I had a conversation about church hopping with a buddy of mine recently.  He goes to another church in another town but had recently been discouraged with members from his church leaving to find another church.  What hurt him so was all the time and energy and prayers he had poured into this family, and then it seemed like they left for such trivial matters.

I tried to encourage him because I have seen both sides of those changes.  I have seen families leave our congregation for questionable reasons and it hurts.  It’s not so much that your feelings are hurt and you question the quality of what you do.  At least it hasn’t been that way for me.  You hurt for the people leaving when the reasons are trivial.  You are worried for them spiritually.  You are worried they are looking for satisfaction in church busyness and not in God’s sufficiency.

I have also seen families join our congregation from another.  I do understand there are certain circumstances that cause families to look elsewhere.  With every family I have ever counseled with, I challenge them to work as hard as they can to make it right with the other church.  Why?  Because a church is a family.  And you don’t just up and leave a family when disagreements or differences in preferences occur.

In order to encourage my buddy, I asked him some questions: Are you following God?  Is your church living biblically?  Is there any reason they left their church that you should change but not just in order to keep someone one – is something wrong?

If not, then you need to press on.  What was extremely sad about this situation is we identified a cycle in this family’s life.  I know certain people who have made one church change in their lives, and then I have known people who change every couple of years.  People who church hop frequently normally have a cycle like this family did:

  1. Frustrated with their church.
  2. Find another one and think it is God’s best church in the world.
  3. Get extremely involved in this church due to excitement.
  4. Life happens and they have to pull out of such a level of involvement.
  5. Without much involvement and with growing circumstances, they don’t feel right anymore.
  6. They expect the church to fix the problems they should fix themselves or within their family.
  7. Frustrated with their church.
  8. And the cycle continues…

If you have moved churches, this is not meant to convict you.  I wrote this to encourage people who are hurt due to someone leaving.  And I wrote this for people to become contented and committed to the church you are now a part of.  It is not perfect.  It will never be as long as you are there.  But it is a family and families stick together.

Today, pray for your church that God unites them for what a church truly should be.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.