When is it “okay” to switch Churches?
During The Forgotten Virtues series we have looked at some often neglected individual and societal values. And a reoccurring topic seems to be how those ideals affect our involvement (or lack thereof) in our local communities of faith. In week one we were reminded about the forgotten quality of honor. One of three specific groups Craig Groeschel challenged us to honor is pastors and church leaders. Citing 1 Timothy 5:17 he pointed out how Scripture indicates that our preachers and teachers and elders are worthy of special honor. Then this week, while talking about loyalty, he once again challenged us to think seriously about our commitment to our local churches.
But what if we’re feeling the itch to try out a new church? Or what if we’re just feeling the desire to leave the place we have been attending? For some people church hopping is as common as changing hair salons. Others have been members of the same community of worship for years, maybe decades, yet still find themselves considering making a change.
There are countless reasons one might decide it’s time to leave their congregation:
- The worship is not their style
- The doctrine of the leadership is contrary to what they believe
- A new church down the street seems to be more progressive and relevant
- The kids’ program doesn’t fit the family’s needs
- Somebody in the church seriously offended them
- The pastor doesn’t ‘feed them’ enough
- There’s too much emphasis on ________ or not enough on ________.
Is it dishonoring to the elders, and thus disobedient to Paul’s instruction in First Timothy, to stop being a part of a local fellowship? Are we falling into familiar patterns of disloyalty by doing so? When is it ok to move on and when is it important to stay? Is there a proper protocol to follow if switching churches?
We’d love to hear from you on this matter. Are there certain scenarios which you feel warrant an exodus? What are some situations you think a person should stick through, no matter how painful? Personal experiences and testimonials are welcome as well.