There are dozens of good reasons to leave your church. Maybe the leaders are morally corrupt and hypocritical in their teachings. Maybe the leaders make it a habit of shaming members in front of the entire congregation. Maybe your church is stuck in its ways, or maybe it’s so focused on “staying hip” that it’s become unbiblical. When you have a good reason to leave your church, your desire may feel more like a compulsion than anything else. If you don’t feel compelled to leave, however, or if your decision is accompanied by guilt, you may want to reexamine your motives for wanting to move on. Below are a few not-so-honorable reasons to leave your church.
The Church Is Too Big or Too Small
As with most things in life, size should not be a factor when it comes to your feelings about your church. Many older churches in the nation are small in size because of diminishing faith or shrinking populations. Small size is rarely a sign of a deeper issue. If it is, your church should address those issues. However, if small size is your only problem, you should embrace the intimacy of your congregation rather than lament it.
On the other end of this spectrum are the churches that grow at a rapid rate. If yours is one of them, you may wonder what the leaders are doing to warrant such growth. While it’s okay to wonder, and while you have every right to ask questions, you should not discount the church’s or leaders’ faith because it enjoys growth spurts. If your church isn’t engaging in dishonorable activities to achieve growth, you should feel lucky to be a part of a church with such a strong reputation.
You Got Your Feelings Hurt
Though church should be a place in which you feel comfortable and at home, there will come a time or two when you butt heads with other members. However, disagreeing with another member, learning that a member doesn’t like you or overhearing a rude statement from another member about you is not a good reason to leave. If you leave your current church over hurt feelings, chances are you will leave the next one … and the next one. Stop this cycle in the bud by being the bigger person. Strive to reconcile the relationship, and if that doesn’t work, ignore the offender and move on. Do not leave your church and those with whom you have developed a strong, healthy relationship because of one or two people.
Your Church Is Changing
Churches need to change. Maybe not at their theological core, but the methods through which they deliver sermons, their demographics and their leadership styles should all be in a constant state of flux. Change is good, it is healthy, and it forces a shift in perspective, which everyone needs. If you find yourself resistant to the changes happening within your church, or being resentful of them entirely, it may be time to look inward and not at your church’s leadership. Spiritual leaders who embrace change before you think they should are being proactive, not reactive, which is indicative of good leadership. After all, society is in a state of constant change, and your church needs to keep up to stay alive. Instead of fighting the leaders or abandoning ship, figure out ways you can help during each new transition.
There will likely come a day when you feel compelled to find a new church and when your motivation for doing so is pure. When that day comes, you will know. However, if in the interim you want to leave because of something as trivial as size, opposition or change, it may be time to look inward and question the real motivation behind your desire.