Shortly before I left the US for China, a young adult in a church I was attending asked who wanted to meet before church to confess sins to each other.
Notably James 5:16 says
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
I immediately joined. It was so good. Life giving. 6 people gathering weekly to confess our sins to each other. It was a thoroughly mutual event with no judgement in the air. I do not remember the church services, but cannot forget that experience.
A dear friend of mine moved to a new city and rather than join a church she joined AA. Within a few weeks, she had real local friends and was encouraged in her faith. Why did she have to go to AA to find God and not the church?
How does an AA meeting start? I am Frank, and I am an alcoholic, or I am Sherry, and I have a drinking problem….
Confess Your Sins To Each Other is a Gift
My present church of 7 people does about the same now. Each of us shares vulnerably each week. We find we do not need a pastor to tell us what the Bible says so clearly. We need encouragement and connection in community to gain strength to do what the Bible says like love my neighbor.
I think 500 years ago when protestants left the catholic church, we did well to leave confessing to a priest. Why?
James 5:16 is thoroughly mutual and confessing to a priest is not mutual at all. Confessing is valuable, but this Catholic way put too much power with the church and not enough with the faithful.
The problem is that we threw out all confessing when we threw out the priest. The command to confess is a gift of God. Let’s receive this gift.
See also Our Non Religious Church.