The church hopper often uses a spiritual language in their decision to leave one church for another one across town. They often claim that God is “leading” them to that specific church. They claim to have no problems in their present church, but they simply believe they need to be across town rather than where they are presently based on a feeling they experience. Often such decisions are made without seeking the leadership counsel of pastors (shepherds who are given charge to watch over the souls of God’s flock—Heb. 13:17) and approaching the decision through prayer and the Scriptures.
Another version of the church hopper is the church shopper. These immature Christians often hop from church to church more frequently and it’s often like a consumer who is shopping for something that another church could offer them or their family (especially their children). Maybe it’s the music or perhaps it’s the youth group of the other church—but the church hopper is attracted to something else in another church and they move on from one church to another without considering the impact such decisions will have upon the church as a whole and relationships within the church.
The danger of such practices is that it diminishes a high view of church membership and often creates division or confusion in local churches as people simply walk out the door for another church. This often damages relationships and leaves the leadership clueless as to how to properly shepherd people who approach membership with this mindset.
Paul referred to the church as a family (1 Tim. 5:1-2), he referenced the church as a body (1 Cor. 12), the church is described as an assembly (Heb. 10:25), Peter calls the church a flock (1 Pet. 5:2), and Paul refers to the church as a building (1 Cor. 3:9). When we consider such imagery, it should be clear that body parts down just casually change bodies, flocks stick together, families strive for unity and avoid separation, and building blocks must stick together with the building or it will crumble to the ground. So it must be when we approach our membership in the local church. We can’t approach it with a church hopping mindset. There must be a perseverance and dedicated approach to our membership.
Perhaps you see these different types of immature Christians in your local church. Rather than identifying them and avoiding them—why not try to befriend them, pray for them, and labor to help them see the value of a meaningful church membership? The investment in such discipleship matters. Remember, you don’t always have to go across the ocean to make disciples.
- Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church, (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Publishers, 2005), 21.
This article about immature Christians originally appeared here.