Stop Church Shopping
For the love of God. No honestly, for the love of God stop church shopping.
Now don’t get me wrong – if you move to a new place I encourage you to find a church. It’s important to be a part of the local body.
Here is what the conversation should look like:
1. Holy Spirit – where do you want me to serve and contribute?
2. Jesus please reveal and selfish or hidden agendas in me and forgive me.
3. Is the Church effectively making disciples of Jesus and equipping the body for ministry? Ex: are the members living like Jesus and/or on the journey to becoming more like Him
Journal these things down. Then be obedient and commit to this group of people for at least a few years. Commit to them when they offend you. Pray for them when they are controlling. Contribute your gifts and talents without credit. Here’s the thing – when you want to leave (which you likely will because people aren’t perfect – you’ll have a Word from God that you’re supposed to be there). If you’re called to leave – invite your leaders into the process to pray with you. We didn’t tell our leaders “we are leaving and planting Salt Churches” we said “we believe this is what God is saying will you pray with us.”
In my last few years being a pastor and leader of churches I’ve so often heard “I don’t belong to a church, I am church shopping.” To be honest, all I think when I hear these words are “please shop elsewhere.”
I think the reason why Church shopping bothers me so much is that it’s often rooted in selfishness. Do I like their style of worship? Was the preaching inspiring? Are the people cool?
Where do you find these guidelines in scripture?
Here’s an example of my personal journey:
When I first moved to NYC I was attending a big “cool” church where I had a lot of friends. In prayer, Jesus called me to a smaller new church where I had two friends.
Now if I was “church shopping” I would have chosen the big cool church because it met my human needs. I felt validated there. However, Jesus wanted to be my source of identity. Now there is nothing wrong with the big “cool” church in my opionion (as long as they are effectively making disciples of Jesus). However, it wasn’t where God was calling me. I obeyed and I am thankful I did. I committed when leaders offended me. I invested when my schedule was busy. I showed others how to reach the lost years before ever being given a platform.
So when you come to Salt Churches and mention that you’re a part of another church – don’t be offended when I send you back. We are to be united as a body and too often comparison creeps in which creates disunity.
When is it okay to pray about leaving: If discipleship is missing. I believe discipleship is the answer to your personal problems and any problems within a church. If your Church isn’t making disciples that are continuing the mission of Jesus – ask your leaders if you can start discipling people. If your leaders say no then ask why and consult the Holy Spirit on if you should invest somewhere else or if there is healing/etc that needs to take place and what will that process look like.