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5 Ways For a Church Member to Leave a Church Well

Sometimes people remember how you arrived. They almost always remember how you left.

Especially if you leave poorly.

This is true when people come to your church and when they leave, as some inevitably do.

I was out driving through our neighbourhood recently and I passed the house of someone who goes to our church.

I had that thought that I think every ministry leader has had at some point.

Hey…I don’t think I’ve seen them for a while. Has it been 3 or 4 months? (Pause). 

I wonder if they left?

exit a church wellIt also made me think about how people tend to leave churches these days.

Some leave angry and cause a fight. 

Most just disappear, often without a word.

We don’t have a lot of the first kind at our church these days, but I’m sure we have some of the second.

It got me thinking…

Is there a good way to leave a church?

If I wasn’t in full time ministry, how would I leave  a church?

Ideally, I think you’d stay with one church your whole life.

But because we live in an imperfect world, I’ll just assume everyone has one (or maybe at the most two) lifetime church changes in them while they are living in the same community. I understand that churches change, leaders changes, you change, and so a readjustment in your church home is not out of the question.

I’m not talking about drifting from church to church, consuming church like it was some product you use and dispose of, church surfing or church shopping.

I’m talking about a “we went to this church for two decades but now this is our home” kind of change.

Why one or two churches over your life? Because that way you can have the greatest impact and make the greatest contribution.

And, obviously if you move, that’s a different story.

So I’ve penciled in some thoughts.

If people were to leave a church well, I think these steps could be helpful and result in the church being stronger, not weaker.

5 Ways to Exit Well

As a church leader, you can’t guarantee people will follow these steps (or steps like them), but you can guide them along in the journey, helping them to exit well.

Most people want to do the right thing. They’re just not sure how. As a leader, you can help them.

1. Own your piece of the pie

When you’re ready to leave, it’s so easy to blame everyone else and never look inside.

Ask God to show you what part of your dissatisfaction is you and what might be related to others.

Even get input from others to see if you are seeing things correctly, not in a gossipy way, but in a “What part of this problem is me?” kind of way.

As a tip to church leaders, if you meet with someone who’s leaving, own your part of the pie too. Admit that your church isn’t perfect, empathize with their dissatisfaction and try to learn from it. Often there are things you could do much better.

Great things come from honest conversations in which people take responsibility.

2. Talk to someone

Too many people leave without a conversation.

Don’t leave without a conversation—a healthy, respectful conversation.

In a small church, that might be with the pastor directly.

In a larger church, that might be your group leader, someone you serve with or campus pastor.

Either way, don’t just slip away.

3. Clarify the problem

 I find most people leave over one of two issues: Misunderstanding or misalignment.

A misunderstanding can be clarified.

More information, an apology, or a new perspective can often move a person from being upset to being at peace quickly.

In fact, the person might not even end up leaving or the church might end up changing.

Misalignment is another issue. If you are fundamentally at odds with the approach of the church, it’s an alignment issue.

And because no local church is the entire body of Christ, healthy leadership should be excited for you to find a church that better aligns with your understanding of church or your personality.

I’m not talking about preferences here (we like the music better), but I am talking about finding your fit in a way that is going to help you become a thriving part of a local church.

Misaligned people never thrive.

I have often encouraged people to find a church that better fits their approach to ministry and am honestly thrilled when they find a good fit.

4. Leave with grace

Say goodbye well.

Don’t burn relational bridges.

Affirm the good in what you see in the church you’re leaving (remember at one point you thought it was awesome).

Take the high road. You won’t regret it. The high road isn’t the easy road but it’s always the best road.

And besides, the church is the bride of Christ. When you insult the church, you insult Christ (I don’t say this lightly).

If you really want to know what the standard is for exiting with grace, ask yourself: Five years from now, what will I wish I had done? That question clarifies so much.

5. Find and commit to another local church

Your goal is not to consume church, but to be the church.

Find a church where you can serve, love, give, invite and share the life-changing transformation that Christ is bringing about in you.

Those are my thoughts on leaving well. I offer them because it can help you if it’s time to go AND because it might help you (as a church leader) to help people exit well.

Leaving a church staff position is another matter entirely. I wrote this post on some of the unique challenges church leaders face when they exit church leadership (and why so many end up attending nowhere).

What are your thoughts when it comes to church members leaving?

What are the best practices you’ve seen? What are the worst?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

146 Comments

  1. anal on October 18, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    This is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  2. Gretchen on October 16, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for this! My family and I are members of a congregation where my 2 1/2 year old is the only person under 18. There is no children’s Sunday school. There is no nursery staff, no one for her to grow up with. I love the church and we’ve been members for 10 years and my husband and I both serve in multiple roles. I know leaving will be difficult, especially talking our daughter away when so many people love to see her on Sunday morning, but our needs have changed and I think a realignment is long overdue. We keep praying that we will find the new church home that god has waiting for us.

  3. Kirby on October 6, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Glad I found this article. My wife and I are struggling with the concept of changing churches. We have been a part of this church for many years and are actively serving. We live the teachi,g and the people here, but dissension caused by one of our members who left but years later continues to stir things up has divided our church body and many families have left. At issue is our daughter, a freshman in high school and the desire to have her be a part of an active youth group. She is now one of four in our high school age group and she isn’t connecting. So, we consider changing to a church with more people our age and an active youth group. We have seen many leave our church the ‘wrong’ way, while others more gracefully so. This article helps us to choose the right way should we decide to leave.

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  5. Julie Smith on October 4, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Anyone leaving a church because they’re protesting abortion and you don’t agree with it?

    • Jesse Martin on October 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Are you saying that you don’t agree with the protesting of killing babies or are you not agreeing how they go about it?
      Are you saying it’s okay to kill babies? If someone or some organization is killing babies that is definitely something to bring a protest against. Therefore, what does the Word say? Do not kill.

  6. Brendan T Dumbrow on September 21, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Being a part of a church is some hard work! I know there are some joys to it, but I attend a church of over 900 people where it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. I am also a part of the college ministry, and on Sundays, most people talk to people who look like themselves. I have seen many people leave there church and this becomes a part of their culture. When I was younger my parents would leave whenever anything got difficult in a church (a divorce or argument with a member). When I got to college I approached church the same way, only staying if I felt comfortable. I am very grateful for the church I attend now. They aren’t perfect, but they love well and call me on my stuff. As I grow into adulthood, my desire is to remain here and serve in whichever ways I can. I wrote a blog post on this experience here: http://brendandumbrow.weebly.com/blog

  7. Maureen L Gibson on August 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Greetings! Thank you so much for your post. I searched the internet for some suggestions on how to withdraw my membership and finally found your article! I was a member of my former church for over 25 years, in fact, I met my husband there.
    Over the last several years, I felt very disconnected and unhappy. This church has 700+ members and over 1000 regular attendees. I eventually just quit going to church altogether but my husband continued as he was heavily involved in the children’s ministry. After a time I felt such a void in my life and I started going to a small church close to my home that my friend introduced me to years before. The congregants were so warm and friendly and the pastor and one of the elders reached out to me on a regular basis. I quickly got connected, first to a women’s Bible study, then, bringing meals to parishioners occasionally, helping with events and really feeling like a contributing part of the body of Christ! Bonus, I have made some amazing friends and sisters in Christ. I decided I wanted to become a member but my son corrected me and told me I would need to withdraw my membership from my previous church prior to doing so.
    Obviously, I didn’t leave well and would like to right this wrong. I’m in the process of crafting a letter to my former Pastor. My husband has decided to leave as well after years of the two of us attending different churches (this has been an extremely difficult decision for him that he did not take lightly)…I have been praying for unity in our walk with Jesus all this time.
    Thanks again for some concrete points on how to go about this. It’s not too late while I’m living and breathing!

  8. Daniel Bukuromo on July 28, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Am happy to read this post because l got baptised in living faith church in may 2019 and was oportuned to partake in the word of faith bible institute(BCC) And durin this program i got so many revelation including my career as a Commercial pilot. So i was thinkin of how to accomplish this dream. And i had a dream that after I Partake wofbi(LCC) Program coming up in the fifth of august 5 2019. Then i shuld leave winners chapel and attend christ embassy, i hav been contemplating on this but as read this post am so hapy and the vision is very clear now.

    • Alina Samtiesteban on August 27, 2019 at 1:15 am

      This is not a reply to anyone but I wanted to say that only a few minutes ago I posted a situation with my church and I wanted to say that if possible please don’t print my name.. it’s a small congregation and mostly everyone knows each other and I promised the lady who told me that I wouldn’t tell anyone in the church and if anyone from the church is reading this then they will know.. please I do t want anyone else to know Thais from the church because of my promise to this lady… at least not thru me. I just want advice and prayers. Thank you again.

  9. Candy Morgan on July 15, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    I am a 63 year old recently re-divorced retiree and started going very small church about a half an hour away. I had formally been involved with a church I did not find was Bible based but had a lot of activities and things to do. After one whole year here I’m finding absolutely no social events which is something I would enjoy at my age. i’ve continued because I enjoyed the sermons . However as of lately the pastor has had ongoing illnesses ( same with his wife) and they are getting more and more self-absorbed. I tried telling a member that churches should service the congregation but he didn’t know what I was talking about. Right now the entire church is all about the Pastor’s health and it’s been this way for months. Am I selfish for wanting more than to go there and continually pray for him ( plus others that I’ve never met as they no longer go to the church )? It’s getting difficult to pray for people I’ve never met and now I’m even praying for neighbors of members I’ve never met that have health problems. The sermon is now about the update on his condition and less about Scripture. I really miss all the fun and potluck suppers from my old church but I hear things of changed over there as well as the Pastor has left. It’s so hard to find a church that’s active in my area. Am I wrong for leaving this church ? I feel guilty as he is currently down to about 20 members. Apparently there have been other issues before he got sick. Any advice ?

  10. Amber on July 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    I’m so glad to have read this… but is their an etiquette on how to ask friends on Facebook what church they reccomend. Or to explain what makes their church special.etc.
    I also dont want to offend any members or put down the church Im considering leaving while doing so..?

    • Abel on September 14, 2019 at 3:45 am

      I attended to a church were pastor was equally with his own family then I went to another were I still attend and he had some type of favor with family members and they were pastor wife family as much as I ignore that zipp it bothers me because they are in ministry also they have this friends who always fight and we complain of them and our pastor say that they are people who polish brothers character with is biblical. It’s all family but when it gets into non family church members we get rebuke plus we have a homeshelter I live there and I’m out. Have my own job and place. But it hurts me to go because they help me
      out more because women preach and well that’s understandable when men are cowards and don’t rise up. It bothers me cause I think is unjust is like family gets meat and none family gets beans. The pastor love us but I feel that we don’t fight with the enemy but with the ones who are family or who has sometype of connection the polish brothers. I don’t want to leave and if I hold what’s inside I feel that I’m gonna mess it up.

  11. Britany Ederveen on July 3, 2019 at 6:35 pm

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  12. Feeling rejected. on June 23, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    I am considering leaving my church of 4 years. My Baptist church is a very small church, and my pastor and his wife were wonderful to me in the beginning, they gave me their car when I had no vehicle, they tended to me spiritually and we became rather close as friends. I was in the class room with the kids and on the bus and watching the babies in the nursery during the special events…until we started getting new people, first it was a couple from Alaska, I was booted out of the classroom and they took over. I litterly showed up and no one mentioned I was no longer teaching. Even the children complained, the man was more focused on bragging about his life and accomplishments then teaching the word of God. They left, and then another new couple took over. I was moved from the class room, the nursery, and the bus to nothing. The new couple had taken everything and i feel completely pushed out. I rarely hear from my pastors wife, but my pastor is quick to call me out publicly if I have a complaint about how im being treated. I have tried to talk to him several times before or after service publicly and I feel like its rushed because he shouldn’t talk to me at all since I’m a woman. and I’ve been really contemplating leaving for a long time. My kids dread going to church because there is rude adults In there that act like bullies and theI was told to attend a bus meeting tonight but I’m not involved in any kind of way. it was an awesome church and they were unbelievably nice but now that we have new people there, I am no longer valid or wanted.

