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Featured What to say to a sister who attends multiple churches and small groups?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by sccs, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    If you can come up with a better definition of church unity, then feel free!
     
  2. Blade

    Blade Veteran Supporter

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    Its ok.. she will find one...remember.. as silly as this sounds.. JESUS IS REAL! The word says.. what HE started in YOU/HER He will finish! I understand about how you feel ..when someone we love going to many Churches.. but..pray for her.. KNOW your Father will take care of her.. you know how I mean that... bless you
     
  3. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Maybe she is looking for Family and Community and cant see it where she is looking?
    Maybe you should reach out to her rather than expecting her to commit.

    In my country there is a great company of 'churchless believers' because the modern church in many cases has abandoned loving fellowship for a business and performance model. I am deeply saddened by this.
    When can you remember a church leader dropping around home to see if you are all OK?
    Maybe we need to review the church model we have adopted. An open hearted study of the first five chapters of the book of Acts would help...

    Blessings,

    Carl Emerson.
     
  4. justme6272

    justme6272 Newbie

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    You don't speak to her about it at all. She owes no one any apology or explanation and it's not anyone else's business.
     
  5. A Realist

    A Realist Living in Reality

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    I've looked at quite a few of these responses and this is what I get from some of you:

    For some of you, it's a question of "What can you do for our congregation?", instead of "What can our congregation do for you?"

    One of the reasons I don't attend one specific congregation is the former. If I go to a meeting house, it's to worship, not to get put to work or be expected to "tow the line" under the thumb of supposed church leadership. I already have that outside of church. It's called a job.
     
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  6. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi sccs,

    After having briefly swept through most of the comments, I tend to agree with what I believe is the majority position in this. Now, are you going to accept that?

    The majority it seems, which I agree with, is that it shouldn't be a problem. If you're a born again believer and she is or isn't, why does this bother you that you have an frequent or infrequent 'guest' in your small group? Enjoy her company when she's there and enjoy other's company when she isn't. Do you know why she isn't there for months at a time? Maybe she has a job where she travels or she isn't of reasonably good health or she has other commitments

    You say that it makes it hard for you to get to know her. Why? Does she not talk when she's there? Is the only place you can get to know someone when they are a regular upstanding member of your fellowship? Is it not possible for you to welcome her back when she returns and ask her about the things she's been up to in her absence? I'm just not really understanding why you find it hard to befriend someone just because they aren't a card carrying member of your fellowship.

    My encouragement is just to do your best to be a friend to her when she's there, if that's what you'd like to do. Otherwise, just leave her alone. I'm a believer with a rental property that I haven't sold off yet in Miami Fl and I live in SC. Sometimes I have to go for a few weeks down to Miami to fix and patch between tenants. Yes, that's my choice. I could have a management company to do these things but I prefer to maximize my profits and I also enjoy a few weeks down in Miami, especially in the colder months up here. My wife and I go on vacations sometimes for a couple of weeks at a time when we're absent from our home fellowship.

    I actually participated for a couple of years in a Community Bible Study group that met at one particular fellowship's building, but welcomed those of every denomination and fellowship to share in the bible study. We'd have nights with food and there were often participants who might miss 2 or 3 weeks throughout the study duration, usually 3 months or so.

    I really don't see the problem with having a guest drop in on your bible study from time to time. Enjoy their company when they are there and show some concern about what they've been doing when they're not. Are you the attendance taker and you get reward points for any who show perfect attendance?

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  7. PeterJames0510

    PeterJames0510 New Member

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    While I understand the sentiment that this woman shouldn’t bounce around from church to church, does it not occur to anyone else that the whole reason why this woman can bounce around and go from church to church is because certain Christians and leaders have dedicated themselves to just one area anyway? What if the Pastor said he’d bounce around from church to church at a whim, or deacons, or leaders in ministry?

    I’m not saying what this woman is doing wrong is wrong; I’m saying if every Christian did what this sister is doing, we would not actually have stable churches at all and she would not have stable churches to bounce from or to.
     
  8. mreeed

    mreeed shalom...

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    I used to be involved and part of leadership/ministry in multiple groups - Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a different group of friends who met for Bible study, helping people and personal excellence and other endeavors, and my church's college and career (not to mention my brother's youth group vicariously which somehow had deeper Bible studies than our C&C). I couldn't get enough. I went to a church on Sunday too, and the messages were great, but that was not where the life of the Body was for me.

