“People who grew up Methodist or Baptist might not know better, but if someone knew the truth of Holiness and then walked away from it… you better be careful of them. You can leave Holiness anytime, but you’ll have to fight your way back.”

If you grew up in a church hearing quotes like these, attending a different Sunday service each week isn’t as simple as putting a new address into your GPS. It might be a years-long process of studying, praying, thinking, reevaluating, and receiving counsel. Worse case scenario, it may include migraines, depression, panic attacks, nightmares, loss of friendships, nervous breakdowns, and even loss of identity. The more frightened you are of the social and psychological consequences of transitioning churches, the more likely it is that you’re in an unhealthy or even cultish church, and the more you need to prayerfully consider transitioning. Remember, a healthy church will never fight you or shun you if you politely let them know that you’ve decided to attend another fellowship in the Body of Christ.

In this article, we will take a deeper look into the decision-making process, weigh out valid reasons for changing churches, and consider the fruit of a biblically healthy church. In our follow-up article, we will give our best advice for how to gracefully transition fellowship if this is how God leads you.

 

Weighing Out the Reasons

Changing churches, and especially changing denominations, is a life-altering decision. It will likely affect what you believe, how you live, who your friends are, whom you marry, how you raise your children, what you do for God, how deeply you study the Word, how you view the world, and most importantly—it will affect your personal relationship with Christ (for better or worse). It’s important to note that leaving a church isn’t the only spiritually risky option, staying might be a risk as well; it should be evaluated accordingly. The decision on whether or not to transition churches, specifically whether or not to transition out of attending Holiness churches, is not one to be taken lightly.

The first thing anyone should do when making an important life choice is to carefully think through the reasons behind it. Upset emotions aren’t a legitimate reason to leave any church, but just like pain, emotions may be telling us something is wrong. It then becomes our job to figure out what that something is. One idea is to sit down with a piece of scrap paper and jot out every reason you can think of for leaving. Then, take a second piece of paper and write out every reason you have for staying. Writing your reasons out will allow you to take a step back, breathe, and weigh out your reasons more objectively.

While making your decision on whether or not to leave your church or denomination, it’s importance to keep the end-goal in mind. What is your purpose? What are you aiming for? Who are you trying to become? The process of transition can become confusing and chaotic pretty quickly; having a biblically-based goal to hang on to can help you focus and stay on track. Spiritually speaking, the people who leave a church with goals like, “I want to be free to do whatever I want,” or, “I want to live out my own truth,” don’t last long. You need to know where you’re going; you need a vision to grow towards. One example of a biblically-based goal would be, “I desire to glorify God by studying His Word, teaching His Word, becoming actively engaged in spreading the gospel, being discipled, and making disciples.”

 

Unhealthy Reasons to Leave a Church

Just like there are valid reasons to leave a church, there are also not-so-valid reasons. Churches are meant to be a place where we can cultivate deep fellowship and loving personal relationships. Believers are meant to develop trust in one another, hold each other accountable, and work together to serve and share the gospel with their communities. These endeavors take time, and they are hindered if Christians are constantly “church hopping.” Loyal and committed members are necessary for a church to thrive. Because of the value of staying with the same group of believers, the validity of our reasons for leaving should be carefully considered.

Questions to ask ourselves would be, “Would I be more likely to grow spiritually at another church?”, “Are the motives for leaving rooted in spite or anger?”, “Am I considering leaving because there’s something wrong with this church in particular or because I’m tired of church as a whole?”, “Am I bitter or resentful towards anyone in this church?”, “Is this church better positioned to care for me spiritually than a new church would be?”, “Am I leaving over something this church is responsible for, or is this a reaction triggered by some other area in my life?”, “Would ‘toughing it out’ here potentially lead to spiritual harm in myself or loved ones?”, and even, “Am I leaving over a temporary issue in my church that would have been resolved had I waited?”

Never leave a church out of spitefulness, resentment, or bitterness. If you’re struggling with these sins, you may need to change churches in order to heal, but let the main goal be spiritual growth and nourishment—not an opportunity to reject or get back at those who have hurt you. Before you leave any church, check your heart and ask yourself if there’s anyone attending there who you’d be adverse to helping if they needed a favor, or whom you cringe at the thought of shaking hands/hugging. Christ called us to love everyone as we love ourselves—saint, sinner, and hypocrites. Be the bigger person and make sure there’s no one you’re harboring a grudge against. To do so only hurts you, and in and of itself, it’s a bad reason to leave a church.

