Wow, how do I talk about this without sounding like a sheep thief. I’ve had several people talk to me about how people should be loyal to the church where they are and not look for greener pastures. I will admit, there’s some validity to the claim.
If you are leaving your church because so and so hurt your feelings….guess what, they’re human. Just because they are saved doesn’t mean they’re perfect. If you’re leaving because you don’t like the church politics…guess what, all churches have to deal with church politics. The new church might have different politics, but they still have politics they deal with. If you’re leaving because you’re not being fed…this could be legitimate.
I know some great pastors and great churches that aren’t feeding members of their flock. I don’t mean they aren’t offering them food, I mean they focus on the lost and their sermons are shallow in nature to attract people with less biblical knowledge. They are scripturally sound, just more seeker sensitive. The pastors and churches, that I personally know, all have different classes and “Bible studies” (in quotes because most of these studies don’t actually study the Bible so much as talk about a particular topic) that are there to help believers go more in depth. Even with these steps in place, some people just aren’t staying. Should these people just suck it up and take advantage of what’s being offered?
In some cases yes, in others no. It’s all on a case by case basis. Here in America we are blessed, and cursed, with freedom of Religion. It’s an open playing field and people go from church to church for not other reason than that they simply can. In this case, yes, I think they should just plant themselves down and be satisfied with a single church family. If the person legitimately doesn’t have time to take these extra classes and studies and they really need the more in depth teaching, by all means, go where your faith will be deepened.
There is no direct answer to this. Churches, I believe, need to be more understanding with people who come and go (to another church). While people who just come and go, so that they don’t build relationships, need to realize that God made us to be in relationships and that it IS a part of church. As I’m starting a church plant, I’m trying really hard not to be a “sheep thief.” But I have had several pastors / planters tell me not to get to caught up with this idea, as many people who join in to start a church come from other congregations. Welcome to church in America I guess. How do you teach people to be satisfied with what they have in a society that demands comfort and quantity over quality and practicality?