On Sat night, I took A to downtown and shared hot dogs with R. During the drive down, A asked me what's my view if someone wants to leave a church. I gave him a whole spill....using the analogy of family and church as my spiritual family.
Then A asked...'what if you don't find growth in your church? What if the church is not feeding you?'
I told A we have to be careful in defining what's spiritual growth. I shared how there are some days which I don't feel I am growing at all. However, when I look back, those times which I thought were standstill, God was actually shaping me.
Second, growth and feeding can be subjective (and consumeristic). Say, I am sold into street missions and my church doesn't have street ministry. Is it legit for me to go to another church that offer this ministry? Maybe. Perhaps God placed this burden in my heart to help establish and start street mission and shared this with others.
Or it can't be, I don't like this way the pastor preaches, I am going somewhere else.
Or I don't like the worship style of this church, I am going somewhere else.
Or what this church have no triathlon ministry? I am going somewhere else.
Our church is our spiritual family. I don't go and shop for my father and my mother. Neither should I do that for my church.
I do not doubt that there are times when God called someone to go to another local church. But we should always be wise in discerning whether this from our prideful, self driven desire (even if the desire is to serve God), or is the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
When I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together, a book describing Christian fellowship...he wrote the following:
Christian community is like the Christian's sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.
He was talking about fellowship. I wondered if I can re-apply back to one's spiritual walk. Though there are times when I don't feel like I am growing, it might well be the Holy Spirit working in me where some day in the future I can pinpoint this period of dryness as stage of growth.
I should have mentioned to A about my teeth accident back in 2005. Though it might be 'bad', it was a crucial and a point where my faith grow in abundance!