I’ve heard it plenty of times from the pulpit: “church hopping is bad,” or “we live in a McChurch culture, with non-committal church membership and a consumer view of the church,” or even “the church is your family, and you may not always get back what you put in, but God has you (t)here for a reason.”
What do you tell a Christian that feels as though he’s not getting anything out of the church he’s currently a member of, but that he can probably influence it in a positive way? He’s drained, doesn’t look forward to the Sunday services, and sits in the pew praying that the church would learn to experience God in a deeper way. He watches his peers move on to other churches where they feel more connected, challenged, and needed, and he’s not able to do much to stop them. He’s very well connected to this church: he was previously employed by the church; he was an integral part of an age-specific ministry while he was in that age-group; and he is currently the leader of a home fellowship group sponsored by the church.
This Christian has a handful of pretty specific ideas on how the church can be more inviting and captivating for his peers, and he knows the right people to talk to about it. He spent two years lobbying for the church to endorse and help form the home fellowship that he now leads. He fears that the church will again be very slow to move and not easily comprehend the necessity of the problems he sees.
This Christian has recently been attending another church after going to his home church’s services so that he can be challenged and actually experience God’s Word. The way this other church operates is a fulfillment of what he wants to see change at his home church. He has friends at this other church, and they want him to become more involved there.
What do you tell this Christian?
He feels he has a duty to his home church, to help to lead and effect the direction of the church in a positive light. But he also feels that the scope of his task is that of a teenager lobbying Congress to amend the Constitution.
At what point do you tell this Christian to move on and find a place where he feels valued, connected, challenged, and that he will grow? And how involved should he be in the other church in the meantime, if at all?
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