A fellow pastor wrote to me recently and asked me to write a post about how to leave your church. I instantly wondered why I had never thought of doing that before as I, and every other pastor, have been burned by people who leave in hurtful ways.
Have you ever decided it was time to cut ties with a church you were attending? It can be a really tough decision. You might wrestle with it for weeks or months before finally taking the leap. I have broken up with a church (as attendee) before, and probably didn’t handle it well. As a pastor, I have observed different ways people break up with their churches. I have been deeply hurt by people I thought loved and cared for me as they left my church. Other times I have bidden a sad farewell to a family, but felt respected and loved by them as they transitioned to another church.
Just as there are right and wrong ways to break up with people you are dating, there are right and wrong, mature and and immature ways to leave your church, if you decide it is time to take that step. How does a person do this lovingly? What are wrong/unloving ways to do this? In this post I will help you see both.
1. Before you break up with your church, understand that it is a relationship, people are going to be hurt, and follow the same rules you should follow when ending any other relationship
- Be gentle.
- Be brief.
- Be clear.
- Be gentle.