Good and Bad Reasons for Leaving a Church

In a new church like Second Mile, we’ve definitely had our share of Christians who join with our ministry as they are coming out of an existing church. Whenever possible, I have tried to encourage these people to leave well. Some have left for good reasons, some for less good reasons.

Additionally, we’ve had a number of people decide to leave Second Mile for a variety of reasons. In reality, many of us will eventually move on to another church or city. Life is just too fluid for most people to expect everyone to stay in one place for their whole life.

Few people, however, really think through the implications of their leaving their church — often resulting in pretty flimsy reasons they leave. Into this predicament, Jason Helopoulos has written a very helpful post on reasons to leave a church.

He gives four good reasons to leave, three possible reasons to leave, and eight insufficient reasons to leave.

Click here to read the article.

What do you think? What parts do you agree or disagree with?

  1. #1 by Chris on July 29, 2010 - 2:31 pm

    hmmm…perhaps reason # 4 would include “leadership ineptitude”? Not to think highly of oneself, what seemed missing from his list was “lack of decisively engaged biblical leadership”. Far different than “the pastor can’t shuck corn” (see #8 on bad reasons), when shepherding is not intentionally directed to a current flock something seems to go lacking. Rather than the “church has changed” poor reason, what of the “church won’t change”?

  2. #2 by Luke Simmons on July 29, 2010 - 4:26 pm

    Chris, I think that’s a very interesting point and probably valid in many cases. If the leadership is so powerfully inept that it overwhelmed any attempts made by a member to positively influence change, that might be a good reason to leave. That said, many members often make assumptions or draw conclusions about leadership that are poorly informed. It’s one that I’d want to work through and discern with wise counsel.

    The other question your comment makes me ask is, “Okay, so loss of Purity is a good reason to go. Are there losses of purity besides doctrinal purity that would qualify?” For instance, if a church’s culture was so powerfully inward or so philosophically irrelevant would that be an instance of loss of purity? What do you think?

    • #3 by Chris on July 29, 2010 - 6:13 pm

      I think!

      Actually, that might be the dealie-o if one is trying to stay with in the 4-3-8 metric on Jason’s rationale. That said, it does probably come perilously close to the “irreconcilable differences” cited in divorce proceedings.

      From my personal experience, if that leadership is engaged by the observer…and repeatedly so over a significant period of time…so as to eliminate any assumptions or poorly informed conclusions – then yeah, you maybe talkin’ a “purity” issue.
      In that vein, it becomes an integrity issue – stated values not being actual values (got some good notes on that from Malphurs book “Values-Driven Leadership”, page 52 in particular). People begin to question your integrity if what you’re saying isn’t matching up to what you’re doing.

    • #4 by Chris on July 29, 2010 - 6:14 pm

      BTW – nice combo of ideas – “so powerfully inept” :-)

  3. #5 by Matthew on August 9, 2010 - 12:33 pm

    I just saw this post – and found the referenced article quite interesting. Personally I think that attempts to build a comprehensive list of allowable reasons to leave a church is misguided; there are so many wisdom issues and heart deep-dives necessary in any particular case that a list inevitably looks legalistic, rigid, or self-serving on the part of church leadership (who pull out such lists when trying to get people to stay). However, I think the issues of what a covenent to a church involves, what it means to be committed in love to our fellow believers, and what Christ’s call to serve rather than be served looks like in a church context are all good ones that we don’t think about often enough.

    I think that “Raja” in the referenced article’s comments makes a good point when he says:

    “Well, what you need as a Christian is fellowship, service, and faithful love. If you’re not receiving that in your church, move on. This nonsense about how church is “not about me” is hypocritical. If you didn’t get anything out of being a part of the church you’re in, you wouldn’t be there. ”

    On the other hand, there have been many Christians through history who have been committed to reform in their churches and denominations and have led change for God’s glory, and that wouldn’t have happened if they had just bailed…

  4. #6 by Luke Simmons on August 9, 2010 - 1:46 pm

    Hey Matthew, you’re probably right about any list like this being misguided. I’ve already considered a couple of scenarios that don’t really fit on the list but are probably just fine reasons to leave. I do think it’s helpful to get people to think about the reasons why they would or wouldn’t leave a church. The helpful thing about his post is that he takes many of the things that many people take for granted as good reasons and challenges them.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  5. #7 by Tasha Loudon on January 1, 2011 - 6:25 pm

