To hop or not to hop?
SPRINGFIELD, MO. — I have two friends with widely different views of the local church. One is a self-proclaimed “church hopper”; the other is a “nonhopper.”
The hopper selects churches like he does restaurants — based on what will satisfy his spiritual taste buds on a particular Sunday. He’s accustomed to feasting off the ministry menus of local churches without making a deposit of his time and resources.
The nonhopper, on the other hand, views his church as a spiritual bank — a place to invest his time and resources for the purpose of yielding an eternal dividend. He’s remained faithful to his church for 30 years, continuing to labor when the once-small congregation was without a pastor and struggling to meet its financial obligations.
Each time the nonhopper became discouraged by the empty pews and contemplated hopping to another church, the Lord spoke to his heart, Remain faithful to where I have called you.
God rewarded my friend’s decision to stay and work. Today the church is thriving and has a dynamic outreach to the community. Many have found Christ and are growing in the Lord.
Recently I said to the nonhopper, “It must feel great walking into that crowded sanctuary on Sundays and having difficulty finding a seat.”
“It does,” he replied. “But it also reminds me that the people in this community have a church today because we didn’t give up when times were tough.”
My friend is a living example that we get out of church what we put into it. Hopping from church to church is more carefree, but it isn’t as fulfilling. Active participation in a local church will result in spiritual growth, lasting relationships and, ultimately, a congregation that will have a greater impact on its community.
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