Never leave a church just because you don’t like what they teach if you believe that what they teach is true. For example, if your church teaches against leaving your spouse to marry someone else, and you know that teaching is backed by scripture, it would be wrong to start attending a church where this is not emphasized just because you want out of your marriage. The Bible has a lot of teachings about sexuality, purity, family, the value of life, etc. that are unpopular in our culture. Perhaps you feel the need to go to a church where these issues are taught and handled in a better way, but you should never leave just because they are being taught. To do so it is a step back from God’s Word and a dangerous path to start down.

 

Healthy Reasons to Leave a Church

Practical Reasons

The first category of healthy reasons for leaving a church are practical reasons. Practical reasons include things like moving out of town, getting married, a need for a nursery, a need for handicap accessible facilities, and the like. Whether or not you have a good, practical reason will vary based on your situation and circumstance, and knowing whether or not your reason is good is usually pretty straightforward. The reasons that are harder to discern as healthy or unhealthy, are the spiritual reasons. These are what we’d like to focus on helping you think through.

Spiritual Reasons

All Christians should attend a biblically-based, healthy church where they have the opportunity to mature in Christ and serve Him with other believers. A healthy church does not mean a perfect church. Perfect churches don’t exist. Healthy churches are churches that are actively endeavoring to obey God’s Word. I say “actively endeavoring” because I don’t want to give the impression that a church should have “arrived” before it’s good enough to attend.

Let me illustrate. God’s Word clearly says that Christians should be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). Church “A” has a reputation in town for being one of the most loving churches around, even though there are a handful of unkind members. Church “B” nearly split a few years back; they stayed together but they’re still trying to sort through the tension and find peaceful ways to facilitate conflict resolution. Church “C” constantly has infighting and no one seems to mind. The pastor just says that “people will be people,” and the elders are often in the middle of it themselves. In this hypothetical situation, neither “A” or “B” have perfectly achieved God’s command but both of them are working towards it. They can both be called “healthy.” On the other hand, Church “C” is apathetic and ignoring a major biblical command; they can be labeled as “unhealthy.”

Determining God’s will in the specific (“Should I go to this specific church or that one?”) can get confusing. Instead of playing Bible roulette or putting out a fleece, finding God’s will can be more easily understood when we start with God’s general will as taught by the Scripture. We can know for sure that it is God’s will for you to be transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), and it is God’s will that this happens in the context of the local church (Ephesians 4:11–16). When a church is no longer fulfilling the purpose God gave for it in His Word, nor striving to do so, that’s a clear indicator you have a healthy reason to leave. The otherwise mysterious question, “What is God’s will?” becomes clear—God’s will is for you to attend a church that is actively heeding His instructions (with few exceptions).

To better understand what God’s purpose is for a church, a local body of believers, let’s look at the scriptures. The following section is by no means a comprehensive list of everything a healthy church should be, but it looks at several clear, New Testament commands that serve as great starting points.

 

What Will a Healthy Church Look Like?

 

A healthy church will:

Prioritize the Accurate Teaching, Preaching and Studying of Scripture

  • We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. – Acts 6:4
  • Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. – Acts 8:4
  • And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, – Acts 17:2
  • And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. – Acts 18:11
  • Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. – Acts 15:35
  • As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. – 2 Peter 3:16–17
  • And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. – 2 Timothy 3:15–17

 

Actively Work to Reach the Lost

  • Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:18–20
  • And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mark 16:15
  • But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. – Acts 1:8
  • And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. – Acts 8:25

 

Emphasize the Gospel/Essential doctrines of the Christian Faith

  • And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. – Acts 5:42
  • Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! – 1 Corinthians 9:16
  • By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. – Corinthians 15:1–11

 

Be Known for Love

  • A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34–35
  • And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30–31
  • Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? – Matthew 5:43–46
  • Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. – 1 Peter 1:22–23
  • And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

Serve the Needy

  • Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27
  • And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. – Acts 6:1–3
  • Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:34–40
  • Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. – Titus 2:14
  • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
  • Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. – 1 Timothy 5:9–10

 

Pursue Unity in the Body of Christ

  • Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. – John 17: 20–23
  • And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. – Acts 2:46–47
  • Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? – 1 Corinthians 1:10–13
  • Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. – Philippians 2:2

 

Hold Ministers/Members Accountable for Obeying and Teaching the Word

  • And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. – Acts 17:10–11
  • Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. – Matthew 18: 15–17
  • My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. – James 3:1
  • And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. – Acts 5:27–29

 

Work to Create a Strong Community

The following are biblical expectations and commands for a Christian community:

