By Joe Chesser
always changing churches. Sometimes there are valid
reasons for doing so, reasons based solidly in
scripture. But most of the varied reasons
people give for changing churches can be boiled down
to personal preferences. “I like the youth
programs.” “I like the music.” “I like a bigger (or smaller) church.” “I like the relaxed (or structured)
atmosphere.” “I like the location.” “I like a more
liberal (or conservative) church.” “I like this
church because it’s what I'm used to. My parents and
grandparents went to church here.” Basically, people
just like one church more than another.
As a general rule, liking certain things about a church is a good thing.
It’s good to like the church you go to or it will
soon become the church you like to stay away from.
But while liking a church can be a good thing, there
is an inherent danger in choosing and staying with a
church just because you like it better than other
churches. Here’s the danger: choosing a church
based solely on your own personal preferences puts
you in the place of God in determining what is
acceptable in a church. That’s not a good idea.
That has never worked with God, and never will.
While God has given humans the ability to reason and
create and choose, there are some things that are
outside of our realm of creating and choosing.
Church is one of them. Of course we still have the
freedom of choosing God’s way or not. It’s just that
if we choose our way over God’s way we have to be
prepared to accept the consequences.
Cain chose to offer God some of the fruits
of the soil in worship to God. God was not pleased
and Cain had to accept the consequences (Genesis
4:2-16). Although Cain liked his worship better, God
Nadab and Abihu made a fatal mistake by offering unauthorized fire in worship to the Lord (Numbers 10:4).
church thought it was OK to accept a sexually
immoral man among them. They were even proud of
their openness. But God wasn’t (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
Diotrephes thought he could
choose who would be accepted in the church because
of his position and power. He was wrong (3 John
Paul thought that
because he had great zeal and a clear conscience he
could do whatever he wanted to do to the church. God
showed him how wrong he was (Phil. 3:4-11).
Instead of being on the constant prowl looking for
what pleases me in a church, maybe I should make a
strong effort at learning what pleases God. I know it
grinds against all the common beliefs of modern day
American culture, but “I” am not all that matters in
this world, and especially in the church. Instead
of constantly looking for what pleases me in a
church, maybe I should try to see what I can do to
please others. In fact, that’s exactly what I
should be doing: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition
or vain conceit, but in humility consider others
better than yourselves. Each of you should look not
only to your own interests, but also to the interest
of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). Why not “like” God’s way
- Joe Chesser preaches for the
Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be
contacted through the congregation's website: