What I believe the sin of many who leave churches today, in our church ‘hop, shop and chop’, consumer-minded Christianity, is in one or both of the following:

1. First the motive for leaving (why a person has chosen to separate themselves).

Too many people abandon churches for petty reasons. Disagreements over simple matters of preference are never a good reason to leave a doctrinally sound church. Christians are commanded to respect, honor, and obey those whom God has placed in positions of leadership in the church (Heb.13:7, 17). People most often leave churches for selfish, man centered, comfort-related reasons, with little concern for the other members they have covenanted with, are accountable to and joined to by God.
There are very few biblical reasons to leave a church because it should be a rare event and a process. The fact is, God never breaks covenant and we are to be like Christ. To leave a church family, that God considers a holy covenant relationship, shows the lack of understanding of Biblical commitment to the church rampant in our culture.

To leave a church for unbiblical reasons shows very little concern for the glory of Christ and His mission; which is to be furthered as the world sees Christ’s love and devotion modeled in us. How are they to see that? One way is a strong love in which people persevere together through the good and the bad. Following the example of Christ who will never leave or forsake us. Unfortunately many today see their personal needs, feelings and desires of higher priority, and therefore have no problem leaving and forsaking those whom God joined them to, whom they have covenanted with, and say that they love. This simply does not model Christ’s love and commitment and therefore does not glorify God. So I see motive for leaving as a critical issue.

2. Second I see method of leaving (how a person has chosen to leave a church) as another equally critical issue.

Many people leave churches today by simply stopping attendance without so much as a kind ‘good-bye’ or a word of explanation; leaving out of selfish anger or hurt and in bitterness. This is done without love or common courtesy to the other members. This is akin to abandonment. Think of a spouse who one day comes home to an empty house. No note, no goodbye, no courtesy, no kindness, no love. This method of leaving a church does not model Christ’s treatment of us, nor does it model Christian love and commitment to an on-looking world.

Others leave churches harboring bitterness and malice, slandering and gossiping in the process and after. The result is divisions within the body of Christ against which there are breathtaking judgments pronounced by God and awaiting those who engage in such behavior, unless there is repentance.

In this whole discussion we must consider these commands:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

There are so many other verses that speak to these truths. But simply take one: 1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. “Lay down our lives”! That is a serious command, one related to the church. Nowhere do I see in the Bible any luxury of running out on brothers and sisters. No easy road out of covenant commitment. No lack of devotion or sacrifice for the brothers and sisters God has placed us with, simply referencing the few verses above makes this crystal clear.

Jesus died for the church, and prayed that we be one as He and the Father are one. Throughout the book of 1 John we are told that our love for our brothers and sisters directly indicates our love for the Lord and even our eternal condition. In it, John makes quite a compelling argument for devotion to one another within a church. The implications are huge; how we treat, think of, talk about and relate to other Christians, especially those in our local church family, directly shows our true heart towards Christ.

The early church, seen in Scripture and in church history in later decades, had a profound love for Christ and was radically committed to Him and His glory, first. They were willing to die for Him, lose all for him. Then from their radical love for Christ, sprang a radical love and commitment to one another. They were willing to sacrifice goods, lands, money etc. for their brothers and sisters and strangers. This made the unbelievers around them stand up and take notice.
Unfortunately us modern, 21st century Christians, know little of this type of commitment. We are saturated in the ‘look out for number one- meet my needs’ culture and take the body of Christ dangerously and shamefully too lightly. This has bred a Christianity of shallow relationships and little commitment, where we are easily offended, wallow in prideful self-pity, promote ourselves and our rights and run on feelings; backbiting, gossiping, ravaging and abandoning one another. This is clear evidence of the works of the flesh and not the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5). All this is to our detriment and judgment for we will all give an account. In the process we make the majestic, holy, precious name of Christ a reproach among unbelievers.

I firmly agree with many others that what is needed in the church in America is repentance and a return to sound doctrine, especially sound, correct, right and true doctrine of the church i.e. a correct church theology. That I believe is the root cause of much of the mess we are experiencing in the American church. I refer you to one last article by MacArthur titled “Commitment to the Church”. This thoroughly explains why we must be committed to the local church and outlines seven essential biblical issues concerning commitment to a local church http://www.gty.org/resources.php?print

I would encourage those who may be considering leaving their church to ask for God’s grace and to search their heart as to motive and method of leaving.

As Paul said “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:16) and “so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).

That Christ is glorified and you may be filled with the fullness of His joy!

