On Church Hopping

We tend to think of church hopping (moving from congregation to congregation in search of either the perfect church or the elements and programs that most appeal to us) as a modern phenomenon, but the sad fact is that it has always been a problem in the Christian community and is more a consequence of spiritual immaturity than any particular age. For instance, one sees hints of this in the preferences amongst the Corinthians for the preaching of one Apostle over the other (1 Cor. 1 & 3) .

In the quotation below, Edward Veal, a 17th century Puritan minister talks about Church hopping in his own time along with its detrimental effects and gives some excellent advice:

“Reading the Scriptures and good books is not sufficient for those that have a capacity to hear. The preaching of the Word is the great ordinance appointed by God, for the instruction, edification, and conversion of those that are to be saved… As in other cases, so it is for the most part here: you are commonly more affected with what you hear men speak, than with what men write. Ministers may write or print their sermons, but not their emotions … You are most likely to be warmed by the Word when you hear it coming out of a hot heart …

But, above all, be sure to be regular in your hearing. Take heed how you hear; and take heed what you hear; and from both these will follow, that you must take heed whom you hear too. Hear those that are most knowing, and best able to instruct you; those that are most sound, and least likely to mislead you. Do not choose to put your souls under the care of blind guides … Settle yourselves under the guidance of some faithful pastor, upon whose ministry you may ordinarily attend. This running to and fro, which is usual among us, is quite different from what Daniel speaks of, and, I am sure, it is not the way to increase knowledge (Dan. 12:4) … They that run from one minister to another, may soon run from one opinion to another, and from one error to another.

I dare safely say, you will get more sound knowledge of the things of God by constant attendance upon the ministry of one of less abilities, than by rambling up and down to hear many, though of greater gifts … It is no wonder if men that run to and fro, be ‘tossed to and fro.’ They that are so light of hearing may easily be ‘carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph. 4:14); the Word of Christ seldom dwells in such vagabond hearers.”

– Edward Veal, Puritan Sermons, Vol. 2, p. 16


About Andrew Webb

I was converted out of paganism and the occult in 1993 and while I was initially Charismatic/Arminian in my theology, I became Reformed and Presbyterian through bible study and the influence of ministries like RC Sproul's. After teaching in local bible studies, and taking seminary courses part time, I began to feel called to the ministry in 1997. I was Ordained as an RE at Christ Covenant PCA in Hatboro, PA in 2000 and as a TE by Central Carolina Presbytery in 2001 when I was called to be the Organizing Pastor/Church Planter for Providence PCA Mission, Cross Creek PCA's church plant in Fayetteville, NC (home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Airforce Base). In 2005 when the Providence PCA Particularized I was blessed to be called by the congregation to be their Pastor
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