Leaving a church

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Rose, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Rose

    Rose
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    According to the Bible, is there a right way to leave a church? I am not asking about having a problem with one of the brethern, which is so often discussed when this question is raised. I would just like to know scripture that pertains to this topic, if there is any.
     
  2. Johnv

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    Leaving a specific congregation or denomination does not constitute leaving the "church" (Christ's body of believers). If you feel it necessary to change houses of worship, then there's no biblical moratorium on doing so.
     
  3. Rose

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    Johnv, thanks so much for your reply. We have some friends who have left their church because they felt the Lord was leading them in a different direction. The people at the church, including the Pastor, have not accepted this and continue to say they haven't any biblical reason for leaving the church. Thus the reason for my post. We have searched the scripture, in trying to find the right way to leave a church and can't any scripture pertaining to this. If anyone could shed more light on the subject it would be greatly appreciated.

    [ November 02, 2002, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: Rose ]
     
  4. Thankful

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    In my experience, when people leave a congregation, they usually just stop going to that church or they join another church.

    Usually, if they stop going, someone from the church, pastor, deacon, etc. will try to counsel them to see why.

    If they join another church, then the first church usually just accepts and wishes them well in their new church.

    Some people will move away and leave their membership in the old church. This is, in my opinion, a person's choice. Once a person is a Christian, saved by grace, he can join any church. Church Membership does not save him.

    Maybe your pastor is trying to counsel your friends.
     
  5. Jim1999

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    Rather than leaving the church, we might think of changing fellowships. It is no different than a pastor changing churches. Sometimes he feels dried out in that assembly; he has drained himself of freshness and moves along.

    Members can do the same. Sometimes a change refreshes the soul, revives the heartbeat, and creates new opportunities of service.

    I should think the people should sound God's speed, wish them love and say cheerio. we'll meet again.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    PS. I have seen many people come and go over the years with just the change in pastoral leadership.

    [ November 02, 2002, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Jim1999 ]
     
  6. Rose

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    I certainly appreciate everyones input. I do believe there is a point in which a person or family (whatever the case may be)needs to go elsewhere for their furtherance in the Lord. This is definetly the case with the friends I have mentioned above.

    I do wish the Pastor involved attempted to counsel these people but such was not the case. I believe that the Pastor and those remaining took insult to this and have attacked by accusing this family of not leaving in a biblical manner.

    We have witnessed this same situation before and would like some scripture to back up what you are saying.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    A church/local congregation is often like a "family" and leaving it akin to a "divorce". Hard times.

    I would certainly NOT recommend just "sliding away" into the night and all of a sudden your old church family gets a note asking to transfer membership. THAT is hard.

    Have the courtesy and integrity to go to the pastor and the elders/deacons of your church and carefully explain your thinking and your action. Don't be intimidated or browbeaten. Just share your heart and LEAVE.

    Oh, and Don't look back. :eek:
     
  8. Don

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    Just for thought....

    A ship found a man on a deserted island with three huts, one of them pretty run-down. After checking him out, they asked him what the three huts were for.

    "That one's my house, and that one's my church," he replied.

    "What about the run-down one?" they asked.

    "Oh, that's the church I used to go to."
     
  9. Rose

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    I have just read some posts on the IFB thread and that fits the Pastor in which I am referring to. The family involved had been brow beaten and intimidated for over a year and when they did leave, they were attacked and accused of divorcing the church and not leaving according to the Bible.

    We are outsiders looking in, and can see the damage being done. But what is sad is that those that are left are faithfully serving their Pastor and are condemning this family as well. We want to be able to help those that remain, but without scripture, our hands are tied. You all have been very helpful, but is there not scripture that would apply to this case?
     
  10. Jim1999

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    All the general scriptures referring to how we must treat fellow believers with love and the spirit of Christ apply.

    There aren't any scriptures relating to a modern church assembly on how one should depart.

    The most important thing to keep in mind, that the ones departing should keep their spirits high and look to Him whom we seek to serve. They should take no thought of that which is behind, but move on to that which is to come.

    One thing we learn about anger is that we are often in a stew and the ones we are angry with are laughing cos they haven't a clue that we are angry with them.

    Cheers, and I hope everything works out for them.

    Jim
     
  11. Ben W

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    Revelation chapters 2&3 contain a massive amount of information about churches that have problems. As has been mentioned the church structures of today are significantlty different to today. However if you are in conflict with what you feel is poor leadership. I would have a look at Rev 3:22 "He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." When the Pastor is openly attacking people is he listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church?

