the weblog of Alan Knox

Encourage visiting other churches? Are you crazy?

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in gathering, unity | 6 comments

Last week, in response to my post “Toward a Bigger Church Contest Reminder” (and don’t forget about the contest!), my good friend Art from “Church Task Force” left the following comment:

What if you encouraged people to visit other churches close to them a few times a month? Purposes?

1. To build connections where weekday relationships might be built.

2. To bring needs from nearby churches back to the assembly, for prayer and for practical ministry considerations (how can we help our brothers and sisters in this…)

3. To set an example of finding and purposely seeking pathways of connection with other believers.

To be honest, until a few years ago, I would have thought this was the craziest thing I had ever heard! What?!?! Actually encourage people to visit other churches? But, they might decide to keep going to that other church, and that would be just awful!

Since that time, my understanding of the church has changed, my understanding of members has changed, my understanding of leadership has changed, and my understanding of unity has changed. And, guess what? This not only sounds like a good idea, it’s something that I do on a regular basis.

No, really, it’s true. I’m an elder/pastor of a church, and I encourage people to meet with other churches. (Crazy, right?)

Now, I think that Art’s 3 points above are great. I would only add a few things.

1. Don’t simply meet with the other church. Instead, plan to have lunch/dinner with someone in order to get to know them. By the way, if you don’t plan it (ahead of time if possible), then many times it won’t happen because people tend to scatter as soon as the “benediction” is prayed.

2. Don’t only make leader-to-leader relationships. Try to build relationships with others (and I’m going to ask about this later).

3. Don’t use this time as a bash session. If you want to talk about the other church, then find reasons to praise them, don’t criticize them.

Now… here’s the question that I have for my readers. If you were going to do this – if you were going to encourage people to meet with other churches – which churches do you think they should choose? What criteria would you use?

(If you want to make comment on this topic, or add to the suggestions/reasons/etc. please feel free to do so.)


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-14-2010

    Well, this is a dandy idear. I believe it to be something fruitful, especially as an evangelist. Especially in the biblical application of the gift of evangelist. I made efforts in the past quite a few years ago to do something very similar to what you are discussing. However, this is a very frowned upon practice.

    1. Other church ‘leaders’ don’t take well to others equipping their flocks, especially if they aren’t biblically equipping them themselves.

    2. People don’t tend to respond well to those who are not on the ‘role’ or ‘membership.’

    3. Lastly, who in the world would want to network with a church that teaches different ‘doctrine’ anyway?

  2. 4-14-2010


    Yes, I think those are all reasons given for not encouraging believers to “visit other churches”.


  3. 4-14-2010

    One thing the churches in the region I where I worked in Spain for 10 years did was schedule a day-long picnic, fun & games day, and joint worship service once a year. That was a great way for the believers in one church to get to know the rest of the Church around them. We also had all-day Saturdays for the leaders once a month. And, a 3-day all-church retreat once every 2 years.

  4. 5-7-2010

    I believe that we are the church. I also believe that it is a way to meet other people in the body of Christ. If you are a “member” of a certain place of worship, and you have a leadership position, then I think you should have someone to cover for you so there is no void in that area. If you know the truth and test the spirit by the spirit, then you will know what to believe and not believe.

  5. 3-4-2011

    I support visiting other churches. My sister and I was born and raised in the church I attend now. Recently a friend invited her to attend church with him, she did. She’s been visiting his church for a few weeks now and is thinking about joining. I support her. I feel it is more important that you learn and grow in your religion than it is to just stay somewhere that your hearts not in just because its where you’ve been for awhile. I can see a positive change in her since she’s been visiting this church and she learns so much and is getting closer to God and that’s what matters the most.

  6. 3-4-2011


    Thanks for the comment. This post was not about “visiting churches” in order to find a new church to meet with. Instead, it’s about visiting other churches (instead of meeting with brothers and sister you normally meet with) in order to broaden your understanding of the church and to build relationships with other believers.