    Guys, I would love some advice on leaving a church. I have been at my church for a year and a half and want to make sure my reasons for leaving are good, and hoping I’m not just being skeptical or divisive. It is a non-denominational church that came out of a Calvary/ Horizon type church. Basicly, over the last year I have been listening to a lot of reformed theology on radio, and really love it. But then I hear things at my church that sit wrong with me. Like your financial situation being related to your faithfulness, or drinking and dating talked about like some “great evil”, and little things creep up like this in the sermons and I find myself sitting in the pews thinking: “that doesn’t line up with scripture” and I find myself disagreeing with a lot in the sermon- instead of sitting with an open heart and mind, I feel judgmental, and I don’t like it. I don’t know enough about doctrine to know if it’s heresy, or if I’m turning molehills into mountains- but I desire to find a reformed church in my area. Is this a valid reason to leave?
    Thanks, T.

  6. #8 by Luke Simmons on January 5, 2011 - 7:07 am

    Tasha, thanks for commenting and for your question. You have probably rightly identified your need to guard against being overly judgmental and to grow to the place where you can discern heresy and just out-of-balance emphasis on a particular teaching. That said, my concern for you in this church would be about the centrality of the gospel. If side-issues tend to get more focus than the gospel of Jesus being both the way to get saved and the way to grow, then it seems appropriate to look elsewhere.

    I love the doctrines of grace and think that a reformed view of salvation gets closer to the heart of the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, I would encourage you to find a church that is more in line with your growing convictions about reformed theology. Just be sure to do it without being divisive in your current church, as one of the things the Lord “hates” is “one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov 6:19).

    Where do you live? I’d love to try to give some recommendations. A few places to consider looking would be the Acts29 Network and the Gospel Coalition.

  7. #9 by Mike on March 11, 2011 - 6:44 am

    Perhaps this would fall under the Special Gifts reason. I am 60 years old and felt the Lord moving me from the full time ministry after 30 years of pastoring churches. When we moved to our present church I had a long talk with the pastor so he would know where I was coming from and that I wanted to serve the Lord and support him in his ministry. He said that would be wonderful and that he needed my help and that I would be used. In the years we have been attending the church has grown, but neither my wife or I have really been used in any way. We have volunteered for anything and most everything (one man calls on me to substitute in his Bible Study class on the rare occasions he is out of town).

    I met with the pastor yesterday to talk about the fact that my wife and I are still waiting to be used and to see if there was anything we could do for him since the church was growing and more demands were being put on him. I was not asking to be put on staff, or even be given a leadership roll. I was just asking if there was any place my wife and I might serve in an active manner. His answer was that we were too old. He is growing a younger church and needs younger leaders. His suggestion was that if I really wanted to be used of God I should find one of the small country churches of mostly older people who were having a hard time finding a pastor to love them and minister to them until they die.

    God did not call me to be an undertaker. My primary focus has always been discipleship. I am open to serving where ever my Lord leads. Even at 60 I am not ready to be told I should be put out to pasture to die in peace with the other old, useless nags, and to get out of the way of the young colts.

    Since that is the pastor’s attitude I will never be used in that church and do not feel that God is ready for me to just sit in a pew until I die.

    Is that not reason to leave, or have I missed something?

    • #10 by Luke Simmons on March 11, 2011 - 12:43 pm

      Mike, it seems that you have a valid reason to leave if that is how the Lord is directing you. At 60 you have many fruitful years of labor ahead of you (Lord wiling) and I would hope you could find a good place to use those gifts. Probably important next time around to find a church that not only fits doctrinally but philosophically. Blessings to you in this next season. -Luke

    • #11 by JA on April 20, 2017 - 12:26 pm

      You dear man…even in your comments you’re being so gracious. I pray that you and your wife would venture out and find a place where your gifts and talents can be used. You have a wealth of wisdom to share at your age – very ashamed that a pastor would not be smart enough to understand what older people in the congregation can offer. That old devil…no new tricks up his sleeve. My best to you both!

  8. #12 by Tim on March 11, 2011 - 10:34 am

    I have found this article and this discussion helpful, the funny thing about it I just told my wife that I was thinking about adding to our partnership/membership class a section on how to leave the church right. As far as it being legalistic that would not be my intent but the intention would be to help people leave right. I wished that all would stay as I am a church planter. But the reality has been some come for a reason a season and a lifetime I thank God for them all. But there is a right way to leave a ministry to bring closer to not just the person leaving but the church there leaving. just saying after one has just quit coming it leaves a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of not just the Pastor and leadership but the church family as well.
    And Mike I don’t know where you live but I would love to have you contact me. We are a church plant in Noblesville In.

