Friday, January 08, 2010

Leaving Church

I've been hearing, directly and indirectly, from quite a few people who are thinking of leaving church or changing churches. I found this post by Pastor Tim Stevens and I thought it was excellent. I live in the real world. I know it is difficult to discuss leaving your church with your minister. But it is worth it. Especially if it is a small church and you will be missed.

5 comments:

Caroline Too said...

I can see the point of talking with people (minister) before/as you leave a church...

but on the one occasion that I left a church (for a reason other than moving town), the rest of Stevens' post would have been nonsense...

I had felt betrayed, left high and dry by the vicar of that church, I had watched people who rejected me take a leading part in communion services, I had spent a year walking a road that few have had to walk, and the vicar and the leadership of the church had frozen me out...

maybe, as they frequently told me, I was difficult....

maybe,

but I suspect that, for different reasons, many people who leave a church community do so with a sense of isolation, rejection and abjectness that would make a meeting with a minister quite impossible...

I notice that there was no place in Mr Stevens' world for such people...

he fools himself methinks.

Marcella said...

Absolutely agree with Caroline. I left a previous church in the sure knowledge that meeting with the minister to discuss it would probably result in blood on the carpet. I figured at the time that if I couldn't keep my temper in check when merely thinking about it, I was unlikely to restrain myself from unladylike behaviour when dealing with him in person.

I think maybe the trick is to enable people to leave A church without leaving THE church at the same time.

Some 15 years later, the anger is still as red-hot as it was, but I've finally managed to direct it at the person, not at the God he claimed to represent. Is that progress?

St said...

I guess that's the problem of the catch-all post. I had in mind not those who end up with a pastoral disagreement with the minister (people I have the fullest concern for) but those who 'just want a change.' From time to time people come to me from other churches seeking to join mine and I always say 'Have you told your current minister.' I am concerned that other ministers are equally slow to accept transfer growth without first checking it is for the best reasons.

Marcella said...

I'd never thought of those situations being an issue, to be honest. I had no idea it was a big deal for ministers (or congregation, for that matter) when people simply moved because they wanted a change.

Maybe it's a symptom of our fluid attitude to "communities" that moving from church to church can be seen to be as easy as moving from house to house, rather than as life-changing as moving from job to job, for example...

Hmm...there's a sermon in that, somewhere! Is church somewhere you go, or something you do?... Actually, I've probably heard that sermon, so it's unlikely to be an original thought!

Dennis said...

Agree with St excellent thoughts from Tim Stevens. Thanks for the link.