How do you know if it’s time to move on? How do you know if yours is a good reason to leave?
I get these questions a lot.
Let’s begin with the obvious:
There are a host of bad reasons to leave your church.
Music style, dress code, worship volume, unresolved conflict, carpet color, and dissatisfaction are not good reasons to leave your church.
God uses the church to help us grow. At times, that will include growing pains. When you sacrifice your preferences for the sake of unity, you’re growing. When you’re forced to resolve conflict, you’re growing. When you ignore your strong consumer instincts and stay, you’re growing.
This isn’t Macy’s. You don’t just take your business elsewhere when you don’t get what you want.
So are there any good reasons to leave your church (besides a cross-country move)? I think so.
1) When you are called to go to another church for the sake of ministry. Pastors leave churches all the time. But this is not just for ministers. We’re currently planting a new church ~20 miles north of us. We’re actually asking folks to leave our church to help start this new work. If you’re confused about whether your situation qualifies, ask yourself: am I running AWAY from something or am I going TO something?
2) When the church leadership is no longer doctrinally pure. That does not mean they merely disagree with you. It means they err in a major field of orthodoxy (Trinity, deity of Christ, inspiration of Scripture, atonement, etc.).
3) When the church leadership is no longer morally pure. This does not mean they are perfect, but persist in unrepentant sin.
4?) When the church leadership is no longer feeding the sheep. This didn’t seem to be a big issue until the explosion of the seeker-driven movement. I’m still not 100% convinced this is a good reason to exit (notice the question mark?). But having seen my share of severely malnourished saints produced by this movement, I’m beginning to rethink my position.
Keep in mind, these are reasons to leave your church to go to another church. There is no good reason to quit church altogether.
The church is a gathering of Christ-followers for worship and equipping, who then disperse to light up a dark world with their life and message. You need the church, and the church needs you.
Find a church that is:
And remember that it will do all of these things imperfectly!