When Is It Time To Leave A Church?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Sojourn(f)orTruth, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Sojourn(f)orTruth

    Sojourn(f)orTruth
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    These questions are really ones which arise from many of the other threads involving discontented church members. Fell free to respond to one or all!
    Why is it that many feel that to "run" from a poorly functioning church a "bad" thing?
    What constitutes a legitimate reason for leaving a church?
    What is the biblical way to go about leaving?
    Where do we get the notion of "lifetime membership"?
    Why the guilt and stigma surrounding a change of churches?
    OK...you get the drift here...just hoping some responses may prove helpful to those struggling with the decision, whether to find a new church home.

    [ August 31, 2004, 12:37 AM: Message edited by: Sojourn(f)orTruth ]
     
  2. Ben W

    Ben W
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    One time to leave a church is when what you think the vision is for the church is different to what the Pastors vision is for the church, you will only ever be in conflict, and you would be better off supporting another pastor in his vision that you agree with rather than railing against your own Pastor and what he is trying to do in the church.
     
  3. AVL1984

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    I don't believe we should have a notion of lifetime membership, especially when many of todays churches are falling one by one into apostacy. It is usually best to go to the pastor one on one before leaving a church, discussing with him your concerns. If the church is clearly off track Biblically, give him a chance to make things right again. I would say a period of 30-90 days. If this cannot be accomplished, then I would leave quietly and find a church where the doctrine is correct and the people are growing in the Lord.

    AVL1984
     
  4. Circuitrider

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    The reasons for leaving are wrong doctrine or wrong practice such as misappropriation of funds, etc. I agree with AVL that we should ALWAYS go the pastor and ask the why of the changes and could we help to correct the wrong. However, if the leadership is unwilling or unable to take steps for make it right then we need to look elsewhere.

    You or your spouse as mature believers may be able to survive in a compromising church, but you kids may not (probably will not) be able to survive without being affected. The book of Revelation 2-3 suggests some possible situations that might warrant leaving a bad church.

    My own experience is this. I was raised by my parents in an ABC church. At age 17 I was saved and left that church and chose an IFB church which has been the course of my life for the past 40 years. I left a church that was not preaching the gospel, was baptizing kids without salvation, was not standing for the truth. For me leaving that church was the right decision and I would do it again. [​IMG]
     
  5. HappyG

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    Case Study:

    2 husbands with families visit my church.

    1. One husband is a christian for 10 years who recently left a church and is looking for a "better" church. Or a pastor who performs better! Or preaches better! Or holds more closely to the "non-essentials" that he believes. Or starts the ministry that he thinks the church should have. Or plays music that he likes. Or recognizes his contributions more. Or has a softball team.

    2. One a husband who has never really been "churched" but looking to search out spiritual things with or even for his children if nothing else.

    I'm taking #2.....10 times out of 10.

    Why?

    Because while I think it is possible that someone is leaving for the right reasons, all too often the reasons very good. They are not being called to a new ministry, they are just disenchanted with their current ministry. And negativity is a hard habit to break out of in any scenerio whether it is a business, family or church relationship.

    That is why our church's mission is reach the unchurched people in our community.
     
  6. Bro.Bill

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    Leave a church which does not disciple it's members.
    Leave a church that does not teach sound Bible doctrine.
    Leave a church that is not evangelistic.
    If a church is doing these tree things it generally is doing the other things right too.So this would be the place you would want to be.
    When you leave a church it is good to talk to the pastor first to try to clear up any problems.When you leave do it quietly.
     
  7. TomVols

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    If a church is unorthodox on the essentials (Inerrancy of Bible, exclusivity of Christ, etc.) it is time to leave. If a church is extraordinarily unBiblically governed, it may well be time to leave. If a church has corporate unrepentant sin, it's time to go.

    The IFB church of my youth was doing all of these. Another IFB church I sought out did all of these. I found refuge in a Southern Baptist church at age 18 that honored and obeyed God, proclaimed the exclusivity of Christ from the perfect Word of God, and I have never regretted the decision.

    I would leave without self-aggrandizing fanfare, but I would call attention to obbvious Biblical problems in a gentle, instructive, and corrective manner.
     
  8. GODzThunder

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    Why is it that many feel that to "run" from a poorly functioning church a "bad" thing?

