Hooray for Christ-chasing church hoppers

Church hoppers get a bad rap. When I google “church hoppers” most of the articles about them are critical. Why do I cheer for Christ-chasing church hoppers?

  1. Christ-chasing church hoppers are spiritually hungry. They have a vision and a desire for something more than church as usual. They’re looking for love, friendship, godliness, acceptance, humility, healing, Christ-centered relationships, an opportunity to use their spiritual gifts, forgiveness, and the presence and power of the living, risen Jesus. They long to see a mighty move of God.
  2. Christ chasing church hoppers hold on to hope. They don’t settle for the status quo, but keep their hopes up that they will be a part of a body of believers who will be open and honest before the living God. While they are regularly attending a particular church they continually hope that a move of God will break out there. Sometimes, in order to keep their hope and spiritual hunger from being quenched, they feel compelled to move on.
  3. Christ-chasing church hoppers are courageous. Because they are not the spiritually silent type, but boldly share their vision with others, they are often labeled “rebellious” and accused of being unwilling to “submit.” Sometimes pastors try to manipulate them and/or force them into silence and compliance. Even under pressure Christ-chasing church hoppers bravely stand up for what they believe, often until they feel they have no other option but to leave.
  4. Christ-chasing church hoppers carry God’s fire. Often times, when they start attending a church, they will bring a spark of spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, however, the leadership sometimes sees this as a threat to their authority and they work to contain and control the new person or family.
  5. Christ-chasing church hoppers obey the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:5 tells Christ-followers to “turn away” from powerless forms of godliness — religion that doesn’t set people free.
  6. Christ-chasing church hoppers sometimes become “Dones.” (Dones are Christ-followers who have given up on church.) Rather than lose their passion for God, Christ-chasing church hoppers would rather stay at home and seek God on their on than have their spiritual fire put out.
  7. Christ-chasing church hoppers are going beyond church as usual by developing fresh, creative ways of meeting together. Dones often meet in “house churches” and/or “organic churches” where they break out of the mold of traditional church. Many Dones are discovering the Greek New Testament concept of ekklesia based on 1 Corinthians 14:26, where instead of having a dominating leader, everyday people are free to speak out as they feel led by the Spirit.
  8. Christ-chasing church hoppers are not content to settle for the stump of powerless religion, no matter how old it is, how big it is, how impressive it is, or how intimidating it is. They won’t give up until they encounter present-day spiritual life surging through a body of believers.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, 2 Timothy 3:5, Beyond Church, body of Christ, bored in church, Christ in you the hope of glory, church refugees, ekklesia, forsake not the assembly, fresh expressions, God chasers, having a form of godliness but denying the power, hope, house church, risen, simple church, spiritual awakening, spiritual gifts, spiritual hunger, spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Hooray for Christ-chasing church hoppers

  1. grammatteus says:

    Thank you so much. This times in perfectly with the latest chapter in my book on contentment: Contentment with church!

    I started out writing the chapter almost condemning ‘church-hoppers’ and stating that one needs to be planted in a community to function and grow, THEN my wife and I both felt a hunger to leave our church where I had been worship co-ordinator almost from its inception, and just head out for a more satisfying place. We both realised we were unhappy, despite having good friends and fellowship there! We found one that suits us so much more, last November, and so I started rewriting the chapter, exploring just WHEN or WHY one might leave a church. I have now gone to practically the opposite conclusion; there is a new term bandied about: spiritual abuse. It seems to go with the territory in a denomination so hell-bent (forgive ironic pun) on ‘maintaining a standard’ or ‘holding onto the truth’ that some people find themselves bullied or put down for being a Questioning Thomas. Since I believe passionately in listening to the individual conscience, which is guided by the Holy Spirit within the true believer, such behaviour really IS only a ‘form of godliness’ (never thought THAT verse would reveal that aspect to me!). I know a few ‘dones’ via the internet, and I have perceived their faith is still there! I am TOTALLY for fellowship and sharing, and I shall never become a ‘done’ simply because I know God isn’t done with me yet, and as long as I realise that churches will always be imperfect, I can live with it.

    For me, the clincher came when I returned to 3 John. That was a letter to his friend Gaius, who had been usurped by an intruder to his church, who had turned everyone against Gaius, and would not even welcome the apostles. John’s advice to Gaius was not to ‘go find somewhere else’ (which was very hard to do in 1st century Europe!) or to go back and get into a theological war with the usurper. No, John just says he will do his best to come and see him. In our 21st century, words of encouragement, and even fellowship, can be gleaned across the wavelengths of the broadband church!

    Though I will still encourage any believer to find concrete fellowship in some form. That may be meeting a couple of friends in their living room – it’s still church!