    • #13 by Luke Simmons on March 11, 2011 - 12:46 pm

      Tim, thanks for stopping by. I think you’re right. Most people never learn how to leave a church and, as a result, leave poorly. I wrote a post on this as well: How to Leave a Church. It was inspired by a guy who left our church well. Hope it helps. -Luke

  9. #14 by Cherry on January 3, 2012 - 11:06 am

    My Husband & I have decided to leave our church for another one. We love our church, pastor & family there and hate to make this decision. I dont even know how to approach my leaders about it without hurting them. The reason for our decision is that my husband was diagnosed in the 1st year of our marriage with schizo-affective disorder. This has greatly taken a toll on us as a family. We have reached out for help in many ways but it has been a struggle for us financially. We have a wonderful church in the area that have christian professionals who specializes in mental disorders & offer help to its members for free! We have talked to our pastor about our situation with my husband & he prayed over us but in reality this is something requires so much more than that. I have felt very lonely & feel like Im fighting for my husband’s health & our marriage alone & many many times felt like giving up on God, my husband, our marriage. But even so, i still doubt my decision for leaving & it saddens me.

  10. #15 by Fran on April 17, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    Excellent analysis you’ve got here honda looks just like the next big thing. I”m about Fran these days.

  11. #16 by Simmo on May 7, 2013 - 2:02 am

    Hi Cherry I don’t know if you’ll see this but I think you have a very good and valid reason for seeking support in another church. Bless you guys.

  12. #17 by Chris on July 15, 2013 - 11:44 am

    Need advice: My family has been attending a church for 7 years. We have seen it through many divides. At its lowest point it reverted to a house church. It has since grown again and changed again. I am okay with that. However, the church it merged with has some individuals (including leadership) that has caused great wounds for my family. My spouse and I are continually told in underhanded ways how to treat each other as well as our children. We have several special needs children as does many of the families in our church. Because they have special needs they think they can tell us how to treat our special needs. We have confronted in love our feelings. The response was to remove us from our positions in the church and continue telling us how to run the inner workings of our home. In an attempt to listen to God we did some serious searching, praying, and discussion on our inner workings. They line up with God, but not the doctrine of the current church. I do not want my hurt feelings to be the reason to cause an issue with my brothers and sisters but I also don’t want grow embittered to them. Would these be okay reasons to leave a church, or should we stay and try to maintain our home in spite of the conflict being forced upon us at every turn?

    • #18 by Luke on July 15, 2013 - 5:21 pm

      Hi Chris, I’m sorry you’re going through this and appreciate you coming here and asking. This church sounds abusive and manipulative. Sounds like you should leave, though this won’t be easy.

    • #19 by AB on October 15, 2013 - 8:29 am

      I wish I had an answer for you. I am a very similar situation. I was removed from my position, and my “beliefs” are not questioned often. I am generally a faithful tither, although my husband is a non-believer and it causes strife. We have some MAJOR unexpected financial issues and I missed a payment. I have been called some ugly names. In a huff, I said i was leaving. AFter a lot of sleepness nights, I emailed the pastor and calmly expressed my concerns with the direction of the church and how my family had been treated, and he basically told me all the issues in the church right now are my fault. I am heartbroken and unsure of what to do.

  13. #20 by Karen on October 9, 2013 - 8:04 am

    I have been attending a church for 5 plus years with my family. I serve in a number of areas, one of which is a leadership position. It is one of the protestant denominations. I didn’t research this denomination, because as long as they preach the Word, i’m okay and not hung up on denominations. However, over the past couple years there have been sermons and comments from the pastors that don’t sit well with me. For example, when I speak up for the unborn and marriage and ask if we can reach out to those who have had abortions or are recovering from and/or struggling with same sex attraction, I was told that not everyone would agree with me. If those issues have been placed on my heart, then I need to go out and deal with that on my own. However, they did say the church should provide resources to help me (meaning, the church should have a library of websites and/or contacts that I can link up with). For some reason, I recently investigated the denomination’s official stance on abortion, and found out it is pro choice. I also found out the church’s official stance on creation is that they believe in Evolution and are against the teaching of Intelligent Design and Creationism in the public schools. While I can sit in the pews with people who do not agree with me, I cannot sit under the leadership of a denomination who does not believe in the sanctity of life; first and foremost. Does this qualify as a reason to leave?

