Do It If God Said So–Not Because Man Said Not To

Yesterday an article posted online in Relevant magazine called “5 Really Bad Reasons to Leave Your Church”. I read it before it started showing up in my FaceBook feed, and before all the shares, comments, and conversations began.

The title really caught my attention. I suppose you could say that I’m at a spot in life where I have “left” a church. I know a lot of people who have “left” churches, for both what I would consider good and bad reasons. 

Let me give you an example of my idea of a bad reason to leave a church: The church voted to replace the old flooring with pink carpet. So, we’re moving our membership.

Yes, sorry, I think that’s a bad reason to leave a church.

What are some bad reasons to leave a church that you’ve witnessed or heard in the past?

It’s fair to say I went into this article expecting that caliber of answer. People leaving churches over silly inconsequential decisions that were made by the body.

Then I read the first “bad” reason for people to leave churches, and I almost became angry.

According to the author, it is bad to leave a church where you aren’t being fed. I immediately looked for the scripture to back up this claim that we shouldn’t expect to be fed in our church. There wasn’t any scripture in this section of the article. Let me share with you the scripture that immediately came to my mind.

John 21:15-17 Jesus tells Peter three times feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my sheep.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 12:11-13 NLT

People should be getting fed in the church. So, why does this author claim that people not being fed shouldn’t leave the church?

I found this article that gives several definitions for what “I’m not being fed” might actually mean when people say it. I have a feeling this is what the author was getting at rather than saying if a person is truly only getting milk in the church they currently attend that they shouldn’t leave. 

I do feel that we are encouraging people to pull away from corporate worship when we encourage them to seek to feed themselves through our current media outlets. I have spent hours pouring over concordances, different translations of the Bible, and various Bible study tools, but there is a great amount of learning that takes place when meeting with other people to study God’s word. You can’t replace relationship with technology.
If a church isn’t helping to feed you, then it’s helping to starve you. 

Sure, you can seek God on your own, but if we’re only going to church for programs or to be seen, then we’re serving a different master.

I haven’t even touched on reasons two through five, but I hope I have given you something to think about.

Should the church you attend feed your Spirit? Should you grow spiritually as a result of your church?

In closing, I do want to link to Aaron Loy’s original blog post. The post is the same as what was published in Relevant. However, in the comments under the blog, Aaron responds to many of the commentors. In reading the comments and replies, I discovered that I probably agree with Aaron. My anger has dissipated some. It seems that the wording of the post is not a true representation of all of his feelings, but rather a short condensed list without details of why some people leave the church when they shouldn’t. 

I am a little worried, because it’s who I am, that some will read that article and read judgment or condemnation, and as a result will either stay in a very unhealthy situation or leave the church altogether.

I would like to include links to a couple other posts that point out some of the same reasons but add scripture and specific examples to each one. If you are interested in getting some other information on reasons people leave a church, I’ve done a little of the work for you.

I do want to be clear in saying, however, that for me I knew a long time before I went on sabbatical that I was supposed to leave. I even had a Christian counselor tell me the same thing. Somehow I bought into this belief that I needed to persevere, to work more, to study more, to evangelize more because you can’t just walk away from a church for no good reason. If something drastically bad hasn’t happened, then you stay and work things out.

No. I was wrong.

If God says go, you should go. 

Regardless of articles that tell you the five reasons you shouldn’t. Regardless of the voices of others telling you not to give up. Regardless of the fear of the unknown outside of your comfort zone. 

Forget all of that. 

It all comes down to doing what God tells each of us individually to do. Going where God tells us to go. 

I’m not telling you to leave your church. I’m not telling you that the things you find linked here are bad (or good) reasons to leave your church.

I’m telling you to seek God. Seek His will for you. 

photo credit: geezaweezer via photopin cc


6 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Carrie,

    As a Bible-believing, daily-practicing follower of Christ, I fully agree that our spiritual (actually all) decisions should be based on the word of God and not on some human sentiment or even our emotions. In this post modern era it seems that most people are me-focused rather than God-focused. Thanks for bringing awareness to this matter.


  2. We had a church split over the color of the carpet I think many years ago! I'm sure there were many other issues under the surface though. Thank you for the thought provoking post. I think that the “not being fed” excuse is probably the most common reason I've heard for leaving a church, and I see the validity in your points as well as the author of the other post. I'm going to go to the original article you posted and look at the comments you were talking about. Thanks!


  3. Good for you. An excellent post. As for me, most people who will read this will feel that I did not hear the Lord correctly but I joyfully proclaim that He has led me on an unique path. Thank God I obeyed, He led me on a path that most Spirit filled Christians would be appalled by.. from a Presbyterian childhood to the Jesus people,to a Charismatic Prayer group in the mid 1970's and then into the Catholic Church at 19, years before I met my Catholic, Spirit filled husband. Now 39 years later, the Spirit is on the brink of another Revial, this time not like the Charismatic Renewal, this time not taking Spirit filled Catholics out of the Church but the fire is poised to move IN the Catholic Church..He has healed me and drawn me into His heart and put me in place 39 years ago!


  4. Florence,

    Thank you for dropping in and adding your voice to the conversation. I agree with you, although I wish I didn't have to. It saddens me actually.

    Please drop in to chat again!


  5. Kristin,

    I can't believe how many times I've heard of a church splitting over the color of the carpet. I wonder every time I hear a testimony like that, “How would Jesus have responded if He had been sitting in that business meeting?”. It totally blows my mind that we can be so passionate about flooring, but so careless about sharing the gospel.

    I'll argue for a floor, but I'm too embarrassed to share Jesus?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts after you read the original post! I've had a bit of conversation with others through some facebook posts. Many of my friends really appreciated the original article. Many hated it. I think it's at least sparked some great conversations!


  6. Melanie,

    What a unique path you have traveled! My mother has traveled a similar kind of path across denominations. I believe that God has a purpose for each of us, and that there are people to be reached for Him everywhere. I learned a long time ago not to question or judge those working where He placed them. 🙂

    Glad you stopped in again!!!


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