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So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore
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So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,543 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known. So You Don t Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake s compelling journal that chronicles thi ...more
178 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2007)
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I received this book from a friend. I had seen it around and was very interested in reading it because it looked like just what my family needed.

when given this book, the sister of my friend told me that "it wasn't what we expected, but it was what we needed." I think that is a good description of this book. Maybe you've felt unsatisfied in your church family and have considered leaving. Or maybe you are perfectly happy where you are. Either way, reading this book isn't a waste of time.

Unlike so
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly powerful book - and is available free as an e-book as well as being buyable in printed form. It gently looks at why so many Christians are discouraged, or fed up with structured church life, but without in any way criticising the Church as such.

Jake, the main character, relates a series of conversations with an unusual person called John who appears in his life now and again. As he comes to terms with what John is saying, he experiences many struggles in his life until he
Throughout this book, I was blown away by the depth of insight that John, one of the characters, offers. I didn’t keep a list of memorable quotes as I went, because I felt like I’d be writing out most of the book! So, I had to flip back through the book to pick out some passages to quote here, and really, it wasn’t difficult to find several- - there are great quotes on almost every page! I’ve listed some good ones at the end of my review.

My situation at the moment is different from the main char
Bart Breen
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not What you Might Expect

This is likely one of the best books I have ever read and I'll tell you why.

I've been all about the Church for most of my life. I've been a pastor, a denominational official, a Church Administrator, an Elder, a Chairman of the Board and while I'm not currently in a formal Church Ministry role, I'm finishing up a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and writing a Master's Thesis on Leadership Styles and impact within the organization of the Church.

On some levels,
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
This is a poor title for the book. It's more about HOW to go to church: Relationally - with people and with God.

A strange little book that I tried to hate. And did for a bit - but then it seemed to redeem itself. It's a novel with a huge message.

More to come...
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do I think about this book? I don't know. This book contained the Christ-focus I felt The Shack sorely lacked and it did not push the Universalist beliefs that made me so uncomfortable with the Shack. How now shall you live? I still don't know what is the answer, but I do know for sure that the teachings of my denominational church are not the answer. I needed to read this book now, since I have spent a dreadfully painful two-years wrestling with doubts about the big business that is my chu ...more
Jake Colsen, an overworked and disillusioned pastor, happens into a stranger who bears an uncanny resemblance (in manner) to the apostle John. A number of encounters with John as well as a family crisis lead Jake to a new understanding of what his life should be like: one filled with faith bolstered by a steady, close relationship with the God of the universe. Facing his own disappointment with Christianity, Jake must forsake the habits that have made his faith rote and rediscover the love that ...more
Cherie Hill
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wanted to have a sit down conversation with one of Jesus' disciples? Chances are....none of us will get that opportunity this side of eternity. But, through this book and in this message, you will take an unexpected journey and discover truths about the body of Christ and your walk of faith that will change the way you live.

You will not want to miss out on this opportunity to hear answers to some of your most desperate questions about "the church." Should you feel guilty about not
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the past year our family has started participating in a house based church instead of a traditional building church. We have really enjoyed the freedom that has come in doing that. This book really confirmed my discontent with what "church" should look like as well as provoked other thoughts on my personal relationship with God.
*sighs deeply*
I don't know what to say about this book. I found it sitting on the shelf in a St. Vinny's and the title piqued my curiosity. After seeing that the audiobook was on Hoopla I decided to try it one evening with Devin and I don't want to say "it changed everything" but I honestly hope it has. I figured with that title it could go any direction, but I honestly wasn't really expecting the direction it DID go. A fictional exploration of what it means to be the body of Christ and to follo
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liking this rec from Nate. I'm in Chapter 4 or 5 right now (tough to keep track on an audiobook) Definitely a great source for some ongoing conversation, thought, and ongoing discussion about the often power-hungry, spiritual guilt wielding "institution" of the church vs. the purpose that God intended. So far I've really liked and been encouraged by the emphasis the author is placing on a thriving, authentic, organic love relationship w/ Jesus that also results in community. It's so easy to beco ...more
Caleb Gibson
Mar 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This should be titled,

"So you don't want to go to church anymore... Good neither do we!" Because no one in this story went back to church.

