Leaving a church?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by spurgeon2004, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. spurgeon2004

    spurgeon2004
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    When people leave a church why don't they talk to the pastor before they leave? We recently had a deacon and wife leave and not one word was ever mentioned to the pastor. Does this eem peculiar or like they have a problem with the preacher? [​IMG]
     
  2. TaterTot

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    I have learned that many adults are not very mature in their conflict resolution skills. Sometimes, I am sure people have a problem w/the pastor and are afraid to deal with it or feel that they can't change the problem anyway.
     
  3. onestand

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    spurgeon, yeah it would be a good idea for people to speak to the pastor before leaving, at least he'd know why and if there's a problem needing corrected.
     
  4. Trotter

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    Lots of times, people just drop out of site. They wait to see if anyone will actually care enough to see what happened to them. Sadly, most of us don't care enough to go and see. Those who do drop out and are not called on never come back.

    I have read that there is a six to eight week window for someone to intervene. After that, the damage is done. Sems petty, I know, but it is the way a lot of people think.

    But it does not have to be the pastor who calls/visits. Actually, it means more for someone from the congregation to check on them. People feel that it is the pastor's duty to do that.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    I am afraid we are raising a generation of baby, immature, desire-to-be-coddled "christians". Pastors actually encourage this by fostering dependence upon them (and wanting approval of all done).

    If folks come to my church I am there to encourage, visit, etc. If they, for whatever reason, pick up their ball and leave, then God bless them (and bless the poor church that gets them next).

    I have met and begged and pleaded with people to stay, only to later wished I'd get my mouth shut and allowed them to go wallow in the pig sty. Then, when God is through working with them, they will be a mature child of God whether or not they ever come back to my church.
     
  6. exscentric

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    Couple reasons I've observed for people leaving quietly.

    Many pastors assume people leaving have a problem with them and don't care so why bother going after them. This is true many times, but pastors tend to have blinders on and fail to realize there might be basis for the problem. I saw a pastor run off over two hundred people - the church leveled off at about 75 and the pastor built it back up to the original 300 or so - of people that liked him.

    So who was wrong the pastor for not working harder to work with the people or the people that didn't try to work with the pastor?

    There are also people that have attempted to approach the pastor or church leadership and the results are often very negative and painful for the people that have made the approach. Kind of like the leaders gather the wagons against the evil indians :)

    Guess this makes it three not a couple, but some feel that they don't want to raise a stink or cause trouble - remember causing division is basis for discipline and just leave quietly to avoid causing problems with the people they have grown to love and respect.

    Guess the key is that church members aren't perfect and make mistatkes. Also pastors aren't perfect and make mistakes. Both need to look inward. I have seen many church members that were hurt beyond belief by leaders and the other way around as well.

    Mostly I think it boils down to lack of leadership in the church - the Lord isn't allowed to :)
     
  7. JustAsIAm

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    There are always two sides to every story. My husband and I recently left a church after expressing our concerns to the pastor and his wife for close to a year. We did coward out, we left a purposely vague letter when we left. At that point we were very hurt, and didn't want to subject ourselves to any more pain.

    Two weeks later we received a letter not asking why we left, but being told that we COULDN'T leave without meeting with them first! The tone was arrogant throughout the letter, and it ended with accusations of me being critical and possibly divisive. Now I hadn't been comfortable there for awhile, but we wanted to fulfill our Christmas obligations to the church before we left. My attitude WAS critical before I left, but we left because we did not agree with things that the church was doing and we were not being listened to when we brought up our concerns. (I guess expressing disagreement or concern is being "possibly divisive" :rolleyes: ) In truth, we stayed longer than we should have.

    To make a long story longer :D , we found ourselves having to send a second letter saying that we WERE resigning our membership, and would they please NOT contact us again. Not the way I wanted to leave it, but exscentric has a point in his post. We tried to leave without causing a problem, but were attacked in return.
     
  8. exscentric

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    Bummer! Sorry to hear of the problems. Guess they might have popish tendencies saying you couldn't leave. That is a new one on me. Wonder how they are going to try to stop you :)
     
  9. Gayla

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    If the JustasIam family tries to join another church by moving their "Letter", the current one may send a 'bad' report.
    Saying they were not good members,possibly bring up the "critical and possibly divisive" statement.
     
