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how to tell a church you're leaving?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by janny108, Feb 20, 2009.

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  1. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    How do you tell a church you are leaving?Jan
     
  2. Bobinator

    Bobinator Senior Member

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    The first thing is not to make a scene. A simple, codial, honest letter with a brief explanation, void of any real detail would be acceptable. If it's for a positive reason, then more detail wouldn't pose any harm. Think of it as a cordial letter of resignation from a white collar job in which you wouldn't want to burn any bridges.
     
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  3. TheDag

    TheDag I don't like titles

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    When I left a church I told the minister quietly. The reason was that i didn't feel I was free to worship God the way I believe he wanted me to. I told the minister it had nothing to do with him. I also told a few people at church but for the most part said nothing to anyone else. When the minister offered me a farewell I refused saying it would lead to awkard questions for which the answer might offend some people.

    If the minister is part of the problem like I'm thinking he is then that could be different. Simply saying I believe God is calling us to worship elsewhere for now. That way he can't argue with it because the claim is that its from God and the for now at the end says there is a possibility that this may not be permanent which is the whole not burning bridges thing Bob was talking about.

    Of course you could just leave and if anyone follows up then tell them.
     
  4. DreamsAreFree

    DreamsAreFree Ps46:10 Jer33:3

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    Why are you leaving? That makes a difference. Generally, I would say 'leave well'. It is possible your reasons are negative and maybe it is right to be honest. Or maybe if they are negative (valid or not) then you might just want to give a brief explanation without all the reasons or detail. If it's for positive reasons, like a move into ministry, face to face is good.

    I am looking to likely leave a church. I am just waiting on some information from somewhere about a different situation before I do. Basically I plan to say that I will be leaving as we are moving away and feel it is best that we serve the remaining time at the church we have been providing some practical support at. There's a ton of negatives but I don't plan to mention them.
     
  5. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    We've always endeavored to "leave well". I don't feel real fellowship despite activity there. It has nothing to do with the pastor or people specifically. Our daughter does not like it, tho she's been baptized. She really liked the church last week that we visited. I don't think this other church is the kind where I could still be part of a small group and not go to church. Incidentally, I went on a field trip and the lady I rode with was telling me about her ladies bible study. I told her I'd keep it in mind.
    Jan
     
  6. DreamsAreFree

    DreamsAreFree Ps46:10 Jer33:3

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    If you leave and don't give a reason, it is likely the pastor or someone on their team will contact you to see if there is a problem. Normally this is whether you have had your feelings hurt, etc, as they will want to attempt to resolve them. If you don't want this kind of follow up, just state that you feel it is your time to move on - or if you want to get into specifics, that while you do not have any special problem with the church, you feel you'd like to check out another church where you have a friend for a while. Then, if you don't feel that the other church is where you want to be after all, you can always return.
     
  7. Giantsbran1227

    Giantsbran1227 The Sinner.

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    The priest will understand. Tell him the truth why you are leaving.

    Good luck!
     
  8. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    Well I told a deacon's wife I told her we found another church when invited by someone else to her church. (they were our small group leaders)
    I hope that is enough but I feel it may not be.
    jan
     
  9. heron

    heron Legend

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    You never know how people will respond until it happens, but I agree that it should be as subtle as possible. Some people will not notice that you have left, so don't be hurt if people don't follow up. Especially if the fellowship aspect is weak.

    If you are in leadership, make sure that people under your care understand what's going on, and you give them fair warning. Set up a plan for transition. But if you're just attending small group, you could even stay in the small group and attend the other church. People do that.

    I think it's more important to explain to your group than to the church officials, since they pray for you and probably know you better.
     
  10. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure they will probably tell the pastor as he meets with small group leaders regularly.
    Jan
     
  11. heron

    heron Legend

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    It sounds like that's the structure and channels they hope these things will happen through.

    It would be thoughtful to also leave a quick note in the office. Denominational churches often pay a per-member fee to the denomination, for administratiion. If a member leaves, the church can take that person off the roles and pay less. (I think it's around $100 annual per member.)

    If you join the second church, you may need a transfer of membership signed right before joining.
     
