Not-church church for atheists

There’s an interesting movement among atheist communities—even in Nashville, the “buckle of the Bible Belt.”

The Tennessean (and others) recently reported about a new trend: Sunday gatherings among atheists. The headline is accurate: “Atheist gathering looks a lot like church.” Take a minute to read that article. I’ll wait right here until you get back…

There are at least 16 of these groups across the nation. Nashville’s is called “Sunday Assembly.” Like a church service, there is music, activity for children, an inspirational message—even multiple services!

communityWhat strikes me most about this gathering is this: people of all kinds have a hunger for community. We find community in all sorts of places: with our co-workers, in our kids’ little league bleachers, with our Warcraft guild, our motorcycle club, our service organizations, and in our churches.

Some churches have forgotten just how hungry people are to be with each other, especially when they’re united by a cause they can agree on. The atheist assembly is just that—an example of people seeking community.

Some churches have lost their community—individuality is key. Churches have been deformed into places where people drop in, check in, check out, and drop out. Church is supposed to be so much more! A place where people get to know each other—warts and all. A place where people help each other. A place where “everybody knows your name.”

Don’t forget that God invented community. The only thing “not good” about creation was that man was alone (Genesis 2:18). Ever since, God has used communities (tribes, nations, church) to accomplish his purposes.

Let’s learn a lesson from this trend and make sure that we are the sort of community God wants us to be.