  14. #21 by Silver on October 29, 2013 - 9:59 pm

    I would like some advice. I have been attending a church for the last 10 years, a small church of 100 people. In the last few years I have noticed small changes in the pastor. Recently in a meeting with him he made excuses for everything. He was asked why he didn’t contact people who had not been at church and his response was, he prefers face to face conversations. When questioned why the church no longer has prayer times with the whole congregation, he said, he didnt organize them that some one else would do that. When asked why he wouldn’t attend the midweek worship and scripture reading service he said, “I thought it was just a time of singing”! Recently he lied to the elder board and it came to light. People are sick and he doesn’t visit them unless asked to do so. I sit in the pew every Sunday and listen to a pastor who isn’t practicing what he preaches. I would like to stay but I don’t think I can….are my reasons valid? I am praying and asking God for direction for the last 3 years..things aren’t getting better. It feels worse.

    • #22 by Luke Simmons on November 8, 2013 - 9:36 am

      Thanks for your question, Silver. It’s so hard to answer without understanding more details, and I’m sorry that the church is currently in a tough spot.

      Have you talked with the pastor about these concerns? Or to the elders? If not, that would be wise. You should not be talking to others about these concerns as they have no power to change anything and it only creates division and discontent.

      To some degree, it sounds like a burned out pastor of a small church who may not have as much support as needed. A pastor is not to be the only one doing follow-up, organizing prayer, or visiting the sick.

      Also, if you’ve been there for 10 years, consider the challenge of pulling up those deep roots. It will be immensely painful and may take a long time to develop the same kind of community elsewhere.

      Finally, it’s clear that you’ve lost significant trust in the pastor. Lost trust is hard to rebuild, but it can be rebuilt. But only by going through proper channels of people with real information and real influence. If you stand on the sidelines and hope your trust grows, it likely will not. But if you talk with the pastor or elders and work hard to follow their lead, trust may be reestablished.

  15. #23 by Chris on November 25, 2013 - 1:16 am

    I have belonged to a church for 10+ years. I am an elder, and have served/led in a variety of areas. Over the past 1-2years it seems our church as lost its sense of direction, and the feeling is that of going through the motions. Many meetings and conversations have been had with the pastor. He continues to be bi-vocational by choice (he is paid full time by the church $80K+). Some of the issues are around his lack of engagement with folks. (He would prefer to only preach). Recently our attendance has dropped 10-20% (during the last few months no concern has been raised about this by him) During the most recent conversation, where my wife and I expressed our concerns about our current situation and direction of our church. The response was that of apathy and indifference. The church is approx 15 years old, and he is the founding pastor. While we have been praying and considering leaving over the past year, discerning His will has been difficult. We love our church and want what is best and also to maintain unity and not be divisive. Thoughts?

  16. #24 by Russell on November 25, 2013 - 11:00 am

    Hello Everyone. I appreciate the discussion and had a question that I need insight on. I attend a church that was founded by my grandpa about 40 years ago. My dad is now the pastor and has been for about 20 years. He is actually my grandpa’s son-in-law. I have always attended this church except for my college years when I lived out of state. Most of my family attends the church as well. This would include: Sister, Parents, 3 Uncles, 3 Aunts, 2 first cousins who are married with 4 kids, both of my grandpas and my only living grandma. I also work for the church. I am not in a leadership role, but service the ministries websites.

    About 2 years ago I believed that the Lord was leading me and my family to leave the church. I approached my dad and he told me that “God would not lead anyone to leave a church to go down the street to another one.” So my family and I stayed. Since that time it seems we have moved from one conflict to the next. I have been a Christian for over 20 years and been involved in the church for that same amount of time and never have I had so much conflict. There have been multiple issues with gossip. The last incident has left my wife completely crushed in which a family member spoke something condescending to her in public. I confronted the family member and there was an apology.

    Even after the apology I was unsettled. I have prayed about this church and my wife and I have spent a couple nights contemplating the Lords will. Once again we believe that the Lord is moving up from the church. I then tested him with a sophomoric prayer that if he provides a new job for me then I will leave. I prayed that half-joking and two days later was called for an interview to a job that pays a little more.

    I have three questions:

    1.) Has the Lord ever personally moved any of you from your home church to another church in your local community?