    To move fellowships requires the guidance of the Holy Spirit into what he has for you to do. If He has led you or a friend to move churches, simply tell that to those that oppose you. John 16:13 However when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of His own authority, but whatever he hears He will speak and He will tell you things to come. If somebody is led by the Holy Spirit and somebody wants to oppose them that is their problem.
     
  12. FearNot

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    If the actions of the pastor and congregation are that of persecution then itis no wonder God led them out of that damageing church.

    I left a church because I was not being fed biblically or spiritually, God led me out. But it is important to say that you can just leave a church, one needs to begin worship in another church that will instruct in a biblical manner. It is important to worship regularly, that is a biblical issue.
     
  13. Thankful

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    I agree with Jim, there is no scripture relating to this. Have you asked your pastor what scripture he is basing his opinion that your friends are not leaving in a biblical manner. What does he mean?

    I also agree that it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to a church or leads us to leave a church. This is our personal relationship with God.
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    The pastor must be of the kind who preaches that
    pastors are just like Moses. If anybody tries to do a Miriam-and-Aaron act against his authority, God will punish that person.
    I'm sick and tired of those kinds of pastors, they're prevalent in my old country. Next time I meet a pastor like that, there or here, and he browbeats others or me or any of my family, for no good reason, I'm gonna give him a fat lip right in front of everybody just to show he's nobody special to God just because he's a pastor.
     
  15. Walls

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    I have a question! If there is truly not a right and wrong way to leave a church, then when you go to seek membership elsewhere, why do they want a letter from the church you have left? and why would they want to talk to your previous pastor?
     
  16. Walls

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    Okay, I guess noone has an answer to my question. I'll just have to keep studying on my own. :(

    [ November 08, 2002, 01:16 PM: Message edited by: Walls ]
     
  17. Abiyah

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    Hello, Walls --

    I had to say that once--maybe for Smoke Eater's
    sake! 8o)

    I am not one who believes that the Bible has a
    specific answer for every situation, but it does
    say a lot about courtesy, love, forgiveness, prob-
    lems within the congregation, how to entreat an
    elder, etc., all of which are applicable to leaving a
    church.

    There are many reasons to leave a congregation,
    among which are moving, leaving to minister
    elsewhere, and illness, none of which bear any
    kind of fault. Therefore, to say that it is wrong to
    leave a congregation just does not work.

    Add to this when a person's beliefs outgrow a
    congregation and its leaders who refuse to grow,
    or the realization that the organization is a cult.
    Furthermore, there are times when a person is
    specificaly impressed that they need to move on.
    In all of these situations, someone is likely to be
    wrong, to be hurt, to be angry--whether the one
    leaving or those left. That is when the Scriptures
    mentioned above must specifically come into
    play on every person's part.

    In most areas of Bible times, there was usually one
    synagogue in the area and others were difficult
    to get to. There was not a lot of "church hopping"
    then, so the problem didn't need addressing.
    However, there was plenty of disagreement among
    believers that is addressed, and one example of
    a couple lying to the leadership, therefore to our
    God, and it was our God who dealt with that--
    directly.

    [ November 08, 2002, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  18. Abiyah

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    double post

    [ November 08, 2002, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  19. Frogman

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    This is a good question. Among many Protestant groups this is not an issue. Among Baptists however, it is.

    Many seek a letter from the church someone is leaving to discover if the person is leaving because of legitimate biblical discipline administered.

    Others would want to speak to the pastor if they are uncertain of the teaching of the church you left, in order to determine the 'faith and order' of the church.

    If a church has disciplined me, and I refuse to accept this discipline, (provided I am biblically in the wrong), the receiving church should know of this before receiving me. This may prevent problems in the future in that second congregation.

    If the church I am leaving does not believe as the one I am attempting to enter, then these things must be addressed as well, if not these will likely cause future disturbance.

    To fail to discover the issues at hand would ultimately (if leading to disruption) shame our Lord and hinder His cause.

    If it is determined the individual left in good standing, or that the congregation has no biblical grounds for the treatment of the individual, the receiving church has no need of the letter. Churches are local autonomous bodies, governed by the Word of God; They should strive to act not in the way as the one described, when the case is simple leaving of the church, if the case were disciplinary, they should not worry about the lack of this being accepted by the person(s) leaving, they should be content with the knowledge that this person did not 'agree' with their particular beliefs and left the body, thereby preventing further division.

    The congregation should never be men followers, as the pastor should never be men pleasers. The Bible is clear on this.
    God Bless.
    Bro.Dallas
     
  20. Abiyah

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    Excellent, Frogman.
     

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