A couple years ago there was someone I had known for a little while, I knew he was a Christian, but I hadn’t figured out what church he went to. So I asked.
It suddenly got really uncomfortable.
He took about three minutes to tell me that he likes to go to this church on Sundays, but he goes to this other church on Wednesdays, and If he was going to go to church on a Saturday night, he’d go to a third church. He had reasons for going to each one of these churches at different times and it all seemed pretty well thought out and logical.
But it was really uncomfortable for me. I left and didn’t ever talk to him about church again.
The reason it was uncomfortable for me is because going to more than one church is so against the very core of what I’ve learned and known my whole life. You’re not supposed to go to more than one church. You’re not supposed to go to a church for a year, then find a new one. You’re supposed to be planted.
What is being planted?
Being planted is being stuck in one spot. When you plant a tree, you don’t plant it there then move it every couple years after that. The tree will die if you do that. Where you put that tree is where that tree will stay for the rest of it’s life. That tree might get blown over by wind,it might get cut down, it might rot in the middle, but until one of those things happen that tree is not going to move.
It’s supposed to be the same for Christians. We’re supposed to grow our roots in deep into the church we’re at, to the point where the only reason we would ever think about going to another church is if God uproots us and moves us Himself.
What church should I be planted in?
Good rule of thumb, the one you are in.
If you are new to Christ because someone brought you to their church, you can pretty much say that’s the church you belong in. God doesn’t bring someone into a church to be saved, then send them somewhere else. He brings you to where you belong.
If you are a Christian and move to a new area you need to really pray about where God wants you to be. Hopefully you did some of that praying before you ever moved, but either way God will tell you where to you should be. God might tell you where to go, you might just have a feeling, but no matter what you should have a peace about it.
How do I get planted?
It’s easy. But it’s also hard. You need go to church there. You need to go to every service. You need to get to church early and stay late to talk to people. Invite someone over for lunch. Invite someone else over for lunch. Make friends. Go to all of the church picnics and events. After a few months, volunteer to serve in the church. Serve doing something else in the church too. Speak well about the pastors. When someone asks what church you go to don’t think about it and don’t hesitate. If you need to make a major decision, ask your pastors for advice. Then do it. Decide that this is the place for you for better or for worse.
What if I get offended?
Deal with it. So many people leave churches because they’re offended by something. The only good reason to break off ties with your church is if there is some kind of major, unrepentant sin by the leaders. And not coming to your house for a visit is not a major unrepentant sin. It’s got to be something like the pastor introducing the church to his gay lover or devil worship or something like that.
If you get offended, you need to put on your big boy pants and work it out with the person who offended you. You aren’t going to rip out all of your roots and almost kill yourself because there might be softer soil across the street. No, this is where you are planted and this is where you are going to stay until someone chops you down and turns you into firewood.
What do I get out of it?
Well you are a selfish little jerk, aren’t you? Here’s a few things that you get out of being planted in a church;
- Community. I always have a built in guest list for birthday parties. When my wife was pregnant, within an hour of being put on bedrest someone from the church had lined up meals and company for her for two weeks.
- People who care for you. If you’re having a hard time with money, you’ll probably find a bag of groceries on your porch or someone will hand you a gift card to the grocery store.
- Family. When I’m at church there’s always at least one kid who comes up to me and asks for money as if I were that kid’s older brother or cool uncle. I have no problem handing my baby off to someone and know that he’s safe when they walk away from me and I have no idea where they went.
- Accountability. If I do something stupid, someone is going to call me on it. And if I need help getting out of that stupid situation, that same person is there to lend a hand.
- Stability. I know that on Sundays we go to church. My kids know that on Sundays we go to church. My whole family knows that no matter what changes in our life, we’re still going to church.
- Life long friendships. My wife’s two best friends when she was a baby were Tyler and Johnny. My wife’s two best friends when she was 6 were Tyler and Johnny. My wife’s two best friends when she was 12 were Tyler and Johnny. My wife’s two good friends (but not best friends anymore because it’s weird for her to have guy best friends now that she’s an adult) now are Tyler and Johnny.
- Generations together in one place. There are families in my church who were around thirty years ago when it started. Now they have grandkids running around in the same church.
- Support. I know of at least a few families who had a spouse leave them with the kids. Every time there was someone in the church who took on that father role for those kids and helped raise them even though they had no more of an attachment to them except going to the same church.
There’s lots of reasons to be planted in a church. There’s so much benefit to being planted in a church, more than I listed above. And all of these things don’t come from people who go to one church on Sunday and a different one on Wednesday. You don’t get life long friendships for you or your kids if you get offended every couple years and go to a new church.
If you’re serious about being a Christian, then you need to get serious about being planted. Because being planted will help you stay a Christian even when it’s tough.