It’s no secret that most people don’t stay at a church for very long. The reasons are many, some good, some bad. But the reality is people leave churches. The question is, How do you know when it’s time to leave your church?
If you are asking that question first check your heart. Why do you want to leave? Many times people aren’t leaving their church for good reasons. Like these: 4 Worst Reasons To Leave Your Church
And while there are bad (and harmful) reasons people leave their church there are reasons you should leave your church. In my years of working in the church, I’ve talked to many people that have been considering leaving their current church. In the majority of cases, it’s a decision that weighs heavily on them. It’s not always easy to discern and figure out when it’s time to find the door.
So what I want to do is give you some guidelines that will help you discern if it’s time to find a new church. Here are the reasons to consider leaving your church.
You Haven’t Found Community (but you’ve tried)
One of the biggest reasons that church is important for Christians is that we have people to do life together with. If you aren’t finding that in your church, it might be time to look for a different church.
But hear me on this, you have to TRY first.
So often I encounter someone complaining about not connecting with the people at their church. But when I dig a little deeper what I typically find is they haven’t even tried. They haven’t attended any community events or tried a small group and often they come late and duck out early for church service. Community is a two-way street. It takes effort on both parts. And you have to do your part.
If you’ve tried to find community at your church, but haven’t then it might be time to leave your church.
The Church Isn’t Doing Anything for People Outside The Church
Churches should have a balance between growing the spiritual depth of those in the church and loving those outside the church. But often that balance is lost and churches become concerned with only what’s happening within their walls.
If your church has become all internal and has no focus on what’s happening outside the walls, it’s time to go. Any church that only focuses on those inevitably becomes sick and dies. The church was never meant to be exclusive, but rather inclusive. That responsibility lies not only on the church but on you as well. Find a place that puts an emphasis on loving people outside the church.
There is Abuse of Power in the Church Leadership
The church is messy. It’s messy because they allow people like you and me in the doors. And the leaders of the church aren’t immune to the mess. Sometimes the leadership of a church gets consumed in their pursuit of power and end up abusing the position God has put them in.
I have heard many heartbreaking stories of spiritual, emotional, and sometimes even physical abuse that have taken place inside churches. If the leadership in your church is making demands, twisting the Gospel to give them power, or is using the Bible to put others down, get out. If there’s even a hint of that in your church, RUN.
You Don’t Agree With the Vision
While the mission of even church is the same, how that mission is played out will look different for each church. And I think that is one of the most beautiful parts of the church. Together we make up the body of Christ. But each individual part plays a different role.
Each church will look and feel different. Each church plays a different role in the overarching mission of the church. And that’s okay, in fact, that’s a good thing. Churches are different. Most of these differences aren’t right or wrong; they are just preference. If you don’t agree with the direction your church is going, that’s fine; go find one you can get behind. That’s the beauty of having so many unique churches; each one will make an impact in a different way. Find a church that has a vision that fits the gifts God has given you.
You Don’t Trust the Church With Your Money
If you cannot trust the church with your money, you shouldn’t give them your time.
Some churches keep their books closed and will not share where the money that comes in goes. That is a red flag. As a member of a church you should know how and where the money is going.
Now, in some areas, you don’t need all the details. For example, salaries are often lumped into one. You can see how much is being given to salaries but not what an individual makes. Which is healthier that way. Having public salaries can cause strife in the church.
Giving to a church is like making an investment. If you shifted your 401k to a new broker and they wouldn’t show you where your money was, you would pull it fast! If you regularly give and attend a church you should know exactly how your money is being used and you should see “returns” on your investment.
If your church isn’t willing to show where the money is going or if you don’t trust the church to use what you give for the benefit of God’s Kingdom it’s time to leave.
Church Politics Have Overtaken the Pursuit of Jesus
Wherever two or more people gather the one thing you can guarantee is there will be issues. Every church has and will continue to have issues. You cannot expect a group of broken, messed up, people to come together and all of a sudden be perfect. Not going to happen. If you want to be a part of a church or any group of people, you will have to have some grace.
However there are some churches where politics have overtaken everything else. If your church is all about the church politics, drama, or he said/she said it might be time to look for a new church.
There’s No Place For You to Use Your Skills/Gifts
Every single person is different and has a unique set of skills. This means that you were created in a way that you can serve and use your skills to benefit those around you. There is a place in which you can use those gifts inside the church. If your church doesn’t have a place or aren’t willing to let you use your skills, you need to find a place where you can use your God-given gifts to benefit those around you.
If one or more of these things rung true for you it might be time to find a new church. But before you make that decision spend some time praying and asking God for wisdom in this decision. This decision should always start with prayer and conversations with trusted friends. Don’t make this decision on a whim or in search of green pastures.
If you do decide to leave your church check out my article on How to Find a Good Church.
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