Something that has bothered me for years has been those in the Church who "church shop." I saw it as a kid. When someone left the church over something petty, chances were good they would eventually return. After all, they would never be happy.
This morning I received an illustration that I think is right on. Friend and fellow pastor Brian Jones writes Non-Religious Devotional Thoughts. You can find out more at www.BrianJones.com This installment is called Connoisseurs of Fine Churches. Enjoy!
Connoisseurs of Fine Churches
By Brian Jones
After church services one Sunday a couple greeted me on their way out the door. By their cologne and big jewelry and cliché Christian lingo I knew they weren't our typical non-religious visitors. "Pastor, what an anointed word from God you delivered today," the husband said. I cringed. The only people that talk that way are on Christian television.
I swallowed and said, "Hope to see you next week."
His wife looked at me with a grin, "Nope. We won't be back. Years ago the Lord told us to attend a different church every week. So we'll be somewhere else next Sunday."
I said, "Let me get this straight. You go to a different church every week?"
"Yep," he said, "been doing it for five years now."
I said, "How sad."
"Why do you say that?" she angrily shot back.
"Because," I said, "you never get to experience real Christian community. You're, like, connoisseurs of fine churches or something. My hunch is it wasn't the Lord who called you to do this. You need to find a church and put down roots."
Needless to say they didn't come back.
It's sad, really.
We've become a nation of church shoppers. If the preaching gets boring at our church, we pull out the yellow pages. If the worship style changes, we go to First Church's early service. If our Sunday school class starts to get too impersonal, we don't sweat it, we try the hot new church in town.
We Christians change churches like we change favorite restaurants.
I'm sure that makes God sad.
In the New Testament there are dozens and dozens of things Christians are told to do. Leaving one another is not one of them.
In fact, we're told to do the exact opposite.
Is there someone at your church you can't stand? 1 John 3:11 tells us to "Love one another."
Did the pastor at your fellowship hurt your feelings? Colossians 3:13 says, "Forgive one another."
Do the attitudes of the people in your body need to change? James 5:16 says, "Pray for one another."
In other words, roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of building community where you are. Don't go AWOL spiritually. Stick it out, through exciting times and boring times. Pray, serve, love, forgive, sacrifice, and resolve like authentic followers of Jesus.
My parents started attending Eastpointe Christian Church when they were both in the 7th grade. They're now in their 60's. They've never attended another church. Over the past 50 years they've seen quite a lot. They lived through the "clapping in church" controversy of 1975 as well as the mediocre church softball team of the early 90's. They've seen people get married, have children, and those children get married and have children. They've seen hundreds of people come to Christ and some of those people fall by the wayside. They've buried dear friends. They've served with great pastors and mediocre pastors and experienced great worship and boring worship. Through calm years and tumultuous years, my parents have given and served and prayed their entire lives in that one church.
One day in the future my mom and dad will pass, as you and I will. But right before that happens they'll be able to do something someone who has spent their life church shopping cannot; they'll look back and savor the memories a lifetime of faithful service in one congregation brings.
They'll look back and relish the dangerous conversations they didn't avoid, sins they were encouraged to confront, and authentic Christians friendships it took a generation to develop.
Jesus wants you to experience the same thing.
I'm sure you know this already, but it's worth repeating. That "perfect church" you're looking for already exists. You attended it last Sunday.
trust and obey
21 hours ago