Looking for a new church can be an exciting process, but it can also be discouraging and even frustrating. Here are 10 questions that may help you work through that process—5 you should ask before you leave your current fellowship, and 5 you should ask before you arrive at the new one.
The grass is always greener on the other side. We can always find somewhere else we think we might rather be. But before we leave a fellowship, we need to prayerfully consider our true motivation. If we are motivated simply by self-interest, that is a good indicator that we may be missing the point entirely. If our priorities aren’t right (biblical), then no matter what church we are part of, we will be dissatisfied and maybe even frustrated. Often times fixing relationships is about fixing me, not the other person. If we simply consider how we can encourage one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24), and if we focus on being who we need to be in Christ, then perhaps God can use us to make a difference in the overall health of the local fellowship.
The previous post on this subject presented reasons people leave one church for another and concerns that our pastors have about this practice. Let me say again, there are legitimate reasons for leaving a church and going to another one in the same community. It may seem that I should discuss those reasons in these articles. But I want to focus on problematic church-hopping rather than the acceptable variety.
For church members who are considering making the jump to another church in your community, may I encourage you to walk through the questions I listed at the end of the previous post. You may not realize how important you are to your church, how much people care about you, and how your decision will affect you, your family, and the churches involved. Please take the time to prayerfully and honestly consider your answers to those questions.
I realize this practice is not unique to my community, but I think it happens in the Greenville, South Carolina area at an unusual level. Too much, in fact.
According to City-Data, there are 473 Evangelical Protestant churches in Greenville County. This does not include mainline denominational churches. Recently a visitor to our church told me she was looking for a church and had attended over 50 so far! (She was not church-hopping, she was church-shopping. There’s a difference.) There are many, many church options with varying degrees and shades of distinction. If a church member becomes disenchanted with his current church, he can most likely find another one that promises to match his preferences in a particular element of church life.