Leaving a Church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Servent, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Servent

    Servent
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    Question,if you were considering leaving a Church you had been in for several years, would you talk with the pastor first or just leave.
     
  2. Salty

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    I have been in that situation.
    I was a Sunday School teacher (adults). My wife and I had decided to leave for various reasons.

    At first, I told the pastor, I desired to step down as the teacher. About 2 weeks before we left, we did tell the pastor we were leaving. We time it so our last week was the final lesson of the quarterly. Also, the following week we went on vactaton.

    I had discussed with the pastor some of my concerns.

    So, yes, let him know why you have decided to leave. But be sure it is the leading of the Lord.

    Salty
     
  3. Servent

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    I have been in this Church now for almost 3 years, since joining We have started a homeless ministry which I head, I am a sub. teacher for an adult class and also lead the youth
    (when you can find them all 3) I have tried to start a visitation program, no one else would go so I went by myself or drug my daughter with me. Now lately I'm just not sure this is were the Lord wants me.
    I need lots of prayer, Danny
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    I think it shows respect to the pastor and others in the congregation to let people know you are leaving. That doesn't mean you make a big scene of it or turn it into a time where you air grievances, but just let people know that you have appreciated worshiping and serving with them and you need to move on in your journey with Christ.

    If you are in any sort of leadership, you have a responsibility to help the church transition to new leadership before you leave.

    Even in the situation where a staff member asked me (as a church member) to leave the church, I informed everyone I was in regular fellowship with that I was leaving on that Sunday morning. I did it without anger or bitterness (that came later) and didn't mention the reason* why I had decided to leave except when I was asked directly (I was). Even then, I just mentioned that the Minister of Education had recommended I find another church.

    Last time I changed churches back in 1995 (not the one where I was asked to leave), I informed by Sunday School class that I was leaving and took a moment to express what they had meant to my spiritual journey. It was a very positive event and they did not feel rejected and I felt free to go where God was clearly calling me.



    ---
    * The reason I was asked to leave had something to do with daring to hold a speculative theological opinion regarding an issue where the pastor had a speculative opinion that he counted as fact. I was in a Bible study the youth minister was leading and he mentioned the pastor's view. I asked what the biblical support for that opinion, since I thought it was an interesting idea. He didn't know, so he asked the pastor. The pastor got really upset that I didn't automatically defer to his authority and asked me to meet him in his office. He ordered me to change my opinion (I wasn't even expressing my opinion among other church members) and I told him I'd be happy to do it if he could give me some biblical support for his view. Even though he worked on it for several weeks, he could not find biblical justification for his position.

    The position? He claimed that the devil can't read your mind or know your thoughts. I think it is certainly possible. He believed the devil could not because that would mean we could not defend ourselves against the evil one unless Christ intervened. I agreed with him. We cannot defend ourselves against the evil one except for the mercy and favor of God. Only in Christ do we have the ability to stand against evil and the evil one.

    But instead of directly admitting he could not biblically support his position and leaving me alone, he instead called me out by name in the middle of the Sunday sermon (in front of about 600-700 people) and proclaimed that "the inerrant word of God" plainly reveals that "the devil can't read your mind" and that I and anyone else who didn't believe the word of God needs to repent. I was surprised by his sudden attack, and I instinctively said out loud, "I believe the word of God, but I don't believe you." If I had had time to think about it, I wouldn't have said something so confrontational and personal, but the words were out of my mouth before I had time to think about them. I wasn't trying to call the man a liar, but I was actually expressing disbelief that he was calling me out by name as a way of intimidating me in order to enforce his opinion over the authority of the word of God. I expected much better of him.

    Of course, he took it in the worst possible way...
     
  5. Alive in Christ

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    Its good you left. That Pastor is way out of line and probably on a substantial "power trip".

    He needs for someone to teach him the priciples of the biblical doctrine of the "priesthood of the believer".

    COMPLETLY out of line. A pastor is a "servant", not a dictator.

    I would have fled that church like the plague.
     
  6. Alive in Christ

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    Absolutly stunning.

