When is it okay to leave a church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Onlybygrace, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Onlybygrace

    Onlybygrace
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    Just wondering, what would you say were credible reasons, if any, to resign from a church that you are a member of or pastor of?
     
  2. annsni

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    * When God calls you elsewhere (truly God and not your own desires)
    * When the doctrine has gone un-biblical
    * When the leadership has gone wrong
    * When the church votes you out
    * When you move

    I'm sure there's more but those are the ones I could think of.

    We changed churches 14 years ago. We were in a decent Presbyterian church but the new pastor came in and was very dead in his preaching. We found we were kind of "starving" there (not being fed the Word). But we persevered. Then we saw issues with the youth including the pastor's own children being very turned off on God. We began to think of moving but we persevered. Then we began to watch as there were arguments over very minor issues amongst the elders - seriously arguing over the color curtains for the parlor and the brand of toilet paper. We began to pray. The final straw should have been a non-issue for most people but for us, it was the final thing we couldn't deal with. They had a music director who was terrible at playing music - like REALLY bad but she was a temp until they found someone new. All the years we were there, they had fabulous music directors and it was a pleasure to worship but then this lady came in and would play MAJOR wrong notes, change the tempo, forget where she was in the song, etc. My husband is a musician and at that time was in the audio industry working with top studios in recording. It was such a distraction that even as hard as we tried to not let it be an issue, it was. Music was the last thing that had been left and now there was nothing. So we felt it was time to move on so that our family could be fed, be in a church where the youth loved the Lord, the music would not be a distraction and the leadership of the church worried about God and His will for us rather than the brand of toilet paper. Needless to say, I think it was a great move. My husband has since gone from the guy sitting in the pew 14 years ago next month to being the campus pastor of our new church plant. I think God led us here. :)
     
  3. freeatlast

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    I was going to post some reasons but I agree the reasons that Ann gave, so we all need to move. :tongue3: To be honest all those reasons are good ones, but Like Ann and her husband I stay where I am inspite of what is going on hoping and praying that the Lord will move the people to submitt to Him presenting themselves in holy living becausae of sound doctrine.
     
    #3 freeatlast, Nov 30, 2010
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  4. annsni

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    Yep - the ONLY thing that would cause me to leave immediately was some sort of major heresy being taught in the church and having gone to the pastor, we saw that this would be the church from now on. But otherwise, even with issues that might cause one to leave, it still needs to be done prayerfully, carefully and thoughtfully. We definitely aren't church hoppers. My mom was and I was never at a church long enough to be put on the Sunday School role in pen. So when I was a teen, I picked a church and attended there for 13 years, getting married there and having two children there. But when it was time, we moved and now we've been at that second church for 14 years. Every church will have issues but it's really the overall picture of what's going on that makes the difference.
     
  5. glfredrick

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    I've left a lot of congregations, both as pastor and member, and for many of the reasons shared above. Those are valid reasons in my book.

    After some time in the ministry, I've now come to some conclusions about any given congregation.

    First, there are those that need to change in order to survive. To the extent that they might be willing to follow good leadership and actually change (rare, I think) I would be willing to step in as pastor and lead in that change.

    Second, are the churches that are just getting established from a new plant, etc. They don't know what they want or need as yet, and so leading those would be difficult, but a privilege.

    Third, are the churches that are set in their ways, just want enough of Jesus to call themselves Christian or have some other theological flaw that they are not willing to get over. Avoid those at all costs and if in one of those the door is right over there.

    I'll not spend very much time or energy these days on congregations that don't really mean what they say. I'll also not raise my hand against God's called out man, so that means that I'm the one to go most of the time unless God has impressed on me that I'm there to be the leader in that battle.
     
  6. preacher4truth

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    We've only left a couple of churches.

    Both times were over doctrinal error. One of the two had doctrinal errors, a gossiping pastor who talked out both sides of his mouth, always had something negative to share with me each and every time I went to church there (and having a newly saved Wife, I was not going to subject her, new to the faith, to that nonsense) mishandling money, voting me in to be the SS Superintendent without consulting me, a non chalant attitude about publishing to the community articles that were horribly written, and that by a public school teacher. That plus the doctrinal error was plenty enough to leave.

    The reasons are as vast as the numbers of persons that have left.

    I know of one person who left a church because she brought cool-whip and jello mix to a social, only to have a church boss lady snatch it, say follow me, and then dump it in the sink, and admonish her that she is to never bring that into the church again.


    :BangHead:
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    We wait till the singin' is over...

    oh wait you meant something else. Annsni has a good list :)
     
  8. annsni

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    That would be a case of Matthew 18, IMO. I'd not leave a church because of one witch.
     
  9. preacher4truth

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    Neither would I.

    Maybe if there were 2?

