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When To Leave A Church

When To Leave a Church:

False Teaching, or absence of the Gospel.

Consumer/market driven.

The Church is more about reaching the “lost,” then it is about equipping the saints.

The old debate of should a church be a hospital for sinners (i.e., unbelievers), or feast for Christians.

Eph. 4:11-16

Equipping the saints.

It is the job of the equipped saints to then go out and do the work of ministry in the world.

Col. 3:16

Christians sing to other Christians and to their God.

“Dwell in you richly.” There should be an increasing level of depth, concerning the person of Christ.

Unrepentant sin in leadership.

**There are also wise reasons to leave:

For the sake of unity (Eph. 4:3).

Preserve the unity of the Spirit.

Honest doctrinal differences that you simply can’t discard and you are not in a position of true influence in that church.

This is a small list on purpose -- there’s just very few biblical reason to actually leave.

They all surround teaching and leadership.

If you have sound teaching and healthy leadership, but you still find a reason to leave, it’s most likely from the list of reasons not to leave.

How To Leave a Church:

Talk with your pastor/elders about your thoughts/concerns.

Leave in good standing.

Leave quickly and fully.

Don’t announce, or privately start priming the pump, before you leave.

Fosters distrust for the leadership in others who are still part of the church.

May unnecessarily and unfairly hurt the people of the church

In rare circumstances you may need to be vocal due to aberrant teaching or practices.  But this should be done very carefully.

Some Random thoughts:

A good job elsewhere is not necessarily a reason to leave.

If you are struggling with how a church is, ask yourself if it is really a point of preference. If it is, then you will likely find the same sort of trouble elsewhere.

I (MH) have told people who really think they know better that perhaps they ought to start their own church.

Before leaving ask yourself what the trajectory of a church is. You may bail on something that is moving in a good direction.  But the opposite is often true as well.

Be very slow to judge your church against one you heard or visited simply because familiarity often does breed contempt.  This is a sneaky one.

Be careful of your counselors on this subject. Are your counselors wise in the Word?  Do they actively serve in the church in a substantial manner? Are they discipling others? Do they have the proven fruit in their lives that indicate a godly and wise life?  We tend to listen to those who will agree with us.

Again, these are broad principles.

All things being equal, the best place to begin is always by talking with your pastor directly, especially before you start talking with others.

It’s easy to find people that will agree with you.

It’s much harder, but better, to be willing to be shown where you may be thinking shortsightedly.

Rarely, does a layperson have the broader perspective of the church in mind. If it’s a healthy church, there are always biblical reasons for why things are they way the are.


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