Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When to Leave a Church

Many pastors will not give their people the Scriptural reasons for leaving a church due to the fact that they are afraid that some will leave. While this may be so, there ARE Scriptural reasons for leaving a church.

But before we list the reasons one should leave a church, let's first look at some frivolous reasons some choose to leave a church:

1. Personality Conflicts- This is no reason to leave a church. You should reconcile and serve God (Matthew 5:24).

2. Money Conflicts- Unless there is embezzlement, underhanded dealings that are not above board, or Scriptural grounds you should get over it. Remember it's not your money. It was given to the Lord through your local church.

3. Direction Conflicts- Unless the church is going a direction that is contrary to Biblical principle be careful about leaving. Be sure you disagreement is Biblically based.

4. Hurtful Conflicts- Many will leave a church because of hurt feelings. Someone once said, "The church is not a museum for Saints. It is a hospital for the hurting." I heard a great Pastor say "Hurting people hurt people". Everyone gets hurt, but we must deal with our hurt Biblically. You should not leave because of hurtful conflicts; you should resolve them and continue serving the Lord.

Now that we have dealt with the wrong reasons for leaving a church, let's look at the Scriptural reasons:

1. When the Congregation Dismisses You (1 Corinthians 5:1,2,9-13; Matthew 18:17)

2. When you are Displaced (Acts 8:14)

3. When your Calling Demands it (Acts 11:22-26)

4. When the Scriptures are Diluted (John 8:31-32; Romans 10:17)

5. When the Leadership is Disqualified (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

6. When Teaching is Discounted (Romans 16:17)

7. When Conduct is Disorderly (2 Thessalonians 3:6-14; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 14:40)

Leaving a church is not to be done lightly. It is to be done with prayer and ONLY AFTER you have spoken honestly with your pastor.

REMEMBER: You felt God's leading to join the congregation of which you are a part. A good question to ask yourself in this decision would be: Did God make a mistake when he led you to join a particular church (by the way if God led you to join, there is NO MISTAKE) or have things really changed? If the church is still scripturally standing, preaching, and practicing the same as when you joined it, then the problem may not be with the church; it may be with you!

I read a quote on twitter once which read, "Some folks who say they had a bad church experience actually were the bad church experience." Make sure that you are not the bad church experience!

Also remember that there are no perfect churches:

The Perfect Church

If you could find the perfect church,
Without one fault or smear,
For goodness sake don't join that church,
You'd spoil the atmophere.

But since no perfect church exists,
Where people never sin,
Let's cease to look for the perfect church,
And Love the one we're in!

Our responsibility as Christians is to join a Bible believing (FUNDAMENTAL INDEPENDENT BAPTIST) church and serve through it til Jesus calls us home either by the rapture or death. Let's not look for reasons to jump ship, but rather look for reasons to stay aboard.

Too many today are always looking for greener pastures. It's just sad when they find them over a septic tank!

May God bless you as you faithfully serve him in the local church of HIS (not your) choice.


  1. God impressed me to leave a church I had been at for ten years (it wasn't easy). But, after I left, it came out that there had been hidden leadership sins (greed and embezzlement).

  2. Just a question, I see some Corinthian references and would like to ask just where in the books of first and second Corinthians where there is instruction to leave the church.

    Not trying to be argumentative, just questioning what you have said Biblically.

  3. Revonator, look at verse 13 where it says "put away from among yourselves that wicked person". This is obviously telling the church to remove this one from its fellowship (membership). This verse does not tell the person who have been put away to not attend, but it would make sense that if one is removed from the fellowship then that person should either get right with the Lord and the church or leave. I do not believe that this exercise of church discipline should be used often, but only when necessary like when there is publicly known (common knowledge) immorality.

  4. Wouldn't then the proper thing to do according to the I Corinthian 5 text be repentance? Again, not trying to be argumentative, but too many leave churches today for little to no reason. Even some of the reasons we use to justify our choices aren't exactly Biblical.

    I understand this is the very reason you made this posting and I appreciate that intent.

  5. revonator, I agree that repentance is the proper thing, but if one is not willing to repent so that restoration may take place then that person should should exit quietly as to not cause more disruption and possible irrevocable damage to that local church. Obviously one who refuses to repent while under church discipline believe that they have no need of repentance and restoration so it is better for all who are involved for that person to move on. Once again I firmly believe that repentance and restoration take place if at all possible (Galatians 6:1), but if this is impossible then their must be a breaking of fellowship (church membership).

  6. Excellent post Brother, Just thinking out loud in your comment section. If only those that are under church discipline would repent, unfortunately where churches even practice such anymore the one disciplined usually goes on in thier rebellion even further and continually picks at the church through weak memebers continually trying to undermine the church.