Written by cycleguy on August 14th, 2019

I think every pastor on the planet has at one time or another experienced someone coming to them and saying, “We are leaving and going to another church. Church XYZ has a program that is better suited for our kids. They have more things to do.” I have been on the other end of that stick and it doesn’t feel very good. It hurts even more when the decision has already been made and their mind is made up even before talking with me about it.

That is not happening right now. It has and I’m sure it will again. When someone leaves because of doctrinal reasons (they like Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding, for example, and my preaching is nowhere close to his heresy) I’m okay with that. It recently happened and I now see God sparing us from a very divisive issue. When someone leaves because they are moving over 45 minutes away (as someone very close to me did two years ago), it hurts, but I understand. I just won’t talk to him anymore (except when we get together to go out to eat). 🙂  I can get behind both of those reasons.

If a family leaves because I don’t see things as narrow as they do and leave accusing me of being liberal and compromising on issues like homosexuality, pornography, sexual conduct, abortion, and other issues, I can see there is something else underlying it. It is also so not true.

But for someone to simply pack up and leave because another church offers something we don’t, that hurts.  I don’t use the “su**s” word but I sure want to.  I’m confused. Flabbergasted. It’s like all the time and effort put into their family, their marriage, their lives means absolutely nothing.

Church-going is seen more like a shopping event than a worship event. We have become a nation of consumers, content on shopping around for the best bargain, the one (ready for it?) “that meets my needs the best.” That is certainly the one thing the seeker movement has taught us: have your felt needs met-go to the church that best meets your needs.  I’ll be honest: I despise shopping at the mall. I know everything is there under one roof. 100 different clothing stores. 30 different shoe stores. All the mobile phone kiosks. Toy stores. Lingerie stores.  Jewelry stores. (I mean, let’s face it. How many different pieces of jewelry can there be and how can one diamond store be more “real” than another?) Even a food court for your choice of food.  What the mall offers is all these stores under one roof, offering tons of the same items, still over-priced.

When it comes to the church, people lose sight of the “why” of going. They miss the “I am being fed by a man of God who uses the Word of God uncompromisingly.” Too often we determine our like or dislike by the music; the lights/camera/action; the activities going on; the entertainment value; and so on. Christ, and glorifying Him, is not king; the consumer/customer is. What does he/she need?

Granted, “feel good” positive thinking messages (I can’t call them sermons) should have us looking elsewhere. Entertainment-driven “worship events” should tire us. An endless calendar which gives us no time for family should be a yellow flag. But to leave just to leave, to feel better, to play sports or whatever, is just wrong.  Ironically, the desire for more selections and variety is what has helped create the megachurch.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Church is not about meeting our earthly needs, but our spiritual ones. Because a former pastor really alienated us, Danny and I did some “church shopping,” but none of it was helpful. In the end, we stuck it out, and now, with our two new pastors, I’m so thankful we did.
    Let’s make church all about worshiping our God, not ourselves!
    Blessings, Bill!

  2. Preach it brother , preach it. When we moved to California, we churched shopped a little. finally settled on a small church with great messages. The did have a nursery and class for the next age up but that is all, no teen program, no super sixties program, but great grace bible teaching flowed from the pastor of 30 years. They had experienced one church split, the people who stayed got older, did I mention great teaching. We have a younger pastor now, the other one is still around, makes the church his home church. He is the most encouraging man I know. We just lost the building they had been in for more then 10 years so meeting now at a hotel while we search for a place that God wants us in. the pastor wife ask me one time why we came to their church and stayed…we said right on bible teaching. When others in our town hear where we go they will respond with, that church understands broken people…I love that comment, love it. We left a good country, good family, our only home, good Christian school, to go give the gospel that can mend broken hearts and souls. My heart aches for those who have to shop around for the right programs even though I do understand. We keep encouraging our new pastor who is a former New Tribes Missionary, just preach, teach they way you are now and the people will grow, well, those that want to grow in the Lord unless they are looking for a church that has it all. Some would say, we are better off without them, I would say, go visit them, ask them if they are growing in the Lord where they are at. It takes grace to let them leave and hopefully grow up. The good old USA has too much, a church on every corner while millions are dying without the gospel because of programs to fit everyone need. Ok, I am ranting now, or better yet, telling my heart cry. The pastor I got saved under preached us out of the church because he kept before us the needs of the world and there is only one need all over the world for any issue, Jesus, and His love for us. He had no programs, only a cross. Just keep preaching the cross brother and the love that flowed down from it.

  3. floyd says:

    I hear you, Bill. When you give so much of yourself and someone walks away it’s a feeling of use and betrayal.

    I had a subcontractor that I bailed out during the down turn that we were all trying to survive, turn down a job I needed him to do.

    It’s a punch to the gut… but it’s human nature…

    In the end I know that God has my back and we’ll be better without them in the long run. He has something and someones better for all of us that are striving to and for Him.