Shopping vs. Investing

Our family is in a current state of transition.

We aren’t moving, we aren’t switching jobs, and nothing is changing in our current family structure. What is changing is that we are transitioning to a new home church. We have been going to the same great church for almost 8 years, but feel it is time for a change (the reasons for this are not important for this post). We do not take this transition lightly. It is not an easy one with 9 people in the family, but, this is where we are right now. Change awaits us around the corner.

The hard part is knowing where, when or how to transition.

We have let our pastors know and they have expressed to us their appreciation for our years with them. They continue to pray for us and we pray for them. We do not leave broken, hard-hearted or bitter. We leave with blessing.

With closing the (proverbial) door, we are now in search of a new door to walk through, a new place to reside and settle.

Besides searching for a solid, biblically-based church, what other key factors do we take into account when looking for a home church?

There are many things to prayerfully consider, of course, but one part of the process keeps coming to my mind … our approach. Are we going into this transition as “church shoppers” or “church investors?”

I have heard over the years how fellow believers will say they are “church shopping.” It’s almost as if we, as Christians, “try on” the various churches to see which one fits the best. As I process this approach more and more, it definitely feels and leans toward a consumer mindset. Which, unfortunately, isn’t too unlike our culture at large.

What will the church give ME?
What does it provide for ME?
Will it meet MY needs?
Am I comfortable in it?
If I “buy” into this one or that one, what will I get in return?

I can’t help but wonder if we should switch terms and perspectives. Perhaps, we should move forward with a different mindset, an investing and giving mindset.

To go with President Kennedy’s famous lines from his inaugural address in 1961,

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

What a great line as we can also apply it to God’s Church. If I may take the liberty to modify the wording ever-so-slightly,

Ask not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.

If we are in the place of changing churches, are we approaching this decision as shoppers or investors? Do we focus on what we can get out of it or what we can give into it? Or, what we take away for personal gain or add to for God’s Kingdom?

What a different frame of mind!

Consuming vs. Giving.
Being served vs. Serving.

Now, I do realize with “investing” there is a cost, just as there is with “shopping” … but it’s with a different attitude, heart, and outcome. From my view, one approach leans towards meeting one’s personal needs, while the other leans toward meeting others’ needs. One leans toward thinking about the here and now, the temporary, while the other leans toward having the long term in mind, the eternal.

All this to say, it’s been interesting to think about how to approach this season of transition with our family. There is much to consider and weigh as we look for a new church to call “home” … and it’s a journey that will be covered in much prayer.

Lord, give us eyes to see where and how we can INVEST in Your Church, Your Bride. And definitely, always and forever, for YOUR GLORY!