I like what one reviewer (Christine) said, "This was one of those books that I wasn't sure what was wrong with it until I nearly finished it, mainly because it's written as a journey & you're not quite sure of the final destination 'til the end..." I really read it thinking it was to help people go back to church and heal those wounds, but this book is ju
Aug 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those books that I wasn't sure what was wrong with it until I nearly finished it, mainly because it's written as a journey & you're not quite sure of the final destination 'til the end... There's a bit of wheat among the tares, but overall it has the potential to do much harm - encouraging frustrated people to just leave 'the institution of church' (which is to blame for pretty much everything) & just love & be loved by God. & love others. It's not particularly we ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting book about how church can interfere with our relationship with Jesus. Thought-provoking read that I would recommend to anyone. My only problem with it was that initially it seemed to blame all our spiritual problems on the organized church, which takes no responsibility on ourselves. Otherwise, had good insight into what churches often do wrong.
Jan 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Got this book based on good Amazon reviews. It drew me in but then it became increasingly annoying. This is the second fiction book I've read about a disillusioned Christian who's getting advice from a mysterious character who seems to know everything. I'd strongly prefer an honest memoir about the authors' real life experiences. This is just really bad fiction. Not believable. Weird. Boring.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shiloh by: Stacie Davis, Joel Smith
This book came highly recommended by a couple of people. One of the authors had helped to write The Shack and I could see simialarities. It was written as a story, which I wasn't expecting, but very effective. There were a couple comments that I felt were not Biblical (as in the Shack), such as "We can't love what we fear." Considering how much the Bible talks about the fear of God being integral to our walk with Him, perhaps even more emphasized than the love of God, I felt this comment was in ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book explains my personal views of Christianity to a "tee". I loved every page of it and recommend it to everyone.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very challenging to the status quo of church life. Many great one line zingers, but all not completely Biblical. For example, on page 41 they write, "Do you remember what Stephen said right before they picked up stones to kill him? 'The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.' That's when they turned on him." But if you double check in Acts 7, there's 10 verses, many more words between that proclimation and their picking up stones.
Also, on page 56, the books gives the impression
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone disillusioned or fed up with church and particularly church leaders.
Recommended to Pat by: Online friend
Great book and engagingly written. By another writer, the plot would have seem contrived, but by these two I felt drawn into the story. About halfway or a little more than halfway, I was really drinking it all in and couldn't wait to get to the end to see how everything worked out.

Here are some of the passages that spoke to me (my notes in italics):

"It seems like everyone I've talked to lately is running on empty--even Christians I've known for decades. I met with one of our elders yesterday, w
Kelly Boggs
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-growth
I finally finished this but I’m still chewing on all of its ideas. I know the title seems extreme, but the book is a narrative about an assistant pastor who gets burned by the religious institution of “church.” So many truths are written in the book that really have me thinking. Personally I’m not going to quit attending weekly meetings at my local organization, but I am looking at it with a fresh new perspective and expectation. I highly recommend this read if you have ever felt disappointed/co ...more
Donna Craig
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. My husband and I read it together. We both enjoyed it, finishing it much faster than we normally finish the books we read together. We didn’t agree with everything the authors said, but that’s normal. We were challenged to think and rethink the way we think about church and Christian living. The book is formatted like a story, and the points are made in conversations between the characters. This book pushes hard against current church structure, but it’s never condemnin ...more
An allegory of sorts that seems to have some autobiographical content from the authors.\n \nThe title alone drew me to this book about fictional character Jake Colson. Jake meets a mysterious man, John, who challenges his views of himself, God's love and acceptance, and his concept of the church body. This book chronicles many encounters as Jake walks through months and even years of coming to terms with his 'need' to 'earn' God's love, his craving for acceptance, and his disillusionment with th ...more
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Christians, and those wanting to understand better what Jesus wants of His people
Recommended to David by: Amazon
Shelves: church
To my surprise, this turned out to be a novel, albeit an inspirational novel. The lead character, Jake, is taken through a series of steps starting with a position in an "institutional" church, by a man he knows only as John. Jake has no address, phone number, or email for John; John just appears in Jake's life from time to time and takes on a role as counselor and guide.

