The manner by which people leave churches is not what it ought to be, when one considers all the ”one-another” commands. When we know that our local church body is only one location in the true Church, the Body of Christ consisting of all true believers everywhere and at all times.
People leave churches badly. I have lost dear friends, co-workers in ministry, elders— all have walked away not only from church affiliation but our relationship.
Three of us ladies created and led a successful, substantive women’s ministry. Each of the other two in turn one day departed our church, without having ever discussed with me that they were discontented, or that they were deciding to leave. I cannot help but conclude that I was seen as part of the problem.
Dear friends, also partners in ministry, sharers in private Bible study, slowly moved away. They engaged less and less, they were absent more and more, and eventually it became clear they had moved on. What hurt was that that same process applied to our friendships. Phone calls ceased. No acknowledgment when my mother passed away. That’s serious ghosting.
Shaking the dust off the feet. People leave church badly.
They leave long before they leave. They nurse their gripes and grudges carefully and quietly. It’s like they dont want resolution. By the time they decide to go, they don’t want fixes; they want to move on. If people meet with pastors to discuss problems with their churches at this point, they are there to register complaints on the way out the door.
Some people do try to work out their differences with leadership, or present their cases for what they see as problems, before they eventually leave. Some do so in good faith, but if they don’t get the resolution they’re looking for, they choose to go. And sometimes that is the right thing to do! Good churches are legitimately different, and it can take a couple tries to find your church home.
Some people present what they see as error to their leadership, and even when they don’t get the answers they want, or see the changes they want…they stay. They are satisfied with being responded to and they accept their leaders’ decisions. As long as the issues aren’t differences over core Biblical doctrine, this may be the correct course. Being a member of a church is a serious commitment not to be discarded lightly, and we are called to unity.
It’s my experience that those good-faith exiters tend to maintain at least their best friendships. It’s when people leave in a disgruntled manner that they tend to ghost relationships.
Weren’t we friends? Do we not all together belong to the universal Body of Christ? Aren’t we spiritual brothers and sisters? Isn’t our connection Christ himself? Then how do you put me behind your back and disappear me from your life?
We ghost the church body, we ghost the relationships we had there. Maybe it’s simply embarrassment. And if you have mentally moved on, you don want to dwell on it anymore.
But it seems obvious to me that we in the Church have better ways to conduct relationships. If we try to walk Biblical paths, if we love one another as The Word says we must, that love ought to show even as we leave our churches.
We leave church badly.
That’s sad. It’s one thing if a family has to move to a new community, but when people change congregations for other reasons, common respect (let alone Christian love) requires some communication–not only with the pastor or other leaders, but with friends that have supported each other in the congregation during their time together. Obviously, our American church experience is far different from most times and places, in which one Christian congregation existed and people either were members or were outside the Church. But, given our distinct situation, there ought to be some way of dealing with dissent that shows more love and kindness and respect for one another. J.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Where we live, there are so many churches from which to choose. Sound like a good thing but unfortunately it encourages discontent and church- hopping, rather than commitment and working out problems.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The last time I was in a brick and mortar church was 10 years ago. I was visiting them and I have to say from what I saw from those last two churches was not what a church should be. The were more like social clubs than houses of God. That and other things is why i stopped going altogether.
Some of the other reasons was the fact that most churches leave out a full 1/3 of the Bible out of their sermons I cannot remember the last time I was in a church that preached anything in Revelation, about the rapture, or the tribulation. I have seen tarot card readings, celebrating Halloween, sessions with mediums, gay and trans pastors, and enticing children with video games to come to church.
60% of professing Christians do not believe Satan is real, demons are real, or hell is real. It is all about your best life now and health, wealth, and prosperity. If I walk into a church and there is an ATM in that church I never go back because it tells me what is important to them. The majority of churches are asleep or have more Satan than God in them. Churches performing gay marriages and male pastors dressing as drag queens and other churches say and do nothing turning a blind eye no I cannot be a part of that.
Back when the pandemic was at it’s height there was a pastor in Canada that went to jail because he refused to close his church because his government churches they couldn’t open. He cared more about what the Lord said than the government and he stood his ground. That is a church I could get behind and I have not found one in my home state of Illinois or in my adopted state of Texas. The fact that there are more churches in this country now than any other time in history and the majority is either corrupt or asleep is beyond sad. There is a church I would go to if I lived in Henderson Nevada and that is Sunrise Bible Church with Pastor Billy Crone. We watch him on YouTube where he puts his studies and sermons. He tackles the good, the bad, and the ugly and does not pull punches when it comes to the problems of the church or issues in the world today.
