By Grace King
One of the most exciting things for me coming into college was that I would finally have the opportunity to choose my own church. As a pastor’s daughter, I’ve been obligated to follow the leadership of my father all of my life. But no more! I came to Olivet determined to find my own place, one that I chose because it fit me.
In this, I am sure I am not alone. It’s exciting to be off on your own for the very first time. Some students look forward to choosing a new church home and others look forward to sleeping in on Sundays, no longer feeling obligated or forced to attend service.
With all the “growing-up” you have to do within a period of, well, as soon as your parents drop you off on campus, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and drop things that you don’t think are as important, such as finding a home church.
How much easier is it to walk into a building, sit for an hour or so, and then walk back out again? No obligations and no one notices whether you were there or not. This becomes a pattern as we continue to “try out” churches, wanting them to fit our needs without us lifting a finger.
James White, senior pastor of Mecklenburg community Church in Charlotte, N.C., defined church hopping on his blog crosswalk. com as going from one church to another without committing to any one church for any significant period of time.
Church hopping is becoming rampant, especially in young adults. We don’t want to take responsibility, yet we want to be spiritually fed. White writes, “It’s the consumer mindset of our culture at work.”
Because of this, we sometimes overlook the other important aspects of church. We listen to one pastor after another, waiting for God to pour out His almighty wisdom upon us.
An article on relevantmagazine.com, “5 Really Bad Reasons To Leave Your Church,” asserts that the church isn’t actually about you. “It’s about Jesus. It’s His church. He came for it. He
died for it. He redeemed it. He continues to build it. And one day, He’ll come back for it. It’s His,” the article said.
Why is it important to settle on one church, you might ask?
We need to choose a church and a congregation we trust to hold us accountable in our walk with Christ. If you’re jumping from one congregation to the next you aren’t receiving fellowship with other Christians and you have no one to hold you accountable within the church. Hebrews 10:25 says, “… not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Another reason it’s important to stick with a church is so that you can take responsibility within the church. I was once told that if you feel like something in your church is missing, you might be the one God is calling to fill that void. Say, for instance, there aren’t any greeters at the door, and you notice that. Maybe you noticing is God’s calling. After all, the church doesn’t exist to serve us. It exists to help us serve others.
One reason people church “hop” so often is because there are disagreements within the church. Maybe you disagree with the way your pastor presented that last message or you think the music is too dry. Guess what? It isn’t about you. You are never going to agree with everything happening within the church. Once a decision has been made, it’s important for us to stand beside one another to carry out the vision.
White said, “[Church] 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.”
We are supposed to be investing our lives into people other than ourselves. How are we to do that when we have no emotional ties to our church congregation? Jesus told Peter in John 21:17 to feed His sheep. Is he not calling us to do the same?