Thursday, October 8, 2009

When Should You Leave a Church?

Leaving a church is always painful even if it is for the right reasons. Of course, we all know Church Hoppers who are on the lookout for the Bigger Better Deal and follow fads or let their children decide where they go to church. Most church moves are not for the right reasons. However, sometimes there are good, biblical reasons to leave a church. I recently came across an article by Brian Abshire which contains some great advice. I whole heartedly commend the entire article to you. In the article he says:

Well, let me suggest that it is perfectly appropriate and sometimes even mandatory to leave a church when they have broken covenant with you. Those earlier comments we made about apostasy and heresy fit in here; the church covenanted with you to teach the truth of God’s word. When they no longer teach that word, they have broken covenant with you and therefore you may lawfully and appropriately leave them.

However, there may be other than just outright apostasy involved. Most churches agree that the Bible is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. If the church refuses to abide by the Bible’s standards in say rebuking sin, resolving problems, wisely using the resources God entrusted to it*, etc., then again, it is both lawful and appropriate to leave.

*i.e. A church leadership team that wastes or mismanages the resources it collects in offerings from the congregation. The leadership team might also demonstrate poor stewardship in unwise budget practices (paying an unreasonable salary to pastoral staff--there are IRS laws regarding what a 501(c) 3 can pay in salary--See here and here [pg 5])


Jason Smathers said...


These are some good thoughts. Mark Dever gives some good advice on this in What is a Healthy Church. Joe Thorn reprinted Dever's advice on his blog:


Joe Blackmon said...

Thanks for the comment and the suggestion.