A few blogs ago, I began to post writings on the subject of False Loyalty. I believe that this blog can fall under that same category, but this blog will be geared towards a more specific issue: CHURCH HOPPING. Now let me preface my statements by saying if you are a hard-working, loyal, committed member of a local church, this particular message is NOT dedicated towards you, but may help you in the future. But if you have NOT been a member of a church for a billion years, you at a different church every Sunday, and the only pastor you have is on TV, and you have never been to his church in “real life”, this is for you.
I live in Atlanta, the MECCA of Church Hopping. Atlanta is the spiritual hub on uncommitted Christians. Maybe I am exaggerating, but if there was a holy site for Church Hoppers, I believe Atlanta would be it. Now I was born and raised here in the city of Atlanta. This is my city. I went to school, from k-12, here, and I love my city very much. The Lord has truly given me a heart for my city, so I am not trying to be negative. But the only way to improve is by taken an honest assessment of where you are. Now let us define what Church Hopping is. What is Church Hopping? Church Hopping is the act of going “to and from” a plethora of churches over a short duration of time, which results in the scattering of funds, the inability of stability, and a pattern of low commitment and false loyalty. Church Hopping occurs when an individual from one church travels consistently, to another church, without any form of commitment or covenant. Now while I am being very comical, this is truly a problem.
This is a Church Hopping generation. This generation was raised in the Conference Generation. The parents of this generation hopped from Conference to Conference to see the next greatest preacher. They totally abandoned church and got there fix in conference settings, where there was no accountability, no covenant and NO commitment. Commitment is a big aspect of the Christian Faith.
Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus was a man of high endurance. This is what is lacking in our generation of Church goers. We get bored too fast, so before we can even be matured for our next season, we are gone to the next church. This creates major problems in the development of a Christian. We must check our endurance. How hard you can work is a great question, but HOW LONG can you work is an even better one. We need the type of Christian that loves the PROCESS and not just the PRODUCT. Everyone wants to enjoy the product, but despise the process.. ask Jesus, the power is in the process. We need endurance in the House of God again.
2Tim. 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
We need men and women that know how to endure hardness, they enjoy the fight. This is why adequate teaching on warfare is so important. Warfare trains a believer to understand the dynamics of the devil’s devices and in turn produces a Christians that is not easily moved. We need this type of believer back in the House of God. We need Christians that don’t get offended easily, christians that desire to pray, love being stretched and challenged, WE NEED ENDURANCE. This endurance is most commonly seen by church goers making a commitment to a certain House. This is what we call being “planted”.
Psa. 92:13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
When a Christian is planted in a House, growth begins. No seed can grow without it first being planted. Jesus even said that after the seed is planted that it must DIE. John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. This dying is actually what I call “integration”. When a seed dies, it casts off its hard outer shell to become one with the soil that it has been planted in, this is germination. Only then, when it has been assimilated into the culture of the soil, can it start to grow. The problem with most Church Hoppers is that, their hopping is usually initiated by offense, the inability to submit, and disloyalty, so they have produced this hard outer shell. You know them.. they are the ones that always have a word, but have the worst attitudes; they are telling you what to do in your relationship, and they haven’t had a man in 20 years. The culture of church hopping produces this type of Christian. They are spiritual prostitutes being sold to the highest bidder for a cheap Sunday morning thrill. YOU MUST BE PLANTED TO GROW. And planting does not mean going to a church spending 100 dollars for their books and cds, it means being assimilated into the CULTURE of that House so that you can grow.
I believe that their are some people that are just trying to find out what Church is for them, but after a few months, you should NOT still be traveling. You should allocate no more that 3-4 months, which usually dictates a season, for finding and being planted in a Church. When it comes to choosing a Church they’re certain aspects that you should look at.
1. The Doctrine– I believe that this is the first thing that you should look at. I would suggest you staying away from most denominational churches, just because growth there is limited and your duration there might be cut short when you find something that challenges what that specific church teaches. Find a place where they believe 1) that Jesus is Lord. 2) that He died on the cross for our sins and that His blood still works. 3) That the Bible is the infallible Word of God. There are more we could add here but these are the basics. Make sure there is a clear way to find out what that church believes. Attend Bible Study, search the website.. know what you are getting into.
2. The Pastor– I suggest finding someone 1) that has a good reputation. This does NOT mean that he has to be the most popular guy, but he should be clean of immorality and impurity. 2) Collaboration is very important. Is he a lone ranger? Does he partner with anyone in the city? These are questions that you must answer. Is he apart of a network? Does he oversee a network, and if so.. what type of network is it? Is he covered and who is his covering? These questions I think will reveal to you who he is and help you in your decision. I would like to add that when choosing a church and identifying the pastor, find a FATHER. Do not find a pastor that treats ministry like a job he was hired to do, find a FATHER.
3. Vision– What is the vision for that church? Do you see yourself growing in that church? Many churches present great faces of ministry, but when you get involved you realize that you will never grow. You must find a place where you, and your family can adequately grow. Do you agree with the vision of that House? Vision is a big deal. Vision determines where you are headed and where you will end up. Where is this church headed, and is it made clear to the partners of this ministry? Does the vision include or seclude people? Vision are doctrine are the main ways to determine if you are joining a cult or some type of weird organization.
4. Community– What are the members like? A Church’s quality is NOT determined by their presentation on a Sunday morning, but the quality of the person standing next to you on a Sunday morning. The quality of a House is only as good as the members of that House. Do you feel welcome? Do you feel comfortable? When choosing a church be careful not to join any place where you do not feel at home. Do not be planted in a place of contention and where the air is filled with suspicion. Join a church that has an atmosphere of acceptance that releases freedom.
5. Ministry– Now this is key. Does the church provide adequate ministry for you and your family. Now I want you to understand that some churches are just starting, and are in the process of growing and becoming established. In that instance, maybe you are the one to head that department or ministry. But if the church already has ministries established, do they minister to you. If you are called into the ministry, what type of process do they have put in place to meet that need in your life. These things should be assessed and addressed while you are in the process of looking to be planted.
Church hopping is an epidemic that must be addressed. It is producing a generation of weak Christians without the fortitude to establish solid covenant relationship which is resulting in undeveloped Christians. I believe that those that find it hard to commit to a ministry should seek deliverance from the spirit of fear: fear of commitment, fear of relationships, fear of rejection, fear of man, fear of submission, fear of betrayal, fear of offense.. WE BREAK THE SPIRIT of FEAR over your life. You can stay in one place and grow. Break the cycle of the nomad (a different teaching) and the spirit of the wanderer. My prayer is that you find a House and a Father, be planted and GROW in Jesus name.
BUILD PEOPLE, ENGAGE CULTURE, IMPACT NATIONS