Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Leave a Church

In 2007, my fiancé and I almost left the church I had been a part of for two years. I was happy there, but we had just gotten engaged, and we figured we might be better off if we just started over at a new church.

In retrospect, we weren’t very thoughtful about the whole thing at all – actually, we were pretty much just feeling our way through the decision, which is what I think a lot of people do when they leave churches, and naturally so. Emotions are oftentimes the clearest things in our minds when we’re making these decisions.

If I could go back to 2007, I would have advised us to explore our motives, our desires, and the impact our decision was going to have on other people; and I would have suggested starting with the inquiry below. Who knows? We might have figured out sooner that it was a dumb idea to consider leaving.  But anyway, just because I didn’t think through it doesn’t mean you can’t; so if you’re contemplating leaving your church, here are some questions to consider:

1. Are there a significant number of people at your church who actively love and care about you? If the answer to that is yes, please understand how rare that is. Millions of Christians sign up for memberships at churches and feel utterly disconnected from the other members – for years. If there’s an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality at your church, don’t assume you’re easily going to find that somewhere else.

2. Are you staying in an otherwise unhealthy situation because you feel guilty about leaving your pastor in a lurch? Although there’s nothing wrong with thinking about how your decision will impact your pastor; you don’t want to be primarily motivated by the fact that you’ve taken personal responsibility for his feelings.

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  1. Great thoughts. As a pastor, I’ve found that sometimes a person will leave a church because of an issue that they think is the church, but it’s really just them. And pretty soon as they attend a new church, they find that same issue there. Sometimes people will leave a church instead of facing an issue directly. I always like to say that you don’t really know someone until things about them annoy you. And as we get to know people in church, they’ll inevitably let us down or hurt our feelings from time to time. Instead of leaving, we need to recognize these are natural and normal occurrences with any group of people you get to know and love. These are our opportunities to be honest, express frustration, and care about someone else enough to let them know about a blind spot they may have. Thanks for your thoughts.


    1. Those are some really good thoughts. Thank you for sharing.



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