  12. UnderHisWings1979

    UnderHisWings1979 Passionate Pursuer of Christ

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    I think it's important to inform the pastor why you are leaving. Some pastors may not be open to it, but many pastors, mine included, pay attention to the reasons people leave the church. Sometimes it's simply a difference in direction. But if several people leave for the same reason, the pastor may want to make some changes. If no one tells him why, he can't do that.
     
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  13. BrBob

    BrBob Guest

    If only!!!!

    I left a church after attending for more than 10 years, being a member of the worship team for most of that time, being in leadership, ministering on the side, all of it. Nobody contacted me, nobody asked.

    Bob
    Spearfish, SD
     
  14. DreamsAreFree

    DreamsAreFree Ps46:10 Jer33:3

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    That's very sad ... but I'm a bit in the same boat now. I have been in high level leadership and three months later, no-one has bothered to follow-up to ask how I am. It does confirm what I felt and observed though, that people were just commodities to be used for what they can give and if they stop doing that, they are no-one and not important any more. A discussion on this spontaneously came up in a group I was in last week and it was interesting to see that many people felt that once they came off church staff, they didn't matter any more and were a nobody. I'm now in a church where this is not the case but I think it is rare. Sadly.

    So I am also facing the 'do I tell them why or just leave simply and quietly'? I think I'll do the latter. It's not worth it to do otherwise.
     
  15. BrBob

    BrBob Guest

    Sad, but true! I sometimes feel bad for not being more cordial with my leave but then I realize that my reasons for leaving were simply confirmed by the lack of response.

    Bob
    Spearfish, SD
     
  16. heron

    heron Legend

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    That is far too common these days. And then leaders complain that people pick-and-choose churches without taking on loyal commitment.

    Being a leader of a large group of people can be very draining. It's a minister's job, of course, but some people can get very dependent, and that takes time away from the people who appear strong. I think sometimes the strongest active people get neglected, because they seem to be fine.

    Every week there are funerals, marriages, heart attacks, layoffs, drug overdoses, fires in congregants' lives. To keep track of them all and greet people with acknowledgement can be dizzying.

    Some pastors are good at this, others are good at motivating, others inspiring deep spirituality, others network with external groups... on and on. We expect them to do well with this. Then elders, who also keep track of people, are often working overtime at their own jobs, and caring for family. So it is not always the fault of a person being negligent, but not enough people sharing responsibility.

    So a simple note is an efficient way to get it done, without stirring up extra work or stress for people.

    Honestly, I think that churches have become so complex, with so many expectations, that they need a paid board of directors to operate smoothly. They are clubs for adults, education centers for children, sports teams, craft groups, charity distributors, wedding halls. Caring for the people invovled can easily take a back seat.
     
  17. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I emailed my small group leader and that's the last I heard from them(last week). I got another mail of another group about a luncheon and I told her the same thing and she responded with "Oh I guess we won't see you" Thing is I did like some people but it was not enough for us to stay.
    Jan
     
  18. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    Tha't's not cool that no one contacted you at all, and you've been there 10 years.
    Jan
     
  19. heron

    heron Legend

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    I tried to email a few friends to prevent that, after leaving a church that was getting cultish. The ones still at the church responded very cooly, as though leadership had declared not to associate with people who left!

    I can understand leadership moving on, but friends in prayer teams, worship team and committees... that was strange. They emailed me as friends before. I guess life gets complicated when cult restrictions settle in. No time for talk. (-;

    I have learned over time that I should initiate contact, because many people sit back and feel insecure that no one contacts them. It doesn't just happen in churches. People want to be cared about.
     
  20. janny108

    janny108 Well-Known Member

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    I have also been involved in a cultish church and people were not told to associate with anyone who'd left.

    I had a great time this weekend at a marriage seminar taught by people who go to our church. He shared there was a difference between mentors and teachers. Mentors are there to help demonstrate and amplify their teachings.

    Also my husband went FORWARD FOR THE FIRST TIME for healing. He'd never gone forward before ever.

    I feel comfortable with this church and felt like I'd been to church and I did not mind it being 2 hrs! Wooohooo!

    He also said something to hit a nail on the head about my previous church(s): he said a lot of churches have phileo love but not necessarily agape love. Difference between conditional and unconditional love. And after 3 weeks, we're making friends already!
    In case you want to know what it is, it's called Living Word Family church and it is full gospel.:holy:

    Jan
     
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