    2.) Has anyone ever had to leave a church where so much family attended?

    3.) What is some advice on leaving the church as peacefully as possible?

    • #25 by Al on April 7, 2016 - 11:31 am

      1) Yes
      2) Yes
      3) Yes

      It was the hardest thing for me to do, but it was the best thing for me. Sometimes family will not really respect you until they really see how much that you have to offer, and how loyal that you have been to them. My father was my pastor. he was so upset when the Lord led me to leave. He was visibly angry with me for months and kept telling me that I did not hear from the Lord to leave. Through prayer, and a willingness to not argue with him, he has come around. He is more willing to talk to me about what is going on in the church that I am in now, and give me insight on how to work as a minister. He respects me as a colleague, a strong fellow Christian, as opposed to just his son, who should just do what he says.

  17. #26 by Amy on December 21, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    I have been attending a church for the last 8 years – which started out as a church plant. Currently, I am the only person left (including the pastor) that is left from day one. My situation is this. My husband of 2+ years left me 6 weeks ago. An elder has been preaching for the last 18 months or so. The church is still struggling to find a pastor and we’ve lost a lot of people. We probably only have 35-40 people left which makes it very difficult for me to even think about a new relationship when there is no one at the church. Is it wrong to feel like it’s time to move on to meet more people? My children, as young adults, have no other people in the church their age either. I don’t want to lose my friendships from my church family, but am needing more.

    • #27 by Luke Simmons on December 22, 2013 - 6:51 am

      Amy, I’m so sorry for your recent loss. There may be a time when it would be wise to move on, but I would say that, for now, you would be wise to stay in this church during this difficult season. Trying to find a new community in the midst of experiencing this pain would be quite difficult. Right now you really need that church family and they need the opportunity to care for you.

  18. #28 by Takean on August 17, 2014 - 1:31 pm

    So im in a pickle…and have been for over a year now. And im honestly not sure what to do. My family and I have attended our church for over 13 years. We are involved with many aspects of it…such as video…small groups…youth..etc. One of the things that attracted us to the church was that it was much like a family…and it was great. We were very passionate about it for years and stood shoulder to shoulder with others as it aged. But since last year my wife and I have been fighting this feeling that it just isnt home anymore. Let me clarify.

    I know that all churches go through ups and downs…and being close to leaders and even the pastor can be great some days and a trial others. People are people…and we all arent perfect. But last year my wife and I witnessed something from another church that really ignited our passion for ministry. Bringing it back though was a different story. At first I thought “well…its something new we are excited about…and that isnt for everyone”. But as time moved on…I began to see things a little differently. Our church doesnt involve itself in the community much. We dont keep up with each other and their needs…and the leaders of anything are left on their own in left field.

    I feel there isnt any unity…and I honestly cant tell you what our vision is. Im a leader and I dont know. Communicating it with our pastor…whom we used to be really close to is usually a hit or miss with getting any sort of response.

    I went through a stage where I felt that im missing encouragement…so I know others are as well…so I sought to encourage others in other ways. It didnt encourage some…even interaction with some…but it didnt seem to help spur on the main issue of having no unity and vision.

    We are at a point where we have been praying about what to do…where to go. One of the men that I meet with has been having the same problem. He started a community giving project…sort of like a clothes closet that was doing great…until the church moved it to another town because of finding a cheaper storage alternative. It now sits there unused and helping no one…and forgotten.

    I have mentioned before to the pastor we need unity. Lets round up the leaders and unify them so that they in turn can lead others…and “mimic” your message…you passion of Christ to those under them. Nothing.

    I just dont know what to do now…and I feel that im stuck doing something for the sake of doing something…and having only a few near us that want more than what there is. I cant pull myself to bring people to our church because I dont know why…for what reason anymore. I feel like there is more…and dont know where to step first.

  19. #29 by Jeanette on November 27, 2014 - 6:59 am

    I find myself in a predicament. I joined a ministry a few years ago and God has built me, healed me and prospered me beyond any expectation through this ministry. My Pastor warned me a few months ago that I must beware of seeds of manipulation in my heart.

    I humble myself in my service, I always put the needs of others above that of my own and seek to serve God. A new anointed authority joined our ministry this year and I have accepted and humbled myself since the day the person joined. I fell victim to manipulated words by other members and when i remembered the warning I repented before God and asked for any seeds, feelings or words of manipulation, towards this authority, to be removed from my heart.

