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How To Leave Your Church

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.


You can only write all that wonderful stuff if it is true.

Hands to the plow. Just leave and don't turn back.

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