This past week I read a quote that said, “Church hopping is dangerous and will cause injury to your spirit.” The pastor in me initially gave that an AMEN, however the more I thought about it, I realized that maybe I didn’t agree with it. That thought remained in my mind and by the end of the day I had sided with it, yet again, and here is why:
- Because of the Purpose of the church.
- The purpose of the church, in particular our church is to EXALT the Savior, EVANGELIZE the lost, ENLIST servants/ministers, EQUIP the saints and EDIFY those within our spiritual community. Because of that, a Christian who hops from church to church loses out on the consistency in that purpose. Added to the lack of consistency is the realization that not every church shares the same purpose for existence which can hurt the spirit of those Christians.
- Because of the Picture of the church.
- 1 Corinthians 12, Paul addresses the people of Corinth about the nature of the church and its similarity to a body. One thing I know about the body is that its parts are not free to come and go when they please, and for those who experience this in hurting areas of their body will attest how this limits the body from doing the things it needs to. Now there are two exceptions to this rule:
- Members being sent out to help establish other churches such as is found in Acts 13.
- Matthew 18:6-9 speaks about cutting off parts that hinder us from entering the Kingdom of God. Now, we need to understand that this is not a literal severing of body parts but the need to do what we can to bear the name of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul uses the same types of terminology in regards to the church. He uses words like, “Purge,” “put away” and “put out,” for those who shame the name of Christ within the church. The second way comes through rebuke/removal for living outside the parameters of the faith.
- Because of the Pastor of the church.
- Now, I’m not one of those pastors who use their position to dictate their own philosophies and ideas over the people of God; 1 Peter 5:1-4 oppose that type of leadership. Hebrews 13:17 applies to leadership, more specifically spiritual leadership. If that is true, than a Christian who abandon’s their church, hurts the pastor’s role in their life. If you look throughout the New Testament, there is no such thing as a Christian without a church and a church without leadership and its accountability. This responsibility is not just a burden placed on the pastor but a need for all to stay accountable under Christ. Church hopping limits that accountability and therefore hurts the Christian.
I do want to say that there are some reasons you ought to leave your church (doctrine, malpractice, unrepentant sin), however be slow to move from that body until you have sought counsel by a godly person and have discussed the issue with your church leadership. However, let’s stay loyal to our churches and build them up for the glory of God!