Life in an American Underground Church

Consider a lifestyle choice about how you do ministry.

Underground: a movement or group of people who seek to win others and grow their movement through relational experiences and communication with others in the course of everyday life. Typically this movement exists outside of traditional organizational structures and accepted traditions and procedures.

It is not because of persecution or fear of authorities (like in China or parts of the Muslim world). It is not because I have joined a cult or sectarian group who thinks they are the only ones going to heaven. It is not because it is trendy or post-modern, but it is true—I have become part of an "underground church" right here in America!

Why did I do it? The short answer: Because "normal" church life had such a grip on my calendar and life that it became a barrier to living my life in relationship to Christ and others.

Let me explain. It was like I lived in two different churches. One church was the "above ground" church of programs, projects, and meetings—most of which took place on church property. The other church seemed like an "underground" church of relationships with family, Christian friends and, to a very small extent, with those not yet Christ-followers. This underground church largely took place away from church property in homes, workplaces, and in the community. These two churches did intersect in many areas of life, but they also seemed to compete with one another. As time went on, the tension of life in the two churches became a real problem.

My heart yearned to spend time with my Christian brothers and sisters, and I wanted to make friends with my non-Christian neighbors and hang out with them so they could get to know me and the Lord who lives in me. However, my "above ground" church world seemed ...

Article Preview

This Article is currently available to subscribers only. To continue reading:

free newsletter

Sign Up For Our weekly Newsletter Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles.


Foundations of a Small-Group Leader

Foundations of a Small-Group Leader

How to build and maintain a strong foundation for community ministry


How Jesus avoided the, “I don’t have time for a small group” dilemma

Your Calendar and the Community Life of Your Group

Community is hard to build if you always have "somewhere to be".

Setting P.A.C.E. in Men's or Women's Small Groups

A method for approaching gender specific discipleship

How Long Should Small Groups Meet?

What to consider when launching a group.