Posted On March 21, 2014

Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church

by | Mar 21, 2014 | Church

Before I begin, there is an operative assumption in this post. It is that a fitting local church home should offer three non-negotiable elements (sine qua nons). Here are those three sine qua nons: a local church home should offer consistently faithful expository gospel preaching undergirded with sound doctrine, a missional community that seeks to serve its surrounding community and see God save the lost, and a thriving new covenant faith community that provides accountability and edification.

From my perspective, it is impossible for individuals or families to spiritually thrive without having a local church home. Unfortunately, many people get hung up on preferential matters that prevent them from plugging into a church that successfully offers the three sine qua nons mentioned above. There are certainly more preferential matters that prevent people from plugging into a church home, but these four are surefire ingredients to ensure that you will be a perpetual church hopper.

1. Refuse to Give Up Your “Church Shopping List” 

Everyone seeking a church has some sort of checklist. If you think a church is going to satisfy your every want, then you will be disappointed and depart before attending your first quarter.

Here’s the deal with church shopping lists. We all build our list on our past or a non-existent ideal picture. However, God takes us to a place that is going to be different from both. Why? He wants us to learn something new about Himself, or He wants us to see something new about our self. Second, your ideal does not exist on this side of heaven. And it could be that your ideal won’t be on the other side of heaven. God wants to show you the varied-colored spectrum of church you will experience in heavenly bliss.

I suggest you throw that checklist away. If your list goes beyond the three sine qua nons, you will never be satisfied.

I’ve only attended four churches in my evangelical Christian experience. Every one of these churches was entirely different in preferential and aesthetic matters. Each church offered unique elements that came as pleasant surprises for my family. Had I a shopping list, I would not have landed at any of these churches. I would not have learned half of what I’ve since learned about God and myself.

2. Refuse to Serve

A lot of people arrive at a new church with the posture that they are taking a break from serving. Some, who are advanced in years, are ready to let younger generations pull their weight. Others are burnt out from a previous experience; they over-committed to their previous church.

I am compassionate towards these two perspectives. Nonetheless, you were made to serve God and express worship through service. In fact, serving God is the primary field of meaning for the word “worship” in the Bible. It is impossible to worship God apart from serving God.

I suggest arriving at a church with a posture of immediate service. This doesn’t mean you’ll serve immediately. It means that you will take immediate initiative to find out how you may serve. Understandably, many churches do not allow non-members to serve. If that’s the case, then you should advance the process towards serving as swiftly as possible.

3. Refuse Community

It’s very difficult to meet people seat-belted to the pew or chair every Sunday. Some people are uber extroverts, but a lot of people do not connect quickly with others. Many people bounce from church to church because they never felt like they “connected” to anyone.

I am convinced that the main reason many are slow to connect to community when coming to a new church is because community is an element of pain for them. They left a church because a past church community hurt them. I sympathize with this reason. Yet, healing of this kind of hurt must come through community.

I encourage those who are working through this dilemma to pray carefully and live courageously. Consult a pastor and find the safest place in the community to go for healing. Let the pastor know about your experience. He will steer you wisely.

A second reason people refuse community is because they refuse accountability. Refusing accountability gives them license to continue in a sinful and broken path. Unfortunately, this means that they are not walking in repentance. They are getting emotional therapy through preaching without the relational accountability to put to death sin.

God will do marvels through the preaching of His Word. This is indeed true. Still, the Church is where confession must take place and issues of conscience must be addressed. This means that people need to be in community with one another.

If you want to continue walking around with unhealed wounds or amble down a path of foolishness, refuse community, and keep hopping from church to church.

4. Refuse to Become a Member

Say the word “membership” to many congregations and you’ll see people run. We live in an age that is turned off to church commitment. I think this is fundamentally because people go to church to meet their need rather than to meet with God. Our culture has so inculcated people with consumerism that they have inadvertently turned the church into another retail attraction.

Church leaders and organizers are not helping this dilemma. With the consolidation of small churches into large churches, everyone is doing what they can to “attract” people to a building. Thus, they’ve lost the element of simply bringing God glory and proclaiming the gospel, giving God the opportunity to attract people to himself.

People often go to a church to follow a preacher, a worship team, a sermon series, or a special event. They safely enter into the cult of a tribe or personality for a time and then disengage and reengage elsewhere. They don’t want to feel attached because they want the freedom to change their commitment. Membership locks people into community, which is not appealing to people these days.

When people refuse membership, then they refuse community and service altogether. They will not long for those components of church because they know they won’t be around long enough to engage in those endeavors. They become enslaved to transience, ineffective in service, and disconnected from community.

Really, the best thing that anyone can do when they find a church that satisfies the three sine qua nons is to move forward with membership. With membership you will lock into the community and launch out into service.

Related Posts

Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” In the Bible hospitality is no small matter. From Abraham to the Apostles, God called His people to greet one another with love and concern. For instance, in the Old Testament, it was...

Go Back to the Local Church

Go Back to the Local Church

Go Back to Church Perhaps a Pastor painted a poor picture of Pastors for you. Maybe a church staffer didn’t elevate your ministry the way you thought it deserved. Did a fellow member rebuke you harshly instead of with gentleness and in love? Cultural Christians and...

Five Things Only The Local Church Can Do

Five Things Only The Local Church Can Do

There is nothing on earth like the local Christian church. Hundreds of conferences offer life-changing experiences for several days but can’t come close to the life-long impact of a local church. Evangelistic crusades may draw tens of thousands to hear the gospel, but...

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power

The Cruciformed View of Wisdom and Power Living in a pluralistic society where relativism is the norm it is inevitable someone is going to be offended. Those of us who live as witnesses of the Crucified Christ know all to well that mentioning the statement "Jesus is...

Three Important Reasons To Become A Church Member

Three Important Reasons To Become A Church Member

“Why become a member of a church, I attend the service isn’t that enough?” This is an actual question that I have heard. I want to explain how, as a Pastor, I respond to such a claim. Let me break this down into four apparent areas of confusion. I should also mention...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Church Series: The Discipline of Going to Church - […] series about the Bride of Christ.  Joey Cochran wrote the seventheenth post in this series about church hopping and…
  2. 10 Guest Contributions in 2 Years - […] 1. Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church at ServantsofGrace.org […]
  3. The Daily Roundup: 21 March 2014 | - […] Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church – Joey Cochran continues the series on the…
  4. The Daily Roundup: 21 March 2014 - SOG- Servants of Grace - […] Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church – Joey Cochran continues the series on the…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share4
Reddit
Email
Buffer
Tweet