Thinking of Leaving? 4.16.23
Are you thinking about leaving the church? I sure hope not, but if you are, I’d like to suggest 7 things that you should do before you walk away.
- Pray. It’s not a move to be taken lightly. Have you prayed about it? Really? Ask God to check your heart to see if the prompting is His or your own.
- Is it due to personal preferences? Perhaps the sermons seem too long or the music is not the perfect blend you like. Please know my friend that the next church you attend will not meet all your preferences and desires either. We live in a consumer oriented society but church commitment, in its truest Biblical form, is self-sacrificing and forgiving.
- Are you using the exit as an escape to quit church altogether? I’ve seen members, deacons, and even former pastors leaving churches saying one thing but actually dropping out of church life completely. Remember, God gave us the local church as His plan for His mission.
- Your decision will hurt many people. In fact, such decisions are one of pastor’s greatest hurts. But multiple people will take it personally, become discouraged and even confused when they see fellow members leave without any kind of closure or explanation. You might not think your presence matters, but it does!
- Reconcile with those with whom you have conflict. Jesus was clear and unwavering on this matter. If you are leaving so that you don’t have to deal with conflict you have with another member, staff person, or pastor, then you are in the wrong. The Bible teaches to talk to that person and do all that is within your power to be at peace with them.
- Don’t leave with complaints and criticisms. Such behavior is not good for the Kingdom, and it certainly reflects poorly on you. And by all means, keep your negativity off social media.
- Give your pastor a chance to say good-bye. The shepherd is much more attached to the sheep than the sheep is to the shepherd. Don’t leave in a huff of silence. It’s almost cruel and unbiblical to walk out without an explanation and an opportunity for your pastor to hear your heart and pray with you. Pastor’s don’t “own” the people who attend and most likely will listen, release and support you.
I realize that in His providence, there are times that God moves people but I do believe it is rare and needs to be Biblically reasoned. If you are thinking of leaving, I’m not going to question your motive or judge your heart. I’m simply trying to be a good pastor and asking you to consider the seven points I just listed.