Why Do People Leave a Church

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I may have covered this topic a few years ago when I had my blog at another location. Every now and then I get to thinking about what stops a person from going to church or changing churches.

ImageMy family moved to St. George about 19 yrs ago. We have never regretted moving here and for the most part we have always gone to the same church. Or should I say I have gone to the same church. There was one time though that I stopped going to my church and that was because of the new pastor that came. His calling I must say should not have been to become a pastor. How he ever got voted on to be our pastor is beyond me. During the short time he was at our church, I did what some would call church hopping. This went on for 2 yrs until others at my church seen that something was wrong.

During those two years away from my church I did find a wonderful little church that met in an elementary school. It was a Christian Missionary Alliance Church. I really liked their church doctrine and the people there. It was like a second home to me. I enjoyed mostly everyone I met there and I still talk to them. I like Pastor Marc and his family. I actually learned quite a bit from him and how to be a better disciple for Christ and to witness to others.  I never had the need to move my membership from St. George Community Church to Oasis though. In my heart I knew St. George Community Church was the place for me.

ImageEventually they did get a new pastor and he was wonderful. I adored his wife and we got to know his family. He is the kind of pastor I would consider a healing pastor. Pastor Lary and Donna had a hard road ahead of them. There was a separation in our church and lot of hurt that needed healing. God knew we needed them at this time. They were with us for a number of years and then we were blessed with Pastor Dean and Ruth. It was a very easy transition when Lary and Donna left. God blessed our church in many ways.

My daughters are both adults and married. They have their own families and needs. Beckiah and Jason along with their children have chosen another church that best fits the needs of their family. I would love them to come to my church, but they are where God wants them to be. My other daughter Jessica still does things with our church  every now and then and everyone at church misses her and still asks about Jessica, Jason and JJ. JJ went with me to church the other day and everyone loved seeing him and made him feel like he was home. He started to cry because he was happy they were nice to him. But I know that no matter what I say or anyone else says, that people have to choose a church where they can grow and where God wants them to be. I’m very proud of my daughters and their families for still going to church, even if it isn’t mine. But they are listening to God and doing what God wants them to do in their lives. I couldn’t be prouder of them. I’m honored to be their momma.

ImageI asked my husband why he doesn’t like to go to church. And he was very honest with me. First he said that sometimes the music is so long or the pastor goes on for so long that he gets lost in the message. I then asked a friend of mine about the church she goes to. She said she feels like God isn’t part of the church. They do things and sing songs, but it is like going to church that is all about putting on a show or of hearing themselves talk. I had to asked about what they meant. They said when the pastor does everything and controls everything. It’s like they go on and on and their faith seems fake. They say the right thing, but it isn’t sincere. It’s all talk and no action. I didn’t want to ask who she was talking about since I know people from many churches.  I will have to do a blog on why people stop going to church all together.

One of my friends was going on about why she is having a hard time going to church. And she was saying that she feels like she is obligated to go. She doesn’t enjoy going because of issues that go on at the church. I didn’t go into the whys because I figured she would tell me why if she wanted me to know. But she doesn’t feel that she is where she needs to be. When she prays over her feelings and how she dreads going to church, she feels guilty by the answers she is receiving.

I can understand that because when I left our church for two years, I felt guilty and was made to feel guilty during that whole time. Not really by the pastor, but by some of the people. When I would go to church I had to breath before going into the church. I felt like I had this bitterness in my soul and that was really getting in the way of me enjoying the message for the day. During the sermon or the music, I would sigh to myself and I didn’t know how unhappy I was until one Sunday when I came home from church and decided I couldn’t do this anymore. This wasn’t where I needed to be at this point in my walk with Christ. When I started listening to God and checking out other churches, I felt like a boulder has been lifted off my shoulder. My bitterness was getting in the way of worshiping Christ. Many at my church didn’t understand where I was coming from, but I knew I needed something else.

If someone was to ask me what they should do if they were unhappy where they are going to church at or about checking out other churches. I would say to them to pray about it first. I would say that maybe God is the one putting it on your heart to go somewhere else. God may have other things in store for you that you’re not aware of. If someone gets upset because you are looking at other churches, then let them be upset. You have to go where God is leading you. If someone guilts you into staying at church and you are still unhappy, then you aren’t doing yourself, the church or God any good.

For myself, I love where I go. I have been there for 19 yrs and even though I went somewhere else for 2 yrs, I have always been a member. I may not always like someone who goes there and I may not like the message. But I know that God is the center of all things. And like all families, not all agree and sometimes we fight, storm out, but we come back. St. George Community to me is my family of God. I love the fact that they know me anywhere I go. I don’t feel like I have to be showy or someone I’m not. I don’t have to be politically correct. We are a melting pot of Christians that love the Lord and others. I can’t wait to see what is in store for our church when we get our new pastor.

I was looking for information on this topic so then it isn’t just my personal thoughts, but what the Bible says about leaving a church and looking for a new one…  So for any one out there looking for a new church or moving to a new area, here are some Biblical Scriptures to read and to see what God has to say about this topic.

