You have gone through much struggle, agony, prayer and counsel - and you've come to a point where you feel that you need to move on from your church. Ok, but your next steps are the most important - leaving well and in a way that doesn't bring destruction and ruin.
Here is some good advice rom Tim Stevens: Thinking of leaving your church? Here’s how I would do it…
- I would write a letter to the pastors and leaders. In this letter, I would talk about the way God had changed my life through the ministry of that church. I would talk about how some of my family members met Christ there, were baptized, went on missions trips and more. I would talk about how my own thoughts and beliefs were formed through my years at the church. I would talk about how I am more like Christ because of my time there. I would tell stories of specific retreats or camps or services where my life (or those of my family) was changed because of the church and its’ leaders.
- In this letter, I would not gripe or complain. I would not talk about the stuff I don’t like or decisions with which I disagree.
- In a short paragraph, I would say that “my wife and I have decided to attend and serve in a different church for this next season of our spiritual growth.”
- I would end the letter by assuring the pastor that he/she will never hear us talk badly about this church. I would encourage the pastor to feel free to share this letter with anyone who questions why we left.
- THEN, and this is most important, I would not mail this letter. Rather, I would set an appointment with the pastor and I would hand-deliver the letter. I would read it aloud to him–or ask him to read it in my presence. I would re-state my love for him and profound thanks for the ministry he had in my life.
- Then I would walk away and keep my promise. I would never speak negatively to anyone about that church. In fact, when people asked, I would say, “God changed my life at that church!”
This is a lot different than just slinking away and disappearing or leaving with bitterness and criticism. This way brings God honoring closure.