Deconstructed Faith,  Faith & Culture,  Love Wins

The counterfeit church

counterfeitMany things that God shows me and teaches me, I don’t openly share. I hold them close – just for me.

Today, I thought was one of those times…but when we were done, he told me to share it with you.

It’s no secret that I have a difficult time lining up scripture with the way we do church today. I’ve taught that message from the pulpit more than once.

Today, what He said just pounded my heart.

Here it is….

There has and always will be a war around the idea of church. In it’s purest form, the church is unstoppable. It’s the wild, provocative, battle hungry bride of Christ.


His strategic plan is to disarm, dismantle and strip it of all authority in the world. He’s done a good job.

His plan is to create a counterfeit version of what was intended. A church that looks just close enough to the real deal that it isn’t recognized or easily identified as false.

He wants his version to grow – become powerful in it’s own way -but never walk in the full power God intended.

When those who hunger for the real church rise, they become quickly marked to be snuffed out. Quieted, stopped and forced into submission.

They are told to be quiet. They are told, that’s just not how we do it. They are told they are too much, too weird, or too “out there”.

The interesting thing is, those who are up-front in church, those who are groomed in the church, rarely become forerunners of his actual church.

It’s usually the ones who find Him in secret. The underdogs, the less-polished, the ones who aren’t religiously groomed. They don’t follow people – they’ve learned to only follow Him. This makes them a terrible threat to the counterfeit church.

They are viewed as uncontrollable, wild, unpredictable, loose cannons and ones that you just aren’t sure about. These men and women are different from the rest. They stand out.

Not always in the most comfortable ways.

They often feel like outcasts.

Outsiders of the “in crowd” at church.

They view the happenings in the counterfeit church and don’t understand them.

They don’t relish traditions of man.

They relish the ever-changing, wild, ferocious power of His presence.

When the rare occasion of the demonic appears, they are the ones who remain unafraid and unmoved. For they know the spiritual realms well. They walk in discernment. They confidently run towards the fire instead of away from it.

They don’t understand the purpose of life groups or homegroups where it’s more about a social club and a few bible verses and prayer requests, rather than a group who gathers together with a hunger and expectation for a life-changing encounter with God.

These men and women are often loners in the counterfeit church, but they tend to find eachother. They can sniff eachother out. For they carry the presence of Him. And for those who can see it, they quickly recognize it.

In the words of Francis Chan, if you were going to go into a cemetery and try to raise someone back to life, who would you bring with you?

(Crazy scenario, but this is what the church is supposed to be doing spiritually)

I can promise you it wouldn’t be the counterfeit church.

It would be the crazy lady who walks the streets of her city worshiping and praying day and night (who you think is totally NUTS). It would be the firecracker prayer warrior who prays with such intensity that you feel super uncomfortable when they pray. Because it’s just TOO MUCH.

It would be the few men and woman you have encountered who carry a presence that’s different.

In actuality, the gospel – the message – is an active war for  wounded souls.

Those who are in His captive audience recognize the battle they are in every day. They may not do things the way they have always been done; they may make others uncomfortable at times when they talk about their love affair with Jesus and the time they passionately spend with Him.

The way they love those who the church would often turn their back on may make you uneasy. The way their presence changes a room may cause you to feel uncomfortable.

Although they are not always understood or welcomed inside the church, ironically these men and women are craved by the world.

The words they speak that the church finds so uncomfortable, the world finds comforting. The presence they carry that rattles the church, is hungered by the world.

In many ways, it’s the story of Jesus all over again.

Hated by the religious institution.

Loved by the world.

Here’s why:

Jesus did not bring peace into the religious establishment. He brought peace into hurting souls.

And there isn’t anyway to do that without it getting messy.

Counterfeit churches don’t like things that are messy or uncontrollable.

Jesus had to cast out demons.

He had to heal the sick.

He had to jump into a stoning situation with a woman who had committed adultery.


Sadly, the very place that should have embraced that, fought it.

And still does today.

Having that said, I love church. I am for churches  – BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN DO BETTER.

My hope is that you would seek Him for yourself. That you would passionately run after him instead of  the idea of what church should be.

I can promise you – HE IS SO MUCH BETTER.


Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.


  • Gay Ingram

    Having experienced the rejection by ‘the church’, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. I, too, go into the byways and out of the main stream to seek and to love those who are hurt.

    • Shattered in Him

      I think way too many of us have been rejected by churches. It is heartbreaking. I love on others who hurt, too, and have found that I have giant church moments that are not even in a church building!

  • Tye

    Amen, Amen and AMMMMEEEENNNN!!!! With my hands in the air and jumping up and down. With out going into a long back ground of the last 7 years. We started back to church then and went to the one my husband grow up in and was comfortable with. The first time I heard the catholic priest read verses about healing the sick I almost jump up yelling Amen! But I knew my husband would have melted under his chair. However, he (husband) is the reason that we go to a different church. He is also the reason we as a family are different. I have seen him pray for those who are in great need. He is the one who raises his hands when someone from the church needs healing. We still sit in the back row as a family but he can be a sons of thunder when things get hard. Thank you for this!! When you stop worrying about what or how people act and pray for them. Amazing things happen!

