Choosing the Wrong Church

It seems like Christians often choose the wrong church.  1Corinthians 12 talks about each of us receiving a manifestation of the Holy Spirit as our part of the body of Christ, and that no part can say to another, “I don’t need you.”  The fact that we have denominations with reputations should be an indicator we’re off on our concept of body life.  Presbyterian churches are know for teaching and knowledge, the Baptists are evangelists, Pentecostal churches speak in tongues and prophesy, CMA’s must be apostles for how many missionaries they send out. 

It looks to me like people of a particular gifting flock to the churches that are known for utilizing that gifting.  We have all our feet stacked up in one pile, the hands in another, and elbows off in a third.  Instead of forming one body, we find where the body parts like our own are hanging out and then enjoy sharing in each other’s familiarity.

Here’s the challenge: run with a church that’s different than you.  If you’re big on discipleship, run with a church that’s known for being evangelistic.  If you’re a methodical administrator, run with a church that’s “spirit led.”  If you love new initiatives, run with a church that hasn’t change in a hundred years.  Many of us will be driven crazy; most of us will never try; but if a handful of us don’t start pulling this off, the church hasn’t lived up to her name.


4 responses to “Choosing the Wrong Church

  1. I love the spirit I hear in this post. I agree that we need to rub shoulders with people that we don’t agree with or who we are not like. But does that mean we need to be in a church that is filled with people with whom we have so many disagreements?

    My thought is that church meetings are for the edification of the full body. Much like a heart cell is really out of place hanging out in the brain.. it is best used and functions best in the heart. That does not mean that we cannot be fed by the same blood stream and interact in concert.


  2. This makes for an interesting discussion. I think Aaron brings up some good points, particularly in thinking through how effective it is to intentionally go to a church where we disagree in principle about where that church places their primary focus. Certainly, there may be value in attempting to bring an additional area of strength to that community, but it may be trying to pour new wine into old wineskins. I suppose there are a lot of reasons why any given congregation/denomination doesn’t emphasis all the areas you’ve mentioned; some of those reasons may be acceptable to us, others not.

    At least one other question to consider is whether or not 1 Corinthians 12 can be applied to the big “C” church, or if it is only meant for the small “c” local church. Are we still, as the “body of Christ, church universal” using the spectrum of the spiritual gifts to build and edify one another through mutual encouragement? If denominational affiliations keeps us from interacting with fellow brothers and sisters of a slightly different ilk, then I’d have to say no. On the other hand, if we accept and cherish the entirety of the body of Christ with all of our differences in emphasis, then I think maybe we as a universal Church still paint that biblical mosaic of ‘one body, many parts’.

  3. Chris Aldrich

    In my experience, there are many times people have left a local church because there weren’t enough “like people” at that congregation for their taste or the church didn’t have the right programming (ie, the church doesn’t concentrate enough on prayer or the children’s program is not up to par) , while others have decided to stay at the church and improve the area that is lacking. Often the decision to leave has little to do with doctrinal issues. While I side with the person who stays and makes a difference, some people aren’t cut out to be leaders.

    My attitude has always been to assess the heart of the congregation and its staff rather than to assess its programming or its giftedness. I like to run with a church that has a heart for God and for people.

  4. It is interesting to ponder whether the unity in the midst of diverse gifts is supposed to be applied to individuals within a given congregation, or amongst varying congregations themselves.

    I’ve typically interpreted I Corinthians 12-14 to mean that each congregation needs a complete set of individuals representing each gift.

    Maybe if local churches did a better job of conversing and connecting with each other, this issue would be thrown out the door?

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