A while back I wrote a post entitled, “3 Terrible Reasons To Leave Your Church.” No, I didn’t write it because hundreds of people were leaving my church. I wrote it because in my experience people frequently leave churches for the wrong reasons. Yes, there are reasons to leave a church. I wrote about that too.
In this week’s blog post, I am sharing three additional terrible reasons to leave your church. You can be assured that I will follow this post with a companion piece about more good reasons to leave a church as well.
A New Church Just Opened
It’s a bad idea to leave your home church just because a new, fancy church opened down the street. For example, in my hometown there’s a brand-spanking new mega-church that has been gaining popularity. That doesn’t bother me, I love it. I’m not jealous of their growth and I don’t wish to copy their model of ministry. However, they have been drawing a lot of believers away from local churches and that’s not their fault.
If you leave your home church just because a new one comes along it says a lot about your priorities. Understand, I do believe there are honest reasons to leave a home church, even perhaps for the bigger or newer one, but I think many people operate in “BBD” mode—they’re fine until a bigger better deal comes along.
Remember, when you commit to a church you are actually committing to the people that belong to the church with you, not just to the leadership and not just to the pastor. That means you should be do you best to stick with your church family through thick and thin.
You Were Offended
We live in a world where people have feelings made of glass. Sometimes relationships that have been built over many years of shared experiences within the church fall apart over a simple misunderstanding.
When that happens it easy to leave your home church, either because you’re mad or because you don’t know how to deal with the situation. But, believers must learn how to work out their differences biblically. After all, a church is a family and a family shouldn’t break up just because of a simple disagreement.
Next time someone says something that bothers you don’t run, follow Matthew 18:15-17. First, speak to the person privately, share the matter with the person who wronged you and allow them to explain what happened and possibly apologize. In most cases, a face-to-face interaction where both parties are open-minded and agreeable will produce a positive result. If that doesn’t work, bring another person along with you and then the leadership of the church.
Beside the Matthew 18 principle I have additional advice. Be tougher and don’t take things so personally. Don’t buy into this cultural agenda that has everybody on a constant lookout for what should offend them next.
You Don’t Know Anyone
Years ago when a family was about to leave our church, I asked about what happened and why they were leaving. He said, “My wife doesn’t know anyone, she feels left out.” I felt bad about that but upon further reflection realized that his wife was a very quiet woman who never attended any groups or events outside of regular Sunday morning worship. Even then, she would quietly slip out the door at the end of service.
I know that many people are introverts and that it’s hard for some people to make friends. However, a little effort goes a long way. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there in order to make friends.
Just a few weeks ago a woman who is new to our church felt like she just didn’t know anyone. She asked what she could do about it. I suggested that she volunteer for a ministry, which is one of the best ways to make some new friends. She admitted it would be tough being “the new person” but gave it a try. Now she’s fully involved and enjoying her new role and new friends.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11: 1–2). It’s a strange little phrase but he’s using an ancient proverb to express the need for people to make an investment in something, knowing that an honest and heartfelt attempt at just about anything will yield results if you are patient.
Next week, 3 More Good Reasons To Leave Your Church