Thanks to my readers for tolerating my temper tantrum rant post over the weekend! I posted it immediately, while I’d normally wait a couple days and do some editing after writing something where I was emotionally riled up.
Yesterday a post over at Her-meneutics blog essentially made the same point as my post, except from a different angle and in a calmer manner. (Ahem.) I was relieved to know that another person is thinking in a similar way. The post is: In Defense of Church Hoppers (Some Christians’ spiritual baggage makes it harder to find a church home) and is written by Michelle Van Loon. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it.
I’d stated that we should not assume that someone has an “entitlement” mentality just because they left a church with the complaint that no one reached out to them. The church needs to consider that it may be partly to blame. Maybe the church needs to re-evaluate its pastoral outreach ministry.
Similarly, Michelle discusses how people who leave a church are often looked on with disdain as having a “consumer” mentality. While this can be the case, it may not be. Michelle states:
Church hoppers get a bum rap, and it’s time for us to seriously consider these believers and why they struggle to maintain a long-term relationship with a local body.
Amen Michelle! She gives 3 examples of people who are struggling to find a church home. Please look at their brief stories – as I think they are perfect examples of people who don’t have “consumer” mentalities yet are finding it difficult to assimilate into a church.
Churches need to get better at personal one-on-one outreach and really listening to those who start visiting their church. What is their story? Who are they? And how can they best be drawn into the fellowship? People with “spiritual baggage” or special circumstances may need a little more care and assistance at getting plugged into the church.
These are often the very types of people that Jesus reached out to during his earthly ministry – people who were outside the sociological norm or had “baggage” of various types! How is it that His church seems to be failing so miserably at this?