    • Steve Simms says:

      Beautiful comment! Thanks for allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you as you write and think things through. Check out my book “Beyond Church” at http://amzn.to/1qDrcXo

      • grammatteus says:

        Thanks. I have added it to my Amazon wish list, since I have a fair few books still ‘on the go’ and I need to curb my addiction! Each time I add to my four bookcases, by having to place one on top of other books, my wife gets more worried… and nagging. I will get around to it soon. 🙂

        And maybe by then I’ll have a fifth bookcase.


  3. Heather G says:

    I agree mostly – there is a time to be committed to a group of people, but there are also valid and good reasons to leave and look for others. Towards that end, I agree with you in this post:


  4. Kelly Wood says:

    I feel like I am speechless after reading this article! Steve, you completely described my husband to the core…I didn’t realize this is what has been happening the last 5 years for us…but nowhere (church) feels like home (for the reasons you perfectly articulated). This can be a very lonely place for people who deeply long for more. This article brings me peace and helps put my husbands desires into focus. I really appreciate this article so much. Thank you.

  5. Deborah says:

    There are a lot of ‘dones’ out there for a lot of different reasons. For those interested in a perspective outside the usual church experience, I suggest Wayne Jacobsen’s podcast, The God Journey.

  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks Steve! I totally can relate to being in a church where I felt like saying so much, but could not because I was a sheep tethered to a pew, and yes, it did stink. Since when did Jesus tell anybody they had to have a doctorate, or be ordained by man to speak! Were not some of the disciple’s fishermen? Double Entendre 🙂 Jesus said: “The Holy Spirit will lead and guide you into all truth.” Jesus has “chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” Also, Jesus tells us “not to be a respecter of persons.” Religion without relationship can produce a pharisee, (self righteous), but a relationship with Jesus will produce something out of this world!

    James 2: 1-4
    Acts: 10:34
    1 Corinthians: 1:27

  7. Kelly J. Hood says:

    And we don’t hate the church. We pray for her to realize her identity as the bride.
    I’m all out of places to hop. It’s strange, sitting on this log all alone, yet not alone.
    I’m grateful for all the hoppers I’ve found on line. Thank you for this article!

  8. Bren says:

    Excellent Article … great comments. I discovered you through a FB Post and look forward to reading more.
    May I offer as well, I have been led by the Holy Spirit intimately since 1978. I never considered myself a Church Hopper, though I was labeled as one. Having not been raised in Church, I asked the Holy Spirit to take charge of each day as HE led me into all truth, (etc) to include whether I was to attend a Church Service and if so which one (or which Tapes to listening to, Books to Read, Conference to attend, ect). Each Church Family I gathered with, was perfect for the stage of Spiritual Development that I was at the time. Or I discovered in hindsight, I was there for one of the reasons you speak of above, (in the Spirit) or I was there to learn to discern the truth of Spirit vs Error experientially and/or……… until I discovered the Church as Ecclesia and led ‘Beyond Church’. Until then, each Denomination and non-Denomination or House Church that I was sent through was part of my Journey of Faith that has led me to a Knowing, according to Father’s plan for my own walk in the Spirit. I do not have negative feelings regarding those seasons even though I was judged harshly by those who were not led as I was, out of fear (for my soul) or through a Religious-Abusive Spirit unaware, that I had to stand against in the Spirit, as I became an Overcomer through Christ and…………….

    In 1989, as a Spiritual Pioneer (Father’s Words), the Holy Spirit led me out of the Traditional Church System to receive the fulfillment of Prophetic and Personal Promises. His plan has been gradually unfolding, just not as I first imagined with my finite thinking, the reality is far greater. As Father brought me into HIS Rest, I learned experientially His Holy and Righteous Spirit speaks to us through ALL of Life. We really have nothing to fear. We can rest in His love with exceeding joy as we trust Him completely.

    Immediately after I surrendered to His revealed will I became even more aware my present moments were being experienced as appointed times previously ordained for a Divine Purpose. I can say without a doubt, what appears to the finite mind as Chaos is Divine Order that can be understood clearly when seen through Father’s Eyes of Eternity. Along this new path, as signposts, I met numerous people who were also led out at their appointed season to experience the reality of the Ekklesia Revelation on a deeper-higher level.
    Currently, Five of us are co-authoring a Free on Line Book that will be coming out in June, Line upon Line ‘Testimonies of the Overcomer’, a Devotional. If you are moved to read it, please let me know and we will send you a link. Lord Led we will be offering it in other free formats as well, or at Cost if no other alternative presents itself.
    Personally, I am eager to consider what the Spirit of God is offering through your Blog and “Beyond Church” and Wayne Jacobsen’s podcast, The God Journey. I appreciate the link and referral…

    Forgive me if I am out of line and being offensive by mentioning our Book, that is not my intent. I was simply moved to do so.

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