    However at a ministry event, as director, where I prepared myself for challenging situations the person in authority numerously rose up against me, verbal and physical. I remained focussed on doing the work of God but I sensed immense resistance from this person. Even when partners asked what is the matter I chose my words wisely to say the person is concerned and was advising me on situations. My main focus was to keep everyone encouraged to continue with the work.

    Now I find myself in a position where I was rebuked for not acting righteously by my Pastor. I do not want to fight, nor be right and see that revenge is mine – no. I feel like Hannah, like David with Saul, only willing to serve and do good but persecuted.

    I would therefore choose, if I have to leave, to say my “Peace of the church is in jeopardy due to my presence” but how do I convey the choice without opening up a “closed wound”?

    I appreciate this discussion and article that opened up my thinking cap.

  20. #30 by Meredith on September 24, 2015 - 10:11 am

    My husband and I are elders in a charismatic church, having attended there for 25+ years, elders for 10 years or so. We are in agreement about leaving the church, basically because the pastor is not accountable to anyone. Financially the church lives week to week without a budget and upwards of $500,000 yearly in salaries and auto allowances. Nothing is made “public” to the church members, as in a budget overview or financial accountability.
    We feel very uncomfortable with the lack of transparency and leadership. And equally uncomfortable bringing this subject up face to face with a pastor who has a short fuse. Not really sure if there is an answer to this, but appreciate any advice.

  21. #31 by Luke Simmons on September 24, 2015 - 1:55 pm

    Meredith, I think you definitely won’t be able to stay as trust is obviously broken. However, I think that as elders you have an obligation to bring the subject up to the pastor. To fail to do so is, I think, failing to protect and lead the church out of fear of your personal discomfort. I can imagine how hard that would be, but I think it’s necessary.

    • #32 by Maria on June 2, 2017 - 6:14 pm

      I have had a similar experience in regards to the lack of transparency on financial matters at the church I have been attending for the last 3 years. I recently took on a volunteer role as the church treasurer as I am an accountant and have been privy to financial information that leaves me ethically challenged. I have decided to step down from this role as I cannot continue to support such practices. In all of this what saddens me the most is that I see the church being used to further personal financial gain; to gain extra curricular (paid) speaking engagements and to further one’s own Christian profile. Pastors are shepherds and should worry about shepherding God’s flock, teaching His Word biblically and ensuring good stewardship in regards to His blessings. Being a shepherd is not a career it’s a deep calling that requires high accountability towards God.

  22. #33 by Fezzy on October 12, 2015 - 6:59 am

    I have joined this particular church towards end of March 2015. The first day I met the pastor he gave me prophecy about my life. One of the things he told me that God is saying I will be his 5th wife. I was shocked but the man of God explained until I was convinced. Few months later myself and my friend invited colleagues to the church off which they were excited and ended up joining the church. Myself and the pastor has been communicating and discussing about the marriage but I told him it was still early for me as I am new at the church but time will tell then eventually we can get married and he agreed. To my surprise the pastor announced that he is having a 5th wife and the lady that she introduced is the person that was invited by myself and my friend. Luckily when this happened I was not at church that day. No one new about my relationship and the pastor except my friend. After that I never went to church again and we never communicated.

    My reason to live the church was that the pastor has played with my feelings and he lied to me so I thought I will not be able to listen and focus on his teachings again. Please advise am I wrong by quitting the church without telling anyone why I left? I receive several calls from the church members asking my whereabouts except from him and I just said I had personal problems but will come when I have sorted my problems. What do I do in this situation?

    I love God and I will worship him until the end. At the moment I am very hurt and dont know what to do when its time to go to church as I don’t have any church. Do I have to tell anyone why I left? Will that not cause conflict or doubts from other members as the pastor is the founder of the church and biggest among st them all?

    • #34 by Luke Simmons on October 12, 2015 - 7:42 am

      Fezzy, 5th wife as in polygamy or 5th wife as in divorces/deaths/remarriages? This sounds insane no matter how you slice it. Run away as fast as you can. Go to a church where people teach the Bible and don’t give crazy prophecies like this. And I would tell whoever the pastor is accountable to about his manipulation (probably nobody since wolves like this typically set it up for themselves to be king of the little kingdom).

  23. #35 by Darren on October 25, 2015 - 7:32 am

    What if I don’t learn anything from the sermons in the church? And not growing spiritually? Is that a valid reason to leave?