  10. JustAsIAm

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    Thanks for mentioning that Gayla. When we found a new church we were up front about why we left our last one. It seems another former member of our last church joined this one also, so they were familiar with the church.
     
  11. jane

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    Hi! i just want to share an insights about leaving the church... my thoughts on this is if a member has a problem with the Pastor which is the reason of moving away or transferring to another church is not a good testimony being a member of the body because the bible tells us that "Obey them which have the rule over you, submit unto them.." Obeying means no matter what, you should do first before we complain.. this is often times the reason why many christians offended to the Pastors they do not look a high respect to the Man of God that's why their heart became hard as a stone. While for some member who will transfer because of other reasons like they will be moving to another place which also had happened to my sister, they should ask permission first to the Pastor of the church because they are the one who takes care of their soul and aside from this it shows high respect on him. Our church standard procedure is they should ask for a letter of transfer approved by the Pastor. Let us always remember they are the sheperd who takes care for the flocks, they are the one who feed us the word of God, who showed unto us the way of salvation.. [​IMG]
     
  12. Bro Tony

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    Jane,

    I am a pastor and your description speaks more of someone who rules over the souls of the flock rather than takes care of them. The pastor is not the head of the Church, Jesus is. There has to be a balance between complete disrespect for the pastor that is seen in so many and the total surrender of your will as described by you. As a pastor I am not called to make decisions for everybody in the church. We are all priest before God. The pastor is not the Holy Spirit, he is there to help the people know who they are in Jesus and how to live in Him. Not who they are in the pastor and how to live according to him.

    Your view could lead to some very dangerous results. People who are following a man rather than following the Lord. People who are ignorant of what the Bible says because their pastor has become their bible. I teach my people to know their Bible and check out every speaker, including me, to make sure what is being taught is biblical. If the pastor is the final authority, you have got trouble. The Word is the final authority not the pastor. Remember it is the message that people need not the messenger.

    This being said I do believe people ought to respect and honor those who serve in the ministry. I just don't believe the Bible teaches that they are to blindly give all authority for every decision in life to him. May the Lord bless you as He grows you in His marvelous love.

    Bro Tony
     
  13. jane

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    Good day Pastor Tony! Thank you for the admonition, I do appreciate it!

    Often times some member leave the church without talking to the Pastor, it’s just that they will leave without any notice which is I believe not proper as a member of the church. I would rather say “unethical” for a member to leave the church alone without prior notice. As the bible says in Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you , who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. The act of remembering in this situation as far as I know is speaking to Pastors before they leave the church is the right thing to do. I believe the Pastors called to be the parents in the church and being a parent they have the right to know why and what happened. I don’t think it’s called intruding if the Pastor lead the members to what they should do according to the will of God, it’s not making decision but letting them (the members) know the right thing to do which is according to the word of God. I know Pastors are not the Holy Sprit but they are filled with the Holy Sprit to convey the message of God through the Word of God on what the flocks should do.

    My Bible tells me in Hebrews 13:17 Obey them which have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. People who are following the Pastor is not following a man but following God because He commands it to do so (as stated in my bible). Remembering, Obeying & Submitting to the ministers of the church is God’s commandment, it is the will of God.

    Thank you and God Bless…
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Bro Tony

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    Jane,

    Thank you for your kind response. Again, I do think proper respect and honor should be given to pastors. I also think it is the right thing for people to share with the pastor if they feel it is time for them to leave. And while the pastor is the undershephard of the flock, he is not a priest between the people and the Lord. Spiritual guide, yes; teacher, yes; example to the flock, yes; spiritual head, yes in the same way a man is in his household. But we all are priest before God, and ultimately stand responsible to Him in all things.

    I commend you for wanting to do what is right and biblical. Just remember that you have a personal relationship with the Lord, He is your final authority. Respect and honor your pastor, follow him as he leads you in the Lord. Be careful, for there are some pastor's (in name only) that prey on the flock and are building up their own little kingdoms. Check every man out by the Word that you love, if he measures up follow; if he doesn't get away from him.

