Three years ago, I wrote a short entry called When it’s time to leave your church. I’ve been amazed at the amount of traffic that entry continues to receive. Invariably I notice that people find it after searching the web with “how to know when to leave my church” or “how to leave your church.” Church hopping is passe’. In the 21st century, folks don’t seem to be looking for another church. Many are ready to give up on church completely.
If this is you, or if you’re in the former group of struggling to stay in your church, I hope you’ll leave feedback that will be constructive and helpful for others on their journey. I intend this entry to be the first in a follow-up series to the original entry.
Since there are a more reasons why people consider not going to their church any longer than there are fire ant mounds in south Arkansas, we’ll be taking this slowly. Examining your reasons for not going are more important than stopping going.
They can be as simple as…
- I’m tired of the routine, the same-old, same-old.
- It’s boring.
- I don’t get anything out of the ________ (sermons, programs, ministries).
- Someone else always beats me to the best dessert at potlucks.
- I just don’t feel connected there.
To as complex and meaningful as…
- I’m concerned about the biblical teaching there (or lack thereof).
- The leadership of the church is becoming ____________ (cultish, autocratic, unhealthy, insert your adjective).
- The church is consumed with themselves.
- My family has not been ministered to there.
In future entries, we will be exploring these and other reasons for leaving your church. As a pastor of a church, my goals are:
- To evaluate your relationship with Christ and help you embrace the Church as His bride and chosen method of world redemption. This will help you view “church” in a biblical and reverent manner.
- To get you to consider your own heart and its blamelessness. This will ensure that you are willing to forgive if necessary.
- To evaluate if you are a victim of consumerism, materialism or false worldviews in your own assessment of your church or your approach to it. The lens that we view life through may cloud our vision and understanding of reality.
- To help you leave well (if possible and if leaving is actually what you need to do).
- To provide you with a framework for the next church that you will serve Christ through.
Obviously, I’m biased toward the church. We will examine this mystery together as sincere sleuths, seeking to arrive at proper deductions. But make no mistake, there are enough twists and turns in our relationship with the people of God to provide fodder for the best thriller for eternity:
“This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5.32
I hope you’ll tag along for this journey. Stay tuned….