Tag Archive: judgmental

Visiting Another Church? 6 Ways To Avoid Comparing


If you serve at a church, you’ve probably experienced the temptation to judge other churches.

You’re away on vacation or visiting your in-laws (notice that I don’t believe visiting in-laws is a vacation), and you decide to go to church. You arrive at the church with the intention of worshipping God, but you end up comparing.

  • You compare their church services to your church services.
  • You compare their practices to your church’s practices.
  • You compare their pastor to your pastor. (I’ve blogged about what I call church leader jealously syndrome.)
  • You compare their child security to your child security.
  • You compare their music and production quality to your church’s music and production quality.

These comparisons may lead to a sense of pride, or they may lead to coveting. You either self-righteously think God has blessed your church more than theirs, or you perceive a gap in what they have versus what you have. Whatever your conclusion, it doesn’t lead to worshipping God.

It leads to judging. And it’s not your job.

The Apostle Paul critiqued several churches, and James critiqued his own church in Jerusalem. Even Jesus critiqued seven famous (infamous) churches. But when they did this, they were dealing with sin issues. They weren’t judging the production of a worship service, or the cleanliness and security of the childcare rooms.

You’ve got 60-90 minutes to be there. You can use it engaging God, or engaging in the comparison game.  One choice pleases God.

I know firsthand that it’s not easy to turn off your staff minister mindset, so I have some simple things that help minimize the comparison distraction.

Practical takeaways to avoid comparison while visiting other churches:

1. Pray in advance, specifically for the Spirit to help you focus on God and not on other things.

2. Arrive just in time. Waiting in common areas or in your seat allows idle time for critical eyes to search out a church’s inadequacies.

3. Worship in a denomination different than yours —it’s easier not to judge when you’re not comparing apples to apples.

4. Don’t peruse or pick up their church collateral or bulletin. You’re there only once, and you really don’t need to know their purpose statement or what they’re serving at their Wednesday night meal. Reading bulletins and brochures almost always leads to comparing.

5. Celebrate the differences they have in worship practices.

6. Throughout the whole experience, ask yourself – “What is God trying to teach me?”  instead of “What can I take away as transferable to my church?”)

Unless you’re a paid church consultant, stay away from the comparing game. Most often, it tempts you to break the tenth commandment, and it keeps you from worship that’s pleasing to God.


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