Let me preface this by saying church is good and can be great! I love my church, and the churches we’ve been associated with the last few years. I’m thankful for their influence & love for my family. But this post isn’t about those kind of churches.
I’m all for 1st Corinthians 13 type love, but I’m also all for common sense & not being taken advantage of or led astray by people who are supposed to point you to Jesus. I get a little feisty about it.
Just like there are reasons to stay at a church, there are also legitimate reasons to leave. Yep, here I am – a Christian advocating that you might just need to consider leaving your church, if it has become a toxic, abusive environment. Sometimes you get so entrenched that you can no longer see the dysfunction that is sucking you dry & stunting your growth.
These five reasons are deal-breakers in my book, especially if you’re experiencing more than one of them. Take what good lessons you can with you, but run like hell because there’s way more to Jesus than rules, hoops & hours volunteered.
Five Really Good Reasons To Leave A Church
1. Sinners aren’t welcomed. Of course only ‘sinners’ with ‘obvious sins’ like tattoos, itty bitty mini skirts, or large piercings. Oh sure, just sitting in the back pew might be okay, but they certainly aren’t volunteer material according to your church doctrine! What would the well-dressed, well-mannered givers of the church think, bless their hearts! How many tender-hearted, talented, beautiful people have been rejected by our churches simply because they didn’t look the part? God forgive us.
2. Your pastor somehow weaves the law of submission into nearly every message he preaches. You submitting to his authority of course. You know what? Real leaders are far more interested in demonstrating love and being a follower of Christ than they are on whether or not the ‘sheep’ are obeying them.
3. You feel you have to be there every time the doors are open. Oh sure maybe at first you WANTED to be there, but then you kept getting asked to do more and more and more… and you have found yourself burnt out and taken advantage of. “Does this church actually care about me or do they just want me because I do whatever they ask?”
4. You just never quite measure up to expectations. This is spiritual manipulation at its best. If you dare to ask questions or speak out, you are quickly held at a distance, labeled disobedient, difficult, or the worst… a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Suddenly an urgent prayer meeting is called… and you’re not invited.
5. Your church isn’t present in the surrounding community. Outreach? What outreach? A church can get so focused on building their own little kingdom within their big, beautiful church they forget God’s kingdom is also outside the church walls… the hurting, the broken, the hungry, the lonely – many would never step foot in a church (perhaps for the reasons above). We as a church must go to them, show that we are no better, we’re all sinners saved by grace & we’re put on earth to love each other. That’s why I love our church now; they actually regularly cancel Sunday morning service to go serve people in the community. Its brilliant and Jesus is all over it!
Okay, there’s actually six reasons.
6. If it sounds like a cult… talks like a cult… walks like a cult… 🙂
Lest this post become an excuse for you to throw baby Jesus out with the holy water, check out Relevant’s post “5 Really Bad Reasons To Leave Your Church” Remember, there is no perfect church!!!! Give grace, give room for growth, pray for your pastor, get to know other families. Church should be a locker room experience, a launching pad if you will, to prepare you for the big game of life with all its victories & defeats. Let yourself be refined & conditioned, but when you find yourself shamed & abused in the locker room, its time to consider joining another team.