*
I’ve talked with many civilization who left their churches. Some did it because that valid reasons and made the change wisely and also graciously. Rather were pushed by pride, bitterness, or resentment, however, and also their departures frequently caused significant confusion and pain come others.

You are watching: How to leave a church well

If girlfriend or someone you understand is ever considering together a move, here are seven actions that can help you do this transition in a way that honors God and demonstrates love for others.

1. Make certain You have Valid Reasons

Since the holy bible often defines the church together being a “family,” the right would it is in to remain in one church every one of your life, simply as you would be a part of her birth or adopted family every one of your life. Since we live in a please world, however, life in also the ideal of church will have actually its disappointments and also inevitably call for resolving conflicts, bearing with others’ weaknesses, agree differences, and forgiving others … periodically repeatedly.

There space situations, however, whereby it is proper to consider changing churches. Potential reasons include, yet are not limited to:

Relocation or traffic alters make it difficult to be associated in your church top top Sundays and throughout the week.Significant transforms or differences in foundational theological doctrines, such as the authority or inerrancy of the Bible, the great of Christ, or the centrality and nature that the gospel.A divergence with the mission, vision, ministry concerns or society positions of the church is so far-reaching that you have the right to no longer support the church wholeheartedly.You will have significantly much better opportunities to usage your gifts and also abilities in one more church (e.g., in a cross-cultural, international, or refugees ministry).Despite your ideal efforts, you view minimal evangelism, few people gift saved, and small if any kind of spiritual revolution in yourself, your family, or rather in the church.You have the right to no much longer confidently and comfortably invite others to visit your church.You have seen such far-ranging lapses in the character, judgment, or biblical verity of your church leaders the you have the right to no longer sincerely submit to their spiritual authority in her life.

2. Be Honest about Your own Motives and also Failings

Whenever you feeling inclined to finish a partnership with either a church or another individual, the herbal human propensity is to magnify others’ deficiencies and wrongs if minimizing your own. Therefore, the is wise in such cases to take it a difficult look at exactly how you may have added to the break down in her church relationships (see Matt. 7:1-5).

You can start this process by asking God to search your heart and also reveal any kind of sinful attitudes toward your church leaders or various other members, such together pride, envy, jealousy, a an essential spirit, bitterness, or unforgiveness (Ps. 139:3).

Another useful step is come ask those who are closest to you come candidly suggest out any type of attitudes or actions they watch in you concerning your church that are not honoring come God, loving towards others, or mirroring the patience, kindness, and mercy that Jesus (Prov. 12:15; Ps. 141:5; Eph. 5:1).

The more honestly you face your own sinful attitudes and actions, the more graciously and wisely you’ll be able to engage the people approximately you (Matt. 7:5). This may lead to such innovation in your relationships that you’ll have the ability to stay in your church. If not, you’ll at least be better prepared to communicate humbly and also constructively together you make her transition.

3. Affirm the great in your Church

When people have been disappointed in your church, lock often build a vital attitude that causes them to compile a growing mental list of every flaw in the church while ignoring or minimizing that is virtues (see Prov. 11:27; are You Velcro or Teflon?). One of the ideal ways to respond to this propensity is to practice the peacemaking advice Paul offered to two conflicted ladies in the church in ~ Philippi:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, everything is commendable, if there is any type of excellence, if there is anything worthy that praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and also heard and also seen in me—practice these things, and also the God of peace will be v you” (Phil. 4:8-9).

In part cases, this perspective adjustment will enable you to see the worth of remaining in her church and also continuing to occupational on your differences. Even if the is no the case, this practice will allow you to dear affirm come others how God has worked in and also through the church.

4. Resolve superior Conflicts

One the the most constant reasons world leave a church or to adjust team is unresolved problem with the leader or various other members (Acts 15:36-41). This is especially usual with world inclined come escape from dispute rather than confront it honestly and openly.

Therefore, you need to do whatever in your strength to attend to any unresolved conflicts with other members or leader in her church (Matt. 5:9; 23-24; watch Relational Peacemaking). Others might not respond as you would hope, but if did you do it done all you have the right to to live in ~ peace, you can at the very least depart v a clean conscience (Rom. 12:18).

5. Talk v Your Leaders

As shortly as you start thinking around the opportunity of leaving your church, walk to one or much more of your elders and also share your concerns with them humbly and graciously (1 Pet. 5:5; Rom. 13:7). In plenty of cases, this will allow you to work out misunderstandings, settle offenses, or suggest alters that they may see as helpful for the entire church.

If friend don’t check out sufficient alters to permit you to continue to be in the church, circle back to the elders to let them know when you’ve determined to leave. Be as gracious and also respectful together possible, making every effort not to damage relationships or burn bridges.

6. To speak Goodbye to Friends

If you’ve been in a church for any length the time, did you do it probably created some one-of-a-kind friendships. This friends would certainly be confused and also hurt if you all of sudden disappeared without saying goodbye. Girlfriend wouldn’t want them to do that come you, so don’t carry out it come them (Matt. 7:12). Instead, take the time to allow them recognize that you’re leaving, preferably through a an individual conversation.

If you room leaving due to the fact that of severe concerns around the doctrine direction that the church, it might be proper to re-superstructure those concerns so that others can continue to pray and also discuss them. If you discover it essential to mention such things, avoid judging the mind or engine of rather (James 4:11).

However, if you space leaving for non-doctrinal reasons (see above), stop itemizing those matters and instead be as hopeful as possible, for this reason you perform not lessen others’ commitment come the church. Affirm the good things in the church and indicate that for an individual reasons, you will be feather for one more church wherein you have the right to use your gifts and energy much more effectively to serve the Lord and also his people.

7. Commit come a brand-new Church

However disappointed or hurtful your last church was, nothing let the experience keep you native finding a brand-new church house as soon as possible (Heb. 10:25). God designed united state to flourish in the midst of a near spiritual neighborhood (Acts 2:432-47), so the is vitally important that girlfriend diligently check out other churches in your community until you find one that aligns v your theology and an individual convictions and gives girlfriend ample methods for spiritual growth and also service come others.

Summary

If you very closely work with each that these 7 steps, friend may discover ways to deal with the disappointments you have actually with her church and continue to gain fellowship there. If not, you will do it at least have actually the peace of mind that comes from preventing impulsive actions and treating others in a method that honors God and also demonstrates genuine love and respect.

~ Ken Sande

To view this issue from the view of church leaders, see five Ways to Amaze human being Who Leave her Church.

See more: How To Remove Cloudy Film From Drinking Glasses Sparkle Again

Reflection Questions

Have you ever before thought of leaving a church? Why? If you actually left, execute you have any kind of regrets?Think of people you recognize who have actually left a church wisely and graciously. What go they do that do their departure as hopeful as possible?Think of human being who walk a poor job of leaving a church. What walk they perform that made their leave disturbing or hurtful come others?

Permission come distribute: you re welcome feel complimentary to download, print, or electronically re-publishing this message in its totality for non-commercial purposes, whether through a few friends or together a staff, ministry, or church devotional.