    Because Churches will always face trouble as long as there is a devil that hates the Church. Leaving at the first sign of trouble shows a lack of committment in the eyes of the dedicated members. Jesus said that we should glory in the midst of adversity not run! This is what most people feel.

    What constitutes a legitimate reason for leaving a church?

    Rev. Jim Jones stood in his pulpit one day, threw down the Bible, stepped on top of it and declared himself to be above it. Things like this are a pretty good reason to leave. Also, there is no biblical reason to stay in a Church where people do not wish to be serious in ministry or cannot ever serve through all the fighting and power struggles.

    What is the biblical way to go about leaving?

    The Bibical way, no matter if you were treated like a dog or were respected, is to leave by closing the door behind you gently, never slamming it shut in anger. Leave in love and not anger. Leave like you might one day want to come back, even if you never will.

    Where do we get the notion of "lifetime membership"?

    I think you are talking about never taking a name off the membership role unless they have another Church request a letter, even if they have never been in the Church in years. This is a good notion to some degree in that you have a prospect list of people to visit down the road. They may have been hurt or have fallen in sin, later you can see their name on a list and go after them. Also, if they come back and see their name removed it may hurt them. I just move these names in a separate inactive list so that the member list does not get cluttered.

    Why the guilt and stigma surrounding a change of churches?

    elaborate on this please
     
  9. WallyGator

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    From my experience, I've left a couple of churches too early, should have stayed and became part of the solution and not the problem. Praise God, He allowed me to return to one of those churches. Now it has become a true New Testament Great Commission Church. Remember, it's not about you, it's all about Him! Pride has been my chief weakness in this area. Step back, take a couple of deep breaths, and try to look at the situation through God's perspective. Then repeat if needed.
    WallyGator [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. rufus

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    When God with His finger clearly writes in the sky, "TIME TO GO!" [​IMG]
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    In small towns/rural areas, there usually IS only one evangelical church. You leave that and there is no recourse. Pretty hard to be a member of a "local" church that is miles away in another town. You HAVE to stick it out and work through problems.

    Now that the US is more urban, we have cities like mine with 24 Baptist churches! If someone disagrees with a pastor or just doesn't get his way at a business meeting, then there is no commitment and they leave.

    Weak backbone and strong leg-muscles.
     
  12. Gershom

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    Usually around 12:15-12:30. Depends on who's preaching.
     
  13. Stacie

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    What if the church you go to, your mother goes as well. Every time you see your mother, you feel like she is telling you that you are a bad parent and compares you to your little brother and his wife and they way that they parent their children. Futhermore, you have a child that you suspect is ADHD and you are trying other things before you try to medicate your child. However, nothing you do can make the child sit still and he/she desturbs those around you and there is no children's church because no one will work the children's church (It's hard enough getting peopel to work the nursary once every 6 weeks -- there is a 6 week rotation of workers). Your child is too old for the nursary and they won't allow him/her to stay there.

    There is nothing Biblicaly worng with the church. And you love the people in the congration. You love the pastor and the way that he teaches. However, because your spouce works Sundays and you have to go to church alone, face your mother alone, and have to take out said child of the service and miss the teaching, Is it time to find a church that has a children's church and get out from underneath dear ole Mama?

    Stacie M. DeShazer
    2 Timothy 2 : 11-13
    Here is a link to my home church. They are still working on the site, it's new.
    http://www.newcovenantministries.net/
     
  14. gb93433

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    Just remember who the parent is. It is not your mother.

    You need to toughen up a little and speak with your mom directly about the issue. People that often needle others are cowards. They are afraid to say anything directly.

    You may want to speak with the pastor about your issue concerning child care during the service. Seems to me with eight staff members there ought to be someone who could lead in that effort. The willingness to work tells you a lot about a church. Too many want to play and not work. But the real rewards are from the work and then they can celebrate.
     
  15. Stacie

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    At one time we tried to do Children's Church, but it ws just one couple who did it every Sunday. They couldn't get any help from the parents whose children were benifitting from the program.

