Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

7/26/2007

Switching Churches


A USA Today article I just ran across tells of a survey of folks who switched churches and found that most did so without moving residences—they switched churches while in the same town. The article says in part,
Most of the switchers who changed their house of worship without making a residential move (58%) say their old church failed to engage their faith, or put their talents to work, or it seemed hypocritical or judgmental.
According to the study, people who moved churches chose the new church because:
• Beliefs or doctrines of the church: 89%
• Authenticity of church members/pastor: 88%
• Quality of the preaching: 87%
• Prefer the worship style: 80%
• Found more evidence of God's work/changed lives: 76%
• New church cares for the community: 76%
The full text of the article is online here: Dissatisfaction, yearning make churchgoers switch.

On the one hand, I am in favor of people finding the right church for him or her and their family. On the other hand, I wonder if we look for a church that will make us feel comfortable. Should we be comfortable? Would we seek a church that makes us feel challenged? And, how much do we challenge ourselves to live out the Gospel fully and how much do we avoid this.

Switching churches is common. That's not an all bad phenomenon and can be quite healthy. I know that I benefitted from finding my way to the Episcopal Church, for example. This isn't a pro-Episcopal statement so much as an acknowledgement that I found the part of the Body of Christ that is both comfortable and challenging for me.

But switching churches can also be an excuse not to settle down and deal with the issues being brought up in a given place. So when is it good and godly to move? When is it better to stay and deal with the stuff staying brings up? What do y'all think? What is your experience?

For one thoughtful answer, try Richard's For whom the church? post in which he asks,
Why should anyone remain in a community where their life in Christ is no longer nurtured or deepened?
This en route to considering whether worship is for God or for us and decides on a both/and solution.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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5 Comments:

  • At 7/26/2007 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I recently left a church that I was a member of for several years and came to King of Peace. These are the main reasons that I chose to leave the other church:

    1- There is more priest worship than God worship.
    2- Every individual in the congregation is not considered an equal member of the church family.
    3- Anybody who is allowed the opportunity to participate in a ministry will only be offered ministries that benefit that church.
    4- All money collected through fundraising goes into church funds to benefit that church.
    5- If you show up for one hour on Sunday and tithe, then that's all that is required.
    6- There is nothing offered to challenge you to work for God. If you have any ideas about that, they are usually ignored or put down.

    I have participated in God's work more at King of Peace in less than one year than I did for over seven years at the other church. I tried to fight for change in the other church, but I guess my voice wasn't rich enough to be heard. And, as for my friends in the other church who have the desire to work for God; they usually have to do that through functions at King of Peace. So, I feel blessed because of "switching churches."

     
  • At 7/27/2007 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sometimes it's about accepting the challenge to heed God's nudging to leave like when a mother eagle removes the comfy parts of a nest making it uncomfortable for the baby. It's about realizing you don't want to stay and compromise your beliefs. It's about following the Holy Spirit's leading. Changing churches requires much family discussion and prayer.

     
  • At 7/27/2007 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree. Sometimes God sets you on a journey...

     
  • At 7/29/2007 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it's difficult to leave a church when the people there have become your chosen family. I do think that leaving for the wrong reasons is, well, just wrong. If there is anger or unresolved issues, moving memberships will temporarily fix the problem but eventually things unresolved have a way or finding their way back to us. I don't think we should want to be too comfortable because usually that means we are on cruise control. I do believe though that we should be in a house of worship where we are encouraged and supported while we are attempting things that are "uncomfortable." I think that Christians spend a lot of time deciding what God wants and not enough time earnestly praying for His direction. Some churches will not get involved in community projects because they are afraid of being associated with unsaved people and non-christian organizations. But Jesus himself said that it isn't the well people that need a doctor!

     
  • At 10/12/2011 6:55 PM, Blogger Butterflying said…

    I left the Catholic Church, then the Seventh Day Adventists, got married & eventually was left alone, then went back to the modern R. C. Church, read an anti/pro Catholic book by a Catholic & left & now I go to a Methodist Church, because it's laid back. The church had a pretribulational/premillennial dispensational Sunday school class & I'm learning about it. I felt that God called me to all of these churches & groups, but it is confusing. Why can't there be a denominational true church? Jesus is the head of the universal church & he matters more than anything else....

     

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