The decision to change churches is a significant step in one’s faith journey, filled with questions, uncertainties, and hopes for new beginnings. The Bible offers guidance and reassurance in times of transition, reminding us of the importance of seeking God’s will and finding a community that fosters spiritual growth.
In this article, we explore Bible verses that speak to the process of changing churches and offer wisdom for navigating this important decision.
Bible Verses About Changing Churches
Change can often be challenging, especially when it comes to a deeply personal space like a church fellowship. This is a place where we, as a part of God’s family, grow in faith, foster lifelong relationships, and serve our communities.
However, sometimes circumstances push us to contemplate a change. As unsettling as such a transition may feel, the Bible provides guidelines aiding us through this phase.
The principles and precepts, sealed within the Sacred Scriptures, reassure us that God is always with us, irrespective of the physical location of our worship. Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that decisions to change churches should be discernant, with prayer and counsel from trusted spiritual guides.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
The book of Proverbs encourages us to trust in God and seek His guidance in all situations, including a potential change in our place of worship. Navigating change can be daunting, but our Lord never leaves us, and He provides the guidance we need.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
The Holy Spirit is our spiritual compass, leading us beyond human understanding into Divine wisdom. Remember to invite the Holy Spirit into your decision-making process, ensuring it aligns with God’s plan for you.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
When in search of divine wisdom to handle potentially difficult decisions like changing churches, we need to remember to ask God for it. God is always eager to grant wisdom to those who seek it earnestly.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Continuous communication with God, through prayer and scripture meditation, helps us align with His will. When we are genuinely seeking answers, God promises to respond to our prayers and guide us in our search.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Besides personal prayers and seeking God’s guidance, it’s also wise to seek counsel from spiritually mature leaders whose lives are rooted in Christ. Having an array of trusted advisers provides a broader perspective that can aid in making an informed decision.
Pursuit of Spiritual Growth
Another common reason why we might consider changing churches is to pursue spiritual growth.
The primary purpose of the church is to facilitate an environment conducive for growth in Christ, fostering us into mature Christian believers.
However, if there’s a lingering feeling of stunted spiritual growth, it might be a signal to explore other church fellowships.
Changing churches for personal spiritual growth is not a decision to be taken lightly. Still, it can be a necessary step in progressing in our walk with Christ.
2 Peter 3:18
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord is a pivotal aspect of our Christian faith. Our spiritual home, the church, should cultivate conditions that aid in this growth. If we feel stifled in our spiritual development, it may be time to pray about a change.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
The goal of our spiritual journey is to mature into the image of Christ. A church that fosters an environment that supports this maturity is beneficial. So, it may be necessary to seek out a new worshipping community if our current church isn’t facilitating that growth.
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,”
The writer of Hebrews encourages believers to move beyond foundational teachings and seek maturity. If we feel our church is stuck in the basics, it could be an indicator that we should pray about finding a new church where we can delve into the meatier parts of the Word.
1 Corinthians 13:11
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Paul’s message in Corinthians is a call to maturity – growth from infancy to adulthood in our faith. If our current church fellowship isn’t aiding this transition, we might want to seek a fellowship that provides opportunities for more in-depth, mature discussions and growth.
2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
As the word of God is integral to our spiritual growth, a church that rightly handles God’s Word is crucial. If our current fellowship marginalizes Bible study teachings, it’s increasingly essential to reassess our commitment.
Relocating For Practical Reasons
Relocation for practical reasons such as a job transfer or a change of residence might need us to change churches.
We may love our current church and feel spiritually nourished there, but grapple with the details of practical life. It’s within such times that we look to the Lord for guidance on the next course to take.
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’
Even Abraham, the father of faith, was called by God to leave his familiar surroundings and move to an unknown location. Sometimes, we may be called to do the same, including changing churches, and this does not diminish our commitment or faith in God.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’
Mutual faith in God, shared with loved ones, can act as an incentive to change churches, in the same way Ruth stuck with her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth’s love for Naomi led her to a new land and, ultimately, to a new place of worship.
“But as he left, he promised, ‘I will come back if it is God’s will.’ Then he set sail from Ephesus.”
Relocating, as for Paul, doesn’t cut our ties with our former church communities. We can still maintain connections while embracing the church community in our new location.
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Moving may transplant us into new territories, and they may feel like foreign lands, as with the Israelites in Babylon. But God’s instructions remain clear: we should seek peace and prosperity in our new locations, including finding a new church.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Even as we relocate and start afresh in new church communities, we carry God’s commission with us: to make disciples of all nations. Wherever we go, we’re to spread the gospel, supported by the assurance that God is with us, even to the end of the age.