  24. #36 by Percy lane on December 15, 2015 - 11:04 am

    I am at wits end & having bed praying about this. Our church is smsll, our pastor & deacon are wonderful, give very good messages.
    we usually have a rotation of mid-week prayers mtgs.. the last mtg in September was at our house and only the pastor showed up, so we did our Bible study, ate dinner (the hosts provide dinner/potluck), and as the pastor was leaving he said something like “let me…..” & I felt he tried to kiss me on my lips but I turned my head away from him & he planted the kiss on my cheek closer to my ear & I think I said something like “finally or something” in my native language . I was shaking when he left & I just cried, felt dirty, didn’t call my husband until 3 days later & called our former pastor of what I should do.
    I miss the congregation, the ministry, the messages & it’s taught in our own native language but I been reading the Bible each day. I feel like I need “meat” & “becoming thirsty” for God’s word. & want to go back to the same church. It’s the only one very close to where we live, others are long distances, we live in rural community.
    Please give me some guidance of what I should do & asking for prayers.

  25. #37 by Catherine Rogers on March 6, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    I have attended the same church for about 30 years, except for two years in college, when I chose to go to another church. I brought my husband into it when he married me. For the last 11 years I have struggled with some of the teachings of the church. Over these years, the teaching has changed and my struggle has increased. The church is very, very small, made of the pastor and most of his children and their families, and my father and mother and most of their children and families. Other people have come and gone. I am seriously considering leaving and looking for another church, as I feel great anxiety over what is taught and fear that my children’s lives will be increasingly difficult as they grow older. For one thing, they will not be allowed to marry anyone who does not whole-heartedly believe what is taught, and clearly there is no one in the church now that are even possible prospects. I can say with utter conviction that there is not another church in this world that teaches what my pastor teaches. Though his teaching is centered on the gospel and to a great extent really wonderful, there are a few foundational ideas that I cannot agree with at all. For example, he believes that only himself and those who believe his teaching will go in the Rapture, which is imminent. I would not say it was a cult, but there are some cult-like behaviors evident. If I leave, I will be at odds with my entire family, and my children (particularly my eight-year-old) will have some very difficult situations to face. The worst of it is, my husband is sold out to the teaching of the church and will not leave with me. Do you have any advice?

    • #38 by JA on April 20, 2017 - 3:04 pm

      Oh my…I would run (not walk) to the nearest exit and take your children with you. I was in a “not so cult like” church like this, where the pastor taught if we left under his covering, we would be walking away from Christ. So sick…it took me YEARS to get out. By the grace of God my children were small, so didn’t get the full taste of control that we lived under for 7 years. In your case, with your husband’s eyes not open yet – you can do this in love…and make an extra effort to assure your husband how much you love him, although not being able to go to church with him. You already know in your spirit something is incredibly wrong – it takes courage to act on it, but you can take this step knowing your children won’t have to serve Christ in bondage like this. Ezekiel 34:1-16 comforted me so much during this time….praying for you, Catherine!

  26. #39 by finis on May 24, 2016 - 9:18 pm

    Hi, I am an associate minister at my church for 8 years have been a member for 12. My church is small and been around for 15. I really struggling with the idea of leaving. My wife of 6yrs has completely stop going because of issues she has with mostly my pastors wife and daughter. She had been unhappy for probably a about 2 years but I prayed with her and told her we could not leave over hurt feelings and she agreed to try and work through it. But things just got worse until she just stepped down for which she was serving and stop going. It’s very troubling because we argue over attending church especially were my 3yr daughter should be. I found it hard to be focus on wants going on in the church as well as serving with this going on. I also have found a disconnect from my church as there are only four regular members there from when I originally joined the church. Over the years we have lost several leaders a lot of men, and I have always stepped up and took on more to help the ministry. I have been very faithful over the years sticking by my pastor and the church as others leaving causing many close friends to leave. I also have found lately a disconnect with my pastor as it seems any idea or suggestion I have is not taking seriously as to really pray and see if this is something God my be trying to tell our leadership. Despite the issues I have laid out I love my church, the members and my pastor. I believe my pastor to be a loving man who teaches the word and wants others to be blessed. But I find myself crying and sad because I know I’m not happy nor is my family. I feel God is saying it’s time but I don’t really know how to break it to my pastor. I have been training people to replace me and organizing every ministry I’m in charge of but have not talked to my pastor yet. I have sought council from some other local pastors concerning this and most have told me it sounds like it’s time to go. I just having a hard time letting go.

