This article isn’t intended to help you figure out whether or not you should leave your current church. If that’s the situation you’re in, I recommend you check out THIS article as it very helpful. The purpose of this article is to help you think through whether or not it is a good idea for you to attend multiple churches simultaneously.
Multiple churches simultaneously? People in Texas who read this article will scratch their head thinking ” people attend multiple churches? Our problem is that we can’t keep the person in ONE church let alone multiple – isn’t this a good problem to have?”. The answer to that question is No, it’s not a good problem to have. But before I tell you why, here are a few reasons why you might be church hopping right now:
- Maybe you enjoy the cultural characteristics that your local ethnic church offers, but prefer the youth program of another church down the street? Maybe you find yourself spending your Sunday mornings at the ethnic church, while you spend Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings hanging with the youth at the other church?
- Maybe you absolutely love the local famous Christian personalities? In the Seattle area many people love Pastor(s) Mark Driscoll, Judah Smith, and Casey Treat. A lot of people church hop to see these three preachers. It’s sort of like going to see your favorite band playing at the Key Arena. Young people especially like to church hop to see their favorite personality perform.
- Maybe you attend the strict church of your parents on Sunday morning, and then scoot over to Mars Hill for an early afternoon or evening service to see Pastor Mark Driscoll preach and to chill with your friends? The service at your parents church is all business while the experience at the 2nd church is business (and pleasure).
- Maybe you don’t feel comfortable or at home at your current church and when you go to the other church you feel welcome and happy?
- Just to be clear, I am not writing to people who occasionally go to another church for a special event, class, conference, baptism, etc. I am writing to the chronic church hoppers who are jumping between different churches on a weekly or monthly basis.
Did you know that church hopping can have some dangerous effects on both the hopper and the churches involved? I don’t think many church hoppers think this through and sort of just do it without realizing that their actions have consequences. Because of this, I have compiled a short list of reasons I think will prove to you that your church hopping behavior is dangerous.
1) Don’t commit adultery with your primary church. While the Apostle Paul was a traveling evangelist who attended many church meetings in various locations, you probably are not a traveling evangelist and should find ONE local church that you can put all of your time, energy, and passion into. No one wants to have their spouse cheat on them. So why cheat on your primary church by attending multiple churches?
2) Church hopping hurts your pastor(s) feelings. I know, you’re probably thinking “what is this middle school” ? I think you would be surprised to find out that your pastor knows when you aren’t there on Sunday. Your pastor see’s your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram updates at the other church you hop to. Your pastor becomes discouraged when he realizes you are attending multiple churches. He feels like he can’t compete with the big boys. He can’t keep you entertained. Maybe he even changes his sermons around thinking “maybe they will stay here now”? Many protestant denominations have gone down hill because of this. People often complain about those “liberal” protestant denominations but never consider what made them the way they are in the first place. I guarantee church hoppers played a part in their demise.
3) Church hopping has a financial impact on both your primary church and the church you are visiting. I’m not a pastor, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say something shocking. The pastor of the church you are hopping to doesn’t want you there! If you are showing up, taking up a seat, not tithing, not seeking membership, and not deploying your gifts to the benefit of the church you are hopping to, your presence there is harmful practically, spiritually, and financially (and harmful financially to your primary church if you are splitting your donations).
4) Church hopping affects other people. Church hopping takes seats away from people who are legitimately looking for a church to call home. I frequently hear of standing room only at Mars Hill church services and events. Meanwhile I see friends (who I know are members of different churches) posting on social media pictures of their “sweet front row seats”. Meanwhile, there is a family showing up to church for the first or 2nd time, and they are standing for an hour and a half. Your actions may actually prevent someone from hearing the Gospel!
5) You are robbing your primary church of your spiritual gifts and time. While you are splitting your time between 2 (or more) churches, the church that you call home might be crumbling behind the scenes, and your pastor and leadership team might be burning out. You need to pick one church and put all of your energy there. God will use your gifts to bless the church. Your pastor can’t do it on his own. He needs you! He wants you there! He needs your tithes! You are his congregation and he is your pastor. Don’t be a church adulterer by robbing your primary church of your spiritual gifts and time.
There isn’t anything wrong with streaming a sermon or two throughout the week of your favorite preacher. There isn’t anything wrong with attending a conference or special event at a different church. There is something wrong with committing church adultery. So stop hopping, find yourself a church you can call home, and put all of your time, energy, and gifts to use to accomplish the Great Commission. Ask your pastor how you can get involved and join the church membership.