    Its good that you have left this exceedingly disfunctional prison masquarading as a *christian* fellowship.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    Baptist Believer, what an incredible story. I am blessed with a gracious pastor who is firm in his theology, but is charitable toward those who disagree, including me.

    He understands, as all Baptist pastors should, that in any church he pastors, he will never find a unanimity of belief on every issue. Obviously there are some essentials on which we should agree, but on other questions, there must be simply an agreement to disagree.

    I had a former pastor with whom I got along well. He was a pre-tribber, and I'm not. On a couple of occasions he ribbed me from the pulpit in a good natured way about it. I told him he could gig me any time because when it did it, he was leaving somebody else alone. Of course, having a good personal relationship with the pastor helped, and there was no malice in his remarks about it.

    Had he taken a confrontational attitude, however, that would have made a difference. I did not take his ribbing as an attack, but had I done so, we would have had a serious problem to deal with.

    And, had he suggested I find another church, I would have been gone in a heartbeat. But I would not have burned any bridges behind me, or sought to undermine him in any way with parting shots.

    Every situation is different, Baptist Believer. Had your pastor been my pastor, I would probably not waited to be asked to leave.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    Kind of surprised about the devil reading ones mind, but come to think of it, I cannot think of a Scripture that supports that theory. I believe I have even mentioned it in Sunday School. All we know is the devil is a created being with limited power.

    I guess I am just the opposite BB. In that situation, if I thought I was correct, I would have stayed and made that pastor my hobby. The situation has never come up, but neither have I ever switched churches (except Presbyterian to Baptist). I think one must be sure they are on firm ground, but me, no, I would not leave after 30+ years at a church. Pastors come and go. The only reason I can imagine leaving is the church adopting some policy that is contrary to what we call essentials.
     
  9. Jim1999

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    Some pastors change churches every 4 or 5 years for various reasons. Sometimes we "feel" that we have taken that congregation as far as we could. How do we explain that we are leaving. It is always a tough decision. Only in one church was I up front and said that we were at opposite poles and I made a mistake in coming in the first place. This was 3000 miles away from my home in Ontario and I hate to tell you the stories that arrived in Ontario before me. They weren't nice. What's worse, some people in Ontario believed them.

    You just shrug your shoulders and get on with ministry. To defend them just adds to the problems, believe me.

    Generally when a new pastor comes, there is a number of families that leave, and there is nothing you can do about it. Most times there is no notice.

    As a pastor, it would be nice if parishioners expressed their differences. The pastor could at least pray with them and wish them God's blessing.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    SN, that highlighted part cracked me up. I have to admit that my first reaction would be to do the same as you. But it would probably tear the church up, and I don't intend to be a part of that.
     
    #10 Tom Butler, Jun 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2009
  11. Deacon

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    After 25+ years at a local church, I was lead to take my family elsewhere.

    It wasn't that I didn't like the pastor
    or that there was some trouble of a sort.

    My youngest daughter connected with a youth group and wanted to attend their meetings.

    I spoke with the new pastor (with tears) and let him know we would be leaving quietly and gracefully with no rancor.

    Some pastors find it helpful to check with the former pastors of their new prospective members just to be sure that they are not bringing a wolf into their congregation.
    It would be very wise to leave gracefully.

    Rob
     
  12. Alcott

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    I wouldn't talk with him. I think he knows my name and face, but that's the extent of any 'relationship.'
     
  13. SaggyWoman

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    If I was thinking about leaving a church, I would have done already talked with the pastor.
     
  14. gb93433

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    Is that "pastor" still there?
     
  15. Servent

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    WOW!

    The very reason I was thing about leaving the pastor addressed in a news letter I received yesterday, the short and sweet of it is our church needs to be shaken up to do more for Christ, I have felt that for quite some time now. I think I will talk with him tonight.
     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    No, he didn't last much longer. He took a church in the Houston area and served there for a number of years. He got crossways with folks in that area and decided to form a political-action religious "ministry" and left the pastorate.
     
  17. gb93433

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    Isn't it amazing how many people know things about you that you do not know about yourself? Some will distort the truth so bad that if they told those who have known you most of your life would never recognize you if they believed the distortion.
     

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