Thursday, 29 July 2010
Yesterday, I spoke with my Christian sister about her dissatisfaction with Sunday service at our church. She couldn't directly identify what was specifically unsatisfactory; but, she noticed a difference in her Sunday service experience. "When I first started going, I was touched every Sunday. It was great. Lately, I don't feel the same" she added.
As the conversation continued, my friend alluded to looking for a new church. I immediately rejected the idea. Firstly, I love our church. I think everyone should go there because I'm church-centric. Secondly, I know that my friend is spiritually vulnerable right now. Why do Sunday services sometimes seem dry? If you aren't satisfied with Sunday service, should you go church hopping?
For starters, I inquired about my friend's daily walk and quiet time. "Are you reading the Bible every day?" I asked her. She admitted that she hadn't been reading the Word daily. Moreover, she continued to explain that other things in her life took precedent over her quiet time, a habit that she noted wasn't right.
I didn't need to dig much deeper than this one question and answer session. I am confident that my friend's dissatisfaction with service has a lot to do with her spirit that is starving throughout the week and expectant for a miracle by Sunday morning. Not to preach at anybody, but you need to open the Word of God daily so that you're open to His word. If not, your spirit can become hardened to the Word and presence of God.
Ironically, our pastor talked about character assassinations this past Sunday. One of these character assasinators is lax spiritual habits. If you're not doing spiritual exercises on a regular basis, you're setting yourself up for failure in the future. I reminded my friend of the vulnerable position she was in spiritually. "When you're spiritually vulnerable, you should not church hop!" I repeated to her several times.
Church hopping, in and of itself, isn't the wisest practice. Nonetheless, it is something that we do when we don't feel spiritually fed. However, I advise against church hopping since it's something that I'm very familiar with. When you bounce from assembly to assembly, you're picking up bits and pieces of the entire church experience. A pastor may be teaching a complete series, and you may feel dissatisfied if you don't understand the entire context of his message from one Sunday service. It's also important to keep in mind that no church is perfect.
In C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters, he talks about church hopping briefly. For Lewis, church hopping is ill advised because congregants of this type approach churches as critics versus hungry Christians. If you're visiting a church for the first time, you might become overly interested in the choir member whose tie is a shade darker than everyone else's. Distractions like this can happen. After the service, your heard is swarming with so many questions, comments and concerns, you're not satisfied with the message at all.
You can't expect that Sunday service will knock you off your feet every service. God did intend the message for you though. If He didn't, you wouldn't be sitting there. Remember, you're also in an assembly of believers at different part of their walk. Maybe this service really touched another young Christian who you were supposed to encourage after service. Maybe, you're a great worshipper and your hand clapping, crying, speaking in tongues and joyful noise will encourage another shy person to go worship God too. We're all part of the service in some way.
Finally, there are dry periods in our faith. At this point, we are walking by faith and not by sight. God tests our hearts at these times to see what we're really made of. C.S. Lewis made mention of a faith being destroyed by a war as not worth saving in the first place. If your faith is easily broken from a few Sundays of not directly hearing from God, you can be assured that you have some spiritual maturing to do.
Before you go on a mission for a new church, check your spiritual inventory. Are you praying, reading the Word, fasting and assembling with other Christians regularly? If not, stay right where you are. Long ranger Christians seeking a spiritual high at their ultimate low is a recipe for spiritual suicide...Take my word on this.
Have you ever gone through a period of spiritual dryness where you didn't hear from God on Sunday? Did you go church hopping after that? What is an alternative to church hopping?