    May the Lord bless you as you continue to follow His will in every area of live.

    In Christ,
    Bro Tony
     
  15. jane

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    Thank you and may God bless you also and your church.. May God give us the wisdom and strength to obey His Word and I'm pretty sure if we'll do it the blessings will follow.. Thank you & God Bless us all!!! [​IMG]
     
  16. Jamal5000

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    spurgeon2004,

    Leaving church members disheartens me because they not only leave their nuturing atmosphere but the people in that atmosphere who they know and love. Nowadays, people fail quite gloriously in working out their differences. I think that's why so many marriages fail. :(

    I have witnessed a sitatuation where many, many faithful members who served and lived in a church from childhood days to elder statesman days left the church because they did not agree with the pastor's vision.

    From my perspective, they had a good point. He did some unloving things to the congregation in the name of God...but they should have worked it out! He and they!

    It puzzles me why we duck conflict resolutions. Married couples duck it. Siblings duck it. Employees and employers duck it. Friends duck it. Boyfriend/girlfriends duck it. EVERYBODY ducks it, yet the Church does not teach the proper way to deal with problems (Matthew 18:15-20).

    We lack humbleness, forbearance, and forgiveness in our human race in general. People get harder and harder in their hearts each generation. People get colder in each generation. They forgive less and less by preferring to get away from the situation rather than staying the way and working through toward the solutions. What's going on? Again, I think people lack humbleness, forbearance, and forgiveness.

    These three things cause church members to leave without telling their Pastor. On one hand, they possess too much pain and hostility to patiently talk to the Pastor about their problems and possible solutions. They possess too much pride to admit to their own errors that contributed to their corroded church relationship (because it is ALWAYS partially BOTH parties' faults in some way or another). On the other hand, the Pastor and members possess too much pride to admit their error in judgment and lack of proper procedures/routines/disicpline to organizationally handle this conflict. They lack confidence to patiently and politely express their side and work toward a solution. BOTH sides lack strong love for each other. You love people by realizing that you do not want to live without them, not by living with them. Do we want to live without Jesus?

    When members leave without talking to the Pastor, I would GO TO THEM AS SOON AS I FIND OUT. When I go them, I would tell them, "please don't leave. I would love for you to stay. What have I/the church done to hurt you and make you leave. Please give us a chance to work it out. You add so much to our lives."

    It sounds bold, disarming, and surrendering because it's filled with love. If patient conversation with me (and hopefully other members) does not convince them. We should wish them God's blessings and MAKE SURE TO OFFER OUR HELP AND SUPPORT IN ADJUSTING TO THE NEXT CHURCH IF THEY NEED IT. That type of concern and protection shows a lot of love.

    Churches are suppose to be allies, not enemies competing for members and money/tithes.


    I hope this helps.

    Ice in Christ,
    J5Grand [​IMG]
     
  17. arnold

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    Sometimes, people leave a church w/o talking to the Pastor because the Pastor has set up an environment where it is impossible to disagree with him, so one feels it would be a no-win situation. It's easier to just leave then spend an hour arguing with a man that thinks his church is the only good church in the area and you're out of God's will for leaving.
     
  18. onestand

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    Jane,

    Bro Tony is quite correct. The pastor is not to be the one to rule over and dictate to the congregation of thier every day choices, that is overstepping the pastors bounderies and attempting to be God. The pastor isn't God and doesn't take the place of God, the pastor is a human being making human mistakes.

    The disaster of following a pastor instead of Jesus, is people fall and when a pastor falls then whoever is following that closely to that pastor either falls with him or is deeply hurt.

    The pastor is to guide and teach what God places on his heart from scripture, but each one of the members in a church are to learn how to godly govern their own lives through scriptures and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    It is not always a bad thing for church members to leave, perhaps God is calling them to another church for a reason. If the reason they are leaving is due to problems then the member needs to pray about it and if they are lead to speak to the pastor about it then fine but sometimes quietly leaving is also a good thing, depends on the situation.
     

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