Most of us have been in churches that equate being active in the church with being a true Christian. Contrary to this is the view that our duties of love to neighbor imply first and foremost those whom God has put in our path in the ordinary, every day life. For most this is their children when they live in their house. Your job, your commute, these are where you are called to serve. Lutheran Steven Hein puts it well:
Luther depicted a piety of outward works that are devised by the religious opinions of men as Church- yard piety. Monasticism was the contemporary expression of Churchyard piety that Luther condemned as a false and empty piety that burdened consciences and took Christians away from the real tasks in the world that God would have them be about. This was cloistered monasticism. Today, Luther might well counsel the saints to beware of Church body or congregational Churchyard piety, a modern ecclesiastical monasticism that seeks to inundate the church membership with a veritable plethora of programs, activities and organizational events that lack the context of true Christian vocation of sacrificial service in the old world communities of life. Piety as program involvement is pressed on the congregation as the real higher calling of the Christian who is really interested in serving Christ. In some churches, if you are not scheduling life and the use of your gifts according to all of the week’s calendar of events, something is seen as terribly wrong. You have not been assimilated into the regimen of real Christian living. Some congregations are even calling a special pastor in charge of assimilating the membership into all of these super-spiritual events and activities – the Pastor or Director of Assimilation! The thinly veiled message seems to be; “blessed are the involved and assimilated, for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God.” Activism in works that do not flow from one’s vocational call is present in every age as a temptation to leave the ordinary duties of Christian piety for the extraordinary. This is Churchyard piety.