If you grew up in your current church, the familiarity, memories and relationships you’ve formed are probably close to your heart. The very idea of switching churches may be absurd to you! Yet for some of you, a growing desire to try something new is burdening your mind. You might feel disloyal for even considering the idea of a new church.
The church is made up of people—people who change with time and season. Your own personality is subject to change; your desires, goals and needs are constantly developing. Between the changes in your home church and your own personal growth, it’s possible to find that what used to satisfy you spiritually is now somewhat lacking in your new stage of life. If you’re on the fence about leaving the familiar for a completely new church family, ask these four questions before you do.
1. Am I growing spiritually?
…asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)
Spiritual growth and discipleship should be achieved through your church body. The goal of assembling with other believers isn’t just to fellowship over food; it’s to be encouraged and challenged in your faith, held accountable by the believers around you. If you’re not growing spiritually, think about 1) your personal walk with God and daily time with Him and 2) whether your home church is facilitating active discipleship.
If your church provides a thriving environment of discipleship but you are personally undisciplined, no amount of sermons will make those concepts sink in. But if you are diligent in your own devotions yet lack positive spiritual mentorship and wisdom, it may be time to switch to a new church.
2. Am I actively serving?
…do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
Sometimes we view the church selfishly. We ask, “What can this church do for me?” instead of “What can I do for my church?” If you feel dissatisfied with your church, start by assessing whether or not you serve. If you’re not actively serving your fellow believers and the community around you, it’s easy to feel disconnected and discontented.
There are many ways you can use your skills for the upbuilding of the church. If you’re unsure of where you are gifted, try looking up a spiritual gifts test online. There are several free tests available that can help you determine where your skills may help your current or future church community.
3. Am I part of an accountable community?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
As previously mentioned, the point of the church is to provide a community that facilitates spiritual growth. This is achieved as we pursue accountability with fellow believers. For many people, this is scary: We don’t want to be vulnerable with others about our sins. But it is only by opening up about our struggles and gleaning wisdom from more mature believers that we are able to walk in victory.
If you don’t have anyone in your current church who fills this role, it may be time to seek out a mentor among Christian friends or elders, or even switch churches completely.
4. Am I influencing my world as a member of this church?
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. (Psalm 66:16)
Discipleship, if done correctly, should lead to evangelism. When appropriately discipled, Christians become so passionate about Christ that they can’t help but share about Him! Your church should be actively reaching out into the community to spread the love of Christ through gospel truth. This is the foundation of a thriving body of believers. The most active faith is the one that is shared with others.
Are you influencing the world through your church, and bringing others alongside you? This is our call as Christians! It’s not always comfortable or easy, but as we step out of our comfort zone and share about Christ, we are drawn together by our mutual faith in Him. People who evangelize together have far less time for division over peripheral issues.
You may ask yourself these questions and decide to stay at your home church. If so, that’s fantastic! If you decide to try a new church family, that can be a wonderful decision as well. Regardless of where we attend on Sundays, all Christians are united under the banner of Christ. The gospel of grace is our common denominator, the center of our mission as Christ’s representatives on earth.