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Comment by Prophetess Sandra Dukes, a.m. on July 26, 2009 at 7:07pm
Pastor Hancock this subject truly is a dilemma. I agree that obedience of the Holy Scriptures is the only solution to such problems.
Comment by Eric Hancock on July 17, 2009 at 1:18pm
Vernah RueLae
I understand and AGREE
Comment by John on July 17, 2009 at 10:56am
Brother Busby if those church folk got in your face because you told them Jesus was your covering then they definitely need to change churches, leaders and start reading the bible and then look at 1Corinthians 11:3 - 16 and see what God says. Church folk at times is worst than non believers and then wonder why people dont' come to church or 'church hop'. God bless.
Comment by Vernah RueLae on July 17, 2009 at 8:51am
Good Morning Bro. Hancock
You said;

Vernah RueLae
if a person is not being fead or have out grown the ministry where they're fellowshipping then YES they should consult there Leader and Explain why they being Lead out,, when you ready to quit your job do you give a two week notice or just walk out?

I have no problem with what you stated about people who have outgrown, or are not being fed looking for a Church to help them grow. I agree! You once told me that “God loves one who has a Hunger to Learn,,A WISE MAN WILL INCREASE IN HIS LEARNING...” So true and a sound reason for moving on. But I thought we were talking about Church “Hopping” which to me means just running to and fro from church to church, for any reason.

You stated
“ Too many people abandon churches for petty reasons. Disagreements over simple matters of preference are never a good reason to leave a doctrinally sound church.”

My sentiments exactly...those who in my humble opinion are yet carnal, and need to develop a relationship with our Elder brother Jesus. He said “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. We should have had at least a conversation with Him if nothing more than “help me Lord” before we join up with a church where we never even took time to pray about , or even visit long enough to check out what they are all about. I believe every church member should bring something to the table when it comes to fellowship. If all you got is tears and sadness bring it.....God welcomes it. “All ye who are heavy laden and such”...Then allow God’s people to do what they are there to do. Strengthen one another.

You wrote;
Now,,Concerning the street Ministry,,is different ,,BUT even then you will have to inform the people that your USE to meeting with and alert them of you relocation

Right again, but I did not say they were different I said “it’s all good” And for sure logistics is a concern for every venue. Still if God is sending you on the journey He will work out the details.

God Bless You!
Comment by terrance douthard on July 17, 2009 at 8:32am
rev. this is a good topic, should we church hop? i don't think we should, but i've come to realize why people church hop, to name a few here goes,some people just want to be where the hottest preacher and choir is,some are so convicted by the message they can't stand it,some are hurt from abuse (church abuse) some see so many thing's that's going on in church that should'nt be going on,and some just want to be somebody in the church and are not allowed to be. as i close i'll say although some church hop because of their own mess, a lot of it has to do with the people in the church leadership from pastor's on down to the janitor's.
Comment by Eric Hancock on July 17, 2009 at 5:20am
you look like a country boy who just got through milking the cow,,,LOL,Now take that hat off
Comment by Eric Hancock on July 17, 2009 at 5:18am
Vernah RueLae
if a person is not being fead or have out grown the ministry where they're fellowshipping then YES they should consult there Leader and Explain why they being Lead out,, when you ready to quit your job do you give a two week notice or just walk out??,,,Now,,Concerning the street Ministry,,is different ,,BUT even then you will have to inform the people that your USE to meeting with and alert them of you relocation
Comment by Vernah RueLae on July 16, 2009 at 9:12pm
BTW Very interesting thread on the topic of Church Hopping. I read most of all of it. Must say standing back looking in I see more concurring than opposition. Seems the common goal is that people (church members) is that they receive the truth, the pure word w/o the nonsense. In a Church building, Home Fellowship, Street Ministry, it’s all good. My Spiritual Father and Mentor Rev. John McGugan, when God told him to go preach the gospel set up his pulpit, out in front of the Bar. His perishners were folk who would come out of the Bar sit on the curb and listen while he preached. Seems all these issues that cause all these breaches are carnal folk being carnal, I am convinced that fasting and fervent prayer for the Body of Believers to be able to walk in Eph. 4:1-16 will take us father along in the plan of God for His Kingdom.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. God Bless
Comment by Vernah RueLae on July 16, 2009 at 8:08pm
Greetings My Brothers and Sisters,
I heard somebody say there was chocolate candy over here....so I ran over for a break from Minister' Tracy Bible Trivia!!!!!!!! Oh man!!... those questions ain't no joke....You gotta answer from what you know ...can't go to the bible for help.... Minister Tracy already told us God is watching to see if we cheat...so I could sure use some M&M peanuts and I'm outta here. Thanks
Comment by Eric Hancock on July 16, 2009 at 5:32pm

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