  13. mike montoya on June 8, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Question: If someone leaves the church and was involved in one of the church’s small groups, should they continue in the small group even if they no longer belong to the host church?

    • Steve on June 12, 2019 at 8:48 am

      I’m wondering the same thing. I am the leader for our men’s breakfast. I’ve been troubled in the way the church as a whole is going. I’ve been contemplating leaving this church. If I do, I will continue to host the men’s breakfast until a replacement can be found. The unfortunate part is that I typically put in $15-$20 for the food ( this does not bother me ). I will have to explain this to my replacement.

    • Brian on July 7, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Attending the small group of a church you don’t belong to is problematic, even if the leadership of the church “dont mind” . The people remaining in the group need to be able to move on with their lives and so does the person leaving .
      My advice; when its time to leave… leave.

      • Alina Santiesteban on August 27, 2019 at 12:53 am

        I just have a situation with my church that I don’t know what to do.. I really love this church it’s Bible believing and teaching church and the worship is amazing.. however recently a female member of the congregation, an older lady very sweet and nice, told me something about one of the pastors.. apparently according to her this specific pastor thought that she was “hitting on him” I don’t know why and made sum kind of remark to her that he was married and faithful… she later then told me that she talked to the main pastor and told her about it (there’s 3 pastors and the main one is a female) but that she didn’t believe her… this woman still goes to the church if it was me I would’ve left immediately.. and this pastor preaches so beautifully… I don’t know what or whom to believe I don’t think this woman would lie she’s such a sweet person.. she has no reason to.. but at the same time I have my doubts.. I still love the church but it’s not the same any more I don’t feel the same.. I was very distressed the first few days I feel better now I’ve been thinking about leaving the church but I don’t want to leave without being sure if this is all true… I’ve been praying to the Lord that His Holy Spirit will let me know what to do please pray for me.. it’s all so bizarre.. thank you and God bless.

        • Erica B on August 27, 2019 at 4:19 pm

          Alina, in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, we are told that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Your situation sounds like the result of a good deal of gossiping. Gossip is so poisonous for the church, as you’ve experienced. This is not the way of Christ-like love that we should be following as brothers and sisters in Christ. Consider how to act with love in this situation… Don’t rejoice at wrongdoing; instead refuse to listen to and spread gossip, or to indulge the sin of those who gossip. Rejoice with the truth by seeking to glorify the Lord and point to the Gospel with your speech and conduct. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Bear all things with patience and graciousness, holding fast to God’s Word, confronting sin lovingly, and refusing to take part in it. Believe all things by assuming the best about brothers and sisters, not making judgments or drawing conclusions based on gossip. Hope all things by hoping and praying for the Lord to continually sanctify, strengthen, and mature your siblings in Christ, and for the Lord to heal petty divisions and purify His Church from sin. Endure all things by not giving up on loving the Church—all of the imperfect, beloved, redeemed people who are the bride of Christ. If you have been personally affected by the actions of someone, you should prayerfully consider confronting that person and seeking reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-17).

          That said, it must be pointed out that the church in question is violating God’s Word by claiming a woman as its “pastor,” and that is something that must be confronted or denounced. “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Tim 2:12). God tells us plainly that the office of pastor and positions of authority over men are simply not options for women, no matter how much they feel “called.” Our flesh desires to carry out many sins; as Christians—as people crucified with Christ so it is no longer ourselves who live, but Christ Who lives in us (Gal 2:20)—we do not embrace or celebrate the sins our flesh desires to commit.

          This truth is considered outdated and offensive by many, but God’s Word is the standard for our conduct and priorities, and His Word will never be irrelevant or outdated, no matter what our rebellious, sin-loving society thinks. Jesus tells us “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mt 24:35) and every word of the Bible is the Word of the Lord. This command about women not holding authority was not an opinion or a preference of Paul’s. This was Paul, appointed and authorized Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, writing words straight from the Holy Spirit. All of Scripture is prophetic—it proclaims absolutely the truth of the Lord—and we must read it and accept it “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (1 Peter 1:20-21). I pray that you will realize that a church with a female pastor is sinning against the Lord and dishonoring Him, and consider what steps to take in response to this.

          I’ll pray for you, my sister in Christ. All glory to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always and forever.

          • Alina Santiesteban on August 28, 2019 at 1:14 am

            Thank you so much for your answer.. when I first started in the church (almost a year) this was one of my problems.. I was not very happy having a female pastor I had to struggle with that.. I found out that her husband, who was the main pastor, had passed away a year earlier so she took over… it got better when the other 2 male pastors started preaching too (one of them being the one of this situation… he was my favorite he preaches beautifully) … and then this situation came up. The lady that told me that said it happened after a service when they made their usual altar call for whomever needs prayer to go up and that’s when it allegedly happened… that the pastor allegedly whispered in her ear that he was a faithful man, which would make it, if it were true, much worse… I just find everything so bizarre… but I’m going to continue to pray now more than ever over your answer and I will keep you updated with my decision. Thank you and God bless.



          • Chelsie on September 21, 2019 at 10:53 am

            Greetings.. I agree with what you have stated when it comes to pastors being women. In Romans 16 though Phoebe was called a Deacon by Paul.. along with the importance of other women listed below her.. I think 1 Timothy 2:12 is used in a sort of way out of context when Timothy was speaking to the actions of the church at that time. Also Galatians 3.. specifically 23-29 states we are ALL one in Christ. Mary Magdalene was the first to witness the resurrection of Christ and was specifically told to go to the others and witness what she had seen. These examples are the opposite of remaining quiet.
            One must ask ourselves is Christ divided? Are the same gifts of the Holy Spirit applicable to men AND women..? 1 Corinthians 12:7-12 states that it is.
            Personally I feel like there is more scripture that states our commonness under Christ and our shared capabilities than the one Timothy verse that says the opposite.

            Blessings to you both in Christ name



          • Chelsie on October 5, 2019 at 11:05 am

            Greetings Erica, I just wanted to let you know I did see your post that you addressed to me. I also wanted to let you know I responded 3 times total and provided links to which explained (through a biblical approach) my statement when it came to the topic of women in ministry. Again, I agree (the same as I did in my original post) that I am not convinced by scripture that women should be in the role of Pastor. Yet there is not only historical evidence but scholar evidence AND scriptural evidence of women in ministry including deacon. I urge you to dig deeper into this topic if it interests you. I am going to attempt yet again to provide a link in a separate message below (just in case the link in the issue of why my other messages didn’t go through) that was written by a baptist pastor in Dallas that breaks this down as thoroughly as I have seen yet.

            I think dialogue and to a civil respectful degree even debate is healthy in the body of Christ. Iron sharpens Iron. So to the one who approves of the messages I kindly ask you to let me present these biblical facts.

            I will keep in my prayers as well sister.
            To God be the Glory
            -Chelsie



          • Erica B on October 6, 2019 at 11:38 pm

            Hi Chelsie, thank you for the reply. Hope you see this one as well! First, I just want to say that I come to you from a place of humility and love for the Lord and His people. I’m just one unworthy redeemed sinner talking to another about our glorious God and Savior. I’ve found the paper you recommended, and I will endeavor to read it. A quick overview tells me that it is about women serving as deacons; this is a different topic from what I had originally addressed (women as pastors) since deacon and pastor are two distinct and separate positions, as you know. Women in ministry is, of course, the norm in the New Testament church and should be today—all believers should be serving the church with their gifting. Again, that’s not the same as women taking on the authoritative role of pastor and teaching/preaching over men in church. It seems we both understand that, though. I also agree that understanding context and seeking clarification with regard to the original languages is essential when studying the Bible. It is also true that Scripture interprets Scripture, so we can understand less immediately clear areas in light of the more clear. (e.g. We can know that women such as Priscilla and Phoebe were able to minister and exercise their gifts without preaching/teaching/holding authority over men in the church, since they were commended for their labor by the same apostle who, speaking on behalf of the Lord, forbade such practices.) It’s so good to hear that you place such importance on handling God’s Word rightly. May the grace and peace of the Lord be multiplied to you in your increasing knowledge of Him! And thanks again for taking the time to reply, Chelsie.



        • Erica B on August 29, 2019 at 9:17 pm

          God bless you too, Alina! As you pray through this situation, look to Scripture to guide you. God’s Word is alive, active, perfect, and authoritative for every area of our lives. I’ll pray for you, sister.

          • Alina Santiesteban on September 27, 2019 at 2:05 pm

            Thank you to all of you for your comments and prayers… God bless you all ✝️✝️✝️



          • Erica B on September 28, 2019 at 2:03 pm

            Chelsie, I wish I could reply to your comment directly, but I can’t seem to do so. I pray, Lord willing, you see this response.

            First, sister, you are conflating two issues here: being obedient to Scripture and maintaining unity in the body of Christ. Both of these are essential in the Church. But please take note of who it is that causes division: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Romans 16:17 ESV). It is those who disobey God’s Word who cause division and discord. This is an important distinction, and it seems to be lost in the subjective human-centered discussion about women teaching. Women teaching is not a minor issue. These women are just as disobedient as pastors who carry on affairs or embezzle money. Scripture is clear about maintaining unity in the church, and unity comes through obedience to Scripture. As for those who are repeatedly rebellious, Scripture gives instruction for how to respond: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11).

            God’s Church is united around His Truth. That is what brings us together under the headship of Christ. Read Paul’s prayer for the Colossians:
            “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:9-14 ESV).

            Second, sister, nothing you’ve brought up is Scriptural evidence that women are allowed to teach men or preach in church. That is the key here, women are not permitted to preach or teach men in a church setting. Should women evangelize? Of course! Can women participate in discussion with men? Of course! That isn’t preaching and teaching in church. I say this gently: the examples that you’ve given are straw-man arguments that do not negate the command against women preachers and teachers over men. And we should love the Lord enough to want to obey these commands, even if it feels uncomfortable at first, not weasel our own desires into validity. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of truth (John 16:13) and He will help us obey.

            Regarding a few things you said:
            “Personally I feel like there is more scripture that states our commonness under Christ and our shared capabilities than the one Timothy verse that says the opposite.”
            Scripture never contradicts itself. That would make it a fallible and powerless collection of ancient documents, and in that case we could never trust a word from it. Please do remember that Scripture is not to be interpreted by our feelings. God’s Word is objective truth, and we must trust in it and obey it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

            “Are the same gifts of the Holy Spirit applicable to men AND women..?”
            Of course, but God will never call a woman to disobey Him. That would make God inconsistent, and a liar. “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6). Women can use their gifts without violating Scripture. Just as a believer cannot embezzle from work to enhance his spiritual gift of giving, a female believer cannot disobey God to exercise her spiritual gift. Truly, it is not of the spirit if it dishonor or disobeys the Lord! Consider Jesus’s strong words to the Pharisees: “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” (John 8:43-45). And what an offense it is to our good and gracious Lord, to sin and then ascribe it to His name! Lastly, consider this about women who preach and teach men in church: a woman who willingly ignores God’s commandments is, logically, not fit to be a teacher anyway, is she? If she doesn’t know or respect God’s truth, how can she teach it? “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

            Chelsie, I pray that you will examine your perspective of God’s Word. I don’t know you, and I don’t know if this is your mindset, but I want to speak from personal experience and warn you as a sister in Christ: a willingness to ignore, obscure, or twist Scripture to suit one’s tastes is evidence that one does not regard God’s Word properly. The Bible, all of it, is His inerrant, infallible, authoritative truth that supersedes every other source of information or authority, including society and our own rebellious minds. Any area where our minds are not in agreement with Scripture indicates a problem with us, not with Scripture. Consider reading through 2 Peter 1:16-21, which is a glorious affirmation of God’s Word.

