This objection plays well with those who think us rebellious, quote-unquote “cowboy Christians”. Those who object in this way are stuck in the thinking that calling a church to repent of sin is a hateful act. They are wrong to think that way. It is an act of love, and our brotherhood in Christ demands no less from us, than that we obey James 5:19-20 and Galatians 6:1-10.
It is out of love for the local church we are addressing that we do so. We want them to be holy as God is holy. We want them to know the blessings of holiness. We don’t want them to continue in sin and risk the Lord removing their lampstand.
Do we really want to use our time contacting that church? Writing them a letter when we could be doing something else, like play guitar or hang out with friends? Visiting them and probably meeting with negative reactions when we could be sitting down for coffee with those whose company we enjoy? Standing outside for hours holding signs of whatever nature when we could be relaxing in air-conditioned comfort? It is out of love that we sacrifice thus. If we hated the church, we would not speak the truth, not call to holiness. We’d let the Lord bring down righteous judgment and smile in our own arrogance.
Further, I can tell you with confidence from the time that we spent Sunday morning huddling against the cold, standing outside the demonic Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, that was worship. Look throughout the Bible and you will find the notions that worship and service are intimately related, so much so that the words “worship” and “serve” occur together many, many times.
Also, there is more to being a member of a church than just Sunday morning. In fact, the American church is far too focused on Sunday morning, if you ask us, and not focused enough on actually being the church. Merely attending one morning a week is not being the church. Obeying the commands of Scripture, the “one another”s if you will – this is being the church. Yes, we are supposed to meet together. Yes, we are supposed to be known as a member of a given visible local church. That doesn’t have to be only Sunday morning, and it doesn’t have to be every Sunday morning. How about we engage our churches to pray for us as we go out, thus teaming up with us as we do this God-sized work? Let’s think a little outside the box here, not enslaved to traditions, not checking off the Sunday morning worship box in our to-do list.
Finally, who said anything about “picketing”? We do not accept the baggage associated with this word, nor the image it evokes of appearing unannounced without any preamble.