I’ve been a member of 6 churches in my 22 years of Christian life. I’m not necessarily proud of that, but it’s a fact. In these 6 churches, I’ve served in a variety of capacities, mostly leadership, but never as the guy with my name on the sign. In each case I was looking for certain things; things I wanted and felt I needed as a Christian man. In the first case I just wanted to learn to be a Christian. In some cases I wanted to be a Leader – a Pastor. I wanted to be significant. In one case I wanted to be nurtured; in one I wanted to be invisible. In each case I wanted to be part of a fellowship of believers and seekers, who cared for each other, honored God, and sincerely wanted to understand and live by His Word.
Now I know that many people would say that there are some important things I’m leaving out. I should want to win the world for Christ. I should want to experience God’s power on a daily basis through His Holy Spirit. I should want to build God’s Kingdom on earth through a socio-political agenda. Or I should want to be a part of a church that creates wealth and prosperity to all who belong. Well maybe I lack vision, but those good things are not necessarily what I’ve sought in a church. I guess I always figured that someone else would think those things are really important and because I’m their friend I’ll help them do it.
So here’s my point. When I think back on my church experiences, and why there have been so many churches, it all comes down to that common desire. I want to be a part of a fellowship of believers and seekers, who cared for each other, honored God, and sincerely wanted to understand and live by His Word. In most (not every) case, my family and I moved on because I no longer thought the church we were in fit that description. Perhaps a church was so consumed with selfish agendas that it was only about using people to fulfill those agendas. Perhaps a church was so carnal that dishonorable behavior was the norm. Whatever the case was, this statement was at the root of it.
I’m not saying I was right to leave in every case, nor that in some cases I wasn’t part of the problem. I’m not saying that my criteria is the right way, or the only way to approach this. I am saying this in hopes that church leaders will understand a bit better, the mind set of some people in church. Some of us aren’t driven by the bold vision. Many of us aren’t enthralled by charismatic leadership or emotional frenzies. Many of us simply want to be a part of a church that is like Acts 2.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)