            Thank you for taking the time to discuss this, sister. I’ll remember you in prayer.



          • Chelsie on October 5, 2019 at 2:55 pm

            Yes it seems it will not let me provide the link.
            Try looking up

            Seeking the Word and Will of God On Women in Ministry
            Dr. James C. Denison
            Park Cities Baptist Church Dallas, Texas

            I just copy and paste the title above into google and it was the first one that pulled up. It’s a 23 page thorough assertion of said topic with the lists/verse by verse (including the one you referenced) in depth view at your request. I say this to you lightly sister, Greek translation and in depth study matters when it comes to scripture or it can very well seem contradictory in many instances, so we have to be wise with the context and meaning. It’s not about comfort or “feel goods” for me.. it is 100% always about solid truth that is backed scripturally/biblically. I always encourage diving in depths when it comes to scripture and praying for understanding beforehand is never a bad idea 🙂

            I pray you are able to find this particular page/article that I shared, so perhaps there can be clarification.
            God Bless You
            -Chelsie



  14. sarah on April 20, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Is it Biblical to form a church just for foreigners and not allow locals to become members ?

    • R. Simon on May 19, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      absolutely not. this is the same as forming a local church and not allowing foreign visitors to join.

  15. Lee Penley on January 28, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    How do we leave a church without starting issues when you know that the pastor is not being honest with the money and does not want to fix it? I’m very confused. Thanks

    • Charles Crump on February 17, 2019 at 11:52 am

      That has nothing to do with my question I want to REMAIN a member of my family church but also,I was seaking about joining a church under A LICENSED LOCAL PASTOR being i live 2hours away from my family church now and am unable to drive.

    • christopher james on September 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      That’s a good question. I am wrestling with the fact that our pastor is unapproachable. If you try to explain the problems to him he become confrontational, and never takes responsibility. I want to leave but starting over is not an easy task. He refuses to ordain deacons as we are a missionary baptist church so automatically we lack leadership. Does anybody have any idea what can be done to salvage the relationship with this church

  16. A. on January 4, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to read… but it doesn’t make the road that is probable for us any less difficult. July 2019 will be 2 years at this church we are attending. We have two children and our primary focus is not just to find ministry that works for us on an individual and couple level but for our kids. We firmly believe in that whole … the attendance and activity of kids can monitor the health of the church. Currently, in our children’s age group — there are 4-5 kids on a good day. Now, I’m not saying that Jesus can’t be found in small groups… I’ve experienced Jesus here even with it being a very small church. We have around 100-150 (including kids and staff) on any given Sunday. One thing to note… that is very apparent to outsiders like us… is that one family seems to rule them all? If you don’t have their last name… good luck instituting any major change– even our pastor, God love him, can’t get anything done that he’d like (things I know he would like to see changed because he has vocalized it) because he doesn’t have the last name that matters. At the end of the day, he’s only been there less than a decade… and the family and other main families built that church (literally) and it seems they’re the only ones who can change anything.

    I don’t want to sit here and whine incessantly… that’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of things… but there are some major ones… We are raising our children to not see color… that people are people are people are people….. but it’s hard to do when the church we currently attend… ahem… is um… well we will just say lacking? And by lacking… I mean there’s literally only one color there. And the people who attend… are a little… not unwelcoming… I think if a family or individual of another race were to come in, they would be received warmly (I hope), but I think they would probably quickly leave because of the overwhelming feeling that they are not welcomed… and that is NOT what I want for my kids.

    I guess it just breaks my heart to even consider leaving… but we feel like every Sunday, we’re in some sort of TV rerun… nothing gets worse… but nothing gets better either. There are rarely any new people… or if there are, they don’t stay. But with all that said, we love many people there… and I am pretty involved, so leaving would require stepping down from things like the choir, and a couple of other things… so I guess if you were in my position… what would you do?

    My pastor (I think I’d miss his family most) said that you shouldn’t leave because another church is more established… you know… the whole grass is greener thing… that whatever you desire at some other place… you should first try to instill at your current church. I agree. Whole-heartedly…. but what do you do when there is a literal ceiling? When there’s so much hierarchy that you can’t get a word in … and I can’t at all… because I’m a woman. No, I’m not making that up… I am literally not allowed to speak at the business meetings… in 2019.

    What would you do if you were me or my husband? If you had young children to think about? If… you’re not interested in church-hopping– but hoping that whatever church you do attend… is making real change outside its walls and not afraid of change internally?

    • A.J Gildenhuys on January 17, 2019 at 3:36 am

      my problem is 99.9% of churches are not preaching the truth they are hiding the truth, they are all wrong about the pre-trib. rapture, dispensationalism and they are Zionists.there are very few churches that preach the real truth i only know of one Church in South-Africa that preaches the whole truth and its far from where i live i cant go there.Most churches lie and support the Jews and Israel and i cant support the Jews that mock Jesus Christ in their Talmud and Kabalah and they have been responsible for all evil in the world they have everyone they call people that are not Jews Goyim it means Beasts! They are the synagogue of satan!

    • Paul on February 6, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Hmmm, I know it is hard to contemplate leaving a church home, but as the original article stated, when justified, not only can it make you more effective, but can also make the church that you are leaving stronger too.
      We all know important tests to measure the “worthiness” and” appropriateness of a church r/t important things such as doctrine, teaching, etc. But for me I also feel there are other numerous and important factors too that fall into a grey zone. And in this case, I feel that the deciding factor boils down to asking herself this one question, “do I feel comfortable and confident inviting someone to my church family, and that they could be decipled and equipped to serve ?”

    • Tina Pinckney on February 17, 2019 at 8:34 am

      I am in agreement with you 95%. I do not understand”I do not see color”. Are you vision impaired to a degree. I am a black person. I see (people)color every day. I am in the process of leaving a church that I have be a member since March 2007. I want to leave a “correct way” I know that I am ready to leave. What drew me to the church among other things was the different ethnicities- 14 different(The Pastor Preach Gods Word). I still enjoy him preaching the word. A high percentage of the Pastor 12 and the Pastor Wife 12 (Disciples?)are directly are indirectly related I just never did find my fit in any of the ministries at church that I whole commit to. The various ethnicities is nice in the congregation but no physical reflection in the pulpit. There was one Nigerian member that would speak in the pulpit. He and his family moved membership maybe 7 years ago. I think it is a Great church. And yes no perfect church but yes a better fit. Yes my Personal Relationship with God is with me regardless of church building and church membership.

    • Lori VanWinkle on March 30, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      Did you ever get an answer on this? I am curious what was suggested you do.

    • Peter Blakers on May 5, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      Sorry to hear. Sounds like classic nepotism, which is favouritism, which is clearly banned by Jesus in James. “Ruling” family politics is a common problem, usually let to run by meek pastors too afraid to discipline. No one will stand before Jesus with their pastor, priest or fanily. We are judged alone.

    • Minister Stamps on May 10, 2019 at 6:02 am

      Fast and pray seek the face of God on this matter we faced this after being members and leaders at the same church for 21 years we have been at our new church for one year now we love it but it wasn’t easy Gods command or your comfort?

    • Anne James on May 21, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      I am in that exact same boat right now, reading this article looking for answers!

  17. BOB SCHROEDER on December 30, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I quit church because ;

    1. temptation = seeing women [my weakness] married with kids. I do confess that I tried to touch one woman but said the Lords prayer then left.

    2. Seeing people in relationships & I am not allowed

    3. Trying to fit in to be social

    4. Wants money I cannot afford to give

    Note: I am 63 & a male + on low income & have disability issues [mental – but borderline] . I am scared to go back for fear I might try to hug a woman in the ‘wrong’ place. Also note: I e-mailed the pastor, also the church is nextdoor [been a member since 1991.

    Thanks, & God bless you all, & happy holidays.

    • Marcie Conant on January 4, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      I left a church that I had attended for the past three years. The sermons were always biblically sound. I can’t fault the preachers on that score. However, as a Senior, I kept hearing WE NEED YOU. That’s lovely to hear but the only way for a Senior to serve at this church is to teach Sunday school and I am not called to that. I am also someone who suffers from a mental disability and needs leadership and structure. My pastor has a tendency to just sort of put things on automatic pilot and let the chips fall where they may. I will be looking for a church with stronger leadership and more opportunities for Seniors to serve. In the meantime, I will be attending a Senior Bible study once a week and looking to serve where I can out in my community.

      • Dove on January 4, 2019 at 5:01 pm

        Even if a person is not able to do the physical things in a church, there are so many things to pray about. Being a prayer warrior in my opinion is one of the most wonderful gifts of all. I myself love praying for others and keeping a prayer book. It is a blessing to see the prayers being answered by our Lord. I myself have grown so very much attending and studying God’s word in women’s Bible studies. God Bless you Precious Lady.

  18. Andrew on November 27, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Wow!! what a great opertunity. I too need help, ive been going to a great church for 5yrs, but they are scared when 3 or more members get together that a split is coming, there is no fellowship outside the church walls, the church wants to be involved in any and all meetings and even goes so far to say if our families get together for dinner and bible study….we have been accused of going “rouge”. I talked the church into doing a car show and even though it was very good for the church they don’t give me any support( in fact one year the associate pastor came in one year and took all my volenteers during a show to help him with one of his projects), but ask me to do it again every year. There seems to be many “clicks” and the leaders seem to always be worried that “if your doing something , it will take away from my projects”. When I told my friends I was thinking of leaving I was told by leadership I was “gossiping” and my wife was instantly “unfriended” on facebook by many. I was also told I wasent to talk about my feelings concerning the church to anyone but the church leadership, not my wife, not my friends and certenly not this blog. I have spent the last 2 yrs making sugestions and trying to put programs in place to promote fellowship, but ive hit walls most every time. I even started an adventure fellowship/ministry outside of the church where fellow Christians could camp, ride dirtbikes hunt and fish, but do it together with other Christians and help sharpen and uplift each other……. but once it had 10 members I was asked by the church to put it under the authority of the church as they said it was a great idea and wanted to expand on it, so I gave it to the church and they quickly killed it, no activities, no more website or facebook content, nothing. The church is 300 strong, but could be so much bigger but they only want you to serve the church in the ways they want (without using the gifts God has given people). I love God and I love church, but there has got to be a church that promotes fellowship outside the church walls right? It cant be wrong to want to be with other Christians? Why is it so hard to fit in where I can be me? There has got to be a church who can use the gifts God has given me (other than be an usher or in a play or building sets)?? Is this normal?

  19. Kevin on November 15, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    The truth will set you free and a soft answer will
    turn away wrath. So go back with a voice for you
    and the people of God at your church. Ask for a
    Meeting with some of the clergy and let them know
    how you feel on the inside. The holy spirit will speak for you
    AMEN.

  20. Rach on November 9, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I really need some help in this area, I joined a church in and went faithfully about nine months, then I got my feelings hurt over one thing and got tired some of the doctrinal errors I was seeing, with one person making changes and the rest of church just accepted it. I decided to pick my battles and look elsewhere, I did express my concern to the membership committee chair of the church but he said that this was a situation in which money talked. I stopped going there but did not move my membership, I as a PK, started to going a church my Dad was pastoring at that time, then my Dad got diagnosed with cancer and I stayed each weekend with my family and going to his church instead of my church, I honestly thought at that time that I might go back there after my Dad got better, (but my Dad did not get better) and he resigned, and I am now still spending most weekends with my sick parent and now just attending my old childhood church where my family moved their membership after my dad had to resign because of his health.

