The Gold Coast can be quite a transient place. For many years I have watched people come and go. It's great that I can meet people from all over the world and I get the opportunity to positively impact their lives for the short period that they are here.
But one thing I have noticed in the 16 years that I have lived in this great city is that a number of Gold Coasters are in the habit of moving from one church to another. "Church hopping" as some like to call it, seems to have become part of the Gold Coast culture.
Hop on Hop off
Sometimes I wonder whether people are treating church in the same "transient" manner. When they hear that so and so's church has it all, they quickly run there. Always ready to move to the next "best thing". Others hop from one church to another in search of the "perfect" church since they find fault in every church they attend. Fault in the pastor's preaching style, worship songs or some other issue. Never committing because their expectations are never met and may even decide not to attend church at all.
I understand if one decides to leave their church because the true gospel of Jesus Christ isn't being preached or is compromised in some way. I also understand that we are all different and we each have our personal preference when it comes to church. Some may want to be in a church that can cater for their family needs (e.g. need a church that provides a children's program) or some may want to be in a place where they can relate to others of similar age, background or similar circumstance.
But my concern is that a number of people decide to leave their church as a result of small but not irreconcilable differences or problems. No church is perfect and we are never going to agree on everything. How do we know that we won't face similar challenges at the new church? Should we then pack our emotions and run once again?
Commitment does something good
But as Christians, I believe it is important for us to commit to a bible believing, gospel focused church. To plant our feet somewhere. Not only for the good of others but also for our own good. It may be harder to form solid relationships if we continually move from one church to another.
Getting involved in a church does something in us. It somehow brings us closer together. Communities are built as people love, care and encourage one another and do life together. We become accountable to one another. We can spur each other on when things get tough and celebrate when we have been blessed.
Stop and consider
If we continually find ourselves hopping here and there, maybe we need to stop and consider our own attitude. Instead of asking "what does this church have to offer me?", why not ask "Lord how can I serve you in this place?" If the church is lacking in some way, maybe that's an opportunity for us to help in that situation. If we want to see change, why not be part of the team that makes the change?
If a problem arises, shouldn't we make every effort to reconcile and resolve the issue? If we really love our church, will we be there through its ups and downs and prayerfully consider what God would like for us to do?
Being part of a church family
The way we live as Christians is on display for all to see. We are called to be different. Our lives should reflect the love of God and lead others to Christ. We play a significant role in showing the world around us that there is stability, love, forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ. We should love and forgive one another, do our best to reconcile and not separate. Unite and not divide. Love our church.
1 Peter chapter 1 verse 22 says that we were cleansed from our sins when we obeyed the truth, and so we must now show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. We should love each other deeply with all our hearts.
For many years, I have experienced the benefits of being committed and involved in my church. I have been able to form good solid relationships. I've had times when I have felt discouraged but was counseled by my fellow Christian brothers and sisters and at other times I've been able to walk alongside others that needed assistance.
I chose to stay and work through the difficulties with God's guidance through prayer because my church had become my extended family and family does matter. Unless God leads me somewhere else, this is where I'm meant to be.