One sermon cannot contain everything and woe to the pastor who tries to do that. I wander as I ponder and I came across this article in Slate magazine about church shopping. The article posits that the phenomenon of wandering from congregation to congregation after a few months or a year or so or of rotating between a few congregations is not bad.
One in seven adults changes churches each year, and another one in six attends a handful of churches on a rotating basis, according to the Barna Group, a marketing research firm that serves churches. Church shopping isn't a matter of merely changing congregations: A survey by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life last year indicated that 44 percent of American adults have left their first religious affiliation for another. "Constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace," a survey summary said.
Even if the American mania for shopping extends to our spiritual lives, church shopping still doesn't get much respect. But while it may be frequently derided as an example of rampant spiritual consumerism, shopping around can be one of the good things about the way religion is practiced in America.
I wouldn't say the practice is necessarily bad, but I wouldn't characterize it as a good habit either. Certainly one congregation may not meet all your spiritual needs. Why isn't it? Are the services not to your liking? Could you help start an alternate weekly service in a preferred traditional style or with some jazz hymns? Is it the people? Maybe you could teach a class or a special workshop on being welcoming or on conflict-resolution? Is it the theology? If it differs greatly from the denomination's self-understanding, you may well have a valid complaint. If it differs from your own theological understanding, you may also as well.
In some of these cases, moving to a new church may really be your best option.
Church hopping creates some issues as well. Participation in a church is part of the expectation of the life of faith. We cannot be Christians on our own. The Bible calls to us again and again as participants and members of the body of Christ. The fruits of the Spirit that our God-given faith produces are for the benefit of those around us, outside of church and in the pew next to us.
In baptism, for example, in the Lutheran tradition, the parents and godparents of a child make promises toward raising the child in the faith. The whole congregation witnesses these promises and the means by which God pours grace into our lives and also promises to help in the upbringing of another member of the faith.
The article argues that one of the reasons church shopping is good (or effective) is because it removes some of the power from the pulpit to the pews. However, that also happened (or was supposed to have) in the Protestant Reformation. You have the power, through baptism and the Spirit, to transform a congregation, but congregational transformation happens best through people working together in a cooperative and open spirit. This means knowing one another, sharing joys and sorrows, appreciating the history that a congregation has- perhaps existing before any of the current members joined.
Church shopping in a new area is understandable. Church shopping after a few years can happen. However, chronic movement from church to church can undermine the true strength of what a congregation has to offer to one's life of faith. And it's not that you are being deprived of that. You are depriving others of what you have to offer as well.