The counsel John gives makes a lot of sense, but it gives up altogether on the organization of the church. The book's definiti
Amy Wright
Very great book. I love how it's still a fictional story, therefore easy to get engrossed and follow it 'till the end. Like the Shack, I followed the story and with almost each chapter, was strongly reminded or learned for the first time, a human tendency we tend to have that we NEED to be reminded of to STOP IT.

Great book have never set foot in a church, or if you go to a church now or if you decided a long time ago you no longer want to attend a church. I think you'll find healing here
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, so you don't want to go to church anymore, don't expect this book to replace several thousand years of church teaching and make you guilt free. This is a book written by two former pastors who were upset with the "institutionalization" of the modern church, and they have a point. Problem is they use the vehicle of a disgrunteled pastor and the mysterious Apostle John, 2000 years after his most likely death to make thier point.

I would love to discuss the points made about true worship and fel
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who feel obligated to attend church
Shelves: christianfiction
This book was given to me by my mother. It is written from the perspective of a minister, Jake, who encounters a man named "John". John bounces in and out of Jake's life, causing him no amount of trouble with his advice.

If you go to church because you feel like it pleases God, or it makes you a better person, or it makes your mother happy, you need to read this. If you think the program your church offers will bring people to faith, you need to read this book. If you stay away from church becau
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been raised in a legalistic home, this book opened my eyes to the Father's love and gentleness towards us. It also spurred me to rethink many long held beliefs in regards to organized religion and why religious programs don't work. Traditions and fallacies are challenged in the context of fiction. This is an excellent book for anyone seeking real answers about who God really is and is tired of the pat, "scripted" answers so often given by church leaders.

The book content gets 5 stars, but
Trae Cadenhead
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing novel. The protagonist in the story senses early in the story, as many of us do, that church as he is experiencing it is not what it was intended to be. Through the wisdom of John he realizes he is focused far too much on the institution of church and far too little on a living, vibrant relationship with Christ himself. Over time he is changed to see Christ's church instead of the man-made organization. The book is a gentle, loving, but powerful critique on how the institutio ...more
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wondering if there is more to being a Christian than just going to a building
Recommended to Barbara by: Brian (who else?)
I have actually read this book twice. The second time was even better. I find that now I go to church for Bible studies because I want to see the people I like best and that's where they tend to be! But I also find that living as a Christian every day is exciting, challenging and so much more fulflling than I thought. I may read this book every 6 months, just because it seems to give me insight each time.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, fiction
Challenges the reader to think about the way we practice religion. Are we just following tradition, and missing out on what God has in mind for us? Or, are we developing a relationship with the Father and letting him guide our actions? Told in the form of a novel, it has propelled me in a new direction in my spiritual journey.
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Wayne Jacobsen was a pastor for 20 years and a Contributing Editor to Leadership Journal and has authored numerous books and articles on spiritual formation, relational community and engagement of culture. Wayne also cohosts a weekly podcast at, out of which came his collaboration on the writing of The Shack and helped create Windblown Media, the publishing company behind the phe ...more

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“Because people get together, sit in a room, sing some songs and share scripture, they think they've experienced the life of the church. If that's all been real, they may have. More times than not, however, it's just a routine they feel good about having accomplished, but in the end they haven't really shared his life at all. That's why I like pulling commitment off of people. You find out where they really are on the inside and that's good for you and for them.” 6 likes
“One of the most significant lessons Jesus taught his disciples was to stop looking for God's life in the regimen of rituals and rules. He came not to refurbish religion, but to offer them a relationship.” 3 likes
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