Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Church Hoppers.....


I came across this fantastic blog today that shed some light on something that frustrates me greatly.  I always seem to be inspired by things that frustrate me.  I don't know if that is a problem, or a sign that God wants me to do something about the frustration?!  

Either way, this is fantastic.  I thought about putting my own thoughts together, but I would not be able to say it better.  :)  So, here is what I want to share.....let me know what you think.   
This frustration has to do with "church hopping".  The article was written by Dr. James Emery White from his blog over at Christianity.com.  Enjoy....and share....

First, a working definition: church hopping is going from one church to another without committing to any one church for any significant period of time (which makes it different than legitimate church “shopping”).

As Betsy Hart writes, hoppers reflect a growing tendency to decide, after they have officially joined a particular church, that “Oh, that pastor down the street is a little more high-energy than mine,” or “Gee, the music here isn't really meeting my needs right now,” or “I really am not crazy about that new children’s church director.”So they hop from church to church.

The hard-core hopper never even makes an initial commitment. They perpetually float between churches, pursuing a Beth Moore study at First Baptist, youth group at First Methodist, weekend services at Hope, Grace, or Community Church, marriage enrichment events at …well, you get the picture.
What’s driving this? 
For some, it’s simply the consumer mindset of our culture at work.As Hart writes, “Church ‘hopping’ is the ultimate ‘all about me’ experience.” They take from various churches whatever it is they perceive to be of value without committing to any one church either to serve or support.

For some, it’s insecurity.They have to be wherever they think it’s “happening” in the Christian world. I know of pastors who joke about a “migratory flow pattern” among Christians in their community who are constantly church-hopping to the “next” thing in church life.They move from one church to another, looking for the next hot singles group, the next hot church plant, the next hot speaker, the next hot youth group.Many times they end up full circle where they began, because their original church suddenly became “next.” 
For some, it’s spiritual gluttony.They want nothing more than to be “fed,” and when they feel they’ve eaten all a church has to offer, they move on where there is the potential for more food – as if that is what constitutes growing in Christ or being connected to Christ.
For some, it’s refusing accountability.A pattern of sin is pursued, or a choice made, and they leave for a place where no one knows, and no one asks.
For some, it’s avoiding stewardship.If they are not committed to any one church, there is no obligation to give or serve at any one church. They can float above sacrifice without guilt.
For some, it’s emotional immaturity.A decision is made they don’t agree with, a building campaign is initiated they didn't vote for, a staff change is made they didn't like, so they take their marbles and go play somewhere else.
I know, I know. None of these reflect well on the person leaving, which intimates that anyone who leaves a church is somehow in the wrong, and that is not fair.In truth, there can be times to not simply hop, but leap. If there is scandal that is simply not addressed, doctrinal heresy, or patterns of abuse, you should leave.But for the typical hopper, it’s not time for self-justification, but loving admonishment.
First, church isn't about you. Sorry, but it’s not. It isn't one of many stores in a mall that exists to serve your spiritual shopping list. Church is a gathered community of believers who are pooling together their time, talent and resources to further the Great Commission.
Find one and start investing your life.
Second, the very nature of authentic community is found in the “one anothers.” Love one another, serve one another, encourage one another; this cannot happen apart from doing life with people.You need community.
Third, the absence of a ministry you desire may be God’s call on your life to start it, rather than leave to find a church that has it. Remember, every member is a minister, and has been given at least one spiritual gift for service in the life and mission of the church.
Fourth, you aren't going to agree with every decision the leadership of any church makes, regardless of its structure or decision-making process. You either feel you can trust the character of the leadership, or you can’t.And being able to trust that leadership doesn't mean they will always do things the way you think they should.  In other words, don’t hop every time you disagree. That’s immature.(And for goodness sake, don’t stay and pout or politic, either. Either get on board once the decision is made, if it was one that didn't breach doctrine or ethics, or find a place where you can.)
Fifth, don’t worry about being fed as much as learning to feed yourself. Even more, concern yourself with taking what you already know and applying it to your life, and then helping to feed others who are new to the faith!
Finally, spiritual depth isn't fostered by satiating your sense of felt needs. It’s receiving a balanced diet of teaching and challenge, investing in service and mission, living in community and diversity that you probably would not select for yourself.

   

3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This has given me something to reflect on...Thanks

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading!

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