5 Really Good Reasons to Leave A Church

July 2, 2014 — 7 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.06.09 PMLet 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.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.43.15 PM5. 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.

Shine On!

Danielle

daniellebrower

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...daughter of the King, wife and mother ~ danielle believes all christians are missionaries; we're called to love Jesus and share that love through active compassion that brings tangible & eternal change in the lives of those we touch. no one should live more proactive, more giving, more sacrificial lives than those that claim to know Christ. time to remove the blinders & excuses and let the love of Christ flow through us.

7 responses to 5 Really Good Reasons to Leave A Church

  1. I’m totally on #5 my wife and I try to find churches that work in the community or at least acknowledge there is a problem with our community and our church if we stay silent about the suffering and turn our heads its to the point where my wife and I try to do our own thing don’t get me wrong there are churches that are doing things feeding the homeless giving them clothes or doing street ministry giving these people everything except for the great hope I prayed I tried im over it I understand there is no such thing as a perfect church but let’s all be goid with our money myself included we all waste so much it could save or make an impact on a life you know bless them Im not pointing no fingers because we are all fallen and need grace but just asking people to acknowledge is all

  2. Keeler Bryson July 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I enjoyed your article! It speaks truth to matters many churches are reluctant to admit are reasons to leave a church. Many will be set free by reading this article.

  3. I didn’t seem to ‘fit’ the mold in my former church. Asked too many questions. Spoke up about things I observed and/or were involved with that just didn’t sit well in my heart and soul. Couldn’t get the hang of speaking all the Christian-ese lingo. Didn’t dress nor look the part. My husband doesn’t share my faith, so I was one of those so delightfully deemed by others as ‘spiritually single.’

    While change is unavoidable and should be embraced, I watched as so much changed in my former church, it became almost unrecognizable. More like a corporation than a church family; sermons were more like motivational conferences, and Sunday worship was like a concert, complete with folks waving glow sticks and cell phones in the air.

    And sometimes, it was like a circus. I walked in one morning to find about 20 people running through the halls and the worship center, dressed as clowns, honking Harpo Marx-like horns. Some were teens, but most were adults. One was one of the pastors. Less than a week later, I came across this quote from Charles Spurgeon:

    “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.”

    Right then, I knew I couldn’t stay much longer, if this was the direction the church was going. Performance driven.

    I was also horrified to learn that sermons were being bought on-line, which I understand many churches do now. You just fill in the personal analogies and humorous stories, like spiritual Mad Libs. Guess I’m old-fashioned.

    People and ministries began to fall through the cracks like flour through a sifter. Everything became so impersonal. And favoritism was running rampant. If you weren’t among those in the church royal families or the ‘A-Teamers,’ you were left behind.

    I’d cringe while reading our weekly email newsletters that would often contain this lovely little statement about some big announcement being made or something unexpected or awesome happening that Sunday, and if we didn’t come to church to find out what it was, we’d ‘miss out’ on what ‘everybody’ would surely be talking about on Monday morning. Really? Is THAT supposed to motivate someone to come to church? God’s began to be mentioned less and less. More and more, it became all about ‘The Experience.’ Again, performance driven.

    I do have to say, my former church did do a lot of things ‘right.’ One being their HUGE community outreaches, as well as short-term and long-term missions trips.

    I hung in there by the skin of my teeth for the last 7 of the 14 years I was a member, and then I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    Since I left, I found out who my real friends really were. People I knew for years rarely speak to or reach out to me via social media, or just totally avoid me now, as if I’m a heathen. Because I left ‘the church’ (meaning that particular congregation and building), it seems that folks believe I left ‘the Church’ (meaning the body of Christ).

    After close to a year of searching, I settled on a smaller, but vibrant, community loving and serving church across the river from my hometown. It’s a Methodist church, but I don’t pick and choose a church because of their denomination
    .
    It’s both sad and hilarious to see the reactions from some of my so-called friends who still speak to me when I tell them the name of my church (my former was a Baptist church, but changed their name and removed the ‘Baptist’, because leadership said it had a poor stigma and turned new people off. Now they tout themselves as non-denominational, which is fine). It’s as if I’ve gone over to the Dark Side. Whatever

    Your article was well-written, humorous and spot on. I could totally relate to #s 3 & 4.

    Thanks for being real, Danielle.

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