4. “My Needs Aren’t Being Met.”
When someone lists this as a reason for leaving, it is a dead giveaway that somewhere along the way they came to believe that the church actually exists to serve their needs. They’ve bought into the lie that when it comes to church it’s really about “me.” Here’s the problem: The church actually isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus. It’s his church. He came for it. He died for it. He redeemed it. He continues to build it. And one day, he’ll come back for it. It’s his.
This is the same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost and then commissioned his church to go and do the same. The church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the church that exists to meet the needs of the world. So put away the shopping cart and pick up a shovel.
5. Unresolved Conflict.
Wherever you find the community of sinning saints you will find conflict. Lots of it. The church is one big family full of characters and misfits. Sometimes sisters argue. Sometimes brothers fight. Sometimes you want to bury your weird uncle in the backyard. But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
Paul addressed a lot of church conflict in his letters. Nowhere do I hear him encouraging believers to bail on one another or move on down the road to a different church where it’ll be easier. Instead, much of his letters are his encouraging and coaching these ragamuffin communities in how to do this very hard and messy thing together. When we leave at first sign of real conflict, it shortchanges God’s best work in our midst. It sidesteps the process of repentance, forgiveness and grace. It negates the power of the gospel to bring reconciliation where reconciliation might seem impossible. We and those around us miss out on all of it when we just leave.
I do know that not all conflict is resolvable. I know that reconciliation is impossible where there is no repentance. I get that. But remember, repentance starts with us. And so does the extending of grace. And when we resolve to stick around and keep on repenting and extending grace, I think God can do far more than we often give Him credit for. Some of God’s best work happens in the mess.
So what about you? Do you agree? Disagree? What bad reasons for leaving your church am I missing?