Exit sign

Right and wrong reasons for leaving your local church

A wise elder once compared a disgruntled churchgoer to a plant that did not grow in his kitchen window. He cared for that plant, watered that plant, faithfully tended the plant, but it always looked tattered and wilted. One day the next-door neighbour offered to take the plant with the hopes that it would do well, and the man, rather reluctantly, offered the plant to the neighbour. After a short time, the neighbour celebrated how well the plant was doing; it was vibrant, green and producing new leaves. I’ve had to submit to this truth of Christian ministry more than a few times, humbling my own pride and recognising that sometimes, although people leave for foolish reasons, they may flourish well elsewhere. That’s ultimately what we want for the sheep anyway. Such a reality, however, does not excuse sinful departures from a local church. Pastors know all too well that with people who come into their church sinfully running from their former church, it’s just a matter of time before the same problems resurface. The heart of the matter has not been dealt with. Further, it may be that a former church has neglected disciplining a member for unrepentant sin. As that member jumps to another local church, often unreconciled and bitter, and as this member celebrates the new church as the next best thing since sliced bread, the new church will soon realise how damaging the former church’s neglect is upon their own congregation. Read the full article by Chris Gordon.