Earlier this week, I posted 11 “weak” reasons to leave a church. I know, though, that there are legitimate reasons for leaving one. Here are some of those:
- You move – We need to be serving in a church that’s close enough to our home that we can get involved in the congregation’s work. When we move, we need to transfer our membership.
- The Bible is not genuinely the guide for the church’s work – Some churches give only surface level attention to the Word. It’s only the “launch point” for sermons, and it doesn’t influence the church’s structure, decisions, or lifestyles.
- The gospel is not preached – There is only one gospel, and that is the good news of redemption through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Attending a church that does not believe or teach that truth makes little sense.
- You choose to assist a weaker church – Sometimes the strongest churches unintentionally pool significant human resources while other churches flounder. There is a place for members to intentionally choose to invest in weaker churches.
- You join a church planting team – Actually, when done well, church planting allows you to go from your church under their umbrella. You leave your home church, but you do it with their support.
- You fulfill your call to international missions – Again, this reason’s a great one to leave, not only because you go to the nations, but also because you can remain a part of that church family from a distance.
- The church is tolerating open sin – A church that chooses to ignore flagrant sin, particularly among leaders, is out of step with the New Testament picture of a church.
- You differ with the essential core doctrines of the church – We can disagree on peripheral issues and still fellowship together, but the essential doctrines of a congregation should be non-negotiable. Differing here should be an encouragement to attend elsewhere.
- Your unbelieving spouse won’t attend your church, but will attend another gospel-centered church. Note my adjective about the new church: “gospel-centered.” Making this move so a non-believing loved one is under the Word necessitates choosing only a strong biblical church.
One final caveat: With these suggestions in mind, we still should never leave a church without much prayer and self-examination. We have no permission to take lightly our inclusion in the local expression of the Body of Christ.
What would you add to this list?