Alot of Christians change churches in the Huntington area. They go to one church for a period of time usually a few years and then go to another one and then another one. Huntington isn’t alone I know. This happens in other areas of the country, I get that. Maybe it’s because Huntington is only 50,000 people that I notice it more than in a big city. I don’t know. But it’s on my mind this morning. And it isn’t on my mind because Crew is being directly affected with gain or loss of this kind. Its on my mind because in the past week I’ve talked to several folks who are connected in a church and have stated that they’re going to check Crew out. Some reasons sound valid, most don’t. So enter the mind of Josh Perry as I write out loud some good reasons to switch churches and some bad reasons to switch churches. This won’t be exhaustive. You can add more in your comments. I’d be interested to hear them. But these are some that come to mind as I type. Let’s start with the bad reasons:
- You like the music style at one church better (This is the most popular yet most stupid reason to switch churches)
- You like the pastor(s) style at one church better (I personally hate my pastor’s style)
- The church you like has something to offer everyone (The church is not Walmart, it is a place to worship and to be sent out for mission)
- You can dress a certain way (usually more casually, but sometimes more formally)
- One church “loses” it’s family feel (REALLY LONG PARENTHESIS: A church is going to grow if its healthy, that’s a good thing. A church can have small groups, community events, and all kinds of things to promote friendship, family, etc. But you can only know 6-10 people well no matter how big a church is. So freaking invite people over to your house and make friends, rather than expect another church to make friends for you.)
- Your family goes to a church, so you or I should go there now. (This is a very popular reason in our area, maybe not others. It’s a legitimate desire to want to join a church your family is at. And not a bad one. All things being equal this can factor in, but not trump good reasons to join a church. It tends to be a top three reason around here. Kind of creepy)
Ok, here are some good reasons to leave a church and go to another one. (I get major help out of a book “STOP DATING THE CHURCH” by Joshua Harris.
- It’s a church that is about Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection. This is called the gospel. Everything is about this. Not just to get people to know God through Christ death for sinners. But our lives are being changed thourgh Christ’s work. Our lives model what Christ looks like. It’s not a self help church, but a Christ centered church. If your church stops being about this, leave it!! Go to one that does. If there isn’t one. Start one.
- It’s a church that preaches the Bible. Read 2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2. Not a church that reads the Bible at the beginning of a sermon and then the preacher gives his opinion about politics or social causes or some seven steps to get along with your mother in law. Not a church that says they preach the Bible. Not a church that has it in frames in the church. But teaches you accurately, clearly, and winsomly what God is saying. And he is pointing to the Bible as the authority. If this does not happen at your church. Leave it and go to one that does.
- It’s a church that cares about good theology. Read Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Theology and doctrine is intimidating for many folks. It’s for the person who goes to seminary or the dork who cares about big deep words and thoughts. That’s crap. If your church isn’t really passionate that you know your Bible and the teachings and doctrines of the Bible then leave it. If you hear things like, “It’s just about Jesus, not about divisive things like whether or not people really go to Hell or if Jesus was born of a virgin”, leave that church. If you and I want to know Christ and worship Him and live for him, we’re going to need to learn big words.
- It’s a church that is about Christ’s mission. Read Matt. 28:18-20The purpose of the church isn’t to teach you the Bible, take care of your kids, make friends for you, take you on trips to Gatlinburg, or get you to sign petitions. You can do all of those things. But the mission of every church, everywhere, in every time is to make Christ followers. Fully devoted Christ followers. Men and women who are doing everything to know Jesus Christ and become like Jesus Christ and help other people do that. If you are at a church and they don’t know that. Leave it.
- It’s a church where the leaders are qualified. Read 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. God has made it explicitly clear what kind of leaders the local church is to have. It isn’t the richest men, smartest men, most connected men, or even the greatest leaders. It’s men of integrity, character, a servant heart, love, and defend the gospel. If you’re leaders aren’t these kinds of men or don’t live up to the qualifications in these two passages. Leave that church.
- It’s a church that wants deep real life change. Read Ephesians 4-6; Galatians 5:17-25. If a church is all about external man made religion where its all about not drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, dipping snuff, getting tattoos, watching TV, listening to secular music, and going with girls that do that. If you’re church doesn’t challenge you to stop gossiping, have unbelievers into your home and be friends with them, watch your temper, love people, be generous, be kind, be gentle, exercise self control, forgive people, serve others above yourself. Then you got it–leave that church.
- It’s a church that calls you to serve it. Luke 14:25-35. If you go to a church on Sunday and consume and are never asked or challenged to commit to it and serve it, then leave that church. A true church is about being on mission and calling people to follow Christ on this mission. Jesus was clear on who could be his disciple and who could not. He had this crazy idea that he was God and demanded to be worshipped and followed. A good church should demand that of all of us as well.
- It’s a church that will kick you out. Read 1 Corinthians. 5, 2 Corinthians 2, Matthew 18. This sounds mean doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s loving. If a church loves you too much to let you hurt yourself and your family and the cause of Christ then it is going to confront you when sin is there. If it doesn’t love you enough to do that then it’s of no benefit to you. A church that will kick you out is serious about protecting you and the church. Sin is a part of every church, but is the church dealing with it or just letting it go. If it’s dealing with it then it’s a church of sinners with integrity. If it’s overlooking it, it’s a church of sinners with hypocrisy.
- It’s a church you’re passionate about as it is. I love this one! No church is perfect. Every church has problems. Every church needs to improve in many areas. That’s the way it is. So decide: Is this a church (teaching, leaders, direction) that I can FULLY support with my money, my time, my energy regardless of it’s flaws? If not, then leave it. If so, stay.
Thoughts on this sissies?