Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You're breaking up with me because I'm too ... blonde.

We continue with our series based on The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do, by Mark Atteberry. The following are some notes from my Sunday school lesson at Providence Church.

DUMB MOVE #5: Hopping from Church to Church
“We treat church with a consumer mentality—looking for the best product for the price of our Sunday morning. As a result, we’re fickle and not invested for the long-term, like a lover with a wandering eye, always on the hunt for something better.” – Joshua Harris

Of church hoppers, Atteberry notes, “In their minds, every hop is justified.” Who are these church hoppers?

2 Breeds of Church Hoppers:
1. The Complainers

“The complaining church hopper is never satisfied. He finds fault with everything the church does and foolishly believes the church down the highway will be exactly what he’s looking for.”

2. The Consumers ~ This is a new breed of church hopper, sampling the best various churches have to offer.

“With so many new churches springing up and offering such a rich diversity of worship styles, preaching styles, and programming, there can be a smorgasbord of fascinating possibilities in a single community.”

By way of illustration, “You may prefer the fries at McDonald’s, the Whopper at Burger King, and a Wendy’s Frosty for your sweet tooth.” The consumer church hopper will approaches churches the same way.

Churches are not perfect, but in the search for the perfect one, hoppers keep hopping.

“Who came up with this notion that you should never settle down and commit to a church until you find one that’s perfect in every way?” ... “Satan did, that’s who.”

Atteberry’s 6 Conclusions about Church Hopping:

1. Church hoppers tend to be very critical.

“[church] flaws are their license to keep hopping.”

They will keep inspecting until they find something wrong to validate the hunch that this church was unworthy of them.

2. Church hoppers tend to have a “Me First” attitude.

“The bottom line: Chronic church hoppers love to be catered to, doted on, and spoon-fed. And when they aren’t, they’re gone.”

3. Church hoppers almost never get involved.

The church needs committed people that can be counted upon, however.

“God has always intended for service and ministry to happen inside the body of Christ. But that can’t happen without people who settle in and become steadfastly committed and involved.”

4. Church hoppers almost never make a series financial investment in the church.

“So if a church hopper’s heart isn’t in the local church (and it never is), his or her money won’t be either.”

5. Church hoppers make it a point to remain emotionally detached.

We need each other and if we’re detached from each other, we become easy prey (1 Pet 5:8).
“When God’s people lock arms and commit to watching out for one another, [Satan’s] opportunities are greatly reduced.”

6. Church hoppers enjoy living free from accountability.

“Good elders watch for and “blow the whistle” on conduct that would be harmful to the body. But, of course, they have jurisdiction over only the specific flock they’re a part of. That means a church hopper, because he hasn’t officially identified himself with any one church, is virtually exempt from any oversight.”

5 Blessings of a Long-Term Commitment to a Church:
  1. Serving faithfully in one church over the long haul will give you a sense of belonging.
  2. Serving faithfully in one church over the long haul will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Serving faithfully in one church over the long haul will lead you to some wonderful discoveries about yourself.
  4. Serving faithfully in one church over the long haul will fill your life with meaningful relationships.
  5. Serving faithfully in one church over the long haul will make you a powerful witness for the LORD.

Discussion Questions:
  1. The essence of Kant’s Categorical Imperative* is that one should only do that which he/she would wish everyone else should do also. What would be the state of Christianity if everyone had the church hopper M.O.?
  2. Why is church hopping bad for the church? Why is it bad for the individual church hopper?
  3. How do you move people from being consumers to contributors, takers to givers?
  4. Atteberry says that, “there are times when it would be wrong not to look for another church home.” So, while it may be easier to find invalid reasons to change churches, what are some valid reasons to leave? Are there some reasons that necessitate leaving a church?

*1st Maxim/1st Formulation: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

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At 11 June, 2009 06:59, Blogger Lance said...

Love that list of hopper characteristics, as I have seen almost every one in church hoppers I have encountered.

Heard a quote last week. Something to the tune of: "Churches are like swimming pools. All the noise comes from the shallow end."

At 11 June, 2009 11:29, Blogger Ashley said...

Nice Legally Blonde quote! I think the worst part of church hoppers is that they don't serve. How can you give or help when you're not there long enough to get to know anyone? But then, even people who have attended a church for years sometimes are so focused on themselves that they don't serve the church. What happened to it's better to give than receive?

At 11 June, 2009 13:22, Blogger GUNNY said...

Great quote, Lance! It just may wind up in the church bulletin sometime.

It's an underrated movie, Ashley, but so is serving in church. It truly is better to give than receive, but too few are willing to put that to the test.

At 12 June, 2009 00:47, Blogger shanpop said...

I don't think I'm a hopper because A. We've never left a church except for when moving, and B. the only characteristic that we have is #1.

My question for you is: How do you get rid of #1? We tend to be very involved and often in leadership roles, which is front row to the problems in a church. Any advice on becoming less critical in our spirits?

At 18 August, 2009 05:59, Anonymous Christian Boy said...

I strongly believe in following the bible to the T and I am very critical of many churches with good reason.

I visited many churches where alot of them violate the following:

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. " (Matthew 6:5).

Verse 6 continues to say we should pray in private and secret and these are the words of Jesus himself.

There are other versus in the Bible which other churches violate and because they do this I stay clear of them as I want my kids serving the Lord they way the bible instructs.

So call me guilty of church hopping but I will not fall under category 10 which is Accepting the unacceptable.

At 09 September, 2011 09:07, Blogger deceived no more said...

What do you do when there are no solid churches in your area? Stay home. What do you do when you have given every dime you had to a church, served until you dropped to only find out you're in a cult.
Stay home or keep looking.
You may have to develop a new category for this one. No, there are no perfect churches, but I will not be a part of a heretical, non-biblical church.
Color me with those characteristics if you like, but the church is not what it used to be. There are only seeker friendly and charasmatic churches in my area.
Good luck with explaining this category of church hoppers.

At 13 September, 2011 15:50, Blogger GUNNY said...

Deceived No More, I don't in any way want to come across as glib or uncaring, so after much prayerful consideration, I'm going to post my response as another post.

I also just realized there are two other questions/comments with which I never interacted. Shame on me. I will endeavor to do so.

At 13 September, 2011 15:56, Blogger GUNNY said...

My answer to the question, "What do you do when there are no solid churches in your area?"


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