Cafeteria Style Religion

Growing up I was always taught that one could not choose “the church of their choice.”  That was “denominational” terminology and we could not be a part of that.

Well, I live in an area where cafeteria style religion is rampant.  Rather than stay with one family, people leave their family whom they’ve “supposedly” committed their lives to.  The problem with “commitment” in the Shoals area is that  it means commitment “as long as my needs are being met.”  As soon as a church “advertises” a new bell or whistle that “meets needs,” church hoppers are off and running. 

I wonder what they are looking for really.  Is it a stronger walk with Jesus?  I seriously doubt it.  Jesus promoted loving one another–not jumping and running every time I get my feelings hurt or my needs change.

I’m sorry, but that kind of religion is just that RELIGION and I don’t think God is very pleased with it. 

Excuse me for venting today.  I will get back to the Interpretation series next blog, Lord willing.


14 responses to “Cafeteria Style Religion

  • Steve

    Vent on bro! It’s your blog. That is certainly one of the dangers we face today . . . keeping a balance between meeting needs as a part of the will of God as opposed to meeting needs to build our “church kingdoms.”

    I hear the President is in the Shoals area today. I call my buddy from high school who works at Brown’s Ferry and he’s one of the fifty chosen to be in the President’s speaking group.


  • Meowmix

    We all need to vent sometimes! Unfortunately, our society is pretty much geared to “it’s all about me,” and the church gets its own brand of this thinking. Sometimes a healthy dose of that commitment thing, first to the Lord and then to others………………

  • Donna

    I think that is what is taking me so long to find a church home…..I don’t want to committ unless I can do it 100%. I served at my last church home for over 20 years….it is hard to leave…VERY hard. I think you are right that the people who church “hop” have never really felt committed in the first place.

  • Connie Lard

    I can understand your frustration, Keith. But, as I’ve expressed here before, I think of this in a different way. To me, my “family” is anywhere Christians are assembled. It’s not confined to the particular group I currently worship with on a regular basis. Just because I may choose to start worshiping with a different congregation doesn’t mean I’ve deserted family. There are many reasons a person might decide to do that. Some are selfish, as you suggested. Others are not. Just as you felt called to leave where you were before you came to Creekside, others can feel a call to go somewhere else, too. 🙂

  • Neva Cooper

    I enjoyed the vent—it is one I have expressed in the past. We cannot have it both ways–the Church is a body and every part is needed but the hand likes the other body better so it leaves. We cannot all be disjointed and disconnected parts and still accomplish what God intended His body to accomplish. Perhaps that is why our work has become so spastic and the Church and Christians have become the fodder for comedians.

  • Swindle

    Vent on Brother Keith. In some ways we are so blessed in our area. A church on every corner and none are actually growing numerically. Most are just swelling thier bellies and pocket books some by luring members from other churches. So Sad! You can get mad at one Brother or Sister and walk to blocks and find someone else to get disgruntled at and move on. Well you see the point. WHAT WE NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON IS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AND THE FATHER. If all churches did that in our area it would be a better world all together! Love ya Bro you and B have a great time in T-Town. Let B play on the hardwood at Coleman! Swindles

  • cwinwc

    In our experience there seems to be a direct but unfortunate correlation between the amount of “help” (mostly financial as well as spiritual) you give someone(s) to how quick they’ll throw you under the bus and leave for another church.

    In case there is confusion, in other words the more money we’ve given folks over time to help them with a crisis the quicker they seem to leave when their “needs” aren’t being met.

  • Mark


    The problem of lack of commitment is not just in your area! Nation wide small to mid sized churches are closing as people are leaving for churches with little commitment and loads of frills. What is amazing to me is how so many people see their self indulgence as “spiritual.” “We get more out of visiting this church as they meet my needs” so it must be what God wants!

    This is a national epidemic.


  • Swindle

    Thanks Mark, It is NOT what our needs are but what God needs us to be. Look at the life and ministry of Jesus and that xplains it all. Helping and serving others lovingly. Swindle

  • Connie Lard

    I have a question to those of you who are upset when people leave a congregation for one reason or another, judging them to be self-centered and uncommitted. Do you expect your children to ever leave home? If they do, will they no longer be a part of your family? You can’t judge “family” the way you folks are doing it. It just doesn’t make sense, imho.
    What is important is whether people remain committed to God. And they can remain very commited to God and still choose to leave your congregation, believe it or not. Wouldn’t it be better to wish them well and do your part to maintain relationship rather than get on a blog and malign them?
    Just food for thought. 🙂

  • Neva Cooper

    I may have misunderstood the post. I thought it was talking about those who “church-hop” as a habit. They go from one to another to another without ever committing to or being involved in any.
    Yes, I did expect my children to leave home. And when they did, I still called them family. I hoped they would commit to their spouse, their community, their work, their church and make a productive contribution. I did not ever want them to keep moving back home or to keep moving in with someone else’s parents and calling that home for awhile and then leaving again.
    I never intended for my comment to seem like I was maligning someone. I would never intentionally do that. I apologize if it sounded that way.
    I do know that all the “one another” commands are difficult to do when we don’t know one another and are not involved in each others’ lives.

    Please forgive the miscommunication.

  • Keith Davis

    None of us mean to hurt anyone in this post or in our communication. One problem with blogging and IM and other forms of written communication is the fact that we misunderstand too many times.

    My intention was to call to a greater love of family in the sense that we stay accountable with one another. When we don’t stay and try to work out problems and we simply jump and run to another “church” for whatever reason, people do not build relationships, but tend to break them down.

    Many in our area run to other churches for many reasons some may be good others bad. My real point is when you leave a congregation, I believe in order to do that in the best way, one must tell the congregation, or at least their leadership why one is leaving. There may not be a “book, chapter, and verse” specifically addressing this, but loving one another ought to cover it.

    The real problem lies within the fact that many people leave over silly things like following preachers or getting “felt needs” met and they do it without the whole church (The one leaving and the one receiving) knowing why. When that happens, people are left to float in an out of congregations without accountability.

    I can give reasons for every congregation I have left and can assure you to the best of my ability I have told them why (except in the case where I was fired and they told me why) I was leaving.

    No one is perfect in this, but many don’t like to talk about it because they feel guilty for some of their past church moves and are trying to justify themselves with faulty reasoning. Before anyone responds thinking I’m aiming at anyone here, I’m not. I don’t even know all of your pasts, I’m just trying to call all of us to God’s standard LOVE.

    Thanks to all of you my blog family for listening and commenting. It’s a great way to talk things out.

  • Swindle

    That Brother Keith. The whole world needs a greater call to Love One Another. Love all you guys Swindle

  • Swindle

    Should be thanks Brother Keith typo sorry

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