Friday, January 27, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: Choose ONE.

I hope I can say this with grace. Because it bugs me… a lot. Are you committed to one church? Have you picked the best church you can find with solid teaching and a good vision for ministry and have you made that church your home? Do you serve there? Share your life with the people there? Obey and study what your pastor teaches you from the Word? Do you give your money to this church?

Or are you a church hopper? Are you never fully satisfied with any church so you hop from church to church? Maybe you visit some of them for only a week or two. At others you might stay for a few months or maybe even a year before you decide you don’t like the lady that always sits behind you or the music is too loud or too quiet or the sermons are too long or not long enough, or you don’t like your small group or they don’t have VBS in the summer or they use crackers instead of bread at communion… Whatever it may be, you typically move on to the next church as soon as something bothers you at your current one or as soon as you hear about the amazing new worship service at the church down the block.

Or maybe you are a double-dipper? You go to some big, fancy mega church for their awesome worship and their variety of ministries that can serve you, give you friends, make you feel content, but you actually don’t really like the teaching that much. It doesn’t challenge you, so you go to night service at this cool church, but you go to another smaller church for their morning service because you get fed there spiritually. You don’t serve at this smaller church or tithe there; you just smile at the precious little pastor as he preaches and then you make your way across town to your sanctuary full of electric guitars.

*Disclaimer: I am not knocking large or small churches here. I have happily been a part of huge mega churches and small churches where sometimes the babies outnumber the adults.*

My point is that big or small doesn’t matter. It just matters that you choose ONE. You aren't a super Christian if you are going to an extra service to get good teaching before or after you go to the church that fills all your social needs. You aren't on some holy mission if you are never satisfied with your church and always going in search of the perfect one.

God wants you to pick a church. He wants you to share life with a local flock. He wants you to serve your church. Give to your church. Pray for your church.

The truth of the matter is that no church is perfect. A church is a place filled with sinners {hopefully mostly redeemed ones or those seeking Jesus}. There will be people in the church who wrong you. Your pastor might not preach the best sermon every single week {but hopefully the Holy Spirit guides his preaching always}. The worship leader might not always sing your favorite songs. The whole world is hurting financially and this, of course, includes churches. Your church might not be able to provide all the fun ministries you want or have a staff of pastors to counsel you and encourage you at every turn. But that doesn't mean you should leave. It means you should give. You should give your time and volunteer for a task that your church can’t pay someone to do. You should give your money to keep your church functioning in our uncertain economy and to pay the pastor who brings you God’s truth each week. You should give of yourself by sharing your struggles and joys with other believers and praying with them and for them, because we don’t need a bunch of counselors when we are living in Gospel community with other people that truly love Jesus. We don’t always need VBS when we have a church full of Jesus-loving parents who are willing to exchange babysitting and allow their children to play together in Gospel homes.

*Another disclaimer: I am also not against counseling. There are many situations where pastoral care or counseling is definitely necessary. But there are many needs in the church that could be met by loving friends instead of by dominating the pastor’s schedule.

I beg of you, choose a church. Stop skipping church, double-dipping, or hopping around. Of course, it’s okay to search for a church for a while when you move to a new town or whatnot, but the search has to end. Find the most theologically sound, Jesus-loving church close to your home and give your time, your money and your prayers to this church. Be prepared to see God bless you and teach in you in new ways when you love and serve His flock.

This is our missional community in Scottsdale... 
they are honestly some of our very best friends in our new city!

{{The pictures throughout this post are of my churches since high school. There are three not because I hopped around, but because I have lived in three different states over the past ten years. The first is a traditional mid to large sized Bible church in Texas. The second is a modern, mega-church in Seattle. The last picture is of the coffee shop that my tiny Scottsdale church met in this past summer when we were in between buildings. I told you, I'm not picky about size or style. I just want a church that loves Jesus and I want you to have one too!}}



Erin said...

Great post (as usual!) ;) My husband and I church hopped for about a year before we got married, simply not feeling at home with one place. He had traditionally went to very small churches, and I more of the mega-church growing up. We finally landed at what we call our 'home' church now that we both agreed upon about 10 months ago and couldn't be happier. It was a bit bigger than what he was used to, but the teaching we get there and the worship each week spoke to our hearts.

The feeling of having a 'home' church is like no other!!!! :)

Kerrie said...

you sound like you're on church staff ;) I can say that, because I'm on church staff haha. But really, these are excellent points (especially about giving and participating/serving) that may step on some toes but are biblically sound and need to be said.

vanessasmusings said...

Great post! I think for both selfish and selfless reasons this is so important. Is our choir what I wish it would be? No. Does our priest check in on our budding marriage each week? Yes. Do we always know what the service activity of the month is by staying put? Yes. In fact we were away from home and attended a different church and, quite frankly, I felt disconnected and struggled to focus on why I was there.

Kristin said...

Amen, sister!

jennifer blair said...

I love this girl! It is so important to commit to one body of people. It makes such difference.

Jamie said...

Thank you for such an important post that is sometimes hard to hear! My husband and I church hopped for almost 2 years after getting married and it was just so hard to do, knowing that we just hadn't found the right church for us, that we agreed with and wanted to put everything we have into. Once we found our church we were smitten, and you are so right that not everything will meet what we think we need-but what does matter is fellowship to grow in God's will.

5ohWifey said...

I randomly found this post and God is speaking to me through it. I have been thinking about checking out other churches in my area. I like the one I attend but....

But nothing. I haven't even prayed about it and there is nothing disqualifying or blatant pushing me to leave. Thank you for the loving reminder.

Adam n' Shalyn said...

Jen, what a fantastic post! I am so encouraged by you and the truth that you shared! Get In or Get Out! (lovingly of course...) :)

Angel said...

Preach it, Jen! My husband and I and some friends started a church in Tucson 8 years ago and church hoppers and slammers abounded. Many were hoping we were the next cool thing. But we are about Jesus. Plain and simple. I love that you love your church. So great. Thanks for sharing!

Tatum said...

Thanks for you post, it is so sweet! I've been a member of the same church all my life, the same church my parents were raised in. It is the greatest blessing in my life (along side my husband and family) and I'm so glad to hear others sticking up for devoted Christian worship! :]

Andee [email protected] bearing fruit said...

i remember when mr. handsome + i moved to la, we had to go + visit many churches until we found the one we knew the Lord was calling us to. there are many amazing churches near us, but only one that He called us to. during that time i felt so odd, not having a "home" {we committed to continue to tithe at our old church until the Lord told us where He wanted us to plant again.}

i cannot say enough good things about being planted firmly in one house. he who is planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. i wanna flourish! and i want everyone else to flourish too! i say three cheers to you sweet friend for callin' this one out.

and i'm here to say i am so full because we are planted firmly. to anyone who isn't planted yet. seek and you will find. knock and the door will be opened. ask the Lord where He wants you to be. and then just go there. and even if you don't love everything, stay anyway. be the change you want to see.

cheers to you sweet friend!