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What to Do with Church Hoppers

Almost every church has them (temporarily). Drifters. Ecclesiastical dabblers. The uncommitted fringe. Sometimes they wander from church to church quietly, unnoticed. Other times they voice their dissatisfaction and spread unrest.

How do pastors handle the spiritual migrants?

In Atlanta, a church hopper's paradise with more than six hundred congregations, LEADERSHIP editors Dean Merrill and Marshall Shelley discussed the phenomenon with four pastors, each of whom has served his present church for more than a decade:

Sam Coker of midtown Grace United Methodist Church.

Frank Harrington of Peachtree Presbyterian Church in the Buckhead area.

Bill Self, also a Buckhead pastor, at Wieuca Road Baptist Church.

Earl Paulk, Jr., founding pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in suburban Decatur.

Leadership: What are the reasons, legitimate and otherwise, that people drift from one church to another?

Bill Self: We're a consumer society. People buy suits in one store, shoes at another, and groceries somewhere ...

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