Church Shopping

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This is an off topic day, but the subject has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. My friend Lisa Are Wulf, has a ministry and blog called Living For God. She has a terrific post today about brand loyalty.  That post and a recent article in our local paper got me thinking about why people change churches.  I believe there are a several of reasons.

  • Politics
  • Over-Identification
  • Doctrine
  • Theology

Politics

The church should be in the spiritual business.  Telling people how to vote or think is not the job or purpose of the church.  Bringing people to God should be their business.  Being a reflection of God's love, growing in our spiritual walk through Christian education, living each day to be a follower of Christ is what I think church is about.  It is a place to be married, and buried.  It is a place to worship and rejoice with prayers and music and fellowship.  Democrats and Republicans, men and women, conservatives and liberals, gluttons, drunks, thieves, liars, tax collectors, over-achievers, pillars of the community, vagabonds, young, old, rich, poor, artists, intellectuals, and atheletes should all be welcome at God's table. 

Over-Identification

when a minister is at a church too long, people begin to relate to him or her as who the church is.  Members lose perspective on being the body of Christ and become a follower of Rev. so and so.  Not healthy, and in some cases has lead to the decline of the church, especially a  church not affiliated with a governing body.

Doctrine

It is the body of teachings for the denomination or their overall beliefs.  Figure out at the beginning by learning about the overall doctrine of any denomination. What is the most important thing to you?  Every religion has a doctrinal statement that covers their articles of religion and statement of faith. Confirmation classes cover all this info as well.

Theology

This is where we define the attributes of God and God's relationship to man.  I think our theology is formed by formal study, prayer, life experiences and our personal spiritual development.  Even if you don't know your church's doctrine, you should at least have a handle on your theology.  What do you believe about your relationship with God?  People go looking for other people that support their theology and they want to be part of a group that all thinks exactly alike.  You may never find another person who believes exactly as you do.   My husband and I were both raised in church.  We share common belief in doctrine, but very different theology.  It is OK.  We agree to disagree, think and let think, live and let live.

Find a church where your core doctrine need is met.  Then don't sweat the little things.  Stay there and be part of the body.  Get involved.  Serve.  Read what Paul says about being part of the church.  Enjoy your church family.

Comments

Hi Erin - Hey, great post. It expands on several of the themes you wrote about on my blog. I think you make some excellent points. I think that the church is way too involved in politics. It's upsetting when some Christians think that if you vote differently from them, that you're not a good Christian. I agree with you - the church is to be a place for followers of Christ where all are welcome. I really like your other points too. I think that over-identification is a problem because then the church becomes about the celebrity pastor and not about Christ. And, of course, your other points are right on. Thanks for writing such a sensitive and through-provoking blog. Lisa
Thanks Lisa. I appreciate your thoughts and always look forward to communication with you.

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