If You Must Leave a Church

3. Review the commitments you have made to serve.

Do you serve in the church? Are you a leader? Will your move disrupt the ministry?

Answer these questions prayerfully before you leave. If you have made commitments, do everything within your power to honor them. Put the honor of Christ ahead of yours.

Push past unworthy quitting points (1 Corinthians 15:58). You do not want to be found AWOL from an assignment God has given you.

4. Make sure you have no unresolved interpersonal conflicts.

Don’t leave a church because you are mad about something. Don’t leave because someone has offended you. Be ready to forgive and eager for reconciliation.

Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Broken fellowship suspends true worship.

5. Consider how your transfer will affect others.

Christianity is not about you. It’s about Christ and others.

If your heart is right, you will feel the weight of how your potential move will injure or influence others. If you can leave without affecting anyone, you were not a good member.

If your presence matters, consider how your absence will move others. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests,” instructs Paul, “but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

6. Determine where you will transfer your membership before you leave.

It’s not the Father’s will for his children to be spiritually homeless. Paul says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

The Lord typically leads to a place, not just away from a place. You should be able to leave a spiritual forwarding address when you leave a church. And you should be able to go to your new church with a recommendation from your old church.

7. Have an exit-interview with your pastor.

It is right for you to talk to your pastor before you leave a church. Is he the reason you want to leave? That is all the more reason why you should schedule a conversation.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

What do you think? What is the right time to leave a church? What is the right way to leave a church?   

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H.B. Charles, Jr.
H.B. Charles, Jr. is a pastor, speaker, and writer. He lives with his wife and children in Jacksonville (FL), where he serves as the Senior-Pastor of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.