When do you give up? When do you call it quits? When do you say enough is enough and move on? Do you wait until the point of exhaustion or is there a point slightly before that when you can slowly step away without any regrets or hurt feelings?
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself lately, but it’s probably not what you think. I am not considering leaving a relationship, I am considering leaving several relaionships. The relationships I’m speaking of are those that have come as a result of being a member of my church.
I love the people. There are a few who ruffle my feathers now and again, but just the same I love them all. The problem is what do you do when a church isn’t meeting your needs? Do you leave and find a new place to worship where your needs will be met or do you owe it to your church family to stay?
The thing that bothers me about leaving is that I see it as a problem that is rampant in the church-going culture of today. In college I knew a lot of people who would attend one service at one church and another at another. I don’t know that there is any scriptural problem with that but I think my college friends may have, in part, been missing something.
To the best of my knowledge, a lot of church hopping is done to find the best programs and the best experiences but is that what church is about? I dont’ think so. At least, I hope not. I think it’s more about family and worshiping God in a way that’s pleasing to him. After all, wasn’t the Greatest Command “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…?” I could be mistaken, but I don’t think God cares what church has the best worship band, praise team, preacher, sound system, or building. He desires that you worship him. It’s not what you get out of it, it’s what He gets out of it, or so I’m beginning to realize.
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden He walked and talked with them. They were in a relataionship with him. I think He probably created us so that we’d be in relationship with Him. Similarly, He created others so that we’d have other relationships. Before Eve was created God realized that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone so he took one of Adams ribs and made her. I can’t think of a way that God could have made it more obvious that we are to be relational creatures but how should that affect church?
I think in church we should focus on what God calls us to focus on; first Him, then others. It’s what Jesus called the first and second Greatest Commands. If we focus on those things, I think we will be less worried about all the rest. Yes our feathers will get ruffled time to time and we may not always feel like we’re getting what we desire but that’s life.
Now, I’m no longer sure if it’s fair to say the problem is with my church not meeting my needs. I think it’s probably I’m not truely realizing what my needs are. I guess I’ve had a skewed view of the whole situation. There will always be problems in our churches because they are full of imperfect people. The answer isn’t necesarily to give up and move on, although I’m sure there are occations for that, the answer is… hold on and refocus on God. That’s what I’m going to do at least. I can’t give up on the relationships I have. I need to stick it out.