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(Outline version…a work in progress…) Text: John 6:60-71

Much of the NT was written to CORRECT problems in the Church… I’ve been doing this “church thing” for over 50 years and over half of my life I’ve been a pastor AND I know from first hand experience that the Church is FAR from perfect and we will ALWAYS face the need to be gently and humbly corrected from time to time…

How to Leave a Church!

Current realities… 1. 2. 3. We live in a mobile society and change happens… We live in a consumer-driven society… Too few understand the value of connecting and belonging with commitment. Too often people come and go from one church to another for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way… Jesus faced some similar challenges with His “church” (disciples)…



On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)


Good reasons to leave a local church… 1. 2. Heretical teaching. Continued and unrepented sin in the leadership. 3. 4. Moral/ethical error Financial impropriety Neurotic, controlling, unbiblical leadership patterns

Major change in the church’s vision, values, or practices. Significant relocation (of you or the church!). Job relocation / marriage Church planting team

Important questions to ask before you go… 1. 2. 3. Am I reacting to something out of fear or a past wound? Am I being proud and petty? (It’s my way or the highway!) Am I being self-centered?

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Am I being unrealistic in my expectations? The number one reason (28%) given in a LifeWay research survey regarding WHY people left a church was: “The church was not feeding me or developing me spiritually!” Problem: IF you expect Sunday morning to be the only (or most important) time you “get feed” and grow spiritually then you don’t understand the need to become a self-feeding, SEVEN day a week disciple of Jesus! Am I being divisive? Do I realize that there’s no such thing as the perfect church or the perfect pastor? Do I realize the ripple effect of my decisions on others? (It’s not just about me!) Leaving a church should feel like leaving your family! It should be difficult and hurt because you’ve lived your life connected with a group of people whom you love and who love you! Do I have an unhealthy pattern of church-hopping? Do I understand the value of working through hardships and conflict (of growing through the trials and difficulties)? Will it matter to anyone if I leave (will anyone care)? And, if not, why not? (What might that say about my willingness to truly connect/serve/give?)


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If you must go… 1. 2. It may be hard, but it doesn’t have to be ugly. Don’t slide out the back door and hope no one notices…talk to your pastor! Pastors are not running a business and just trying to get more customers (and more money)! They are shepherds who care for the flock! Leave graciously, kindly, and in love…bless rather than curse! Resist the temptation to concentrate on the warts and wrinkles of the church you are leaving. (You’ll find out, soon enough, that your new church has a few of these too!)

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What if I’ve I already blown it? 1. 2. 3. 4. Confess your sin (own it)! Ask God to heal any wounds. Ask for forgiveness of anyone you’ve hurt. Remember, generally, two wrongs don’t make a right! Don’t bail from here to return to your previous church unless God and BOTH pastors agree it’s what must be done!

Conclusion… We are a FAMILY of faith…we WILL fail each other from time to time…we WILL wound and disappoint each other… BUT when ONE member of the family BAILS…we ALL are affected by it!