as each part of the Body of Christ does its work.  Systems and programs, especially those that look only to recognized Pastors and Leaders for guidance and truth, will all eventually fail.  

What we all need is relationship with Jesus and each other.  The institution of “church” can never really get you there.  It is impossible to make true, mature disciples, from a pulpit.  Sermons might give you some knowledge, but they cannot give you relationship with anyone; including Christ Himself.  However, when we share our entire lives with one another in a beautiful ongoing, life long, conversation we learn and grow.  It is simple.  Live your life out loud in full view of Christ’s Body 24/7, giving your own life and love for the sake of others and you will become His disciple.  Don’t go to Church, BE the Church!  Be the family that He calls all of us to be.  Can’t be done in just an hour a week or with programs and sermons.  This one thing I know beyond the shadow of any doubt…It will cost you everything to follow Jesus and it will cost you everything if you don’t.  The choice is simple.  What will it be?  Living and active real relationships or dead religion?

Love and….

Kirk Out !



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  1. Mickey Merrie permalink

    Very nice work brother! I will be forwarding the link!

  2. Wonderful post, sharing.

  3. Well done Christopher and family!

    Our own children and their spouses (in their early to mid thirties) are raising their children in this ‘open fellowship’ mode, and so far with good outcome! Our 5 grandchildren range from age 6 months to 13 years. The 6 year old said to my wife recently, “Granny Mel, we’ve discovered that we don’t GO to church, we ARE the church!”

    Wish my wife and I could have done the same, but God is sovereign – in his great grace our 3 children and their spouses all know and love Jesus deeply.


  4. Nice article! We are already seeing generations raised up without even knowing what the “church system” is. The Kingdom is advanced trans-generationally! Awesome!

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