One of our most read and commented posts on this site is How To Leave Your Church - And Do It Well!
It has struck a chord with so many people because many have felt trapped in unhealthy or spiritually abusive churches. They know they've needed to move on, but the church hasn't provided that freedom (i.e. spiritual abuse, heavy handed leadership, control). At Ministry Best Practices, we've tried to provide advise that will honor God and His church, at the same time give people the freedom to find a spiritually healthy place to worship and serve.
Recently I received a comment from a reader named "George" and he provided some helpful advise from his recent experience having to leave his church. Here is what he said below:
This year, I left my church due to heavy-handed leadership issues. I would recommend people start their 90-day exit plan now.
1. Find a new church FIRST by asking other people who left years ago where they are now.
2. Set a meeting with the pastor at the new church you wish to attend. Ask how you can fit in. Explain the ministries you've been part of and ask if they need your help.Would you add anything to George's comments and thoughts?
3. If you are a volunteer, find someone to take your place at the old church. If you run a ministry, shut it down during a logical time (Summer, or at the end of the curriculum or end of month or year).
4. Quietly disappear. Don't confront leadership, especially if they are heavy-handed. They will try to meet with you but that's only to bully your, or failing to do that they will pretend to take your comments to heart, but will actually start marginalizing and backstabbing you. It's best to just slip out the back door, and enjoy your new life and ministry.
I wasted 2 years of ministry time at my church trying to make the pastors sensitive to certain issues. I should have gone to another church that had the same vision that God had given me. I could have ministered to dozens more people had I left earlier.
Blessings to you, George