Monday, May 16, 2016

Church Hoppers

While pastoring a church in Atlanta, I had the experience of encountering many “church-hoppers.” There were many churches in the area from which to choose, which lent itself as temptation for many to move from church to church. One particular family had suddenly left our church. When I visited them, they claimed they were not upset with anyone. The husband simply said, “We were members of Pleasant Hill Church for three years and had a good experience. Then we were members of your church for three years and again had a good experience. Now we are moving on to the next church for the next experience.”

While there are a few legitimate reasons why God would lead you to change churches, it is wise to be sure God is leading. Changing churches simply because a church is going through a trial or a “product” seems better at another church, or you want a new experience, is no reason to leave your church family.

There are some who seem to change churches more often than they trade automobiles. Over my many years of pastoring, I have noticed seven reasons that seem to motivate church-hoppers.

1. They mistake the excitement of something new for the movement of the Spirit. Newness brings excitement—whether it’s a new church, new ministry, or new restaurant. However, we must come to the place where we deal with the question, “Am I looking for excitement or the genuine joy of Christ?”

2. They carry their offenses from one church to the next. When we become offended or take up an offense for another, we must deal with the issue before leaving the church. Otherwise, a bitter spirit will develop in our hearts. We will become critical and when the negatives weight too heavily, we will not be able to find satisfaction at any church. The new church may provide temporary relief, but Satan’s foothold in our lives will rule (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4).

3. They have a consumer attitude. Their attitude is “What’s in it for me?” If the price exceeds the benefit, they simply look elsewhere. This attitude is probably the number one reason for church-hopping.

4. They have an unsatisfied family member. A parent should look for a church where their entire family can benefit. However, sometimes offspring will want to leave a good church because they have a complaint against the youth minister or their youth group. Parents should thoroughly research this before making a move. Many conflicts or complaints can be worked out. If the teenager merely wants to move to be with friends, for example, this is not a legitimate cause to move. Disrupting your family for less than God’s will is ultimately harmful both to your family and the body of Christ.

5. They enjoy the love and attention they receive as a newcomer without forming lasting relationships and having to give the same love in return.

6. They compare their pastor to another pastor/writer and are seeking for a pastor to duplicate their model pastor’s philosophy or preaching.

7. They are looking for a church to give them what only Christ can give. The church is a vital instrument in Christ’s hand, but only Christ can give us the joy, peace, sense of belonging, and purpose that we seek.

Again, there are situations where God is leading us elsewhere. However, we need to be certain it is God leading us. The wrong step away from your church family is a step out of the will of God for your life. The term “church family” should mean something to each of us. It does to our Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Pastor! It's sad whenever we have friends who leave the church for one of those reasons you mentioned.