  • Laura

    Tears!!! Just tears! This is where my heart is. My physical body is ill, so I can’t do as much as my heart desires, but my heart longs to comfort the sick, the pained, the lost and the lonely. And those inside the church have often cast me aside. I’m thankful I get to be Christ to the church (as he allows) and the world, but the world has open arms, ready and longing to hear the gospel, while the church rejects.

  • Susan Ream

    Yes, I loved this. I am in a Church that invites Messy and worships wildly. Jesus is the focus and we are constantly being pointed vertically. I praise God for bringing us to this Authenic Church and I pray for the leadership all the time knowing there is a target on their backs. They are leading boldly with unabashed ferver for our Lord. Excellent Article, Thank you for writing what God laid on your heart!

  • 2btrue

    On these lines, if you don’t read them already, you might enjoy the posts of John Pavlovitz and Jeremy Myers. Each of these guys say some of the stuff the Church needs to hear…they stand against the counterfeit-ness of the Church we see today.

    • Shattered in Him

      Pardon me if I am speaking out of turn. I understand where you are coming from, but there are times when we need to set aside our doctrinal issues. This might be one of those times. Yeshua broke tradition many times and they crucified Him for it. Let’s not do that? God bless.

    • Shattered in Him

      I am responding to this in love and with great concern. I prayed about this, because I see this a lot. People love to rely on their own understanding, instead of God’s.

      Also, I am going to put this here for others who see this comment:

      In order to apply this verse accurately, I have to wonder if it would be wise to consider the social customs surrounding the time period when this book was written. Even in the United States, there was a time when women could not vote. Is it wrong that women now vote today?

      In Greek, the word ‘doctrine’ is feminine (how about that?) and means “teaching” or “instruction”. Aside form feminine or masculine properties, the meaning does not change greatly when you get into Latin and Hebrew. I even saw a contextual example where a root word for doctrine was used to describe “learning” and “ideology”. I could go all day, because I actually do study scripture in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek as a hobby.

      Women DO have a place in the church, especially in youth ministries, women’s ministries, marriage ministries, etc., etc. We cannot allow doctrinal issues to cause division in the church.

      Christ simplified doctrine for all of us in Mark 12:30-31:
      “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

      When I studied the word ‘submission’ it basically came out “under God’s arrangement”. When we rely on Proverbs 3:5-6, we are submitting ourselves to God and coming under His arrangement rather than our own. THAT is how doctrine should function. I pray the guidance of the Holy Spirit can end these issues for the church as a whole.

  • Doug Dimmel

    I don’t like things “Messy” but it seems I used to. I think traditions of men are easier to settle into the older you get. I’m a senior and I realize I’m driving my sports car a little slower.

  • Lisa Quad

    Wow, God bless you, Anna! And Thank You!
    You’ve captured my life in this season pretty well. I am encouraged that God is building something.

  • C Steen

    I would say that this mostly applies to the church in the West; the persecuted church in the rest of the world is on fire and thrives. If you haven’t seen “The Insanity of God” or read the book, you should. The church in North America is going to have to do better; I believe great persecution is coming. God said He will shake EVERY THING that can be shaken–this includes the church. (I am, btw, one of the outcasts –because I am not afraid to speak things like this.) Thanks for your boldness in posting this.

  • Richie

    See… and here I thought that this was an article of how Christianity was a plagiarized and “counterfeit” version of the religions that existed thousands of years before. Ugh!

    People will never learn.

  • Tess

    YES!!! I so, so, so get this!!! My struggle…do I continue to walk into a counterfeit church, knowing that there are a lot of things amiss? Or do I just keep chasing Him on my own? He and I love to get together in the kitchen, cooking dinner or doing dishes…I finally have a job where I can sing to Him almost all day. I just can’t force myself to get drag my kids into a church that is full of fakeness every Sunday anymore…but I miss running into the few firestarters that I was able to “sniff” out. 🙂

    Thank you for your powerful words and message…I pray it reaches those that need to hear it!!! Much love!!!

    • Jo H

      What if you would meet with the fire-starters for Bible study? Or prayer? All of the great revivals of this world began with prayer. It is something to consider and pray about. Also, Jesus is an awesome interior decorator. He’s given me all my best ideas!

  • Agent X

    Reblogged this on Fat Beggars School of Prophets and commented:
    As long as I am “reblogging” tonight anyway… this one seems a rather fitting message for the Fat Beggars ministry. Shunned at one church, kicked out of another, passed over at a job interview for a position with a homeless ministry after quoting scripture to answer the questions asked…. Yeah. This post seems relevant.

  • lptrey

    I cant thank you enough for this post. I touch on this in my post “Religion Weakens The Relationship” I’m so very blessed to be a part of a genuine church with a wonderful preacher filled with the Holy Spirit. Check out my page for my current and upcoming theological posts! Follow for follow. Have a great day!

  • Veronica

    Thank you for your post, I can relate to it. I say, Amen!! A lot of Christians have become cousins to the world and not Brides of Christ. We must run after and return to our first love. No matter how the outside world or the those inside the Church sees us, we who have been called and set apart must be about Papa’s business. Sold out completely to Jesus.

  • Elle

    Where is a genuine church? Seems to me they are all gone at least where I live. I left the church and won’t go back. God’s people are the church and wherever we are, there the church is. I’m done with church buildings and wasting my time on useless drama and gossip and all kinds of controlling, manipulative crap. But I’m not done with Jesus because he’s not done with me.

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