Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 10 Stupidest Things Christians Do - Part 5

-5 Church Hopping - Why is it that Catholics seem to go to the same church for a lifetime, and most evangelicals go to a church on the average, for just a few years. Is God confused about where He wants us?

Choosing a church should be like choosing a spouse, not dating!

I confess, I have been one of these people. But I still don't think that it is normal to hop around. It seems that all that is required to start a new church these days is a resentment and a coffee pot.

If you've been following along in this series, there is more of a problem when churches focus on church, and not on Jesus and people. Churches that focus on Jesus, while providing significance to their members do much better at retaining those members. That in a nutshell is the role of leadership.

Our part is to be passionate about Jesus, and to dialog with Him about ways in which we can grow. If we are mature Christians, our priorities are in order, we are praying, studying, and giving, then Sundays should be a place where we can meet people that need what we have.

The healthy church should be providing us with opportunities to worship in song, giving, various other art forms and service. I haven't been to a church that didn't need help with all kinds of stuff, ranging from elders to toilet cleaners.

The normal and most predictable church services are pretty much music, and teaching. Some denominations have time devoted to the use spiritual gifting and altar calls. If the average church offers the same thing, then why do we need to go somewhere else? I'm just asking.

The Bible says that we should not forsake the gathering of believers. God want us somewhere in fellowship, right? Unless we move out of town, why would God change His mind about where we go? If we are doing our part, won't God do His part?

There are good things about blooming where you are planted.

- You get to know people
- You get to serve, and hopefully work with others that share your burdens and passions
- You get to be known - not to be a big shot, but so that others feel a deeper sense of relationship
- You will be challenged in your attitudes, and opinions
- You will be challenged in your faith
- You will need to work things out with others
- You will hopefully grow up to the "meat" of the word

What are some of the reasons people leave churches looking for greener pastures?

- Pastors are abusive, fall into sin, or take a job somewhere else.
- Division over theology - in particular the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but I have seen them over the colors of hymnals.
- Division over programs
- Taking sides in a couples divorce
- Personal sin
- Burned out from serving
- Lack of leadership opportunities
- Too many good ideas and not enough God ideas
- No room for your gifting

Those are all bad reasons to hit the pogo stick looking for another church.

There is one good reason to move on, and that is that God has instructed you to be at another congregation.

Are you looking to move on? Here are a few things to ask yourself:
- If I find a place to fellowship, can I commit for life?
- If I find a place to worship, am I willing to submit to leadership, serve, and lay down my life for those that God has chosen for me to walk with?
- If I find a place to worship, am I going to pray for the pastor, the leadership and the folks around me?
- Am I bringing religious baggage I need to work through?
- Does this church have programs and ministries that I am passionate about, and would participate in?
- Am I attending as a taker, or a giver?
- Does the church have non-religious activities? IE: Movie nights, ski trips, picnics, dinners and other place that are NOT for prayer, Bible study and worship?

It is a statistical fact: Unless an attendee makes 4 to 6 meaningful friendships within the first year, they will move on to another church.

So, next time you are at a church picnic, get to know someone, it could save you and them a hop or two.

3 comments:

photogr said...

David:

This article really "hits the nail on the head".

Definitely there has to be continuity with in the congregation and pastor. The other important issues is the freedom of expression , gifting, Allowing the Holy Spirit to freely function, fellowship, worshiping, and serving the Lord ( not the church and the denomination).

My brother in law who is a minister in a church in Florida has repeatedly advised me that most churches take time to warm up to you based on what you mentioned about hopping around.

Once they see you committed in that church they will open up and the friend ship with others will flourish as well as opportunities to serve the Lord. I am beginning to see that where I am now.

David said...

Well, Larry, maybe where you and he are from. After a year at three different local churches - I can't get anyone to return an email or a phone call. Home-groups are just more religious babble.

Wait for #10.

photogr said...

David:

He is in Florida and I am in Ohio. Here the first 9 months at the current church I had little if any contact from others. It just seems this last month is when the people started calling on me to help out in doing things with in the church or for getting together for socialiing.

Perhaps God has a different plan for you.( I think you know what I mean.)

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