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So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore: An Unexpected Journey Paperback – September 2, 2008

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So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore: An Unexpected Journey + He Loves Me! Learning to Live in the Father's Affection + The Shack
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Windblown Media (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964729229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964729223
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (329 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is an exceptional story that will make you laugh, cry and be in awe of the love that Father has for all his children! It will challenge you to rethink what church is all about! Chris, Student, East Tennessee State University

I left my church after 12 years and felt I needed to be in a church until I read your book and discovered it was not about going to church but being the church. And that is to be done everywhere I go and in everything I do. I am now fellowshipping in a small house group and feel at home. This book will definitely inspire you to be the church and not just go to church. Ronda, Mother and care-giver, Canby, Oregon

About the Author

Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman are longtime friends, former pastors, and current ministers in the name of Jesus. Formerly a contributing editor to Leadership Journal, Wayne has written numerous books on Christianity. You can find his other books, blog, and articles at, and his weekly podcast at Wayne lives in Moorpark, California, with his wife, Sara. Dave Coleman is a retired hospice chaplain who continues to teach and counsel people on how to live closely with Jesus. Dave lives in Visalia, Caifornia.

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Customer Reviews

Read the book it will change your life.
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Still reading this book but enjoying it very much.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is perfect for people who have been alienated by the Christian church and/or by Christians, but also for people who are happy with the Christian church. It is actually a book about how to be in love with Jesus, and how that can manifest in today's church environment. I am sharing this book with everyone I know who is a Christian, and will read it again myself.

It doesn't matter what your denomination is or what your beliefs are; if you want to return to a "first love"-type relationship with Jesus, buy and read this book. You will not be able to put it down.

It is written as a novel, with a mysterious character who may be the disciple John, and a burnt-out pastor as the main character, Jake. Pastor Jake's life is suspenseful over the four years that the novel takes place, and the changes that take place in his life and in his thinking are riveting.

I read this in one day and am sharing it with my daughter, friend, and husband on our vacation. It will deliver an experience---a memory recreated in the present, if that makes sense---of the closest moments you have had with God.

If you are offended by or disillusioned with Christians, and especially if you are out of church altogether, it will help you to deal with what has happened to you. It may or may not bring you back to the institutional church, as this is totally irrelevant to the book---it's about how we've substituted church for Jesus, and in doing so, missed the best thing of all.

Highly recommended.
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193 of 206 people found the following review helpful By mwgrigs on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
I finished the book in about two days. A very good and intriguing read. Perhaps the greatest thing that I have taken away from the book is a reminder of both the complexity and simplicity of Father's love.

I have read several of the comments written about this book, and I can't help but wonder if the majority of them have still missed the central message of the book and the gospel itself: Everything is about the Father's love.

A search of scripture will quickly reveal that the Father is much more interested in our unqualified fellowship with him than making sure that our ecclesiology is correct.

I read the book and immediately wanted my wife and all others I know to read it too. My hope was that they would get the same revelation that I did. Unfortunately, Father doesn't work that way. Father understands that this thing called "Christianity" is a journey not a destination. As He leads us, He desires intently that we remain in fellowship with him. His holiness is not subverted merely because we we forsake structure and seek him as a loving father, rather his holiness is magnified the tighter we cleave to him.

Paul wrote in Galatians that is was for freedom that Christ set us free. Not so that we can be burdened again with the yoke of the law; or as this book alludes, institutional religion. To be sure, in nearly every body of believers there are those who love the Lord with abandon and who deem it a privilege to be on this journey, seeking more and more about His person. But there are also those who seek their own gain and labor to perpetuate the institutionalism of the establishment. Serving the "church" for the sake of the "church.
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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Marshall on July 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must for all tired, oppressed, work-driven, bored Christians who lead a joyless existence. Many know that a drastic change is needed in their Christianity, but few know what to do or what the real problems are. Many will be blessed and encouraged by this book, others will be furious and denounce it as heretical or rebellious. If you are happy with your church, thank God and don't read this book. Others fed up with dead religiosity will read it and rejoice. Those who have marvelled at the life and vibrancy of Christians in places like China after reading books such as "The Heavenly Man" by brother Yun will find this book helpful in their path of pursuing more of Jesus.
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295 of 374 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jake Colsen is the author of So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore. Jake Colsen does not exist. Rather, he is a pseudonym for the combined work of Dave Coleman and Wayne Jacobsen. You may recognize Wayne Jacobsen as one of the founders of Windblown Media, the company that published a little book called The Shack--a little book that has gone on to sell well over a million copies. As The Shack has found international renown, it has pulled in its wake Windblown Media's two other titles, both of which are written or co-written by Jacobsen.

So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore is a story about a man named Jake who is an associate pastor at a fast-growing mega-church. In the book's early pages he encounters a man named John whom he comes to believe may just be the Apostle John. Overhearing what John teaches he realizes quickly that his Christian faith is almost hopelessly rote and anemic. "Although I had been a Christian for more than two decades, I had no concept of who Jesus was as a person and no idea how I could change that." This book covers a span of months or years which sees him grow from a pastor of immature faith to a man of wisdom and mature faith.

The book is framed around continued encounters with this character John. In fact, almost every chapter begins with Jake thinking or worrying about a particular issue, only to have John quickly and mysteriously materialize. John helps Jake overcome his fears and his questions and then disappears to leave him to think about and to implement the things he now knows.

The predominant theme of the book is issues surrounding the local church. The overall teaching is that the church as most Christians understand it is a human institution designed primarily to gain and to protect power.
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