Student Opinion: Stop Church hopping. Pick one and go all in
It’s the eighth Sunday of the semester, and this is the eighth church you’ve been to. You have filled out more new connection cards and been welcomed by more greeters than you can count. You are a certified church hopper.
It all starts freshman year when you are just settling in and checking out different churches with your friends. You never got to choose your church before — it was always just wherever your family went. You realize quickly that Lynchburg has more churches than blades of grass.
The trial period turns into a semester and then a year of going from church to church, never really calling one home. One’s worship band was too dull, one’s pastor was too liberal and another’s congregation had too many college students. None of them fit quite right, but surely the next church you visit will be the one you stick with.
Before you know it, you accept your diploma before you ever accept a church membership. Allow me to sound the alarm before you find yourself missing out on some of the best things the Christian life has to offer. Stop hopping and start growing roots.
The local body of Christ is one of the most beautiful, edifying and encouraging places for a believer. More than just wonderful and beneficial, it is imperative. We cannot live life well apart from it.
God created it to be that way. We were made for godly community to hold each other accountable, to pray for one another and to worship the Lord together. We were never meant to do life alone, yet we try so hard to live as though we were.
If the extent of your participation in church is attending a worship service for an hour on Sundays, then you are a watcher, not a member of the local body. Church is not announcements, a praise band and a 20-minute sermon. Church is the beautifully messy community of persistent believers who care deeply for each other, who go to war for each other and who know each other’s business and check up on each other.
The choice to neglect committed, active church membership is the choice to hinder personal spiritual growth. It is the choice to deprive yourself of the most blessed community this side of heaven. God created church not as a religious duty, but as a sanctuary, a refuge, a place to learn and grow and a place to be known and loved.
If that is the kind of church experience you are looking for, you have to stop looking. Put down your laundry list of must-haves, pick one of Lynchburg’s many incredible, Bible-believing, doctrinally sound churches and start showing up regularly. Introduce yourself to the older couple in the row in front of you and ask if they want to share a meal with you.
You can’t get that kind of experience without digging deep and really getting to know the people at your church. You can’t get to know the people at your church if you never go to the same one more than twice.
If you don’t like their worship style, the worship isn’t for you anyway. If the preaching goes above your head, take the challenge as an opportunity to further your theological literacy. If you don’t feel connected, start attending a small group or a mid-week ministry.
Stop allowing your personal preferences to rob you of the joy and blessings that only a local body can bring. Stop underestimating the myriad of ways that the enemy is at work. If it’s preventing you from communing with the people of God, it’s probably not of God.
The church needs you, and you need the church. Pick one and go all in. There is too much at stake to do anything less.
Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion