Dipping in and Out…

This is a piece I wrote a while ago, but I’ve had a few conversations with people recently about this important issue and so I’ve decided to pop it up on the blog. Please feel free to comment!
We live now in a highly  consumer focused culture, and this culture is seeping into church life, and it seems that “church shopping” is becoming a common trap for some Christians.

Is it wrong then to worship regularly in more than one church?
As we might expect the Bible doesn’t address the subject of being part of two (or more) different churches directly. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians opens, “to God’s church in Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2), signifying one church, while in Galatians Paul begins with “to the churches of Galatia” (Galatians 1:2), showing there was more than one in the region. Today, however, with numerous local churches, the question of whether it’s OK to attend more than one church on a regular basis does come up.

Firstly, it will help us if we are sure that we fully understand the purpose of church attendance and/or membership. When Christians join together with a local group of believers, we are following the model for the local church (check it out in Acts 2:41-42): “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”  Also we  can see from Ephesians 4, that believers are meant to come together as a tightly knit family to minister to one another, care for one another and show commitment to one another using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up one another in the faith.

The question really is this: can we honestly realistically and effectively pray, have open fellowship, sit under teaching and authority of the word and the eldership, and use our spiritual gifts if we’re not properly committed to a single fellowship?

 

As the Bible is silent on the issue, we must not be dictatorial about it. But what we should do is address the issue of  the motive; by that I mean what encourages Christians to want to not be properly in fellowship with a single church but rather to spread themselves across more than one, and what is the effect (or effects) and consequence of that.

Sadly,  it is often the case that people will decide they want to worship somewhere else, at times, because that way they can just slip in and out without any commitment or any need to give of themselves to others; another reason may be that a person might be looking to pick or choose  something different from each church because they feel they can’t find one church that gives them everything they “want”. The problem with these reasons is that each one of them is counter to Christ’s teaching in scripture about what it is to give to one another; they all have the mentality of “what can I get”, rather than “what can I give”.

 

The biblical truth is that we’re to be actively serving and ministering to one another with the spiritual gift(s) we have received from the Spirit, and when we avoid this by choosing to be absent or prioritising our preferences over obedience to Christ, we can’t do that effectively. Besides this,  it will also show that we are not committed to the believers or the leadership in any one church, and that’s both a feeble witness to others and makes it very difficult to invite others to church .

While there may be legitimate reasons for someone to attend two or more churches,  this will generally only be when the local fellowship doesn’t have an evening or mid-week service, or when there is a special service which requires an individual’s attendance such as a dedication or baptism etc.

 

But when it comes to absenting ourselves from a fellowships main worship service, biblically it is very hard to justify and in practice, it is hard to see how this could fully benefit either the believer or the local churches he or she attends. The answer is not absence, it is rather full immersion into a fellowship – that is the way of both blessing and being blessed, it is the way of a deeper relationship, and a closer walk with Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweets from New Connexions

New Connexions's Twitter avatar
New Connexions
@New_Connex

The Lord's Prayer is offensive...⁉️ Thank God it is❗️ Or hadn't you noticed? #Jesus #Lordsprayer #salt&light t.co/cCbpepdRog

Andrea Williams's Twitter avatar
Andrea Williams
@A_Minichiello

About to enter court in this case. This is a vital freedom of speech case. To be expelled from a university course… t.co/oGyyT3PIE9

Retweeted by New Connexions
Keith Waters's Twitter avatar
Keith Waters
@Antiochean

WHO Says Abortion is Family Planning - appalling Isaiah 5:20 2 Timothy 3:13 t.co/QZhQz5h8Nd @FridayFax @sitsio @life @healyourlanduk

Retweeted by New Connexions