It is Thanksgiving time and kids are coming back from college. Good kids who have gone away to Christian schools or gotten involved in a Christian student center. They have been exposed to other congregations. They have experienced mission campaigns, large devotional singings, powerful preachers, and new programs. They now look at their home congregation in a different light.
If they loved their home church experience growing up, they may see their church as perfect and all others as inferior and needing to become like their home church. But more often, they return and see the shortcomings of their home congregation. The singing isn’t as good, the worship is lacking passion. The programs are antiquated and done with low energy. The preacher certainly isn’t as good as that recent youth rally speaker. And so the young person has changed in their perspective of their home church.
This process will go on while the person attends college. Their view of their home congregation is shaped by their experiences away from it. They return during the summers and try to get the church to adopt some new programs or practices. This isn’t bad, congregations often get ideas from them.
Painting with a broad brush, we can see how this same concept extends through our lives. Even now, I bet you have a certain perspective on your home church. You likely either see it as wonderful and the way other churches should be or as really needing some changes.
Let me suggest another approach, how about realizing your home church was neither perfect, nor awful. You really already knew this! Choose to change the way you view your home congregation. See their positives and negatives, while choosing to be grateful for their influence upon your faith. Learn from what they did well and did poorly. But choose to accept who they are and be grateful for them. Don’t judge every other church by them, nor judge them by other congregations. Choose to be thankful for the church that taught you to know Christ.
Have the attitude of Paul who described the Philippine brethren as “my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1).