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Reasons to Leave A Church

  1. Truth is not being taught
  • Acts 20:29-31
  • Rev. 2:12-16

2. Leadership is overly controlling and unloving

  • 3 John 9-11

3. Leadership is biblically unqualified

  • 1 Tim. 3:1-7;
  • Titus 1:7-9

4. Pastor and/or leaders are living in sin

  • 1 Tim. 5:19-21

5. Leadership does not deal with sin

  • Matthew 18:15-18;
  • 1 Cor. 5:1-13

What To Look For In A Church. On the positive side, here are some guidelines for choosing or staying in a church

Leadership

– are qualified

  • 1 Tim. 3:1-7;
  • Titus 1:7-9

– are godly examples

  • Hebrews 13:7;
  • 1 Peter 5:3

– are self-sacrificing

  • John 21:15-19;
  • Acts 20:31

Pastor

– teaches the Bible in depth

  • Nehemiah 8:8;
  • 1 Tim. 4:13;

– has passion to teach truth

  • 2 Timothy 2:2;
  • James 3:1

– has a passionate love for Jesus

  • John 21:15-17
  • Phil. 3:8

Congregation

– people are loving

  • Hebrews 10:24-25

– ministers together

  • Acts 2:42;
  • Hebrews 6:10

– supports the leadership

  • Hebrews 13:7, 13;
  • Hebrews 6:10
The church needs to be on fire for the Lord Jesus. Some churches are looking back over their shoulders at the years when their church was dynamic and growing. Now their church may not be growing and may even be decreasing in size. They may have a wonderful church building, successful leaders from the world, and a radio or a television ministry. But these are not the marks of God’s ideal church.
Ultimately, God is looking for biblically qualified leaders who are eagerly seeking an intimate relationship with Jesus, and as a result are shepherding the men and women in the church. One of the most significant functions of the leadership team is that they are good Bible teachers and they are teaching. The leadership team is training men and women to be the future leaders in the church. They are seeking to train others who will eventually take over their ministries. That is true disciples. Otherwise, the training is merely book study and empty activity without any fulfillment.
OK, so now I’m done with this topic. Not too sure why I posted this now. Maybe because our church is in the middle of a transition to a new pastor and I’m excited to see where our church is going and love the fact that the new pastor we are looking at believes in the Bible and is a Man of God.

Thinking on Christmas

nativity3-620x494I know this is a weird topic for this time of year. Christmas seems to come faster and faster each year it seems. I don’t think it is because there are less days, but that our lives are so busy and I hate to say it, but Christmas is expensive. It should be about Christ and while I think about Christ first, others may not.

I have been pondering this idea since last year. My idea is that instead of having Christmas on December 25th, we would have it on Easter Sunday.

There are many historians that believe that the birth of Christ took place in October or around there. And others say in the spring time. The Bible tells us that shepherds were staying out in the fields overnight when Jesus was born (Luke 2:8), but in that part of the world it would have been far too cold at night to do so in December. What is more likely is that He was born in the Spring, perhaps between March and May. Whatever the time of year, it is virtually impossible to identify the actual date. Some have also said that the birth of Christ took place during September or October. So let’s look at those times and why they say that.

birth-of-jesusThe typical story we hear repeated is:

“It’s about 2000 years ago, the evening of December 25. Mary rides into Bethlehem on a donkey, urgently needing to deliver her baby. Although it’s an emergency, all the innkeepers turn them away. So they deliver baby Jesus in a stable. Then angels sing to the shepherds. Afterwards, they all join three kings with camels in worshiping the quiet, newborn.”

The problem is, this story may be almost entirely wrong. The events surrounding the birth have been retold so many times and in so many ways—in plays, poetry, books and movies—that most people have a distorted view of the true events. The only accurate record is found in the Holy Bible, God’s Word.

Was Jesus born on December 25, or in December at all? Although it’s not impossible, it seems unlikely. The Bible does not specify a date or month. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles).

One of the more common — but still often overlooked — debates around Christmas time is ​when ​the wise men visited Jesus. While most nativity sets come complete with the “kings” to set next to a newborn Jesus, there is actually evidence to suggest they visited Jesus much later when he was a young “child” and not a “baby.”

camels3wisemenMatthew 2: 1-12 – The Visit of the Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Additionally verse 16 notes that after the wise men told King Harod of their plan to visit the little “king” and they never returned, Herod ordered all children under two years old killed. That seems to suggest that Jesus was not a baby at the time, and that even Herod thought he could be older.

Many popular interpretations of Jesus’ birth show the baby sitting near farm animals in a stable. However, we’re not quite sure that this is how the events actually unfolded. Let’s start with the word “inn.” According to Witherington, in Greek (the word is “kataluma”) it can also mean “guest room.” The Biblical expert continues:

So what we must envision is that the holy family had to stay in the back portion of the ancestral home in Bethlehem, where they would have kept the beast of burden (hence the feeding trough referred to).

While the “where” question is certainly important when discussing Jesus’ birth, so is the “when.” Christians have been celebrating their savior’s birth for quite some time, but no one is really sure when it actually happened. Dec. 25 is merely the anniversary that has been chosen to commemorate Christ’s birth — not the actual date.

Happy_Birthday_Jesus_by_RSRKingdomStarsMy Plan: 

So this year after calling my daughters and family we are going to actually do a Birthday Party for Christ on December 25th. We will hold that day to celebrate the fact that Jesus was born to a virgin. We will be doing our Christmas on at the same time as Easter. We don’t know when Christ was born, but we know He was. And that’s what our December 25th will be. There will be no gifts for each other. My Christmas tree, cards and gifts will be done on Easter Sunday. We will have cake, ice cream and all things that would be used to celebrate a birthday. We will bring a letter or share with each other what we will do for Christ. I hope that everyone in my family will enjoy this because on Easter we will be celebrating the fact that Jesus came to us as a baby and he died and rose again so we can live forever. If people get Christmas cards at Easter time, please know this is the reason why we are doing this. I may still do them in December since everyone else won’t be on the same page as I am.