Is it time to break up with your church?, prt. 2

time to break up -- scissors cutting heart

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…continued from a previous post

5. It may be time to leave now

If you feel that because of all the money you have given, or all the time you have spent at the church, you deserve more power and recognition, and you are resentful that you are not getting your due, it is time to break up. In this state you are toxic, and the sooner you leave your church, the better off your church will be. No church has any use for people who feel entitled. Churches for too long have been way too accommodating of selfishness and immaturity among their people and this has often made church an uncomfortable place for everyone else. Pastors, be more gracious with addicts and those who commit the “hot sins” like adultery, and much less tolerant of gossips and people hungry for power — even, and especially, when those people are your closest friends.

6. Every spiritual journey is a journey to find truth, face truth, and follow truth. Your pastor has a responsibility to model this for the congregation.

If he does not, it is time to break up. You deserve the chance to learn from your pastor’s mistakes. If your pastor acts superior, never talks about times when she falls short, or struggles chronically with certain issues and refuses to admit it and move through the truth journey, it is time to break up. If your pastor is constantly critical of you or others, chronically insensitive or harsh, frequently manipulative, speaks unkindly to you about others in the church, is chronically angry, or is lacking in grace, it is probably time to break up. A pastor like this may have a basically good heart, may even be moving the right direction, but is simply lacking in maturity. Though being immature is not a sin, immature people should not be leading others.

Our congregations often accept immaturity in their leaders because immature leaders are unable to produce maturity in their followers, therefore followers simply do not know what to expect. As a result, they end up expecting perfection where no one can be perfect, and not expecting things that are actually doable, like basic integrity, honesty, grace, kindness, humility, and love. If your pastor seems to be drastically lacking in those qualities (and I mean drastically — we all deserve some slack!), it is time to break up. If you cannot respect your pastor as a human being, then you certainly have no basis on which to respect her as a Christ-follower. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT continue going to a church led by a pastor who consistently acts immaturely or reprehensibly and tries to cover it by insisting that they are under God’s authority. That is spiritual abuse and no one who abuses others is under God’s authority, and this is true regardless of what board, or committee, or conference/district team of people put him in charge.

7. Finally, there will be times when you feel very strongly that the church you are in just is not right for you

Someone in my church once approached me and told me that though he loved Wildwind, he felt someone else in his family really needed a particular type of ministry Wildwind didn’t (and doesn’t) offer. He took the time to explain this to me, with love, and though I will always miss that family, I respect what he did and I believe he probably did the right thing. I will always consider him part of Wildwind’s extended family.

If you ended up reading this series before my other one called How to break up with your church, I strongly encourage you to read that series if you come to the conclusion that indeed it is time to break up.

Question: What did I miss? Any caveats you would add?

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