    But I want to make this situation right, I want to get my membership out of that church and go to another church I have been visiting. This new church is scriptural and I feel right about going there but the other church and the unresolved me. I am not a church shopper or a hopper, nor am I going to this new church because of the pastor either. I am in a religion, where membership is a pivotal part of the church dynamic. I am just asking for advice, how to gracefully leave this situation without causing anymore damage by my not making a decision has created.

    The thing is I did tell the old church I was leaving, just because I could not worship there anymore or be there on the weekends but never made the change to my memberships and it is has now been four years, that I have left myself in limbo.
    I am still friends with some of the members at the old church and want to remain so but if I change to this new church, one of the members at the old there will give me grief for changing, (she is unfortunately a busybody and really nobody’s friend, she kept asking my I quit that church, that I had no reason) because they are sort of “friendly rivals” with this other church. Each time the members asked me why I left I just expressed that there was not where the Lord wanted me anymore and I actually did talk to the Lord about it.

    I want to make peace and do it God’s way. My way would be to ask the old church to take my name off of the roll and join the new church on statement or just join the new church and request my letter as a the normal process (which is where I am afraid the problem will ensue).

    Any advice?

    • Dove on November 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Hi,
      In the past when I am transferred to another area, I just ask the church to remove me from their membership since I will no longer be attending their church. When the Lord leads me to a new church I just join by statement of faith and giving my salvation testimony. I do like having friends in different churches. In my town many churches of the same denomination combine to have ladies Bible Studies, get togethers and other spiritual things. God Bless You wherever you are serving our Lord.

  21. Heather on November 6, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I have been at my current church for about 6 months. We are new to this area and are far away from where we are both originally from. I am a PK, and will be the first to say that pastor’s don’t always get it right, and sometimes accidentally offend. However, as long as they are preaching and teaching from the Bible, I am ok. Mine does. There are never any politics or life opinions thrown into a sermon, and every single thing he preaches is straight Word. If I just wanted to attend, I don’t know that my issue would bother me quite so much.
    I have sang since I was 2 (mother was a vocal and piano teacher), and it is the one area of ministry that I truly feel called to- not full time or pastorily (thank you, Jesus). But my pastor apparently has a “songwriting” degree (which I personally only know of 2 colleges that offer that) and is heavily involved in the music. It ends up being a one man show, despite the fact that tithes are being paid to have a 2 full time worship leaders. I’ve never seen a pastor micromanage so much. He’s very harsh in his words and critiques, and musically incorrect for some of it. I went home in tears a couple months ago because of my feelings (he was very harsh on people, and constantly making snide remarks). I’ve heard that he plans on retiring before too long, and my fear is that he will stay at the church and try to run the music program despite the fact that he will no longer “be in charge”. I’ve seen too much in churches as an adult, and I want to find one that truly fits in all aspects, but worship is the second most important to me. If there’s no room to grow in worship ministry, or I see a lot of attitude or a “I’m better than you” demeanor from anyone to anyone else, it truly bothers me. If I see another fog light, I may not do it, but I will wish I could throw it. Church isn’t a club, the Holy Spirit is not controlled by the mood I set, and if the people in the church need that kind of atmosphere, it’s not the place for me. This church isn’t like that, but we are very aware that the pastor doesn’t like southern gospel, a lot of the traditional stuff, etc. His “countenance” lectures have made me feel like he wants a performance from us all. I want to lead others in worship. I don’t want to be singing on a stage with bright lights to look good. That’s not whatcountenance is or what worship should be. My church is great in so many ways, but the pastor’s overinvolvement in the music department and his attitude when with us is just way too much. I’ve had surgery and been sick so I haven’t been back in several weeks. I shouldn’t feel glad that I had a truthful reason not to be there. I’m dreading going back, and I know that he will not be receptive to what I would say if I were transparent. I don’t know that there truly is a church for me, and that’s so disheartening. Suggestions?

    • Dove on November 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Heather, There is a church for you. It sometimes takes awhile to find the right one.
      I was lazy and wanted a church close by and now am sorry that I did not want to go a little
      distance to find the right fit for me. I stayed for almost 3 years because I thought it was
      the right thing to do. I was so stressed out the whole time that I attended this church that I
      ended up having a heart attack. After a few months away from the stress, I feel wonderful
      and happy and better then I have felt in 3 years. I am still young and want to serve the Lord
      with peace and love for my Lord and for my spiritual family. I will be praying for you dear girl.

      • Heather on November 6, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        Thank you so much. I feel so conflicted- I don’t want to”church shop”, but I feel like if I’m there only because I am making myself, my attendance and involvement is empty. And I don’t want anything I do for the Lord to be empty.

      • A. on January 4, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        Yes! This is how we feel Dove— at this point, though we know it would very much sting some people… and maybe even leave them confused… right now, we are feeling like if we kept attending even amid all of our greivances, we are doing so out of obligation… and though I quite enjoy my pastor’s preaching style/ability … if I merely wanted a good sermon… there’s about an infinity amount available at my fingertips…. his preaching alone is not what makes the church.

        We feel like there are just… some fundamental issues that even if we voiced them, they would not change….

        We are fairly young– and our oldest kid is in kindergarten– We don’t want to settle into a routine… or just settle… I want to be making REAL, meaningful change for the Kingdom… I don’t want to be a “bench-warmer”… I want to be out there… I want to see people in the church… I want to know that whatever church I attend is really getting out there for God.

    • Kevin on November 15, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      The truth will set you free and a soft answer will
      turn away wrath. So go back with a voice for you
      and the people of God at your church. Ask for a
      Meeting with some of the clergy and let them know
      how you feel on the inside. The holy spirit will speak for you
      AMEN.

  22. Jennifer McLaughlin on October 28, 2018 at 12:10 am

    I’m praying now about transitioning to another church . I’ve been on the praise and worship team for 6 years , I love my worship leader but we never practice . In 6 yrs I’ve only learned 6 songs to sing by myself . I’ve been on praise n’ worship teams and led worship in my past . I know I’m called to be free and bring freedom through prophetic song , I really feel I’ve been held back for so long! For 2 yrs I’ve been wrestling with the thoughts of going to this particular church where I have visited . Also, I feel alone in this church. Sometimes it can be clickish ( which I know some can) but in the 6 yrs I’ve never once sat down and even had a conversation w/ my pastor , it’s like I come and go and no relationships have developed! I’ve been praying for friends for yrs, I’m coming to the conclusion it’s not going to happen in this church ! This is a small town I live in so visiting the other church again I’m cautious due to someone saying I’ve been going there , I do feel I need to visit it several times and see what my husband thinks of it. I know the pastors wife at this church and she has heard me sing in the past , when I do run into her she always asks me if I’m being used by God where I’m at? I always hesitate and say “ kinda” . I know the devil likes to use offense these days so I’ve been cautious not to leave on feelings! But now it’s kinda just burning in me to go and start this new church ! Do you think this sounds wise??
    Thank you!

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  24. GDG on August 11, 2018 at 6:21 am

    as a family we want to leave a church for another on the fact that when were were getting married Pastors criticized the move that it was stated that no one was to marry before going to college and finishing. by then, i just graduated from the University but my wife had just completed her secondary school education. to our surprise from the time we married, 2015, January, there are only pregnancies outside marriages. no youth marries a straight simply because our pastors said that not one gets married before going to college and starts to work in more than 4 times about it in a youths conference where it was said no one should even bother to go to a pastor and ask for marriage counseling. the reason behind the statement was after the one of the pastor’s daughter who i was in a relationship with disapointed me for the other gentleman and i was ready to reach her parents only to hear that she changed her mind and i was ready for marriage being the reason i moved from Lusaka to Chama, my home town. upon confirming the truth, i went for the wife i have which the noted by the father. our concern is that they fail to reverse the words to make youths free to tell them they want to marry dispit not going to college. we think our presence make them feel guilty to start teaching about how the youths can find marriage pattners in our presence. but i told one of the leaders to say it does not give us happiness to youths marrying unceremoniously and openly told the board chairperson that they should start teaching them. t
    to make matters worse, in the past they used to discipline anyone pregnanted before marriage but now the pastor’s daughter, elder sister to the lady i wanted to marry fornicated and imprgnanted she has not been disciplined, her baby was even dedicated before everyone present, for this we have decided to leave maay be they can realise getting back to the truth and allow Godly marriages to take place in the church than championing personal gains. thanks

  25. Esmerelda on July 28, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    I left my last church after my pastor advised me to leave as it would be safer elsewhere. This was because my abusive husband was in the church and had every right to be there. The church eldership put him under their counsel but he was sneaky and could not be contained. If they disciplined him too harshly, he would enlist others to his cause and other members would cause disruption or leave. I have since left the town as it was a small town, and he would find me whatever church I attended. Sadly, every pastor would fall under his spell before they realized what he was like.

    • Kevin on November 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      The truth will set you free and a soft answer will
      turn away wrath. So go back with a voice for you
      and the people of God at your church. Ask for a
      Meeting with some of the clergy and let them know
      how you feel on the inside. The holy spirit will speak for you
      AMEN.

  26. Sara on July 18, 2018 at 1:47 am

    My husband and I are very involved in our church and have been for the last 8.5 years. Over the course of time, we have lost respect for our Pastor and his wife. It is largely due to the way they treat other people. It has become a large enough issue that I don’t feel comfortable bringing friends and family to church. Some of their outbursts are embarassing and over minor issues.

    I realize that churches are not perfect and we feel fortunate to have been here. There have been many wonderful things for us while attending our church. Some of them include the opportunity to partner in ministry, programs for our three children, and a wonderful group of friends.

    We are praying about leaving and searching for something that might be a better fit for our family and a more welcoming place for friends and family that have either had a difficult time with church or dont know the Lord.

    Its hard for me personally because we have had the opportunity to help so much there and every member of my family has close friends. However, I want to dig deeper so that God can use me more effectively for His glory. I think it might be time to start searching again.

  27. melissa on May 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    hi i was going to a prophetic church and i decided to leave because one week ago at the Friday night service the prophet of the church insulted me. this is a very small church that i have been attending for 5 months . this church is losing a lot of members and they are having financial problems. the pastor is very nice in person
    but when he is under the prophetic he can be critical and negative. last Friday he said i dont understand why a nice looking girl like you isn’t married and he was praying for me to find true love . he then said i keep forgetting how weak you are and then he said even handicap people can marry.
    i never heard him talk like this before.
    he prophesied to me that he saw that i would marry a much older man and that he wouldnt be a nice person and he then said that because of what i am he will take advantage of me. I don’t think this prophetic word was from God at all because im not weak and i like to date men close to my age not much older men. i cant see mysel marrying a much older man.i was shocked at the things he said to me that i dont want to attend this church anymore. everytime a new visitor comes to this church he always prophesies to them and a few weeks later they dont come back .
    i feel like this church is not for me and the church is very cliquish none pf the other young ladies talk to me

    • Josh on July 15, 2018 at 8:17 am

      I would pray heavily.
      Moder profecy is rare. We no longer need others to show us Gods way.
      Before Christ we did not have dwelling over n us.
      The Holy Spirit Should teach believers directly if we allow Him to. Pray, read Gods Word, and seek true Godly counsel. Look for the Most loving people around you, and simply ask if they are Christians. Love for one another is how we should know true believers.

      I hope this helps, I will also pray for you.

    • Jenai on July 24, 2018 at 10:30 am

      That doesn’t sound like genuine prophecy.If someone gives a prophetic word (rare) it should always be for the building up and equipping of the church – not tearing down. Does the church focus on preaching the word and the gospel or is it over-reliant on this ‘prophet’ to draw people in and replace preaching/equipping?

