…continued from How to break up with your church, prt. 4
5. When you break up with your church, be aware that pastors can bumble these moments as easily as anyone else. Some will bumble it badly.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but as a group, pastors are no more mature than anyone else. We should be, but most of us are not (look for a church with a mature pastor). When you are speaking to your pastor about leaving the church, they may be strongly defensive, perhaps even intimidating. They may forcefully try to convince you to stay. They may say things that make you feel guilty, or they may break down in self-pity. The really sick ones may use God in all kinds of manipulative ways, tell you you are sinning, or other tactics to try to make you feel terrible.
If this occurs, keep two things in mind. First, you are doing the right thing in leaving! Second, just like always, you are still responsible for yourself and your own conduct. No amount of spiritual/emotional immaturity on the part of your pastor excuses it in you (or vice versa, of course). You can still succeed in lovingly breaking up with your church and moving on to whatever is next for you.
This series has not even addressed the question of whether or not it’s actually time to break up with your church. Perhaps the love and communication issues won’t be a problem for you, but you are struggling with whether or not you should leave. There are times and reasons when leaving must happen, and times when maybe it’s not the best idea. I will address those issues in my next series.