I don’t recommend church-hopping at all, especially because I did it so much in my early years of faith. Though I haven’t been the best example of it, I think people ought to be committed to a community where they serve.
Within the mega-church, it’s REALLY hard to plug into a community. People might get together in Bible studies, but when they’re busy caught up in the American frenzy, they might not have time to really dig into each other’s lives. This is not always the case. In fact, there are many great little “sub-communities” in some mega-churches. But often, many people slip through the cracks in large churches.
There is great community in smaller, more intentionally loving churches. This is something the mega-church needs to learn from. Ironically they already are with the addition of home groups and community groups of 12 people or less. It’s funny that the most thriving mega churches also have a slew of vibrant small communities that meet in each other’s homes, study scripture, pray together and do local outreach together.
Some smaller bohemian church communities lack biblical counsel. It’s not because people don’t want to know about the Scriptures, but just because many are young and resistant (I know how that is!).
Not every young Jesus follower has a person of wisdom up in their face, saying: “C’mon! Get committed! Stop being a bum and read about and study the words of this poor rabbi that you claim to follow!” Luckily (though I don’t believe in luck), I’ve had at least a few bolder older people like Doug that have called me to the carpet, and challenged me to live for Jesus. To truly grow, I had to get into the scriptures.
I don’t wish to affirm Marx’s view of religion as the “opiate of the people”, but I still feel like a junkie without his needle if I don’t read the Bible at least once in a day. It’s not out of compulsion anymore like it used to be, but just so fulfilling that I want more of it in me. Yet conversely, it still makes me uncomfortable to read the Bible! Seriously, who in their right mind wants to read something that will reveal their most bitter darkness, and compel them to consider their human state before a Holy God? We’re honestly weak, and messed up, but God is so merciful. The more I read of Him in His Word, the more I get to see reality through His perfect eyes. And I continue to admit my own blindness. This strange, paradoxical hunger to want my weaknesses exposed is birthed out of two things; For one, I’m convinced of God’s perfect will and way, and secondly, I feel seriously compelled to respond to it! At least more so everyday…
But if I just read God’s word, and filled my head with a bunch of “theological knowledge”, then I would just be a Biblical egghead. I need to practice what the Word says, and it commands me to be generous, help the poor, live purely, speak the truth even if it means losing job security, pray, worship, love the scriptures, suffer for the sake of eternity, pick up my cross daily, sell my possessions and give to the poor. And I’m also supposed to love all people; love people that love Jesus, love and rebuke people that claim to love Jesus even if they don’t act like it, and love people that don’t know Jesus…
MAN! I would love to see churches learn from each other! What if we had really solid Biblical teaching, and also had intentional, loving, compassionate community too? This would be a tough balance without faith in Jesus! But it would be more like the Church of the New Testament. Striving to become the Church Jesus wanted is a wonderful, life-long pursuit.