Church (S)Hopping…

It’s been three months since I’ve been without a home church.  Last time I was without a home church was back in 1998, so I’m kind of new at this.  Since I had been serving as staff in my last ministry for 9+ years, I have to admit that it’s been kind of nice to have this time to visit churches I have always wanted to.  Currently, I’m not looking for a home church, but just visiting churches to see how they’re doing ministry, especially children’s ministry.  It’s been a treat for me…

Unfortunately, I have a lot of friends that don’t have this time of luxury… but they’ve been looking for a new church to call their home for their families.  I’ve had countless conversations about how difficult this process is… I even had families tell me that as soon as I find a church to serve, that they would follow me.  These are few observations and what I keep hearing over and over after many conversations…

  • When you have the luxury of “choosing” a church, it’s really hard NOT to have a consumer mentality.  I mean, if you take your home church thing seriously, then let’s make sure to take the time to choose the right one, right?
  • There are a lot of good churches out there but it comes down to finding the one that is the right fit for you… this could be the size of the church, denomination, style, having the same vision and mission, having ministries for every family member, etc…
  • Sometimes you find a church with a great ministry for the adults, but they don’t have the same quality ministry for the kids or youth or vice versa… Some parents choose to forgo their needs to find a church that meets the needs of their children, some parents choose to find a church that meets the needs of the adults first, some parents are torn, and some parents decide to keep looking…
  • Some churches have phenomenal programs and events for children, but they lack relationships (which is what I had emphasized a lot in my previous ministry…) and teaching that’s transforming.
  • The “good” churches tend to be large or mega churches with great teachings… but because it’s so big, it’s really difficult to get involved.  No one knows if you’re coming or going…

After having visited different churches for the past three months, I’m starting to hear and feel their pain… Yes, it is difficult to find a new church to commit to… but the following are few pointers I encouraged my friends with:

  • There is NO PERFECT CHURCH!  So… STOP LOOKING FOR ONE!!!
  • Start with a local church.  Many of my friends have driven 20+ miles to church because of the relationships, ethnic preference, etc… While this says a lot, since you’re looking for a new church, why not get involved in a church that is invested in your own community?  This way, you can also serve in your OWN community!
  • Definitely do your research to make sure that the church you’re looking into is a God-honoring Church (there are few wackos out there… few that really aren’t Christian churches… so just make sure!)
  • The honest truth is… yes, you ARE church-shopping… but instead of just thinking what they have to offer to you and your family, also think of ways you can serve the church.  Of course you want a GREAT ministry for your kids, but instead of pinpointing the negatives, be open to serving opportunities by communicating with the children’s ministry staff about your concerns and how you could serve in those areas…
  • STOP CHURCH HOPPING week to week!!!  If you’re serious about getting to know a church better, attend the church for at least a month and explore.  Don’t be so incognito, but attend a small group, connect with church leaders so you can find out more about the church, etc…
  • PRAY! PRAY!! PRAY!!!  Trust in God for His Leading because He has the BEST PLAN for you and your family… so pray about where God would lead you to worship, grow, and serve!
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4 thoughts on “Church (S)Hopping…

  1. Great post Glo! We are already doing those church-shopping pointers you mentioned. We hope we can find a nice balance for both of us and the kids. After serving for so long, is it bad to stop for awhile, recharge, and be a regular attender before jumping into serving again?

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  2. thanks hai-en.. it’s good to know that people actually read my posts! 😀
    i personally don’t believe in “giving ’til you have nothing, recharge so you can give again” philosophy… i think you constantly need to be learning, growing, and serving…
    however having said that… i think you shouldn’t jump into a church just to serve… if that makes sense… some of us (especially asians, i think) find our identity in the church by serving… so i think it’s more important to find a church that you can grow and commit to, and then get yourself plugged in to serving…

    what i do worry about is that some people will just “fade away” into the masses because they’ve done their duty, and become sunday church attender… you guys got hit with a huge life changing things all at once… but you’re both level-headed people!!! hang in there during this process… i still wanna visit cornerstone w/ you guys!!! 😀 thanks for letting me rant about what i think about all this! 😀

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  3. As soon as we find a church and get plugged in, it won’t take too long to get back into serving. No need to worry, I’m sure God will tug on our hearts to get back to giving. I definitely don’t want to be defined because of where I serve. I just want to serve because it’s where God wants me to be and what I’m passionate about. The future looks bright despite the upcoming long search for a new church. Both Sandra and I are looking forward to meeting local brothers and sisters in Christ in the Simi area that are not necessarily Asian (what we are used to). I’m sure our kids will be well-plugged in at an appropriate CM as well. Can’t wait to visit Cornerstone with you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – it was spot on!

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  4. thanks for the word of encouragement hai-en!!! i’m sure God will lead you guys to an awesome ministry to call your community! can’t wait to see where! 🙂

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