    There were more involved in that incident than just the one lady who did this to her, there was a group who shared her views about this, the one was their ring leader.

    Just another good old IFB church, full of schism. But hey, they use the 1611!

    :tonofbricks:

    Not that all of them are bad, and not to stereotype too much.

    :saint:
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Doctrine or practice contrary to the Word of God (not man-made opinion or personality dispute) that could NOT be corrected by every means possible would drive me from a local assembly.

    Very rare for this to occur actually (leaving should NOT be the "rule"
    but the exception), but have seen it happen.
     
  11. preacher4truth

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    It's becoming less rare.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Sadly, 'tis true.

    Many Christians have strong leg muscles and weak backbones.
     
  13. glfredrick

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    I agree... When God calls us to a local assembly, we should take that calling as our assignment. Leaving is serious business and many who leave take their own problems with them to a new local assembly. But that being said, there are some local assemblies that are not even close to honoring God with their preaching, their ministry, their time, talents, and treasures, or their love. In that case, either find a local assembly that does or start one that does.

    I've used this illustration for other purposes, but in the case of a local assembly, if one is called to a place, erects a large scaffold and paints the entire building, doing a wonderful job, that painter would expect a pat on the back and a "job well done." That is, unless the scaffolding was erected at the wrong address... That is the case for some local assemblies. A lot of people doing a lot of work, but for a place that is not walking with God in any sense of the word. They stay for family, for nostalgia, for the charismatic preacher, for the fact that their clan paid for the building, or that their bones are in the church cemetery. None of which are the true reasons to stay with a local body. None of those things are the purposes of a local church.
     
  14. Alive in Christ

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    When is it acceptable to leave a local congregation?

    Anytime that you have prayed about it, sought Gods wisdom and leading, and you have come to the point where you believe God is leading you out.
     
  15. freeatlast

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    Some years ago I felt led to a church where the Pastor was an openly admitted liberal. It was even stated from the pulpit. In the, about 2 years, I was there I never heard the name of Jesus mentioned from the pulpit. I was constantly whining to the Lord to get out. (that is nothing to brag about you understand).
    However I was spared total despair because one of the deacons was a godly man who believed the word of God. His education was poor and his attempt to express himself gave evidence but His love for the Lord and truth made up for it. Also I was privileged to get to spend a lot of time with the Pastor who had a Doctorate in philosophy and I could tell the times with him was all set up by the Lord. I was always reminding him of Jesus and the need to call people to repent and be saved when with him. I have never forgot the time when I was with him and we went to a home of a couple who were not married. We stood at the door and he did most of the talking at first. His desire was to see them come back and visit, mine was to see them saved. After several minutes I could see that we were about done and soon to leave. I spoke up and chimed in and witnessed to them. While it was not accepted and we left the Pastor rebuked me by telling me that they did not have to get saved right then. He just wanted them to return to church. I was shocked.
    Finally the Lord let me leave and that too was a great blessing.

    Today I am in an area where there is no churches that follow the scriptures as given and I am in an area with many churches. The motto is if there is one thing that is true about Baptist they love to eat and it is not only practiced but spoken often where I attend. The people are extremely friendly and giving, but the beliefs of the people are at best comparable with diaper rash. I mostly bite my tongue and on those rare occasions when I can point out something I try and do it, but it is usually met with rejection due to excuses.

    That is not to say that they do not claim to want the truth, but they simply cannot hear it. Tradition trumps truth. Not long ago one of the teachers was teaching how the OT saints could lose their salvation. I have listened to a deacon bragging about fighting roosters and how much money he has made. I have listened to profanity from the deacons and worse. So why stay? There is no place to go in this area that does not have the same problems and for some crazy reason I pray that I may be of some use to the Lord in the middle of these people that claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ with the current problems, and if I faint not when the Lord is done with me send another (actually I would like another right now for support but the Lord knows best.)
     
    #15 freeatlast, Nov 30, 2010
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  16. glfredrick

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    Sounds ripe for a church plant...
     
  17. freeatlast

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    Believe me it is and myself and others have been praying for years seeking the Lord to send men who will stand for the truth and start a church that honors Him. I have had people look over my web site and then email me asking where I attend hoping to find a church that stands for the Lord. Sadly I have to tell them that they might as well stay where they are.
     
    #17 freeatlast, Nov 30, 2010
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  18. annsni

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    What's stopping YOU from starting a new church?
     
  19. Salty

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    When I was in Texas, I helped start a new church. We then contacted a mission board (GARBC approved) and a missionary (under support) came and became our pastor.

    I'm sure you could do the same - are you any particular brand of Baptist - I'm sure someone here could direct you to a mission board who could possibly help.

    Salty
     
  20. freeatlast

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    I do not meet the biblical qualifications for elders. I have been offered the office of ordination but I have refused it.
     

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