Monday, June 20, 2011

Church Hopping - More Stupid Things Christians Do #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 places 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.


Andrea York said...

I particularly liked the questions you ask yourself about the church. If we took the time to do that, we'd see a lot less church hopping, which would lead to healthier churches because people are getting plugged in, working through confrontation and serving.

Charlie Chang said...

lol we were going to start church hopping next Sunday actually.

Arny said...

My pastor likes to say we treat church like a restaurant....if the service is good...waitress, food, attentive....then we give tip and come back often....if not...then we never go back and find another place to eat that can meet our

Tony C said...

Bravo! Bravo!

This subject matter has really been on my heart lately, and I've been contemplating a post myself...but my motives might not be completely pure.

Wow. Confession is good for the soul.

Desiray said...

I believe people church hop because they put to much into the person as looking at them as if they are god, and not focusing on God spirit being manifested in the service...if we come away from looking at man as if he is perfect and get our hearts on the things of God we wont' hop from one church to another...The only time a person should really go to another church and that is when God calls you to move and you do it for Him..

photogr said...

Good questions here David and good suggestions.

Being some what of an odd ball and spritually messy in the established church, I tend to let God lead me in other directions.( Seeking those out side of the church, ones that never go to church, and leading them to Christ.) Am I good at it? I don't think so but I try.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

wait a second did you steal a line from AA about all that's needed to start a church (or meeting) is a resentment and a coffee pot? That seems familiar.

great point that each church offers much of the same so no need to shop around - the shopping is mostly for style.

and those questions at the end were great ones to ask - wow.

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