    Eventually I graduated university, friends got married, moved away, grew too old for these groups, and other complications and my involvement in all these groups sadly but naturally came to an end. So why aspire to limit what is biblically positive and life-giving for someone in the meantime? Both in my situation above and the one OP describes which also included IVCF, there are opportunities to give back to the group and not just receive from it - OP, don't be too quick to assume she is not, especially if you don't know her well.

    Later I got baptized and became an active member of my local church in various ministries. As well as later a second one of a different denomination meeting on a different day, though we do not have official membership there...yet; sort of another story, yet not I guess.

    I would say there is something to be said for fluid groups that don't have official membership and/or simply lead themselves. Pitfalls too of course. But enough duties present themselves in one's life that I don't think we need to go looking for them, let alone on behalf of others.

    Life was simpler then, I felt closer in my walk with the Lord (and it seemed simpler to follow where He led), and somehow there was more joy in the belonging to those groups in those days. For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditch. Be careful on the other side, of falling into church becoming an obligation, stability for stability's sake, and just continuing a kind of status quo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  9. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Paul and Barnabas bounced from one church to another - and they called them apostles!
     
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  10. PeterJames0510

    PeterJames0510 New Member

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    First of all, they were church planters - so that is wholly expected. Secondly, as you pointed out, they were apostles - not Joe Average Christian.

    I'm still trying to figure out when the people who are going to church consistently and faithfully get credit for establishing a system that allows church bouncings.

    I don't care if this woman goes to 20 different churches a month; I just want her to recognize that it is due to the faithfulness of other believers she is able to do that. I think that realization one day will be a wake up call to settle.
     
  11. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi peterjames,

    I understand your point, but I don't think a few hundred people across the country dropping in on different fellowships from time to time is going to 'ruin' fellowship for everyone. God just wants to be glorified in our worship of Him and faithfulness in our obedience to Him. Nowhere in the Scriptures is this idea that everyone has to be tied down to one fellowship group covered. It is assumed that most fellowships in the early days of the church were fairly static, just as they are today, but there isn't any instruction that it 'must' be that way for every attender.

    Yes, there are deacons and people of some 'position' in most of our modern day fellowships and she would never qualify to fill one of those positions, but then not everyone in every fellowship is worthy, per the Scriptures, to fill those positions. Only some of were given to be pastors and deacons, not all of us.

    I just don't see anything inherently wicked or wrong or unbiblical about what the woman is doing. It's possible that she isn't a born again believer. Should we scold her for continuing to seek what she needs? For me, I might make a couple of mentions that we'd love to have her join our fellowship in conversation from time to time, while finding out why she does move around so much, and then let it be. Maybe she has found 2 or 3 fellowships where she enjoys the fellowship and the teaching and chooses to visit around. I'm pretty sure the question that Jesus is going to ask those for whom he'll be writing their names in his Book of Life isn't, were you faithful to attend one denomination? Maybe she felt that she was burned by belonging to a particular fellowship sometime in the past and has decided not to allow herself to be 'tied' down like that again. I don't know, but I'd be more interested in finding out while allowing her to visit with my fellowship as much or as little as she'd like.

    But that's just me. That's one of the problems of the new modern fellowships. In the days of the early fellowship of the believers, the fellowships were identified by the city and so there was apparently only one city wide group of believers that gathered. Today, there are fellowships on every corner and of varying understandings of what it means to be a 'christian'. She may just feel that it's good to go out on Sunday mornings and praise and glorify God in worship with different believers. Having some silly idea that we're all supposed to be a part of the body of the 'church'.

    There are some things that are mandated by God to us through His Scriptures. There are other things that are merely traditional. We always need to be able to identify the two, and give each its respective importance in our lives.

    However, if it makes the OP feel better she can just tell the lady to get lost.

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  12. .Mikha'el.

    .Mikha'el. Mod Queue Spam Troll Banner Extraordinaire! Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    I wouldn't say a word. I honestly don't consider it anyone's business but her own where she goes and what she does when there.
     
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  13. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

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    My church has some members who have been there since the church was founded almost 70 years ago. That means that the place can survive a few members who “bounce.” We will get by.
     
  14. FatalFantasy

    FatalFantasy Member

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    So what is exactly the issue?
     
  15. StillGods

    StillGods Well-Known Member

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    one day she may settle in one church and be able to offer to others who are like she was the things she was looking for.
     
  16. StillGods

    StillGods Well-Known Member

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    I have been like her due to bad church experiences in the past it is difficult to trust the church ..any church.. enough to commit to one church.
    that has its drawbacks but it means I know people in many denominations and dont have a one denomination mindset that people who have only ever been in one church tend to have.
    I stayed in a church for 13 years and I reckon that's quite good.. for me it's a long time.