      Also, has he ever been obviously wrong or say something contrary to scripture? That’s a sure sign he is a false prophet.

    • Amanda R. on October 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      That man sounds like a charlatan. Leave immediately.

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  30. Oluwakayode on March 11, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    This helped a lot, I must say. I’ve been struggling to leave my fellowship because of some doctrinal differences. Now, i know the right way to do it.

  31. Tiger77 on March 3, 2018 at 2:41 am

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more about this subject,
    it might not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t discuss these issues.

    To the next! Kind regards!!

  32. Simone on February 20, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Hi, I’m in the process of trying to leave my church because they kind of ignored me when my Dad died, then told me I needed to press into long term relationships better. I’m taking it on board but at the same time, being in a state of grief and family crisis, plus having (very mild/subclinical) Aspergers and trying really hard for 5 years to fit in there, I think they have been pretty cold.

    I have been praying a lot because I’ve felt bitter, then better again, but it hurts terribly because I’m in a world of pain right now with the grief and other problems going on. I just can’t go through a careful exit right now, much as I want to. I wrote a letter in a better frame of mind, but I asked a trusted friend to read it and she wants me to meet with her before I send it.

    I am going to visit my friend’s church next week which is smaller and sounds like a better fit for a person like me. But in the meantime, as I navigate this crisis – there are a lot of practical issues to work through to help my widowed mother – I just can’t afford any mental space to think about my former church.

    Any advice? Should I just let it sit for a few weeks and then contact them?

    • SimpaFrancis on February 26, 2018 at 1:15 am

      Dear Tommy, if you want to leave the church because of how they ignored you when you lost your dad, i personally don’t think thats reason enough.
      However if you’ve still not been able to fit in properly in à position where you can serve after 5years, thén its time to leave.
      Kenneth Hagin would always say to his congregation that if they can find any other church where they will win more souls, grow more and serve God more, they have his approval to leave. Guess what? In 15years of pastoring, he never lost any.
      So Tommy, my advice is that if you would be more effective in advancing the kingdom of God in the smaller church, then you may leave; however do ensure to meet the head or leader of your group or even the pastor before you leave.
      God bless you Richly

  33. Tommy on February 3, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I’m a leader involved in many initiatives in our church. Due to recent search for truth, I’m beginning to fade away from what was once “I believe in these doctrines” to now “I’m not so sure about them anymore; they sound strange and may undermine the gospel”. How do I go about talking to our senior pastor about this? Considering my position, I don’t want to compromise the church’s leadership and Theo team doctrinal integrity as a church. I’m not sure of what to say to him. Please advice needed ASAP!!!

    • Amos on April 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      I was (and am) in the same position. What I first did was schedule a meeting with our pastor. Yet, in preparation of this meeting, I spent much time in prayer and reading God’s word. I also fasted and sought counsel outside of my church on how to best approach this situation. From there, I came to this meeting with my pastor which the approach of seeking counsel, rather than creating division. I asked him this: How do I go about moving forward in our church if I’ve come to a different understanding of what we’ve been taught?

      Of course, in response, my pastor asked me if I could be specific. I laid it out and how I got to where I was. And then when I was asked how about how I’ve gone about this situation leading up, I let him know that I’ve spent much time in prayer, fasting, reading God’s word, and seeking counsel, before coming to this meeting.
      I ended up having a very civil discussion with my pastor and left the meeting with the same stance and better understanding of where the heart of our pastors are (there’s a lot more that happened during this meeting and how it went, but it would require too much detail, so I’ll leave it as is).

      As of today, I’m still at the same church, but given that I had this conversation about a month ago, my wife and I have been given lesser roles in the ministry which we believe was done so because of our differences. In God’s time and by His will, we do believe that we will eventually be leaving this church, which now has seemed like a slow weaning process compared to how we first thought it would be (i.e., cut cold turkey). I hope this helps!

  34. Juan on February 1, 2018 at 12:39 am

    Hi ! I’m really in a weird spot also , I’m a full time staff at my church , I run sound every Sunday (both services) and also Wednesday nights , If I happen to get covered during pastors message I’ll jump on a camera ( not at all asking for a pity party ). During the days I do graphics for the church , I run our website , I video edit , stuff for your social media, etc . I love what I do at my church , and I love the church and the culture and the richness of God here , and our leaders , it’s all around pretty great ! But sometimes I do feel very under pay for what I do and unappreciated by some pastors and leaders , and I do know my richess are in heaven , but there is certain point where I reflect and i ask myself is that okay ! Am I really appreciated , and sometimes I do often think about leaving because of financial problems, also the thing is I’m young , I’ve been renewed and transformed by God himself , and if it wasn’t for this church I don’t know where I would be . Also it may or may not be irealivent, but I am dating run of the pastors daughters too which makes this all but so much more difficult, because I really love her and do have plans want to marry in the future ( not ready for while , but definitely is a thought ) . Sorry for being long , I really need advice out of the four walls , it’s so difficult to talk about it with anyone because of the situation, and me being part of the staff with more then 2500 members of our congregation. It’s very difficult to talk about , please help . I’m seeking any sort of godly wisdom please !

    • Faye on February 11, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      Seek the Lord my brother he has your answer!

    • John on October 30, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Juan, if I were in your position I would ask for a raise or a promotion if that’s possible or some type help with your situation.(Ofcourse pray about it and see the Lord as well) I don’t work for a church and probably never would for those very reasons that you’ve mentioned; however your situation is a bit more touchy because you are dating the pastor’s daughter. It sounds like you’re in a good church that fulfills you and you should probably stay put. Also, it sound like you are very talented. In your spare time you might consider working gigs as a sound tech or camera guy. Or you could do graphics on the side or maybe start doing some photography. YOU HAVE ENDLESS OPTIONS! I wouldn’t leave a good church over money. I work in corporate and the industry motto is that your appreciation comes every time that check hits your account, but if you are doing over and above what is “expected” then you need to push the issue. You need to make them see your value. Hope this helps…..also remember that churches are donation based as well so there may not be additional funds available.

      • Pastor Charles on August 20, 2019 at 11:07 pm

        I would urge my brother not to see what is coming from the church as salary but know the work he is doing is for God and he is watching.God is preparing him for a greater ministry for one thing I know is that he promote step by step to another level and you must have a base which is your local church.Regarding your relationship with pastors daughter if it’s the will of God he will make a very clear way for I don’t see any sin or crime here don’t fear brother you are blessed

  35. John on January 19, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    I belong to a church and I am interpreting for Deaf. I am being over-worked. I am mentally and physically drained. When a person interprets, it is easy to not remember what the pastor spoke on. When asking for help they tell me I am the only one who can do it for 1 and 1/2 hours. I am wanting to leave and go elsewhere and pause on interpreting since physically I am in pain. What do yall suggest me do?

    • Chris on January 20, 2018 at 4:59 am

      I am also an interpreter. You need a team. There’s no doubt about it. It’s cruel to ask you to interpret such a long service by yourself.

  36. Annyka on January 17, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Just reading this post now and I’m happy I did, this issue had been on my mind lately, even though I’m not a leader. Leaving a Church is a big step and is more times seen negatively but I agree with what you said about the importance of finding a place of worship that aligns with how you see ministry and serving God.
    Honestly this is a great blog!

  37. Dorothy. on December 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Leaving a church for another may not be healthy because it is one house. and Christ will come for one church. though if you feel that you are not growing spiritually and the brethren around you are not helping you up. then you may have no option but to move to the next church. also where you do not experience love can be tricky, because that is the greatest commandment that our Lord Jesus Christ left.

  38. Nettie on November 20, 2017 at 11:35 am

    After reading the comments left here it backs up reasons why people feel anxiety about switching churches. At the moment my husband and I are members of a local church and driving 20 minutes to another, testing the waters. We have no ill feelings and I guess no main reason for wanting to leave our church. Does that make it wrong? For ten years we have attended the same church in our small town. Our church has around 20 members. We have seen many church splits, new pastor and people come and go. We live in a very isolated community. We have poured ourselves into the church, and tried to form relationships with people that only want to come on Sunday. For ten years we have hosted women bible studies, small group and children ministries where no one shows up or wants to commit. We feel weary. Again there Is no doctrinal issue or misunderstanding. We are just tired. The church we have been visiting has much to offer and many ways for us to serve. I don’t think there always has to be a big reason, sometimes God calls us to different places, just like missionaries visit home to be renewed, sometimes church members are dry and need renewal. I just don’t understand why its so looked down upon to see if there is a better fit. If you find yourself weary and dry why is it so wrong to go somewhere else as long as you leave well. I’m not talking about once a year moves here, but I think its important to revaluate your position in your church. There is only so long you can remain on fire in a lukewarm church before you yourself start to become lukewarm.

    • Chris on January 20, 2018 at 5:05 am

      It’s best to first assess the needs of the church. If there are no members attending certain functions, maybe it means that the body doesn’t need that function at that time. Maybe asking the body if they want a certain function by having sign-ups left in a well known place. If it reaches a certain amount of people, you can contact them to inform them of when it will be held.

    • Kay R. on July 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Nettie your comment is everything!!! Ive only been at my church for 5 months ( I moved to a different city) and I don’t feel on fire like I used to when I attended my church in my old city. I definitely feel as God is calling me elsewhere. I hope that you and your husband followed God’s call and that you both are refreshed.

    • Dove on September 5, 2018 at 4:23 am

      Hi Nettie,

      I understand exactly how you feel. The Lord wants us to be happy and if a person is not happy in his/her church, why stay? I am so lonely in my present church and now taking a little time to pray and in the process of finding a church that will be a happier fit for me. When we are happy and joyful we serve our Lord wholeheartedly. God Bless You as you seek to serve Him.

      • Erica B on September 17, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        Dove (and anyone else under the impression that God wants us to be happy), if you are a sibling in Christ, please receive these words in the spirit of Christian love with which I type them. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that God’s purpose for us is to be happy. We are called to submit to Christ as we have been forgiven, cleansed, and given His righteousness through His sacrificial death and resurrection (Romans 3:21-26), and we are called to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:28). The prioritizing of our own happiness is part of our sinful human nature. Holiness, not happiness, is God’s goal for us (1 Peter 1:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). There is so much joy in God–who He is, and what He has graciously, lovingly done for us! But the joy of the Lord is not the same as self-centered happiness. Please, examine the Scriptures and see the new life in the Spirit to which God calls us who are saved and sustained by the grace of Jesus Christ (Romans 6).

        • Erica B on September 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

          Please forgive my typo; I meant to reference Romans 8:28-29, not just :28.

    • Morgan on October 14, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Thank you for this. Im currently in the same boat. I’m.testing the waters going back and forth and praying for the Lords direction. Both churches are small and the church that I’m.interested in is so on fire for God. However, the church I’m leaving has been there for me in job searches, encouragment, even wanting to put me in charge of a youth Social Media team. I 100% with your words “There is only so long you can remain on fire in a lukewarm church before you yourself start to become lukewarm.” My current church home needs a renewal and that’s something that needed to happen long before I got there. I just want to be fed spiritually, and the ppl around me to want the same and not be scared to PRAISE HIS NAME!

  39. Steve on November 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I have to say I am concerned about some of the reasons used to justify leaving a church. I have always felt that God places you where he wants you. But even more that that, he has placed you into a certain family with God as the head of that family. I have always felt that family doesn’t leave family unless there is a problem with leadership and even then, we are to go to our brother to work it out. I see another reason to leave is if the leadership is not doctrinally sound and unwilling to correct the path they’ve taken. Other than this, why do we think we have the right to leave the church if we are brothers and sisters in Christ–are we not to endure and toil in the hardest of times? It seems like with divorce, many people will pull that card when dealing with a church issue and take the path of least resistance and leave. I wonder if the persecuted church deals with these same issues. I would venture to guess that “church family” means something different to those who truly suffer for Christ and always looking for how to serve each other. I like the point in the article made, “Your goal is not to consume the church but to be the church.”

