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Growing Up In Fellowship, Not Religion

January 3, 2014
“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 four of 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 !
P.s.  Today’s post is a re-blog from last year.  I don’t know why, but lately I have not had much original inspiration to write.  I feel fine and close to the Lord, but have just not been inclined to write much these past several weeks.  As I have often said before…I do not want to blog just for the sake of blogging.  I desire to share things relevant, true and fresh.  Perhaps I need some time off from blogging?  Or maybe it is time to just walk away from it for a season?  I will be pondering and praying on this for the next several days.  I would deeply appreciate your prayers in this matter.  Good news is I am driving South for fellowship again in the first week of February.  I will be visiting with folks in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. If you live near my travels I would love to meet face to face with you over coffee or a meal.  If interested please contact me?

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  1. Ramma permalink

    I totally understand where you are at. I will keep you in prayer for sure! If you ever come further west let us know. We would enjoy your fellowship as well.

  2. I think writing regularly and without fail means that the person must be a little OCD…somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but wondering where the line lays between healthy discipline and obsessiveness. If you need a break, take one, I say. Life ebbs and flows. Maybe keep things door open for when you feel like writing again. I do the same.
    A little sad for me, since I only just found your blog last week, but I’ll keep sifting through the encouraging archives. 🙂

  3. "BK" permalink

    I have the same experience and testimony for my own children, Chris. Amen. It can and DOES work. I have attended several ‘leadership’ conferences where part of the discussion was ‘what do we do about the children’ and I always say what did. As long as we’re trying to do something about the children, instead of teaching them from the get go that they can and should participate in fellowship, ‘God’ will always be ‘something adults do’ instead of a living God Who is our friend from the minute we take our first breath. “BK”

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