Monday, March 9, 2015

Should Sheep Shop?

In the Bible, those who are in Christ are often referred to as “sheep” and pastors are often referred to as “shepherds.”  From this, we have all kinds of catch-phrases in regards to church life; most notably “sheep swapping” or “sheep stealing,” which is when people move from one local church to another, or when pastors knowingly pilfer the pew of a neighboring church.

So, is this always a bad thing?

Is it ever a good thing?

Yes… to both questions.

Five Good Reasons to Shop around
  • The Teaching Veers Away from a Biblical Foundation or Historical Orthodoxy
  • The Leadership Lacks Integrity
  • Financial Scandal
  • The Congregation is Infected with Habitual Disunity
  • The Mission Lacks Clarity or Focus
Here are Five Bad (Immature) Reasons to Shop Around
  • You don’t like the long check-in line at the children’s ministry station
  • You don’t like to be challenged about tithing or being involved in capital campaigns
  • You don't like the new faces in the crowd
  • You don’t like discovering that your favorite seat has been taken
  • You don’t like having limited access to the pastor
Here are Five Really Bad Reasons to Shop Around
  • You want to gravitate to the "next hot thing" that's happening in the church down the street.  And then the "next hot thing" after that... and after that...
  • You are leaving because you were admonished about a serious, unrepentant sin
  • You didn't get your way regarding something that was important to you
  • Your toes got stepped on regarding a lifestyle or obedience matter that the Bible is very clear about
  • You got "offended" by someone but you never practiced Matthew 18:15 to resolve the issue
Here are Five "Grey" Reasons to Shop Around
  • Your teenager wants to go somewhere else
  • Your age group or stage of life is under-represented
  • Your passion in ministry isn't offered or enabled
  • Your philosophy of ministry is different
  • Your new address makes it too far to drive
These are considered grey for one reason: sometimes they are legitimate, and sometimes they are not.

Here are The Five Most Common Reasons People Shop Around
  • I’m Not Being Fed
  • I’m Not Being Fed
  • I’m Not Being Fed
  • I’m Not Being Fed
  • I'm Not Being Fed
Not being fed is often a euphemism for minor disagreements among discontented folk who desire a smokescreen for their departure.

Go figure.

The best thing for your spiritual growth, (not to mention the health of the local church, as well as kingdom advancement), is to find a church home, be loyal and committed to it, and to work at making it reach its redemptive potential.

Yes, there will always be more….
  • Hipper churches…
  • Newer churches…
  • Larger churches…
  • Smaller churches…
But there will only be ONE church that is YOUR church.

Just like marriage is a marathon, there is depth and sweetness in belonging to a congregation year after year, decade after decade.

…. It's there you know the stories, the people, the milestones.

There are people at PCC who have been with us since the beginning (since the very first service).... and others who have been with us for more than a decade… and others who are about to reach their first decade… etc.

To the person, they will tell you that this long-term commitment is among their most precious investments and realities.

Why?  Because it’s their church

It’s the church God has called them to

That’s not something you shop for.

It’s something you make.

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