I fully understand there are times when we need to leave a church. And, it makes sense at some point to leave a church when the gospel is not being preached. Clearly, one of the roles of the pastor is to feed the sheep. At the same time, though, I’m not convinced that, “I’m not being fed” is always the best reason to leave a church. Here’s why:
- It’s often a cover up for some other issue. We’ve almost grown accustomed to giving that answer when we leave a church, so we default to it—even though the real issue is often something deeper. It’s just easier to say, “I’m not being fed” than to address real issues.
- It assumes—perhaps quite unintentionally—that church is about me. Yes, we pastors are to feed the sheep, but we do that, for one reason, so the sheep can join us in the work of God. Too many members come simply to be fed, and then leave when they say they don’t like the food.
- It can be an expression of subtle, even unrecognized, arrogance. That’s not always the case, but it can sometimes be a way of saying, “I would do it differently—that is, I would do it better—than my pastor does it.” Even if we can do it better, all of us must guard against pride.
- It can reveal confusion between content and style. Every pastor preaches differently, and I prefer some styles over others. In fact, there are some styles I don’t like much at all. That doesn’t mean that God can’t use a pastor whose style is not my preference to teach me. It just means I may have to listen differently.
- Anecdotally, it sometimes comes from members who also haven’t been praying consistently for their pastor. Frankly, it’s possible that a pastor doesn’t feed his sheep as well as he should; still, though, I would want to know that I’ve prayed seriously and regularly for him before I leave the church. Genuine prayer can work miracles.
What are your thoughts?