Want to leave your Church? Are you wondering whether it is the right thing to do? Well, you are not alone.
Many people find themselves facing the hard decision of leaving a church. While some leave for the right reasons, some do it out of habit. They are used to hopping from one church to another. Be very clear about why you are living.
There are so many reasons why people leave a church. Some may find an environment is too toxic. Some leave because they are entering into a new season in life. For some, their vision does not match with churches’ vision. But for a majority – difficult relationships cause them to leave.
Whatever your reason is, the truth is there is no such thing as a perfect church. The Church comprises imperfect people that come together to worship a perfect God. So problems will always come up. We should default to sticking to our Church as opposed to leaving. Leaving should be the last option.
How to Know it is Time to Leave your Church
1. Toxic Church Culture
Some churches start out well but end up being toxic environments for their own congregation.
You may start noticing that decisions in Church are not made the right way. Instead of following the standard procedure, you may be required to give something in return for the suggestion you’re making or before your need is met.
If members have to play church politics for them to be heard, know that you’re in a toxic church.
2. No one Takes Responsibility
If you are in a church where no one wants to take responsibility for the wrong things happening, it is okay to leave. If no one takes responsibility, how will you fix the Church? If all people do is blame each other for the wrong they’ve done, then the Church’s development will be difficult. And there will always be conflict in that Church.
The thing is, Church should be a place where people come to find peace and harmony. People, especially leaders, need to work together. And when differences arise, they should be dealt with immediately.
We are the body of Christ, and that means we need to work together. Just the way the hand needs the shoulder to function properly is how we need each other. (1Corinthians 12: 12-31)
If you’re in such a church where people don’t own their mistakes, maybe leaving is the best thing.
3. Lack of Vision
God says that without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). All churches need to have their own visions. While the ultimate vision of every church should be Eternity, Churches need to know where they’re going so that they can serve God effectively.
It could be that you belong to a church that doesn’t have a vision. Or maybe your church has a vision, but the problem is it does not match your vision or the vision that God has given you. If that’s the case, then it is okay to leave.
4. Asked to Do Things that Contradict the Word of God
At times, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re asked to do things that contradict God’s word. If that is the reason why you want to go to another church, then it is okay for you to leave the Church.
A church leader may be asking you to lie so that you can cover for them. Or someone is maybe doing questionable things, and you are expected to pretend like nothing is happening.
See, you are answerable to God at the end of the day and not man (Colossians 3:23). So never compromise the things of God to please people, even your church leader.
5. It’s your Season to Leave your Church
Every Christian goes through different seasons in life. You may be in a situation where God is taking you to a new season. The new season may require you to leave the Church and join another one.
Maybe you have been promoted, or your spouse has found a new job in another state. If that is the case, follow what God is telling you.
6. When you Lose Confidence in the Church
Things may be happening in your church that you don’t like. These things may be pushing you to lose confidence in the Church’s leadership and everything that goes on there.
It could be that the leadership of the Church is tolerating immorality. They may be refusing to discipline some people who are sinning openly for fear of losing them. Maybe they are refusing to acknowledge the real power of the gospel.
Paul wrote to stay away from people who act as religious but reject the power that could make them godly. (2 Timothy 3:5)
You should not remain in such a church. If you do, then it is only a matter of time before you also start compromising.
Remember, a little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9-10.)
How to Leave the Church the Right Way?
Now, no matter your reason for leaving, the way you leave your Church says a lot about you than the situation that caused you to leave. Even if you were forced to leave under dire circumstances, you need to be careful how you do it.
So how do you leave your Church?
• Pray First
You need to make sure that your heart is in the right place before you leave your Church. That is why you need to take time and pray before you do anything. If someone has hurt you deeply, please pray about it first instead of just leaving. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
That way, you will know that your heart is in the right place when you are leaving. You also need to know that you are following God’s guidance and not your feelings because feelings can be deceptive.
• Don’t Shut People Off Completely
At times when people are hurt, they burn bridges with everyone in the Church. But that is not the right thing to do. Yes, some people have hurt you, but you don’t have to retaliate or shut them off completely. (Luke 17:3-4)
The Church is the body of Christ with people like you and me, who make mistakes and not perfect. Can you give me an example of a perfect human? I don’t know one. We are all on a healing journey.
The Church is not a museum to display perfect people, but a hospital for the hurting.– John Osteen
Treat everyone with respect. If you are a church leader, let those you leave behind know that you will be available to help them when they are stuck.
• Seek Counsel
Sometimes we need to talk to someone before we leave. The person should be neutral. They should not lean on one side when giving counsel. Look for someone either within the Church or in a different church or ministry to provide you the right kind of advice.
Tell them your reasons for leaving your Church, and then listening to what they have to say. The person may tell you precisely what you want to hear but listen to what they have to say (Proverbs 24:6). Then confirm it with the Lord.
• Leave Quietly
When people are hurt, they become very defensive. Some go around badmouthing those that have hurt them. While you may feel justified at that time, it may end up affecting you or others negatively.
Remember that you represent Christ everywhere you go, including that Church where you have been hurt. If people see you living quietly, they will respect you. Some of them will get inspired by you and want to do the right things because of the bold step that you have taken.
• Take Responsibility
In case you are leaving Church because you have fallen out with some people, take responsibility for what you have done or said. See, you cannot blame others and refuse to acknowledge your mistakes.
It’s easy to shift our blame onto others when something goes wrong. But please take responsibility for your actions. Especially, if you are leaving because you have fallen out with some people in the Church.
• Protect the Church/People
As we have already said, the Church is not just the building. It comprises people who belong to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). We have to make sure that we are doing the right thing in all circumstances.
However hurt you are, don’t convince others to live with you. Let other people walk their journey. If God has not told them to leave the Church, you have no right to convince them to do so.
I know this is difficult and very challenging. But you have no right to tell your friends to leave that Church just because you’re leaving. Allow God to fight your battles.
My Final Thoughts on Leaving your Church
Just because you want to leave your Church does not mean that you should.
The next time you think about leaving a church, think of the example of Christ. He does not just walk away from His people, but patiently suffers with them through many trials and tribulations, always thinking of their needs before His own.– Curtis Thomas
Sometimes we may think that the best thing to do is leave the Church when the truth is we only need to take a break to get our lives in order.
It may be difficult, but you need to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading even if you do not like it. Spend time in prayer and seek wise counsel before you leave.
Feel like you are in a toxic church culture? Are you being forced to do things that contradict the word of God? Is God leading you to a new season that involves moving to a new place, job, or Church? Then it’s time to leave your Church.
When you leave, do not burn bridges. Protect the Church by leaving quietly and allowing other people to walk their own spiritual journey. Don’t influence them into going with you.
In this teaching, John Osteen calls the Church where the sick are healed, demons are cast out, people are lifted out of depression, the joyful church is the RIGHT CHURCH. I hope you will enjoy it.
What about you? Do you struggle being in your church? Or are you feeling the Lord is moving you into a new season, but struggling to leave? Hope this article has helped you to make the right decision.
Shalom & Blessings,