Finding Biblical Soundness
The depth or soundness of doctrinal teachings significantly influences our spiritual growth – it’s the lifeblood feeding our spiritual journey.
If our current church’s teachings deviate from the Bible’s teachings, it warrants us to reconsider our membership.
The Bible, our ultimate reference point, should remain the authoritative standard guiding our beliefs and practices, even if it means changing churches.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, warns about a time when people will stray from sound doctrine. If our current church is swaying towards unsound teachings, we should contemplate a change to a church that upholds Biblical truth.
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”
Sound doctrine is so important that Paul denounces any teachings contrary to the Gospel. If our current church deviates from the authentic Gospel, we should consider seeking a church that preaches and lives according to the Gospel’s truths.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Examining teachings against Scriptural truth, like the Berean Jews, is a necessary measure for every Christian. When our church’s teachings contradict the Scripture, it signals the need to find another church that adheres to Biblical truths.
1 Timothy 4:16
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Our spiritual health, and that of others we influence, depends on adhering to sound beliefs. This underscores the necessity of being part of a church that maintains soundness in teachings.
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
The Bible further instructs church leaders to firmly ground their teachings in the trustworthy Word. If our church leadership deviates from this standard, it may be a red flag prompting us to consider changing our church fellowship.
The Search For Genuine Fellowship
God designed us to exist within a community. A loving, supportive fellowship is an essential feature of any church we should belong to.
The church should resemble a large family characterized by love, unity, mutual service, prayer, worship, and Bible study.
When these foundational aspects are missing, it might be difficult to function and thrive in our faith, prompting the need to search for a fellowship fitting this biblical description.
“Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
An actual fellowship is characterized by regular meetings where brothers and sisters encourage one another. If our current church fails in fostering such a community, it might be time to scout for another one.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The early church set the example for what a church should look like: committing to the Word, fellowship, prayer, and communion. If our present church disregards these elements, we should contemplate joining a fellowship that adheres to these principles.
1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
The fellowship the Bible speaks of extends beyond social interaction. It’s a spiritual bond, bound by our mutual faith in Jesus Christ. We need to be in a church where this divine connection is palpable and evident.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
This scripture underlines the importance of mutual support, a crucial aspect of any functional fellowship. If our current church lacks mutual care and support, it could be the time to contemplate switching to a more caring and supportive fellowship.
“So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Romas reminds us that even though we are individual members, we are part of one body in Christ, embracing our diversity while also upholding our unity. If our current church doesn’t encourage this sense of unity, it may be time to join a fellowship that does.
You can Also Read: 25 Bible Verses About Manipulative People (With Commentary)
Final Thoughts About Changing Churches
As we explore the topic of changing churches, it’s important to acknowledge that the Bible doesn’t explicitly command or prohibit changing churches. The Scriptures emphasize the importance of being part of a community of believers, growing in faith, and supporting one another in love and fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25).
However, circumstances might arise where changing churches becomes a consideration. It’s crucial to approach this decision with prayer, seeking guidance from God, and considering various aspects:
Unity and Fellowship:
The Bible encourages unity among believers (1 Corinthians 1:10), promoting a spirit of harmony and love within the church. If division or persistent conflicts hinder spiritual growth or disrupt unity, prayerfully seeking a new church home might be considered.
Spiritual Nourishment and Growth:
Sometimes, a change in churches may be prompted by a desire for deeper spiritual growth, more effective ministry, or a clearer alignment with personal convictions and beliefs. Seeking a church where one’s spiritual needs are met and where there’s a sense of community and growth in faith might be warranted.
Pastoral Leadership and Teaching:
The Bible emphasizes the importance of sound teaching and leadership within the church (Ephesians 4:11-13). If concerns arise about doctrinal teachings or if there’s a lack of spiritual guidance and biblical instruction, it might be prudent to explore other options.
Service and Ministry Opportunities:
God gifts each believer with unique talents and abilities for service within the body of Christ (1 Peter 4:10-11). Changing churches might be considered if there’s a desire to serve in a specific ministry or if opportunities for involvement align better with one’s calling.
Prayerful Consideration and Discernment:
Changing churches is a significant decision that warrants careful consideration, prayer, and seeking wise counsel (Proverbs 15:22). It’s essential to evaluate motivations, seeking God’s guidance and considering the impact of such a transition on personal faith and relationships within the community.
In summary, while the Bible does not explicitly command changing churches, it underscores the importance of being part of a healthy, nurturing community of believers.
When considering a change, it should be approached with prayer, seeking God’s guidance, and being mindful of the reasons prompting such a decision, always striving for unity, growth, and faithful service within the body of Christ.