  40. Heinrich on October 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Hi,

    Two years ago, I have accepted a job here in Tokyo. I moved my family here. We have been attending religiously a local church here. We have also joined a small group for weekly bible studies. We are being fed here spiritually. Back in my country, i still send my tithes to my church there. I’m thinking to wothdraw my membership and be a member in the church i attend here in tokyo. Is it biblically acceptable to do this?

  41. Sunny on August 31, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Our family has been part of the same church for around 7.5yrs. Last year we felt called to move away from the area; my husbands long term job was soon to be terminated as the business was closing down and only 3 months later the lease on our house would be expiring. We sought the Lord and strongly felt that we should move and my husband had an interview for a new position quickly in a location about 2.5hrs away. The thing is that when we spoke to the Pastor about leaving we were told that he didn’t feel in his spirit that it was time for us to move on. He said he wouldn’t stop us from leaving but that he felt it wasn’t right. We felt intimidated really. My husband attended the interview, which went very well but a few hours later after he called the business and told them that he wouldn’t be able to commit. Fear and doubt had crept in. My husband found a job in a town close by and we moved about 25 minutes away from the church. We are too scared to leave now. We’ve heard our pastor tell other people who’ve wanted to leave that they were being disobedient to God and then, in subtle ways, people still attending the church are told not to fellowship with the ones who have left. I’m having panic attacks about telling them we want to leave. We have 3 special needs children so its always been difficult for us to attend and now its only 1 of us going every 2nd week because we can’t afford the fuel to drive over there and back. There are several teachings we disagree with also. I’m wondering if its okay to write a letter to tell them we’re leaving; I fear the confrontation as the pastor will most likely tell us we’re wrong. I fear the backlash from the pastors wife also. She openly said that she hoped a lady in our church got a divorce, then she actively encouraged the lady and it ended up happening. Other things she’s done have concerned me also, she seems to be vindictive. I’m feeling a tightness in my chest even writing this post. Please pray for us. We need Godly advice and have no one to ask as we’re not in touch with others who’ve left and if we mention anything to anyone they will report to the pastor.

    • TalM on August 31, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Dear family,
      I don’t know what kind of church asks you not to fellowship with other people outside your church. Is this Christian church or a cult?
      Since you asked God yourselves to inspire you, don’t even ask the church leader.
      I will pray that you leave them behind and if it means friends will disfallowship you, then they were not friends from the start.
      God be with you and your little ones every step of the way.

    • Jenai on July 24, 2018 at 10:37 am

      If you attend a church group that pressures you to stay and is vindictive (let alone claiming falsely it us God’s will) there is no good way to leave. Just leave, quickly. You can privately contact close friends but that church group has become more like a cult.

  42. Anonymous on July 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I love my church and the people in it but I am struggling with something. I believe my leader to be a mighty man of God but I don’t understand something he did. It was very off color and not at all characteristic of who I believe him to be. When I asked about it, I was told that as long as greater good came from the off color stuff, that it was ok. I am so grieved in my heart over it.
    I don’t feel right about being in his flock because I don’t trust him anymore. I don’t want to hurt him and I’m not mad at him but I don’t feel right being pastored by him. This incident did not get dealt with at all.

  43. Hurting and confused on July 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I was recently approached by a married deacon numerous times with sexual comments and have brought it before the pastor. The deacon has been asked to step out of any leadership responsibilities but is still with the church. I can’t be around his man and my husband doesn’t want me to be there either. Should I leave the church because I am feeling violated by a leader in the church? I know I can’t be there with him still attending.

    • Michaela on September 15, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      I would say definitely leave, or make sure that other leadership in the church confront and deal with this deacon.

  44. Peter T. on July 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I am considering leaving my church that I love so much. The people, the Pastor, the biblical teaching and the worship style that you rarely find today. Traditional and historical conservative Reformed. I am leaving because for the last month my wife and I have not been able to attend services. Not one person has really questioned or made follow up concerning our absence and that is very hurtful and makes us feel like we are not church family. I hope I am not jumping the gun by thinking this way but its difficult not to feel hurt. The thing is that we will not seek another church. This church was our only hope in our area. Thanks.

    • Jack on August 21, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I wouldn’t leave. It may be too late in this response but I would not make that calll. Maybe it would be an opportunity to start a ministry in your chuch that does follow-up with missing members. Should someone have reached out? Absolutely! But we are in a crazy, busy world. That’s not a good excuse but a reality. Maybe the ministry idea would be your gift to the Body. I am sure their are fine people that love you guys. Small groups are great for live, accountability, and compassion with a smaller group. Gods people are imperfect but we are a communal religion. The church needs you and we all need the church. Don’t know who you are but praying you let God lead you.

    • Mrs. Lawson on September 13, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Have you contacted the Pastor to let him know “why” you and your wife have not been able to attend?
      If not, the pastor may think that since you didn’t voice the reason for your absence that you would prefer to keep it private and not be contacted about the issue.]
      I don’t know enough about the situation to say yes or no about jumping the gun, but I don’t think absenting yourself from church worship is a healthy idea. The WORD admonished us to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together…”

    • Jocelyn on September 25, 2017 at 3:16 am

      What do you think or do when you tell your Pastor of a burden you have joining another Church and her answer was I know the leaders of the Church more than you do and she asked me to be careful.?

    • Wanda on January 21, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      Remember the part of this article that says own up to your part. Why did you not contact someone as to why you could not attend service, oppose to waiting for someone to notice you are missing. Where you conducting a test?

    • Jenai on July 24, 2018 at 10:40 am

      If your only reason is that no one has contacted you in a month, then stay. Most people do not consider a month concerning (vacations, etc.) unless the person wrote prayer requests about severe health problems and such.

      And have you reached out to anyone via email or phone? Or are you putting the whole burden onto others?

  45. Holly on June 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    My husband and I are being led by God to leave our current church. The two biggest things holding us back from leaving is… a) close relative is the head pastor and b) lack of volunteers due to being a small church. My husband and I volunteer a lot. I’ve already discussed with my Pastor about leaving the current volunteering position,(which I felt to only do for a season not long term) about 7 months ago and still no replacement. The church has not grown much since it started 12 years ago. While the church is founded on sound scriptural principles and preaching, there are a few things holding it back from moving forward, which are not being dealt with. I’m ready to move ahead and being there is holding me back. Trying to find the courage to come forward and take the initial step of leaving. How do you even leave a relative’s church? I keep telling myself to remember, I will stand before God someday giving an account for what He has called me to do not the pastor.

    • Katherine on September 24, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      We to are going through the same thing, I’m home now, praying, talking to God. I don’t want God to cast me aside. I need Him Now, to show me if I’m alright with feeling like this. The pastor and my family were close but, some issues in the church have left us estranged, but still functioning at a low. Can’t begin to separate the two by what’s being preached and the way we’ve been pushed aside. I need church, the fellowship, but I see my church family going along to get along and on top of that, we are not growing in membership, and our praise and worship. People say, oh, you all have been faithful members and work so hard in the church. Now, we’re not motivated and your opinion has no regards. Lord, I need your Help!

  46. Alley on June 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    My roommate and I have been attending a church for almost 7 years now. She got saved in this church, praise the Lord! But unfortunately, we have never felt like we “fit in” There is not really any members our age, and those that come in leave shortly after. There are groups/classes for every age group but ours, and we feel that we are ‘outcasts’. We both serve wherever we can, and try to serve the Lord to the best of our ability. My roommate teaches a sunday school class, we both serve in the nursery, clean the church, and are there pretty much any time the doors are open. I have tried to volunteer when there are needs, but have been told no many times. Even serving in the nursery I have had limits put on the amount/way I am allowed to serve.
    The problem is, there is a ‘misalignment’ with us and the leadership of the church. The pastor acts as though he has no time for us, and the only communication we have with hi is when he or his wife are telling us we have screwed up (because we are not serving THEM the way they think we should) We want to serve the Lord, not man.
    We have been praying a lot about moving to another church (of like doctorin) in the area, but want to make sure we are doing everything the right way. We will not leave until we know that is what the Lord is asking us to do. I want to let the Pastor know, but am so afraid of being yelled at or told it is our fault. I don’t want to put out a list of “things they’ve done wrong” because each of those things is only a symptom of the problem- they do not take the time to know us, and have no respect/compassion for us. We just don’t fit in.
    What is the best way to approach them when the time comes? I would like to just say “we believe the Lord is leading us elsewhere” (because that is the only reason we will leave) But other times one of us had told them that we believed the Lord was leading in a certain direction, they told us we were wrong and that the Lord told them what we should actually do. (… didn’t think it worked like that…)
    Sorry for the length, thank you for your help!

    • Anonymous on July 23, 2017 at 7:49 am

      If it is a roommate situation you each individually need to decide what is right for each individual’s spiritual growth.

      • Alley on July 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

        We have prayed about it both separately and together. We will only do what the Lord leads us to do. My parents also attend, and are praying about it as well.

    • Amy on August 26, 2017 at 8:25 am

      This sounds like a ungodily – controlling relationship. God pastors lead you to God…give counsel and release you to act according to your own convictions….unless they violate scripture.

  47. Lucy M on May 26, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I too was heart broken when the church changed into liberal while I was getting deeper into the bible. I saw the twisting of the Holy Book. We can not twist and change in the name of tolerance and forgiveness. The bible says what it says it is either the truth or a lie. If it changes then it is not the truth. They knew though that some of the conservative people will leave church and on the other hand they will attract a new kind of crowd to their church.

    First thing I did;I found another church on line I watched their sermons about specific subjects to make sure I agree before starting to attend. I also went there and talked and asked my questions straight forward at the welcome meeting.

    I prayed for God to let me know if I should just stop going to the old church and start the new church or should I gradually stop going. One morning I woke up and felt yes I will just stop going there anymore.

    It has been two months. I love the new church. I still didn’t contact the old church.
    It is something I want to do because I appreciate the times we prayed together and cared for each other.Because I do care for them. I also want to call two more ladies in my bible study group and tell them that I left the church and I loved doing bible study with them.

    I am thinking to call one of the Reverends that led my bible study group and tell him about the new church; how i found a large group of moms and a big Sunday school. But I am not sure how to tell her the most important reason that I left the church for. The Liberal or progressive approach of the church to everything that the bible says.
    Any ideas please help me how to put the words so that I am short and right to the point.

    • Darlene on November 28, 2017 at 1:04 am

      Lucy, what is a Liberal church. Is it a Grace place? Has someone there learned about grace, and loving kindness?
      We are called to love and lead others to Christ. Without grace, we are being legalistic. I do not have to agree with your lifestyle or actions (deeds of sin), but I DO have to love you past your faults, in order to see your needs! The houses of worship/prayer (there is only one church), are hositals, not club houses. People come to find direction and guidance. I am supposed to speak the truth in love, and ensure that my speech is seasoned with grace, not condemnation, ridicule or judgement. At some point, we were all sinners until God drew us with His loving kindness. You cannot make an impact, without contact!

    • Jenai on July 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

      That can be difficult. A polite email as to why you left should be fine. Clarify that it isn’t love/grace/truth you disagree with but the redefinition of sin (or whatever the anti-Bible teaching is) as it weakens the gospel message/need for saviour and does not equip the church to effective ministry. Be sure to compliment areas the church group is getting right (service, prayer, etc.)

