In rural communities where there are multiple churches, do you ever find that people church hop instead of voicing concerns? I’ve seen this play out a couple of times. People get upset with a pastor, another person, a worship style, the way money is spent, something that was said or done or not, and instead of talking it out or attempting to graciously affect change, they just move to a different church.
As a member of a church, you have voice and voting privileges. If you have a legitimate concern for the ministry or direction your congregation is heading, pray, search scripture, and speak up appropriately. Check out 1 John 4:1-4 and Matthew 18:15-22 for some guidance. We are CALLED to speak the truth in love and to forgive. Your concern just may be the Holy Spirit nudging you into leadership.
Notice also, you could be wrong. If you share a concern and, after prayer and considering scripture together, the church does not agree with you, then you might have gotten it wrong. We need to forgive ourselves in this moment, so that we can heal and move forward together. It may not be easy. It may take time and the hard work of submitting to the Holy Spirit, but if we love God more than our own desires, we can heal and move forward.
We also need to be loving and sensitive to those who have voiced a concern and have had it not play out the way they wanted. In the least, they have made us aware of something. That is worth acknowledging.
Doing nothing about that concern, or just going elsewhere leaves our churches with uncommitted followers and a limited numbers of solid leaders. Is there something in your church that is not being done? Is there a need in your community that is not being met? Is there something that has made you say,
“I don’t know why someone didn’t do something about that”? Maybe God is calling YOU to do something about that!
The next time someone you know talks about switching churches over something, or just voices a concern for their church or community, ask them what they’ve done about it. Have they tested the spirit through prayer and scripture? Have they taken the message they’ve received to the leaders or offending party? Is there something they could do to contribute to the solution?