Is it necessary to stay in the same church your entire life? Apart from often being impossible, is there any benefit to attending a variety of different churches?
I ask this question because I believe that God can meet us in a variety of different denominations and faith practices. While mankind limits God’s sovereignty to one branch of the Tree of Life, his Spirit flows through the whole thing if we allow it. If a church is alive in the Holy Spirit, still ministers to your need for correction and to regularly hear the saving news of Jesus Christ, allows you to be invested there and encourages you to give back, and provides a place where you can be valuable, does it matter if the worship style, preaching style, minor decorum expectations while in full body worship, etc. are exactly like any other church you have attended? Does it really make sense that all churches be the same?
As I understand it, diversity helps fulfill the larger than life purpose of the Church. Singing with my campus’ gospel choir and still turning up for worship at a white church on Sunday, I get a double dose of praise and worship because I am lucky enough to benefit from it. The style of music is most certainly not the same, but it gives me a warm feeling to know that we are all serving the same Savior. Whether in the Spanish translations of Hillsong that I first came into contact with, long before the English, or singing with a choir by ear, or singing with my people on a Sunday with the fog machine in the back and a couple guitars, does it really matter how we praise, except that is genuinely unto him that deserves all honor and all praise?
So long as your church is listening to the Holy Spirit, I think it is a holy thing to network with a variety of churches over the course of your life. Like the diversity in campus ministries (that equally calls for discernment), what can bless one person might feel stifling and uptight to another. So long as we can still recognize and respect the love in Jesus and his Spirit, there could easily be no problem. We are called not to make our neighbors stumble by bickering over petty differences, so it stands to reason that learning to appreciate one another’s differences out of a spirit of fullness and feeling led by God would naturally result from basing our perfection in Christ and not in the perfection of any one church, even if we built it ourselves. It shows strong leadership for people of various churches to unite one another to proclaim the Gospel, because we can’t all be in the same place and our missions may have to serve very different people. As one body, a hand cannot be an eye, and a foot cannot be a liver, and on and on. The problem with comparisons between churches is not that comparison is incapable of glorifying God, but that we make our differences greater than him. If God can sort the grain from the chaff regardless of personal affiliation, he can certainly do so among our churches. It is our responsibility to work with one another in unity and brotherly love, and not to presume to know what is on God’s heart and be the judge.