  48. Dmjkne on April 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

    We’re a year and a half out from a messy split. The founding senior pastor claimed to be passing the leadership on to the assistant pastor (who had been there 30 years, 25 in ministry). The deacons were in support of the newly appointed senior pastor. But the founder’s wife was convinced he was being pushed out, and convinced him and others of the same. And it became a power struggle. Two assistant pastors and four deacons ultimately left. We didn’t invite others, but about 100 people followed. (My husband was one of the deacons.) With that many people, we had to quickly launch a new church.
    We’ve talked it out (among leadership), know the deacons and pastors tried hard for two years to make it work. We willingly own the parts we could have done better. But I still struggle with the “leaving well” part – because I really feel we were pushed out. We’re working on forgiveness. We know we have to. We don’t want to carry any of it forward into our new church. I feel like any sort of conversation with the people left there would be forced and fake. And I can’t really have an honest discussion because A) the rest of the congregants don’t need to know all the background drama that occurred and B) the founder and his wife have a very skewed view of what really happened.
    Sadly, there are a few people left there whom we love, and they think some of us were to blame for it all. We can’t really reconcile without sounding like we’re dishonoring the pastor and his wife. It’s such a tough spot to be in – wanting to have left well, yet not really having the opportunity to do so because of the dynamics of the situation. I keep praying, asking God to lead me/us in any of this. I still don’t feel free to address any of it, so I just wait.
    Any wisdom from you or your readers is welcome!

  49. Anon on April 10, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Thanks so much for this article. It is coming at a most crucial point in my life and my family. We have been attending the same local church since 2009. We joined ministry teams and within a couple of years, my husband and I were both leaders.

    About a year and a half ago, I felt led to step down from leadership because I couldn’t keep up with the level of demand. We had 3 services every week and I spent half of my Saturdays at rehearsals. We had so many conferences every year which placed a huge demand on the choir that I led. As a result, I wasn’t there for my family and my children were getting to an age where they really needed me to be present in their lives. After an agonizing period of prayer I had to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to step down. I believe I did it the right way because I spoke directly to the pastor who was very aware of the challenges I had been facing in my marriage. I told him God was leading me to dedicate more time to serve my family.
    To cut the long story short, the pastor was offended. Since then, we have been feeling ostracized by the whole leadership team. When people have asked why I stepped down, I have always said it had to do with family commitments and refused to give further details.

    I am convinced I made the right decision because my marriage and my children are thriving in accordance to God’s will and we are at peace.

    The pastor and his wife have been very cold towards us and without going into too much details, suffice to say they have treated us in such a way that we have lost trust in them as leaders.

    We have tried to discuss with them but they are not willing to hear or acknowledge their part in the conflict that has ensued. Instead of validating the content of the issues we have brought to them, they would take offence that we are daring to ask them questions. Their opinion is that we should be loyal to them as our spiritual father and mother (a concept, I have always struggled with, especially since I didn’t get saved under their ministry. My salvation and Christian foundation years was in a different church when I lived in another country).

    After leaving leadership, God began to open my eyes to the level of control and abuse of spiritual power that we had been under. I started having panic attacks and migraines at the thought of approaching the pastor’s wife to discuss the issues I had with her. She would never apologise for anything nor acknowledge any wrong doing. Instead, she would remind me of everything they had done for me and my family and how we were being disloyal and unsubmissive to spiritual authority.

    Besides all these, we have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the leadership model of the church which is very ‘pastor focused’. People are not being encouraged to develop their own hearing directly from God but are directed to always and constantly seek the pastor’s approval before taking any important steps and if you don’t things will not go well for you. (I am almost quoting a message from the pulpit on a Sunday morning).

    Pls note that we have not discussed our thoughts with any church members. We have not caused division or gossip about these things.

    We are at a point now where we sense it may be time to move on. I would appreciate your thoughts. (Apologies for the length of the question).

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 10, 2017 at 4:54 am

      Oh man…that sounds like a really unhealthy environment. One of the characteristics of health is freedom, and if you don’t have the freedom to step back a bit that’s not a good sign. Two things I would suggest. #1…what, if anything, do you think is your responsibility? (It’s important to see what slice of the pie we own). #2. Is there a healthy person who knows and loves you and the church with whom you can process this so you can get plugged into a healthier church? I’m glad your family life is thriving again. That’s wonderful. My prayer is you find a church that thrives as well! Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Anon on April 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

        Thanks for your prompt response Carey. I have to admit that after the feeling of rejection from the leadership, I did completely withdraw. I guess my protective instincts kind of kicked in. I have reduced church attendance to only Sundays. This is mainly because I felt most of the messages were about me and this is not me being paranoid at all. But, I don’t t want to be defensive and justify my actions. Also, in addressing issues with the pastor, I may have been brutally honest in some instances which, is really unacceptable in our church environment. I don’t believe I was rude or disrespectful but I spoke the truth about my hurt and pain and the fact that I disagreed with some of the content of his messages from a scriptural point of view. Instead of clarifying those issues, my husband and I were accused of being arrogant and disrespectful to our ‘shepherd’.

        Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut cos I knew they’re weren’t ready to listen?

        • Carey Nieuwhof on April 10, 2017 at 9:37 am

          Appreciate the honestly. Well, I think we do need to speak the truth but we need to speak in love. I’ve had occasions where i’ve been too much on the truth side and not shown enough love, and other times I’ve thought I was being loving when love when have told the truth. I think the key is to grow our self awareness to help us navigate what we’re doing well or poorly.

  50. Catherine on March 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

    We have prayerfully asked the Lord to raise up a church in our hometown. Back in 2008, my husband became a certified life coach and what we found is that people who thrived under that instruction really wanted to explore some of the spiritual aspects behind the ‘wisdom’ they were receiving. Of course, he pointed them toward God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Those who then wanted more, naturally wanted to join the assembly we attended. We were attending a church, however, that was an hour away. That was an immediate closed door. So, we decided it would be best to attend one in our local area. This local church was one we had attended before, but it was very small and did not have a proper Sunday School in place for our small children. Upon returning, their mission over the more recent years has truly focused on a woman’s voice and needs. The result of this very narrow focus (which, IMHO is more the scope of an outreach group than a church) has turned away everyone who we’ve sent.

    At about the time of my prayerful request back in 2008, however, someone in our town felt the call to go into the ministry. Then, about three weeks ago, he and a co-pastor began this new work. We spent the time in between our request to this fulfillment, however, actively engaged in a local assembly. We waited upon the Lord before moving, knowing our request and knowing he could absolutely raise up and plant such a church in our community. One whose mission is to prioritize and teach the Word of God and whose structure and organization reflected the qualifications of pastors and leaders in the church – for the sake of representing the community, vs. one segment of a community.

    We are so grateful for this new opportunity that is so close to us – whose mission and structure are nicely aligned with who we are as a family – and in keeping with the doctrinal foundations of our faith – that now we must say goodbye to our current church assembly. I intend to use some form of the dialogue on the misalignment issue to announce, gracefully, our move. Thanks for writing this article~!

  51. Anon Y. Mous on October 17, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Pastors need to handle this one well.

    I needed to leave a church because it was too liberal. Also, the pastor was speaking too well of a group he is a member of that I knew to be questionable and of a public figure that I knew to be Christian In Name Only. I realized this and I wanted to leave quietly. I really didn’t want to talk to the pastor.

    I had hoped that I could pull the disappearing act, but I realized that people were concerned, that there were people in the congregation who were trying to find me. They had my cell phone, but not my home phone. I turn my cell phone on when I’m going to use it; otherwise, it’s turned off. I realized that I needed to say Goodbye and tell them that I am more conservative than the congregation is and I would be doing the congregation a disservice if I stayed. Fortunately, I did not join the church. I was pushed to join after a few months. I told the pastor that I didn’t feel comfortable formally joining the church so soon, because I’ve had some very traumatic church experiences. (One was a church split, another had to do with failure to discipline the choir leader which ended in a choir walkout, another was catching the pastor using church funds to set-up his own private foundation without permission and a fourth was when the pastor put his daughter, his wife’s best friend who hardly attended church, and his daughters best friends–who were sisters, on the church board and I was the only member to vote NAY.)

    I didn’t want to tell the pastor, because he was way too pushy, given that I had just had just come from a very bad church experience–that is the stacked board incident. I wanted to tell two deacons and the pastor’s wife, for they were the most level-headed and easy to approach people in the church. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The pastor didn’t buy my simple reason–theological differences: I’m more conservative than the church and denomination is and kept pressing me. Then things ended in a scene. I did get to say goodbye to two of the three people, but that was outside the church before service. I now know that the people in the basement heard what had just happened–and that was because of e-mails I got last night. I am in no mood to trash the pastor or the church, so I’m going to ignore the e-mails. I left over theological differences and that’s that.

    I REALLY think pastors NEED to be taught how to handle situations like this. What I needed the pastor to say is, “I’m sorry to hear that you are leaving. Go in peace.” and that would have been that.

  52. Eliza on August 4, 2016 at 8:10 am

    What’s the best response to not cause damage when someone asks why did you leave? I’m a former staff member at my church and have stayed an additional year, I know because of this many people will ask why did you leave. I want to be authentic and not have it seem I’m not being honest but not cause damage.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on August 12, 2016 at 5:19 am

      Why not just give the most charitable, truthful explanation you can, like “I had some great years at X. I felt, for a variety of reasons, my season had come to a close…so I moved on.” That will satisfy anyone who doesn’t know you well, and your 3-5 best friends…well, they know the story anyway.

      • Eliza on August 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

        Thank you. I like the concise answer.

  53. Jen on June 14, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    The best way to leave a church is if God calls you out. For 5 years we dug in our heels until finally we admitted it was time to leave. There were problems with doctrinal issues and dissatisfaction but ultimately we were led by the Holy Spirit to join up with a different body of believers.

    My husband wrote a letter to the pastor, thanking him for his leadership over the years but that we felt the call of God to go elsewhere. He came to our home and we did talk about some of the issues. That pastor told us that if we left, within a year we wouldn’t even be attending church. In fact, the opposite happened. We thrived and grew so much in our faith and in service to the Lord.

    I appreciate that you acknowledged it is important to let people go with grace.

    • lsmith2013 on August 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      I’m dealing with this right now. We didn’t wait 5 years, but about 4 months. God told me it was time to move, and I’ve been fighting Him. So He started showing us things, “opening our eyes” if you will to some of the behind the scenes nonsense. And more importantly, He stopped answering me except to say “You need to get uncomfortable and find a new home.” So last weekend we tried a new church, and it was AMAZING. God didn’t just show up, He showed off. Sure enough, someone tipped off the leaders’ wife and she sent me one of her usual “We miss you” messages, even though she rarely says more than 2 words to us. We know if we have this final conversation, it’s going to lead to them begging and manipulating, and honestly we just want to avoid all of that. It’s almost at the level that people encounter when trying to leave a cult. We already know that most of our “friends” will no longer be our friends now that we are leaving, and we’ve realized we are ok with that. But this leaving thing is definitely not going to be as simple as sneaking away.

  54. Heidi Wikström on April 8, 2016 at 2:17 am

    If it is possible to leave a church as gracefully as you described, maybe there is no need to leave at all, after discussing and solving the problems? Me and my family left the church, in which we still officially belong to, 3 years ago with such scars that it’s impossible to yet think about joining an other. Maybe, gradually, God will show us a new congregation, it’s up to Him. We must also accept our life without an official congregation, now we luckily have our believing friends and relatives, maybe that is a kind of church also? Of course, I’m from Finland and in my country attending steadily one congregation is not so typical even among believers as in yours, many only participate in small prayer-groups. Probably this is unhealthy situation, many people are lonely here.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Heidi…it’s so good to hear from you. I am so sorry you were hurt in the church. You show some great wisdom in your comment. I think you’re right, overcoming the hurt, finding a healthy community and being the church together should bring joy and togetherness into your life, not to mention bringing the mission God has given Christians to life. I am praying for you this morning.