    I'm back on the trail again now. although I like the church I'm going to now a lot and am considering committing to this one for a good length of time God willing.

    it takes a lot for me to trust people in churches maybe this lady is like that too. she may be attending to the best of her ability, she may be at the limit of her trust level, if you address it with her you may just scare her away from your church as you may be asking too much from her at this stage of her journey.
    I dont think I'll ever be a member of a church it is too much commitment it really scares me.. like panic attack stuff.. so just be glad this lady is going to church at all.
    God bless you for caring though about her.
    she'll get there it just takes time and positive church experiences to build trust.
     
  17. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    They "bounced" among the churches because they were apostles.
     
  18. PeterJames0510

    PeterJames0510 New Member

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    I'm sorry, but no one has convinced me on this thread so far.

    I'm not saying this woman is sinning; I'm not saying this woman is going to cause tons of church splits in the world or cause churches not to "survive"; I'm not saying what she is doing is terribly bad or evil. Those were all sentiments and words placed upon me drawn by logical conclusions to what I might have said ... but I myself didn't say them.

    What I'm saying is - this woman (a blessed sister in Christ who's godliness most likely exceeds all of our own) is able to go from church to church and not stay tied down to one church specifically because there are churches with members and Pastors who are faithful. Nothing more.

    I'll be incredibly honest with you all here, but am being careful because I know this shows up on public feeds on the internet. I've been going to the church I'm at now as a deacon with the Pastor for 15 years+ faithfully every week with misses for vacations. I'm not patting myself on the back; but I am observing that for those 15 years, there has been a faithful witness and a faithful example to a church in an area where there isn't a church on every corner. And for those 15 years, our people still do not come faithfully. They come and go as they please; they have to "make time" on their calendar for church; they have to decide they want to come that morning.

    For me, if I miss a service due to snow or something else, I feel like something is not right. Call it an internal addiction to church, call it a codependency, call it missing God in my life because He works through the local church.

    My point is that this woman by herself is not causing church splits or lack of church stability; but she is a discouragement to the churches she does go to by not staying with them. And the more of her that multiply (especially as we are in these last days) - the more discouraged churches will be because of her.

    Again, not speaking to her situation as I don't know her. But she needs to understand that if everyone at every church acted the way she did, there would be no church for her to jump around to.

    For me, I literally had to say - forget it. People don't want to come to church, don't want to help volunteer, don't want to be asked to, told to, gently asked to, prayed for, etc. - there's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is go Sunday to Sunday and keep on being faithful to Him and His church - and if nobody starts showing up because everyone's decided to leave - then we'll just go someplace else. That may sound harsh, but the reality is we've tried everything under the sun to get a more faithful following. There's nothing more we can do, we're not going to guilt people into doing it ... so all we can do is - God's will be done. Christians don't want to support their local church - then maybe God doesn't want that local church there after all.
     
  19. justme6272

    justme6272 Newbie

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    She goes to Church A and has a one-on-one conversation with a mean-spirited pastor who shows his true colors to her cause he knows there are no witnesses to the conversation to observe his temper. She wonders what he's even doing in ministry as she leaves and goes to Church B.

    At Church B she has a one-on-one conversation with a mean-spirited pastor who shows his true colors to her cause he knows there are no witnesses to the conversation to observe his temper. She wonders what he's even doing in ministry as she leaves and goes to Church C.

    At Church C she has a one-on-one conversation with a mean-spirited pastor who shows his true colors to her cause he knows there are no witnesses to the conversation to observe his temper. She hears through the grapevine there is a new pastor at Church A so she goes back, hoping for a better experience, but it's more of the same. She drops out of church for awhile. She hears through the grapevine that Church B has a new pastor, so she goes back, hoping for a better experience, but it's more of the same.

    The vicious cycle continues. Rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat...cause she's afraid to call it quits altogether when it comes to organized religion cause she was taught growing up that you're suppose to be in church on Sunday, plus the Bible says she should fellowship with like-minded believers, so she tolerates the pastors as long as she can in order to be with the nicer people. She would just as soon the pastors not be there and attempts to avoid interaction with them since all they're able to do is resent her being there and boil her blood.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  20. PeterJames0510

    PeterJames0510 New Member

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    Absolutely, I agree with this scenario. Churches are at fault for having mean spirited Pastors with no accountability. I love Independent Baptists, for example - but a lot of us are just plain jerks.
     
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