    With the nursary we have 6 groups of people, and if your child is in the nursary then you need to be in one of those groups. Parents so detest working in the nursary, that some have stopped using the nursary and bringing their babies and todlers into the service. This has in the past destracted me from the service, and I'm sure that my son is destracting others. But their exscuse is, God doesn't want me to miss a sermon. I need to be in church, not the nursary. And others, seem to have to go out of town on their week to serve the nursary. I know because I was a nusary leader at one time and I always was understaffed because I never could get a hold of the workers or they said that they couldn't be there and that they couldn't get anyone to work for them. I even had to take one couple off of the list because they had an older child and he needed to sit with dad while mom played the pino. So niether mom or dad could ever take their turn in the Nursary. It seems like the only time I am there is when I have Nursary Duty. My son sits with my mother then.

    The same thing happened with Children's Church. No one would work it.

    I really don't want to leave. I basically grew up in the church. I've been a memeber ever since it was started. So it's hard for me to leave. But I can't help but think that maybe the Lord is using my mother to push me into another church. One where I wouldn't be afraid to share prayer concerns for the family for fear it would embarass my mother. My sisters are making some bad choices and I feel as though I can't ask for prayer in the church because my mother has expressed how she is embarassed by my sisters' actions and asked them why they were doing that to her. But I'm just not sure. The problem with my son might be fixed soon. His teacher is saying that is hyperactivity is getting in the way of him doing his school work. And I have seen it with his homework. So we jsut filled out serveys from the dr. yesterday and I will be taking them (the one from the teacher and the one from DH and myself) back to the dr. on Monday. So he might be getting some meds. So he might be able to be quiet during the sermon.

    Someone said that he may be learning that church is a boring place. He asks every Sunday if we are going to "Jesus" School. Most of the time I say no, because I don't want to deal with my mom first and him sqirming and making noise second. Especially now that I can go to the website and listen to the sermons online. I have DSL now and so I don't have to worry about tieing up the phone lines. :) But I can't help but miss the fellowship and the worship songs.
     
  16. Shammai

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    Jesus gave you the answer to when is it time to leave a church:

    1) Go to the pastor with your problem, mano-a-mano. If that didn't work
    2) Call a couple of deacons with you to discuss it with the pastor.* If that didn't work
    3) Bring up the problem at business meeting. Still not satisified: shake of the dust.

    * Note, if you are wanting to do something that is scriptural and your pastor is not, you should be able to rally forces.

    What if no one wants to go with you?
    If someone points out that it's not scriptural, re-think, repent.

    If it's something that's neither for nor against scripture (a poor reason to consider leaving a church over, but given as an example: you think there should be a cake walk at the next picnic) remember what Jesus said

    If they don't want the cake walk because it's too much fuss, remind them

    If, on the otherhand, your pastor remarks that you have a professional cake decorator, and everyone covets his/her cakes (perhaps it has happened before). Do you want to tempt others?

    Ask those around you to see your point of view? Do they? Can they?

    If it's scriptural but they have a doctrinal issue, ask what's more important: scripture or doctrine? (Note that if it's Old Testament, they may have a case against it; listen to them: there's no need to forbid eating pork/ham/bacon, although you can argue that in Romans we should not offend the weaker brother).

    Jesus gave us the New Testament as a guide to behave as God expects us to.

    If there's division in the church, it won't stand long...
     
  17. av1611jim

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    I went to the link. Searched and searched for what they believe. BLANK !
    Leave and find a Scriptural New Testament Church.
    One that is not afraid to post/declare just exactly what it is that they believe.
    I found lots of stuff about 'loving others like Jesus did' but in practice your post indicates that is just fluff. No doctrine=No Bible.
    Get out quick. And take your kids with you.
    If mom howls, let her howl.
    If that bothers you then perhaps you aren't giving us the whole 'ball-o-wax' or you have deeper problems than you let on.
    If your kid asks, "Are we going to "Jesus school?" again, perhaps your better response would be, "Yes, sweety. And we are going every sunday from now on." And then do it.
    I recommend a good Baptist church which teaches you how to WIN souls to Jesus.
    In His service;
    Jim
     
  18. Stacie

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    Jim, First of all the web page is just about a month or two old. They are not finished with it yet. I have been in that church all my life and trust me the Bible is taught! I have no problems with the doctrine that is taught or anything. That's my problem, there is not one scriptural reason I should leave this church. It's all personal. (No children's church and my mother.)

    Stacie
     
  19. gb93433

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    Remember Paul and Barnabas?
     
  20. Stacie

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    I remember Paul. But I don't remember Barnabas, so I'm not sure what you are talking about. I know I have heard of Barnabas, but I have not studied about him in depth.

    Stacie
     

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