Why Every Church Needs An Accordion


I’m not into polka music, but I do believe every church needs an accordion. Let me explain…

When it comes to evaluating the church, I’m not one of those guys who recommends we just “do away with church.” No more gatherings on a Sunday morning. No need for pastoral leadership or trained clergy. No need for buildings or programs. Just do away with it all. Meet in homes if you want or if you don’t want, don’t meet at all. Let whoever wants to lead lead, and if no one wants to lead, let anyone or everyone lead.

There is something incredibly naive and alarmingly unbiblical about the idea of abandoning the church.

In fact, I would submit that if you do your homework on those who have the left the “organized church” to pursue a purer and more “organic” form of it, if you check in on them a few years after they’ve left, you’ll usually find that they aren’t any closer to looking like Jesus nor have they had any greater impact on their neighbors or their world.

I know there are some exceptions to this observation, but trust me, I’ve done my homework, and if you follow the stories and check the facts, you’ll find that this mass exodus hasn’t furthered the “cause of Christ” nor strengthened the body of Christ.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.

  • Having churches with various expressions, forms and focuses? Yes.
  • Being a part of the church’s renewal and restoration process? Yes.
  • Being involved in changing the church’s systems and structures? Yes.

But abandoning it?

I don’t believe in abandoning the church but I do believe in reshaping it. And one of the ways we can do so is by re-practicing many of its current practices.

I would suggest that when we come together—in whatever configuration that may be—there are two central practices the church should practice.

  • One, we should practice the practices that will help us become better followers of Jesus Christ.

Since “making disciples” is the central mission of the church, we should ask ourselves, “When we come together are we furthering this purpose?”  Worship, teaching, communion, fellowship, and other “practices” are all important, and if engaged in properly, should help us become more like Jesus and better followers of Him—which is our goal.

But to “go to church” to just fulfill our weekly religious duty, or be entertained, or feel guilty, or feel good, or see our friends, or gather more information, or… well, you fill in the blank—these aren’t the practices the church should continue practicing.

If we redefine our goal as making disciples and then evaluate our practices in light of whether we are accomplishing this or not, then I believe we will regain a much more purposeful reason for both “doing church” and “going to church.”

  • Two, when we come together, we should also practice the practices that will help us more effectively serve our world. 

The church has always been most effective when she has focused on being gathered and being scattered. I relate this ebb and flow to playing the accordion; inward movement followed by outward movement; breathing in and breathing out; being gathered and being scattered.

  • gathering for edification and scattering for witness
  • gathering for equipping and scattering for service
  • gathering to relive the redemptive story and scattering to tell the redemptive story.

When I played basketball in high school, we practiced every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. At the end of each practice our coach would sit us on the bench and further instruct us. Then on Tuesday and Friday nights, before we went out to play our games—in the locker room he would give us some more last-minute instructions and end with a pep talk. But after all of our preparation—we had to go out and play the game!

The same is true of the church. Every church needs to play the accordion. We need to come together for instruction and edification and then go out and “play the game.”  It’s not an either-or, it’s a both-and!

So, grab that accordion and let the music begin.
Ken L Roberts

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “Why Every Church Needs An Accordion

  1. Good Post Ken. I view the value of the church from the parable of the Good Samaritan as found in Luke Chapter 10 I will rearrange this just a little. Jesus finds us in a state where organized religion (Priest & Levite) has turned it's back on us and begins a healing process through salvation but adds us to the church (taken to an Inn) where he gives gifts, also known as 5 fold ministry to care for us. He makes a promise that when He returns that if our commission costs us more than He has given us, He will repay when He returns. Scripture calls them Pastors so I will also but we could call them Inn Keepers. Wouldn't that deflate the ego of some church leaders. I have loved every place God has placed me and search for the reason why He has me there. There are things that happen when you are alone before God that does not happen In any other setting. There are things that happen when you gather together in a small group that doesn't happen any other time and there are things that happen when we come together corporately that doesn't happen any other time. We need that one on one time with God to talk to Him and allow Him to talk to us. But we also need that small group time because this is where we are cared for in the day to day issues of life. On a corporate level we find that it's not about us but about Him. We need all three to grow in a balanced healthy way to do the work of the ministry. On a side note, Didn't someone in your family band play the accordion?

  2. Leon

    Great, great insights! I really, really appreciate YOU! We need more Leon Hamm's in the church.

    With appreciation, care, and respect


  3. Ken great post! I was asked about a month ago what the churches main goal was, and my reply was to equipment and encourage those who are going out doing the main job of a Christian and that is to share the Gospel and take some folks "home" with us. There's been so many walls built up by tradition and folks just playing church.

    I had another conversation with another pastor friend of mine just early last week as to how lazy Christ's followers have gotten. It only took one woman to remove prayers out of schools, but a full body of believers can't do nothing because of fear of offending someone but what I read in 1 Cor 1:18, that's par for the course….

    Anywho, good read sir!


  4. I like this reflexion. Very helpful. But for some nation/tribe meeting together is always natural. And purposeful for community life. But again you are true brother , to think and ask ourselves when gathering.
    Thank you dear

  5. Jonoro

    First of all it's so good to hear from you all the way from Madagascar. And you are correct, each culture carries in it its on unique strength and challenge in communicating and living the gospel. Over the centuries "the West" has become less communcal and more organizational and that has increased our challenge to live our christian faith in authentic community.

    God's blessings on you and all that you are doing for the Kingdom!

    Ken L Roberts

  6. Forty years ago I never thought about life at Dyer High having such a profound meaning when read around the world. I wish I had paid more attention!
    Good writing Ken.