When I have left churches ones that I did attend for awhile I was never contacted and asked why I stopped coming sometimes the ghosting comes from the church itself.
Ah, you challenge me to get on my soapbox. Please bear with me.
Our church is actually a really good one. The whole Bible is preached and we take the one-anothers seriously. But churches are full of human beings, and we human beings tend to default back to what comes naturally unless we are constantly vigilant to be lead by the Word of God. That’s what I was talking about here.
But we are not meant to be alone. We are designed to be in fellowship with other believers. One cannot read the Bible and miss that. We need to pour ourselves into our fellow believers lives, and we need to be poured into by others. We are asked to be so committed to one another that we will lay down our lives. That daily, mundane service to one another and loving one another— that’s laying down our lives too. We are commanded by Christ to be in that kind of committed relationship in a body. We all need to be accountable, both laterally and to leadership. It takes humility, but if there’s one thing God wants us to develop, it’s humility!
So I encourage you to search for an imperfect but good-faith faithful-to-God church, and to stick with it like you’re super glued. They are out there and God has one for you. He is faithful, even though we are not. But that’s the idea— we live with the imperfections of our brothers and sisters, learning to forgive and to exhort, to be forgiven and to be challenged. We learn from each other and grow.
Christ died for his Church. It’s not to be dismissed. There, lecture ended. Take care.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I do understand that, but I can no longer attend a church if I wanted to. I am disabled now due to severe pain I cannot sit in a pew anymore. That was why I looked to YouTube for a pastor to watch because I know I need guidance. My man is Christian as well so I have him. I know God understands illness and when a person just cannot go to church and I admit stubbornness for years over the issues and just got tired after years of trying to find a church home and not being able to.
I do understand people are not perfect and I know humility very well. The things i mentioned though I cannot abide in they are not normal imperfection they are evil. To be told there is nothing wrong with it just a bit of fun to bring people in.
I write a blog here called The Rough Christian it is my way of reaching out to those who might want to read my thoughts and help them if they need it.
I do not hate churches, but I do not trust most of them either. Fact is this world is sliding into madness and it seems way to many churches are leading the way. I wish I could find a home ministry like I went to as a teenager, but they seem to be quite scarce.
LikeLiked by 2 people
You are correct about a great many churches. It’s a watershed time and we are all showing our true allegiances. The wheat and the chaff, in churches. I do sympathize, it’s hard. You’re absolutely right about what we find out there. Yikes.
I definitely sympathize with your physical problems. I am chronically ill. Though I was managing it well for some years, I haven’t been able to be in church since just before pandemic. But it’s been a real comfort and support that my church is still there, and I’m still part of it during this. I really hope you can find a church that is supportive snd understanding of your physical inability to come to it, and which will come to you and include you. Or yes, a home church. A stable group of people to connect to. Something to pray about.
And I didn’t mean to suggest that YOU needed humility or ascribe stubbornness or anything to you. I hope it didn’t sound that way. Just speaking generally.
I am sorry you’re dealing with the physical problems that you have. My problems are not well understood and there’s little if any help. So we are in the same boat, though I hope to improve enough to stop being housebound in the future. Prayers your way.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am so sorry to hear you have severe health problems as well I know it is not easy to deal with. My pain stops me from doing a lot of things, but I also have diabetes, two conflicting heart conditions A-fib and Bradycardia so I have a pacemaker, nerve pain due the diabetes, and migraines. There are a few other not as serious.
I need to do some research to see if I can find a home based church because sitting on a couch hurts less than a pew. I feel this is where the great falling away starts to get serious there are so many churches now being destroyed from the inside out. The good thing is if we cannot find a home church we can take classes online to join Billy Crones church and then can attend through I believe Zoom.
No I ascribe stubbornness to myself because I am to a fault sometimes and as for humility these days it is a very rare thing. I grew up dirt poor and in an abusive home so I learned humility at a very young age. So no I did not take it that you were saying those things about me directly. I am often awake very late or in the wee hours of the morning because my pain will not let me sleep and so sometimes what I write sounds a bit harsher than I intend it too.
I will definitely be praying for you and God bless!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you. You didn’t sound harsh at all! Praying for you.
LikeLiked by 1 person