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How (Not) to Leave a Church

Excerpted from Frank Viola's post - full post HERE

1. It’s not a good idea to meet with your pastor in person and tell him/her all the things you don’t like about the way he/she runs the church.
In addition, it’s unwise to criticize his/her sermons. Unless of course you want to be boiled in olive oil or roasted over a slow spit.

Seriously: Complaining about what you don’t like or what you don’t think is “biblical” to a church leader is a study in insanity most of the time. If you do this, prepare for a lot of unnecessary defensiveness and anger targeted at you. And don’t be so naïve to think that people are going to be swayed by your peerless arguments. Most won’t.

What’s the alternative?
Most wise people I know who left a church graciously wrote a letter to the leadership simply explaining that the Lord was moving them on. They added thanks for what they learned and gained, and ended by saying that they haven’t committed apostasy, they still love the Lord and are following Him, so there’s no need for the reconciliation committee to pay them a panic visit (or words to that effect).

If you were a hefty tither to the church, this may not work. The committee may visit you anyway. But you can try.

2. It’s not a good idea to give your pastor or the people in your congregation books or articles that challenge what he/she is doing. There’s an excellent chance that those books and articles weren’t written to or for pastors or to or for people who are content with church.

3. This next point is on the par with the Law and the Prophets: Please don’t take anyone else with you. That includes after you leave as well as during your departure. This also includes corrupting your friends who attend the church with your complaints against the church and/or its leaders.

Just because God may be leading you out of a particular church doesn’t mean that He’s leading everyone else out. Now or in the future.

If you leave in a Christ-honoring, gracious way, I believe the Lord will be pleased. If you leave in the flesh, I can promise you things will be very difficult afterwards. Not a good beginning to start a new season on.

Again, there are always some extraordinary exceptions to all of this (like if your church is involved in criminal activity. Then calling the authorities might be a good idea).

(ht: Frank Viola)


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