  • “Love one another (John 13:34; 15:12,17; Rom. 13:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11; 2 John 1:5)
  • Be devoted to one another (Rom. 12:10a)
  • Have mutual concern for one another (1 Cor. 12:25)
  • Serve one another (Gal. 5:13)
  • Carry the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2)
  • Honor one another (Rom. 12:10b)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11)
  • Bear patiently with one another (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13a)
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32a)
  • Confess sins to one another (James 5:16)
  • Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32b; Col. 3:13b)
  • Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  • Accept/receive one another (Rom. 15:7)
  • Warmly greet one another (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14)
  • Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
  • Treat one another as more important than one’s self (Phil. 2:3)
  • Instruct and exhort one another (Rom. 15:14; Col. 3:16a; Heb. 3:13)
  • Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16b)
  • Spur on one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24)
  • Wait for one another in worship (1 Cor. 11:33)
  • Live in harmony and unity with one another (Rom. 12:16; 15:5)
  • Show humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
  • Pursue what is good for one another (1 Thess. 5:15)
  • Build up one another (Rom. 14:19; 1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Follow Jesus’ example of “washing the feet” of one another (John 13:14)
  • Believers are also exhorted not to pass judgment on one another (Rom. 14:13), not to “bite and devour” one another in interpersonal conflict (Gal. 5:15), not to provoke one another (Gal. 5:26a), not to be jealous of one another (Gal. 5:26b), not to lie to one another (Col. 3:9), not to repay evil to one another (1 Thess. 5:15), not to speak against one another (James 4:11), and not to grumble against one another (James 5:9).”

This section on community was taken from: Paul Petitt, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, (Kregel Publications, 2018), 92. 

 

In summary: a healthy, local church is a faith community that is united in their desire to serve and glorify God through their love for one another, their study and accurate teaching of His Word, their obedience to His commands, their unity with the rest of the Body of Christ, and their efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.

 

Considerations and Suggestions

 

Beware of Unrealistic Expectations

It’s all too easy to become cynical and judgmental of our churches and forget to examine ourselves just as much as others. Churches are made up of people after all, and none of us are perfect, so let’s be careful not to place unrealistic expectations upon other believers. As imperfect as we all may be, we still need each other. Let’s err on the side of grace and compassion, and always try to give others the benefit of the doubt when we can.

Before deciding to leave a church over lack of a healthy trait, it is always a good idea to see if there’s any way in which we can help. For example, if the church has little to no outreach, we should consider our own abilities, talk to the leaders, and see if there’s any way we can help the church begin an outreach program. Sometimes the leaders will have had this on their hearts to do, but be stretched too thin to lead such an endeavor themselves. Once we volunteer, we may be given an opportunity or we may be turned down. I’ve found that leaders in small churches often do care about outreach, and it’s the congregation that is apathetic. If the leaders take you up on your offer and you are given an opportunity to help, do so (if possible), but don’t feel trapped with all the weight on your shoulders if other members are reluctant to participate. Churches that haven’t historically valued outreach will all too often have 1–3 members finally start something only to have the rest of the church take credit for having an outreach when they do little or nothing to help.

 

Communicate Honestly with Church Leadership

We should stay as open and honest with our leaders as possible. Talk to them. Give them grace and give them the benefit of the doubt. Bring them your concerns and questions with a sincere, humble attitude and see if they will listen. Remember, leaders have to hear a lot of criticism and get a lot of flak, so you don’t want to come across as just another complainer. It’s okay to be straightforward about why you don’t think the church or belief-system is healthy, but it would be wise to sandwich the harder topic between two reasons you sincerely do appreciate your church and/or it’s leadership. If a face-to-face conversation isn’t something you believe would go over well, consider writing a thoughtful letter or email.

Tension is often caused in churches when members don’t see eye to eye with all the nonessentials being preached. Some pastors are fine with this, other pastors punish it. Clear communication is necessary if you want to know how much diversity your church is willing to tolerate. More often than not, purely theological differences on nonessentials are acceptable. For example, few churches will penalize a member for holding to a different eschatology, having a different interpretation of the Song of Solomon, or believing differently on sanctification (whether it’s single experience or process). Differences in behavior or outward appearance are responded to much differently, particularly in churches that pride themselves in keeping a particular “look.” For example, if you have a different belief on a nonessential doctrine such as jewelry, cosmetics, or women’s pants, there are many churches (in the Holiness Movements) who will exclude you from ministry, consider you backslidden, and even recommend that you attend elsewhere.

