Here is something I have been wrestling with quite a bit lately. I realize this is going to be very opinionated but so are 90% of my blogs. Come to think of it...that is why people have blogs. So that they can express personal thoughts and opinions so here we go.
In the life of any church...ANY AND ALL CHURCHES there will be people that leave. People that are simply done for one reason or another. Now being a staff pastor or senior pastor for the best part of 24 years I have heard many reasons for leaving a church. Some that are completely understandable and others that leave a pastor thinking....really?
One of the flimsiest reasons a person has given me for leaving church was “this church is really not taking me to where I once was spiritually.” I would agree that a church ought to give you something to think about. In fact it is argued that there are five distinct purposes for a church. They are...
- Spiritual maturity
- Growth (numerically and spiritually)
I can understand if a person is striving to live a life of virtue and these needs are not being met. If you are not being prodded and stretched then it might be time to look elsewhere. However, if said person is expecting these things to come automatically while depending heavily alcoholic beverages, poor lifestyle choices, cheating, etc. well then, I think perhaps one needs to quit putting so much responsibility on the church and start cleaning their own closet.
A church should spur one onto greatness, community, faith, etc. but let me be clear...you have to want it. The problem with the Pentecostal movement that I grew up in and that many others did as well is that we think somehow one trip to the altar will clear that all up. I think it can give us a change of heart but if you are not willing to put that faith into action; well then you can blame the church all you want for your lack of growth. Nothing is going to change however. You will run to the next church only to be let down once again because you are doing nothing in your personal life to cause a change.
So as I stated earlier, I think some people have a legitimate reason for leaving but really it comes down to the question of what are YOU doing to take YOUR spiritual walk to the next level? The church is a supplement to what you are already doing.