Tired of Church Hopping?

I’ve attended close to a dozen churches in my life. Growing up, my parents considered church important, but I watched them struggle to find one they believed was both doctrinally sound and community oriented. By the time I went to college, I’d developed the dangerous habit of visiting a new church, finding something I didn’t like, and then leaving, only to repeat the cycle. I wouldn’t commit to just one church.

As American Christians, we can often treat the church like our personal theater experience. If a church isn’t the exact experience we’re looking for, we seek a full refund for our ticket and move on to the next show in town. But what I had to learn, by the Lord’s grace, is that the beauty of the local church is about so much more than a compilation of personal preferences to bring us our ideal experience on Sunday mornings. It’s about all the other days of the week too.

Invited to Community

The world cannot truly understand why believers gather together because it looks at the church and sees an outdated, ritualistic experience that isn’t worth getting up early on a weekend to attend. If we as believers begin to adopt that same mentality, we’ll inevitably begin to wonder, Do I really have to go to church this Sunday? This was the deceptive heart posture I’d fully bought into by age 20, and no matter how many churches I attended, I couldn’t seem to find the perfect church for me. My biblical theology told me church was important, but my actions portrayed the opposite.

The beauty of the local church is about so much more than our ideal experience on Sunday mornings.

In my final semester of college, I had the privilege of attending a small church with my boyfriend (now my husband). The first Sunday I decided to join him, I was greeted by the pastor, who talked with me for an hour before the service began. He invited us over to his house after church, where fellow church members would spend all day with his family every Sunday. Sundays became an all-day event in my life rather than an hour-long service. This grew into attending a small group each week and going over to different families’ homes on weeknights. Before I knew it, my whole week revolved around this small church community. It became second nature to ask to be with people, whether for dinners, game nights, or coffee dates.

Changed by Community

My life has been radically changed by the encouragement, conviction, and multitude of grace offered by this local church. I’ve begun to personally experience why the Lord gave us the body of Christ. The quality that drew me to this particular body of believers is the life-on-life mentality they seek to practice day by day. Church isn’t only about a worship set or a sermon to them; it’s a lifestyle. Their identity as church members flows from who they are in relation to God—his children—and informs how they live in relation to each other—as genuine brothers and sisters.

In the past, it was easy for me to show up to church on Sundays without ever being known. No one knew the sins I struggled with, the seasons of anxiety I walked through alone, or the areas in my life where I desperately lacked wisdom and needed guidance. I was determined to grit my teeth, read my Bible, and figure it out for myself. But since fully investing in the local church, I’ve never been alone; as I walk through my 20s, there are people willing to share my burdens, joys, and sorrows. I’ve tasted what it means for believers to be the hands and feet of Christ, and as others have served me, they’ve provided opportunities for me to serve, encourage, and walk alongside them as well.

Committed to Community

God instituted the church not for us to have the perfect experience each week but so we’d never walk this difficult, sin-filled life alone. As believers, we’re meant to be evidence of God’s redeeming grace in each other’s lives, reminding us that our sin will never satisfy because Jesus is so much better. If no one knows you well enough to know what sins you’re battling, then no one will be able to exhort you, convict you, and gently walk you back to Christ when you stray.

Church isn’t only about a worship set or a sermon; it’s a lifestyle.

But when you’re involved in a local church community like mine, you can rest knowing that you’re actively pursuing the Lord alongside faithful believers who will speak truth and grace to you, desiring that you know Christ and grow in sanctification. My local church is just one example of what a faithful church looks like, and I’m so thankful that in his infinite wisdom and kindness, the Lord chose it to be my church home.

So why did I quit church hopping and commit to one local church? It’s simple. Now that I’ve tasted the sweetness of daily life with an intentional community of God’s people, I couldn’t live without it. Wherever the Lord may lead me in this life, I know I’ll always need the local church.

Tess Abraham

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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