BY AARON LOY
JANUARY 27, 2014
There are good reasons to change churches, but there are a lot more bad reasons.
Let’s be honest, while there are some good reasons for leaving a church, there are a lot more bad ones. As a pastor, I hear some of them every now and then as people walk out the door. As a church planter, I hear them constantly as people walk in the door. If you’re thinking about looking for a new church home, please don’t use one of these five reasons to make the jump:
1. “I’m not being fed”
Do pastors have a responsibility to steward the scriptures and care for their church spiritually? You bet they do. And it can be all too easy to overlook this while trying to manage staff, build systems, meet needs, put out fires and develop leaders, all while overseeing the overall vision and direction of the church. But let’s be honest, if you own a smartphone, a personal computer or a library card, you have access to some of the best preaching and teaching in the world. You can even find teaching archives of some of the greatest preachers of all time. Christian, you have access to more “meat” than any other generation before you!
YOUR PRIMARY CALL IN THE CHURCH IS TO CONTRIBUTE, NOT JUST TO CONSUME.
To leave a church because you’re not getting “enough” is a cop out. Your primary call in the church is to contribute, not just to consume. As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others. Remember, your call is not just to be a disciple but to make disciples.
2. “It’s getting too big”
I can appreciate the sense of loss that accompanies growth. When we first began, our church was little more than a small band of brothers and sisters meeting together in a living room. It feels very different now that we are a church of a few hundred people spread across multiple services. There are moments when I miss the intimacy and simplicity of those early days. But remaining small is a sad and unbiblical goal.
When churches are faithful to the Great Commission, lives will be changed and people will be added to their number. It may not happen rapidly, but growth is sometimes inevitable for faithful churches, given a long enough timeline. If you have a problem with big churches, you really wouldn’t have liked the first church, and you definitely won’t like heaven.
3. “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached”
You know what? Neither do I and I’m the pastor. As such I fully reserve the right to disagree with myself. And every now and then I do exactly that. Why? Because I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m asking questions. And my hope is that those I pastor are doing likewise.
If you insist that your pastor agree with you on every little thing under the sun, you are going to either hop from church to church for the rest of your life in perpetual disappointment or you will eventually give up and drop out altogether. Chances are you are not going to agree with everything that is preached anywhere. As long as your pastor isn’t preaching outright heresy, you can afford to disagree on secondary issues.The truth is when you choose to stay despite disagreeing on some things, you, your pastor and your church are better for it.
4. “My Needs Aren’t Being Met”
When someone lists this as a reason for leaving it is a dead giveaway that somewhere along the way they came to believe that the Church actually exists to serve their needs. They’ve bought into the lie that, when it comes to church, it’s really about “me.” Here’s the problem: the Church actually isn’t 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 CHURCH DOESN’T EXIST TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. YOU ARE A PART OF THE CHURCH THAT EXISTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD.
This is the same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost and then commissioned his Church to go and do the same. The Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the world. Put away the shopping cart and pick up a shovel.
5. Unresolved Conflict
Wherever you find the community of sinning saints you will find conflict. Lots of it. The Church is one big family full of characters and misfits. Sometimes sisters argue. Sometimes brothers fight. Sometimes you want to bury your weird uncle in the backyard. But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
Paul addressed a lot of church conflict in his letters. No where do I hear him encouraging believers to bail on one another or move on down the road to a different church where it’ll be easier. Instead, much of his letters are his encouraging and coaching these ragamuffin communities in how to do this very hard and messy thing together. When we leave at first sign of real conflict, it shortchanges God’s best work in our midst. It sidesteps the process of repentance, forgiveness and grace. It negates the power of the Gospel to bring reconciliation where reconciliation might seem impossible. We and those around us miss out on all of it when we just leave.
I do know that not all conflict is resolvable. I know that reconciliation is impossible where there is no repentance. I get that. But remember, repentance starts with us. And so does the extending of grace. And when we resolve to stick around and keep on repenting and extending grace, I think God can do far more than we often give Him credit for. Some of God’s best work happens in the mess.Aaron is a husband, dad, church planter, coffee addict, insatiable learner and chronic dreamer. He’s the founding pastor of Mosaic Lincoln. You can find more of his writing on his blog or on Twitter.
I had the pleasure of watching God work in a very special way today. Continue reading
While reading through some of my friends thoughts on Facebook I ran across this great video. You need to watch this video to see how very unique the woodpecker is. This is one of the great examples in nature of God’s creative genius! I will not try to tell you what is discuss in the video but you really need to see it. You will be in awe of how great God is and how the creation of all things was by God’s design.
Pastor Bill Rigsby
Thank you for your response to the “whooping woman” story posted yesterday. Today is a continuation story of the same distribution. The BGR partners who made the first distribution to the “whooping woman’s” village, made a second one to a community just as needy.
The village they went to was about three times as large as the first. It was as hot as before. Two semi-trucks full of corn and peanuts arrived for distribution. This food was provided through the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and the village couldn’t believe that such a gift was being given to them. They even said, “we thought you had forgotten about us.” They over and over kept saying, “you just don’t understand, the food came just in time!”
One scene illustrated best the dire situation of the villagers and their hunger need. As the corn (maize) and peanuts (ground nuts) were distributed, a few kernels and seeds fell into the dust. The team watched in amazement at grown men, women and children carefully picked up each stray seed not wanting to waste even a morsel of food. The team wrote…
“Our last night in the village, we were called to the public square for more dancing and drumming. It was a very special night. We got back to our host’s home at about 11:30 pm, all of us quite tired and ready for bed. Just 10 minutes later, though, the traditional singers and drummers had followed us back to our yard and proceeded to dance and sing more for us. Never mind some were in bed! The song they sang though was the sweetest: ‘Who brought us corn? Who brought us peanuts? Jesus did!'”
And whatever you did for the least of these…
Thank you, Southern Baptists (and others), for giving to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to a people hungry both physically and spiritually.
I encourage you to share this story with others. I encourage you also to prayerfully consider giving to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund so that more of us can help Jesus bring food to hungry people.
If you would like to give to or learn more about the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, please visit: http://www.worldhungerfund.com
In the event of inclement weather, the pastor, chairman of the deacons and chairman of the properties committee will decide by Saturday to either cancel Sunday’s service or postpone it to 4pm.
Notification will be made through the church’s PhoneTree, website, email, Facebook, television (WYFF4) and radio (WRIX & WLFJ), similar to those made by local schools, businesses, and the DOT. Our answering machine will be updated to reflect the decision and members are encouraged to call their deacon for further information.
We encourage you to visit http://www.pray4gcr.com/ to learn about the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence.
In the event of inclement weather, the pastor, chairman of the deacons and chairman of the properties committee will decide by Saturday to either cancel Sunday’s service or postpone it until 4:00 PM.
Notification will be made through the church’s PhoneTree, website, media, television – Channel 4, radio – WRIX & WLFJ, similar to those made by local schools, businesses, and the DOT. Our answering machine will be updated to reflect the decision and members will be encouraged to call their deacon for further information.
Bill Rigsby continues the Safe At Home series with this message about children and parents.
Passages: Ephesians 6:1-4, Luke 2:51-52, 2 Timothy 3:1, Colossians 3:21, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, 17
For Hard of Hearing guests and members we have Williams Sound hearing assist receivers available from the sound booth at the back of the sanctuary. We also offer sign language interpretation for Deaf guests and members upon request.