    • #40 by Takean on May 25, 2016 - 11:37 am

      I can understand where you are coming from. And honestly…I feel I was in those shoes a few years back when I posted above. While I cannot undo what my wife and I chose to do since we have moved on…there are a few things I wished I was mature enough to handle at that time. And while we did do all the “leaving” by the book…we overlooked one thing. Love.

      We allowed ourselves to be offended and hurt by the wrong acts done by many of the members in leadership…because we ourselves were not living free in Christ. Being free in Christ has allowed me to overlook so much that continues…and can see their hurts instead of mine.

      I do believe that it was time to go…because we weren’t in fellowship…but had I leaned on Christ and shrugged off offenses that have no hold on us…then God could have used that to His advantage to turn things around. But by focusing on ourselves we limited the impact Christ’s love has on others that we were too busy being offended at.

      And please know that in no way am I saying you fit into this position. I’m just saying make sure that love is shining through. Because if you are offended at someone…most of the time you ignore or hide from them. Love conquers that. You are Kings and priests. Priests heal and speak to the Father…often times on others behalfs. But a king takes responsibility for the land in which they are placed in. And we are kings and priests.

      Either way I’ll pray for you now for guidance and wisdom.

  27. #41 by Krissie Wildenberg on January 21, 2017 - 11:00 am

    What if there is no children’s ministry at all? My husband and I are so burdened with this… we attend a low attendance church… and I ‘ve tried to keep a children’s program but families don’t stay. .. our girls are starving for spiritual nourishment, growth, and opportunities to serve….outside our home. We have been fervent in prayer. We are seeking mature, spiritual advice…

    • #42 by Luke Simmons on January 21, 2017 - 7:47 pm

      If there were no good thing to do with your kids, I would strongly consider leaving. You and they need to like going to church over the long haul.

  28. #43 by JA on April 20, 2017 - 12:37 pm

    Ah…I so need some wisdom from fellow believers…I’m a worship leader at my small church (approx. 30 – 50 attendees), love the pastor, but for over a year now can’t shake the feeling that I don’t belong there. I’m just going through the motions now, and my being fake is making me so sick every time I walk into the building. My husband is associate pastor and graciously talks to me about how I feel. He says I should surely stop going, but he doesn’t feel ready to leave just yet. Shouldn’t we both stay in the same church? We’ve been in leadership there for over 10 years now I think. I did leave once before, but felt so guilty about it, I stepped back into leadership. I missed worshipping more than anything, I guess. I have a 19 year and a 16 year old daughter, who attend with us regularly – but lately my 19 year old has actually physically left the room at certain times because she’s not in agreement with what’s being preached. I feel as she does over some comments made – feeling like a hypocrite to my own heart. I talked to my pastor last year when I stepped away, and sort of lied, telling him I wanted to leave to go minister to the elderly. It was a half-truth, actually, as I love ministering to the elderly, but he just kept pressing me as to where I was going to go and how could I step out of covering, etc., etc. It was just easier to tell him that than to say, “I don’t know where I’m going to go. All I know is I don’t want to do this anymore.” Any advice welcomed….thank you.

  29. #44 by Greg on July 15, 2019 - 10:01 am

    Hmm, many of the reasons in Jason Helopoulos’s article could also be applied for seeking a church. The first one is my biggest bugga-boo:

    1. Spouse—An unbelieving or non-church attending spouse is not willing to attend this church, but will attend another with you.

    I’m in an unequally yoked marriage. I’m a born-again Christian, my wife is not. She would like to go to church with me, but she wants to go to an apostate church. I on the other hand, will not set foot in an apostate church because it just makes the whole thing a total waste of time. (If they don’t believe in the Bible and are ok with you staying in your sins, why bother with church?)

    The one time she did attend a Bible-believing church with me, she embarrassed me by being rude to the greeter who was just trying to be nice to her by offering a little welcome gift. After the service, she made a bee-line out the door and waited for me by the car while I chatted with a couple of people.

  30. #45 by north carolina on July 16, 2019 - 6:38 pm

    Thanks for the posts i enjoyed it.

  31. #46 by Greg on July 17, 2019 - 7:41 am

    Forgive me if my previous post regarding my wife sounded like I was complaining, I was just stating facts of the matter, but probably included too many details. I would appreciate your prayers for my wife’s salvation and strength for me to be a good testimony to her.

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