So you may be thinking of leaving your church because you believe they are unhealthy, abusive, or you are no longer in agreement with some teachings. How should you go about this? There is a tremendous difference between leaving an unhealthy church and a healthy one.
Some become worried about how their exit may affect those remaining and what will be said about them. Unfortunately, in an unhealthy church you can almost never leave in a way that would cause people not to talk. I know it can hurt, but realize people are going to talk, even tell lies. You probably saw this happen while you were involved and maybe even participated. There isn’t anything you can do to stop it, so learn to rest in the fact that you know the truth about your exit and so does God. You will be spinning your wheels if you run around, trying to put out all the little fires caused by wagging tongues. It will also hinder your own healing and recovery as your time and energy will be spent on them.
As to those remaining, trust that God will take care of them. Yes, your leaving may hurt and cause some to question, even result in some shunning or thinking ill of you. Yet you should not remain because of other people. This is about your walk with God, not theirs. You should do what you feel God is showing YOU to do. Think of your own well being and what remaining in an unhealthy church might do. If God opened your eyes to what is unhealthy and/or abusive or to erroneous teachings, He can do the same for your friends and family. Just understand that they may not be at the same place as you and may not be for months or even years down the road.
Don’t try to pull anyone out with you when you leave as you may cause more harm than good. Each person needs to be fully persuaded in their own mind. Take care in how much you tell current members with regard to why you are leaving or have left- and how you say it. Make sure you leave with a good conscience and guard your own heart and don’t do things you will later regret. It is one thing for people to believe or tell lies about your leaving, but it is another to have to live with doing things you know you ought not to have done. Keep your integrity even if others lose theirs.
In the future I will share some other issues about leaving that are important to consider.
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #1: You and Those Who Remain
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #2: Anything You Say Can, And Will, Be Used Against You
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #3: Why It May Be Important To Resign Your Membership
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #4: Remaining in the Same Organization
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #5: Don’t Listen To The Gossip
Leaving an Unhealthy Church #6: How You Are Treated
Leaving an Unhealthy Church #7: It Happens To Ministers, Too
Leaving an Unhealthy Church #8: The Way Of The Transgressor Is Hard!
Leaving an Unhealthy Church #9: Some Must Return To Remember Why They Left
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #10: Sorting Through The Teachings
Leaving an Unhealthy Church #11: Confusion & Not Knowing Who or What to Believe
Leaving An Unhealthy Church #12: Can I Go To A Church Where I Don’t Agree With Everything?