Many churches will disqualify you for ministry for merely believing differently about these traditions, even if you continue to “look the part.” This creates a very sticky situation. We can all choose whether or not we’re willing to live out someone else’s convictions in order to gain opportunities, but we cannot and must not allow someone else to pressure us into claiming the Bible says something that we know it does not say. In order to avoid conflict or dismissal, many Holiness Christians, leaders included, have opted to continue living out the Holiness dress code and just keep their personal beliefs quiet. This results in more consequences than this article has room to discuss. How can we teach the Word honestly and accurately if we’re afraid to let anyone know what we believe it says? How can we encourage teenagers to genuinely “get it for themselves” if can’t admit that God didn’t reveal the Holiness dress code to us either? How can we truly develop authentic, deep relationships in our church if we’re walking eggshells trying to hide our beliefs?  How can we hold minister’s accountable for teaching the Word accurately if the Scripture twisted for a sermon involves a Holiness standard? How can we answer the questions of new converts or people we witness to if we know what our church teaches isn’t biblically accurate and might only confuse them? How do we fellowship Christians from other denominations when our own congregation views them as backslidden and compromised?

The questions go on and on, but the one I want to highlight the most is this: If we think our authorities would dismiss us from ministry if they knew what we believed, how can we withhold our beliefs from them without deceit? In other words, how is it honest to allow a minister you serve under to think you believe something you don’t believe, when you the belief in question is very important to them? If you’re serving in a ministry position which might be contingent on your personal convictions, I would argue that full disclosure is the ethical choice. If you’re a member of the church but don’t have an active ministry role, full disclosure may not be obligatory but it is still recommended, at least in the long run. If we make ourselves out to be someone we’re not, we can’t expect our leaders to be able to genuinely shepherd, disciple, and care for us in all the ways we need. You can’t be truly loved unless you’re truly known.

Discussing our beliefs with our church leaders is a courageous choice. It must be done in the most respectful, and kindest way possible. Again, this will ideally happen in person, but if there’s a risk it will be especially emotional, writing is recommended. Be willing to listen to their beliefs, ask sincere questions, ask for sources for further study, stay on topic, and don’t be afraid to say something doesn’t make sense. Make sure you’re listened to as well, and ask them to consider your resources too. If your leaders believe you’ve been led astray by our website, Berean Holiness, feel free to politely invite them to write a rebuttal to the article they believe has a faulty argument or twisted Scripture. We will gladly attach their rebuttal to the original article so our readers can hear their perspective too.

Outcomes of these conversations will vary, but at the end of the day you’ll know you did your best to respect your authority and hear them out. This should help avoid confusion, hurt, and misunderstandings down the road. Please understand, respect is shown by kindly listening to our authorities and obeying stated rules of the church/ministry so long as we are part of a membership or ministry commitment. Respect is not shown by believing everything our leaders say. If your leader can’t tolerate your beliefs, it’s not time to compromise, it’s time to find a leader that you can submit to in good conscience.

 

Seek Counsel; Walk Carefully

Switching churches, denominations, and/or belief-systems is a difficult decision. Don’t be afraid to take your time and cover your decision with prayer, Bible study, and lots of counsel. Find a group of trustworthy friends that you can confide in. Confidants that are close to you will have more insight. Confidants that are more distant will be more objective. Peers are great for spring-boarding thoughts off of, elders are great for seeking the wisdom that comes with life-experience. Keep a balance of bias among the Christians that you confide in. The Christians from the church/belief-system you’re considering joining will be biased towards you leaving, while the Christians from the church/belief-system you’re considering leaving will be biased towards you staying. If possible, also try to find 3rd party Christians who don’t have anything to gain or lose either way—they should be the least biased.

Another thing to be kept in mind when deciding whether or not to leave a church is the importance of building strong faith communities. Our world needs to see Christians that stick together, Christians who love each other through thick and thin. We bring God glory through apologizing, forgiving, and reconciling.

If strong, unified churches are so important, then when is there ever a legitimate reason to leave a church? Yes. Strong churches aren’t important for the sake of strong churches. Strong churches are important for the sake of the Body of Christ. You are part of the Body of Christ, and you need to be cared for. If you are not being spiritually nourished in your church or movement, than it is not fulfilling it’s God-given purpose in your life. If you are not being supported, strengthened, encouraged or edified by the Body of Christ, than you are becoming spiritually unhealthy. Your leadership will stand accountable for you to some degree, but only you will be ultimately responsible. You and your family may make it to heaven spiritually malnourished, but why risk it? Either way, you won’t be reach your full potential in Christ and you won’t be able to serve the Body of Christ in the ways for which you were designed. Don’t allow an unhealthy church to handicap you and keep you from fulfilling your purpose. If you want to blossom, reconsider where you’re planted.

— Natalie Edmonson

 

If you’re interested in practical advice for how to transition out of an unhealthy church in a healthy way, check out the follow-up article, “Is It Time to Move On? Making the Transition.” If you’d like hear from Christians who have transitioned well, see their testimonies here. If there’s anyway we can encourage or support you, please contact us.

 

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