Toggle navigation

About Mere Churchianity

Have you left the church in search of Jesus? 
Studies show that one in four young adults claim no formal religious affiliation, and church leaders have long known that this generation is largely missing on Sunday morning. Hundreds of thousands of “church leavers” have had a mentor and pastor, however, in Michael Spencer, known to blog readers as the Internet Monk. Spencer guided a vast online congregation in its search for a more honest and more immediate practice of Christian faith.
Spencer discovered the truth that church officials often miss, which is that many who leave the church do so in an attempt to find Jesus. For years on his blog Spencer showed de-churched readers how to practice their faith without the distractions of religious institutions. Sadly, he died in 2010. But now that his last message is available in Mere Churchianity, you can benefit from the biblical wisdom and compassionate teaching that always have been hallmarks of his ministry.  
With Mere Churchianity, Spencer’s writing will continue to point the disenchanted and dispossessed to a Jesus-shaped spirituality. And along the way, his teachings show how you can find others who will go with you on the journey.


Praise for
Mere Churchianity

“This is a book you’ll treasure and go back to over and over again. It’s convicting, funny, and wise. And even if you wince, it’s profoundly biblical. Meet the real Jesus and you’ll never be the same. And not only that, you’ll rise up and call me blessed for having told you about it.”
—Steve Brown, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando), author, and teacher on the Key Life radio program

“There is an anxious question in the air: does church contribute anything positive to following Jesus? If you are asking this question, the late Michael Spencer is someone who felt your pain. If you have left the church to follow Jesus, and if you find him, Jesus will lead you to a community of fellow followers—call it what you will. Mere Churchianity will guide you along this path.”
—Bishop Todd Hunter, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, author of Giving Church Another Chance

“Michael Spencer was a self-described ‘post-evangelical’ Christian. He pointed out what already was obvious to many: that too often, churches practice ‘moralistic, culture-war religion.’ And sadly, their members are ‘church-shaped’ rather than Jesus-shaped. Almost prophetic in his railing against the prosperity gospel and efforts to turn God into a ‘convenient vending machine,’ Spencer’s book offers a timely and difficult reimagining of what living as a person of faith really means.”
—Jennifer Grant, journalist, columnist for The Chicago Tribune

Mere Churchianity expresses a brilliant empathy for those who are disillusioned with—and distant from—what evangelicalism has become. At the same time, Michael’s writing is a clarion call to evangelicals to stop obscuring Jesus and his gospel. This book asks the most challenging question of all: does the body of Christ resemble Jesus?”
—Jared C. Wilson, pastor, author of Your Jesus Is Too Safe

“If you are satisfied with the way the church does Christianity in America, then you should back slowly away. However, if you are willing to be challenged, and maybe even infuriated, by Michael Spencer’s analysis of evangelicalism, then read this book. You may or may not agree with him, but you will be forced to think and hopefully pray about how we engage those who have left our churches.”
—Dave Burchett, author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

“Every Christian, regardless if they’re engaged in church or not, needs to read, discuss, and reread Mere Churchianity. Reading this book is like the best of Brennan Manning, Anne Lamott, and Philip Yancey all rolled into one literary experience. This is the best, most easily relatable book about following Jesus that I’ve read in at least ten years. What Michael left behind in words is nothing short of a gift.”
—Matthew Paul Turner, author of Churched and Hear No Evil

“In this highly anticipated manifesto, Michael Spencer wrote for a generation that is struggling to figure out what it means to live out Jesus-shaped spirituality. Michael was familiar with the burdens of the dominating religious, political, and cultural norms that suffocate our everyday existence. Mere Churchianity delivers, and its message will live on through people who can’t help but be changed by it.”
—Andrew Marin, author of Love Is an Orientation, president of The Marin Foundation

“As someone who has been writing for years on the supremacy of Jesus Christ and its relationship to his church, I found the Christ-centeredness of this book to be profoundly refreshing. We have lost a choice servant of God in Michael, but heaven is the richer. I’m thankful that he left us this excellent contribution.”
—Frank Viola, author of Jesus Manifesto, Reimagining Church, and Finding Organic Church

“You will look far and wide before you find another Christian who speaks with as much honesty, insight, and foresight as Michael Spencer. I am very careful about the Christian books I recommend, but this one definitely makes the list. I am excited to have a book I can give my non-Christian friends that accurately portrays Jesus.”
—Jim Henderson, author of Evangelism without Additives, Jim and Casper Go to Church, and The Outsider Interviews

About Michael Spencer

During the years when he was blogging as the Internet Monk (, Michael Spencer was followed by hundreds of thousands of readers. He offered a lifeline to the spiritually dispossessed in his speaking, teaching, and writing. Michael graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College and earned a master’s degree in theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For seventeen years, he taught Bible and served as campus minister at a Christian school in Kentucky. Michael passed away in April 2010.

Product Details

240 pages | Published by WaterBrook

On Sale Date: Jun 15, 2010

Trim Size: 5-3/16 x 8

Carton Quantity: 24

Sneak Peek

Read the first chapter of Mere Churchianity. Have you left the church in search of Jesus? Michael Spencer delivers his final message, unique from his blog but true to his ministry. This book shows people how to find their way back to Jesus-shaped spirituality that is free of religion, hype, programs, and institutions.

By Linda Brandau

In the first section, the author tries to explain why people are leaving the traditional church denominations. Unfortunately, the book takes on the tone of a rant. While the author gives a cursory criticism of all of the major denominations, he was especially hard on his own Evangelical churches. It reached the rant stage when he repeatedly criticized churches for not embracing the homosexual lifestyle and abortion. In the author's view,...

Read the Full Review

By Timothy Goode

Michael Spencer ran the influential blog The Internet Monk until his death in 2010, and Mere Churchianity: Finding your way back to a Jesus-shaped spirituality (WaterBrook Press, 2010) is the summation of his lifeâ??s work as an apostle to the church leavers. His focus in this book is on helping those burnt out by what he called churchianity (the â??"do more, be better, look good for Godâ??s sakeâ? (p. 5) attitude found in many churches)...

Read the Full Review

By Melissa Teakell

Mere Churchianity is one of the most blunt, politically incorrect, refreshing take on the modern American church I have ever read. The late Michael Spencer, The Internet Monk, wrote this book to address the issues that have pushed many away from the church while looking for Jesus. I wish I had discovered his blog long ago. I had no previous knowledge of Mr. Spencer, so I was a bit surprised at the level of honesty and blunt language he...

Read the Full Review

By Mandolin Ziadie

As the scion of a family that had long been leaders in our local church, I grew up witnessing the best and worst aspects of being a part of the church community. Unfortunately, the worst aspects tended to be more prominent and, as I grew older, I became more and more aware of the bitter feelings, the superficiality, the infighting and the power struggles that can easily take root in a church whose focus has been taken off Christ. Mr....

Read the Full Review

By Aaron Sellars

Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality is a much needed book today in the church. In a church that is on the way towards becoming more and more secularized and dealing with more and more people leaving because of so called "fake" Christians, this book is a needed resource. In Mere Churchianity, Michael Spencer (a.k.a. the Internet Monk), sets out to address the common misconceptions that those who are...

Read the Full Review