On Sunday our Youth Pastor, Aaron Hixson, talked about 1 Corinthians 4 and Church unity. I posted this blog in September 2013 and Aaron's sermon reminded me of it - so I thought it was worth reading again. The reality is - a very small percentage of people never leave a church. You will likely leave your church. You will move (perhaps) or for some other painful reason, you may leave. Here are some thoughts to play ahead.
Before You Leave Your Church... and How to Leave It
People regularly come to Northridge from other churches and people leave Northridge for other churches. I don't always think that those are necessarily bad. "Old school" thinking is that you should never leave a church except for doctrinal error. I don't believe that. Maybe sometime I will write about when you should, can, shouldn't, and can't leave a church...
For now - here is some wisdom from Mark Dever. He offers considerations for before you decide to leave a church and what to do if you decide that you must leave.
Before You Decide to Leave
- Let your current pastor (or one of the pastors) know about your thinking before you move to another church. Ask for his counsel.
- Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?
- Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships before you finally decide to go.
- Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life—places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3-5).
- Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).
If You Go
- Don’t divide the body.
- Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in that church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred to as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).
- Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.
- If there has been hurt, then forgive—even as you have been forgiven.