      • Heidi Wikström on April 8, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Thank you for your kindness!

  55. Matter Unorganized on December 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Leaving some churches is much, much more complex. I chose to leave mormonism when I realized it was built upon a foundation of lies. Some of my mormon friends and even family want nothing do do with me anymore. I have been and forevermore will be branded an apostate. For churches like mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and other soft cults, THERE IS NO WAY TO LEAVE GRACEFULLY. Even though I have not actively sought to destroy mormonism, even though my personal journey out has been graceful (on my part), I still get grief from members and I am still branded negatively. Sometimes you just have to rip off the band-aid.

    Note: I cannot use my real name for fear of reprisals against me and my family. Not physical reprisal, but socially speaking. Other families no longer let their kids play with my kids, because I have “tainted” my entire family and they don’t want the disease of apostasy to affect their own children. I have no desire to add fuel to the fire.

    • X Mormon Lear on May 22, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Stay strong, you are not alone. I have been facing similar reasons with church mentioned. I have sought out to reconnect with my authentic self. The one genuine Christ loving charismatic, charitable, good will person I was before becoming a cult brainwashed individual back in 1994. Now the healing is taking place for my son and I. Wish I g you each the very best. I agree an exit interview or good chat with leaders its best policy, however, when the church in question its a controlling manipulative organization that causes damage one must flee as a person does away from harms way.

  56. Noel David on November 7, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Can you please clarify this one line for me please. “When you insult the church, you insult Christ. (I don’t say this lightly).” For instance, I (my whole family) have been exploited and abused by the Church authorities (many others also suffer various kinds of injustices at their hands – and some of them leave the church- many suffer in silence) for 30 years and more in spite of being regular church-goers and having served the Church for three decades much more graciously than any believer from the four dioceses we have. I have had to stand up against many an injustice perpetrated upon me and my family (and also upon others) and have dared to accuse them of wrongdoing and being unjust – with NO ONE from among them (Bishop, Priest or devout and prominent members of the church) ever caring to hear our plea or right the many wrongs we faced. We haven’t left the Church but the Church has left us. I would want to know, whether I insulted Christ for the many injustices we faced for so many years at the hands of His “unfaithful” servants/ministers? Should I have kept quiet and suffered in silence and let the “powerful” hired-hands go on with their relentless oppression of the weak and poor?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on November 7, 2015 at 6:03 am

      Noel..thank you for leaving this comment and let me say how terribly sorry I am to hear of your situation and story. To answer your question, NO…I do not believe you insulted Christ. Some people dismiss the church casually or cynically. That’s what I meant. And I was talking about the the capital C church…the Church that Christ sees. His true church. As a human leader of the church, I need to own my mistakes, as do the people who harmed you. Noel, thanks for not giving up on Jesus or his Church. he loves you. I pray you receive deep healing and that the people who wronged you forgive you. If not here, then all will be righted in eternity.

      • Noel David on November 7, 2015 at 6:54 am

        Thank you Carey for your prompt and encouraging reply. Was there an error in the last line of your post or did I not get it right? The people who wronged us forgive me or we forgive those who wronged us? I do forgive them even without their admitting their crimes or asking for forgiveness and I do pray for them. But I do continue to ask them to stop the oppression on my people. And because of this they (priests and believers) hate me like anything. I’d rather say they need to make reparation like Zacchaeus did (if they are for the Lord) for the enormous amount of pain and hardship they caused me and my family due to their heartlessness than expect me to make amends (though I am willing to do that for whatever sins I may have committed against them).

        • Noel David on November 7, 2015 at 7:16 am

          And Dear Carey, I believe that many leave the church(es) mainly because of the heartlessness and bias practiced by the “shepherds” and fellow members. People are hauled up for the smallest of fault. And the church takes ages to forgive them when they make some mistakes (commit sins). The Lord did not punish a SINGLE SINNER and He is quick to forgive. Why our Bishops/Pastors and spouses etc. make so much of fuss at our failures and take ages to forgive – is beyond me…. EVERY CHURCH needs to be a community of people who keep loving constantly, forgiving ceaselessly and caring for the welfare of others in and outside the church without any discrimination. I am sure very few would ever think of leaving the church if they were loved, forgiven and helped without ceasing…. And even if they leave or go astray it should be the avowed mission of every Pastor/Believer worth his/her salt – to go in search of them and bring him/her back… There is nothing to rejoice when people die or leave us – but we have every reason to rejoice when the lost are found and the dead come back to LIFE.

          • Carey Nieuwhof on November 7, 2015 at 7:59 am

            Sorry, you’re right. I meant ask for forgiveness from you. That’s what I meant. It sounds like you are in a particular denomination where being ‘called’ up happens regularly and only happens in one direction. The church is much more diverse than that. I hope you find a great church community to be part of Noel.



  57. […] 5 Ways For a Church Member to Leave a Church Well […]

  58. Bill on October 24, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Great thoughts – I’m struggling with this situation based on your 5th point. People have left our church – kind of. They still bring their kids to youth activities and outings, and some remain in their small group. Our people know they left – get over it and move on – then see them again at an activity or small group, and the conversations among the congregation start all over – “why did they leave?” “what’s wrong with our church?” or “what wrong with our pastor?” How do you encourage people who have decided to leave – to really leave?” And how do I, (as the pastor) deal with those families who I see on our campus picking up their kids, or who are still in our small groups telling everybody how great their new church is?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on October 26, 2015 at 5:14 am

      Bill…thanks for this. Interesting challenge. I don’t know whether you can encourage them to fully leave unless they’re toxic, which it doesn’t sound like they are. But as a leader, I’d try to meet with some of them and figure out the answer to the three questions you asked. It might not resolve their situation but it might give you and the team some clarity and areas to grow in moving forward. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Hard to hear but great to hear if you want to grow.

      • Bill on October 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

        Thanks Carey – I’ll give that a try. Really appreciat your blogs and often share parts of them to my leadership team (encouraging them to subscribe as well) Topics are always relevant and thought provoking! And your new book “Conversations” is super. I’ll be ordering more for my leaders! Thanks for your ministry to the Body of Christ! Blessings!

  59. […] 5 Ways For A Church Member To Leave A Church Well by Carey Nieuwhof […]

  60. Weekend Roundup – October 24 | JLP Pastor on October 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    […] Carey Nieuwhof: Five ways for a church member to quit. […]

  61. Candace on October 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    My family is going thru this right now and it has been very hard! The short version of the story is that we lost respect for some of the leadership, mainly because of the poor job they were doing and the lack of accountability to anyone showed us that things were never going to change. By the way, we were there every time the doors opened, volunteering, teaching and serving. We did the right thing – spoke with the leadership before leaving, but they basically didn’t want to hear what we had to say. Now, we have been labeled the “troublemakers” because we walked out on our church family. My heart is still broken months later, but we can’t go back. My question is should we have stayed under poor leadership just to keep our committments and unity in the body, or were we right in leaving a church going nowhere because of subpar leadership?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on October 22, 2015 at 5:11 am

      Candace, thanks for sharing this and I’m so sorry it was a bad experience. I’ve seen this happen and it’s so sad. I hope you can stay engaged in the local church. Thank you for trying to make it happen. It’s super hard for me to say whether you should have stayed. The only question I have is ‘what slice of the pie do you own’? Was there even 5% where you think ‘We could have done this better?” I’m sure there were are serious issues, but things are rarely 100% the other person. Maybe it’s as simple as saying ‘we could have talked to them earlier’….I don’t know. I just try to always own whatever I can. That’s all.

      • Candace on October 22, 2015 at 8:48 am

        Yes, I feel that there are things I could have done differently in hindsight. There was really no opportunity to own or discuss much because it was not a conversation that the leadership was willing to have. To make my question clearer, from a biblical standpoint is it “wrong” to leave my church because I feel that the leadership is failing (and are unwilling to change)? Some say that church membership should be treated as a covenant and we should not leave. You are very knowledgeable in this area and I was just wondering your opinion. Thanks for your response!

        • Carey Nieuwhof on October 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

          Candace, thanks. Just great to see some ownership. That’s a great signs of healthy. And naturally, the church leaders would have reciprocated as well in a perfect world. I believe you can leave. A pattern shows it’s probably more you than them, but a change once every decade or two isn’t unrealistic or automatically unhealthy. Just seek a church where you can play a great, healthy role!

  62. Joe Robideaux on October 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Great stuff. As leaders, it’s very easy to become offended by the conversations you have with someone who is leaving but it’s great to remember they could have just left without saying a word. It’s always more spiritually mature to sit down and have the tough conversation

    • Carey Nieuwhof on October 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Sure is Joe. Thanks!

      • Gwen on December 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

        When relationships don’t go right in a church family, it is especially painful and damaging. One thing that has helped me when difficult situations in the church rear their ugly head, is to look back at our Exhibit A-Jesus. How did He go about ministering to those who were already believers-His disciples? Even after choosing to follow Him, they still had things to learn. They were sometimes jealous, judgemental, weak in faith, disloyal, etc…a MESS! And so, He warned the believers to be careful about doctrinal differences and the danger of “biting and devouring eachother.” He knew we were going to struggle with those things even as believers. Then I think about how He ministered to the unsaved. He went TO where THEY were. He did not expect them to come to temple to find Him. He went looking for His lost sheep; He taught His followers to be “fishers of men”-to “go, and make disciples.” To meet them where they were. At the same time, He warned them not to use their freedom as a licence to sin. It’s not simple to always know where those boundaries are. How do we know who’s wrong or right? What is a disputable matter and what is essential? How do we maintain unity and growth of the believers but still reach out to the world without being overcome and tempted by it at the same time? I have been asking God these questions. So far, what He has shown me is this: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in the heavenly realms” and that that enemy is known by these names: Destroyer, Accuser and Father of Lies. As long as we are on the earth, we will be involved in spiritual warfare waged through people by the enemy and God. We choose what side we are on. Any good that God is doing in the world is going to be met with resistence by the other side. Sometimes church leadership are not being good shepherds; they get fearful of losing sheep or having their leadership threatened and smother the sheep. Sometimes members of the family bite and devour eachother, including their pastors. When we don’t realize we are being set up by the enemy, we turn on eachother instead of recognizing the true culpret. The saddest part of these situations is that Jesus above all other things wanted us to love eachother after He had to leave us. The enemy turns us against eachother for the sole purpose of hurting Jesus in the most cruel way. How do we fight against this? How do we know what’s right? In the book of John, Jesus said to the Pharisees “You search the scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life, but THEY speak of ME, but you will not come to Me…” Perhaps the problem is not that we aren’t reading our Bibles enough, or that we are doing church wrong, but that we aren’t walking daily with Him individually every day so He can help guide us in these situations. Do we pour out our hearts to Him when these things go wrong? Do we listen for His answer after we ask Him for help? Do we ask Him to intervene before taking things into our own hands? So many times, I have prayed over a situation and without my having to say a word to any human, He Himself steps in and changes hearts and circumstances…sometimes it’s my OWN heart. Or if not the circumstance, He gently brings to mind He suffered misunderstandings Himself with fellow believers, and it could be another way He allows us to understand more fully the emotional pain He was willing to suffer for our sakes. And for some reason knowing that…helps. To know He knows. And that He is the God Who Sees Me when we aren’t treated right, like Hagar when Abraham had a lapse of faith and used her. I hope this helps….

        • Fuller on January 21, 2019 at 4:46 pm

          Gwen, you are correct. In our families, we continue to attend weddings, funerals, etc. However, with the church, we get our feelings hurt, or we believe some idea is essential (that is probably not) or some changes we want don’t occur – etc, so we leave. This should not be! In my younger day’s as a Christian, I did this – but now, as an older Christian, I would NEVER do this again, outside of overt teaching and support for Devil Worship!

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