Leaving your church, when is the best time?

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Are you thinking about leaving your church?  Is there a best time to leave a church?

You’ve done it.  You’ve found some churches near you and visited a few.  It didn’t take long and you have found one you think you like.  You were a visitor for a period of time and then finally you decided to become a church member.  Things were good for a while but something changed.  For a few reasons you don’t like it as much as you did in the beginning.  You are thinking about moving on but you’re not sure if you should leave.

Is there a best time for leaving your church?  Many people who decide to leave a church, do so when something like one of the following happens:

  • When they get offended by something that was said or done at church
  • When they disagree with a decision made by the church staff
  • When the church starts to feel “too big” and they don’t feel connected to the church any longer

Although those are potential reasons for considering leaving your church, is there a ‘best time’ to do it?  I believe the answer is ‘Yes!’.  The best time to leave a church is before you ever become a member.leaving a church



Finding the right church home is very similar finding a spouse.  You should have the long-term in mind so don’t rush into the commitment.  Church courtship begins, by visiting the church that you think has the potential of being a solid match for you.  Continuing the church courtship analogy, there is nothing wrong with ‘dating’ a couple of different churches before settling in on your new church home.  Be sure to do your homework and find all the churches near near you so you don’t overlook a hidden gem.  It would be good to make a list of things you are looking for in a church so that you can be sure to ask or make observations when visiting potential church candidates. 

Once you find a church you really like, you still need to be cautious.  Similar to finding a spouse, you don’t rush into the commitment of being a member until you are sure the church is going in the same direction you want to go.  For both your and the church’s benefit, it is critical to find out what the church’s beliefs, vision, values and mission are before you fully commit yourself to a church community.  Marrying your spouse after the first date my be tempting, but the odds are high that it won’t end well.  

Take the time to find out If you have a profound and substantive disagreement with the church’s beliefs, vision, values or mission.  If you do, even if it seems like a great place with great people, keep looking.  That moment is absolutely the best time for leaving a church, before you join one!

If you have ideas or thoughts on when leaving your church makes sense, please leave a comment below.

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By | 2017-06-29T21:48:30+00:00 June 30th, 2014|Church home, Churches near me, Find a church|2 Comments

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  1. Steve D 02/06/2015 at 9:24 pm

    When I first joined my now former church I enjoyed the teaching, the congregational members, etc. After being a member of the church for only 13 months I was approached about being nominated for the church “Leadership Team”. I had experience being on the Church Council of my previous church 1,000 miles to the east and so after playful consideration I agreed to be nominated. It only took a few months on the leadership team to realize that the senior pastor was a benevolent dictator. The “Leadership Team” was generally made up of people who had no qualifications to be on the “Leadership Team” and who had no authority within the church. I served out my three year term and left the church the following month.

    There is only so much a church member can learn about the pastor from sitting in the pew. I feel the movie “The Wizard of Oz” is a great analogy for this pastor. He was perceived by the congregation as a good leader but once the curtain was pulled back for me, I saw the real person. I left the church because I had no respect for this man but the congregation did not know how he behaved behind the curtain and I doubt that most of them really wanted to know.

    • Alex 02/08/2015 at 1:39 pm


      Thank you for your comments. As a long time Christian, I often have to remind myself that the Church is made up of imperfect human beings. This truth does not exclude the Church leadership. Something tells me that you might be surprised at how many people are aware of the situation but have chosen to ignore it. While we cannot always change personalities, the good news is that we can make choices and seek a Christian community that fits where we are in our walk with God. Hopefully, you have found a new Church home that can use your God-given leadership talents.


      My Church Match

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