In this blog posting, I am seriously asking you all for some advice. It goes out to every Pastor, church member, lay member, etc. I really need some advice. I want to know when is it a good time to leave a church?
I have been a member of my church since 2007, over the years initially, it was the exact place that I needed to be. They helped me process and work through MANY of my issues with people, and in many ways this church helped me mature. However, over the years problems have developed. I think because I was so “get better” minded when I first came to the church, I had no problem being very transparent and laying all my “junk” out in the open. My heart was that if I wanted to grow spiritually then I had to be honest about where I was and what I was dealing with, the problem is that now people still see me as that old person. They don’t see the growth that has happened over the years. And because I leaned so heavily on them for advice, validation., etc. they are used to having lots of say in how i live my life and what I do. In fact, it’s clearly evident to myself and a few close friends, that my leaders within my church community don’t respect me, or my ability to hear God on my own. They still see me as that young girl, who needed so much help, instead of the woman I am today.
I am not a rebellious person, and in fact I was so closely connected to my leaders that I cut people out of my life that they didnt approve of (other Christian people not the rowdy crowd that will bring you down spiritually) and I pulled back from family because they advised it. However, since 2010, God has been allowing me to see that they are not my Gods, and that not everything they say, is exactly as I should do. Now again, this is not in the rebellious, dont listen to your leaders way, this is in the “They dont like short hair so they condemn you when you cut yours” way. God has allowed me to see that they arent perfect, he’s allowed me to see how they’ve lied to me, how they’ve disrespected me, and how they are stuck in their old opinion of me.
In short, I feel trapped by this church. I feel that I am in a place where I will never be able to please them or to make them feel like I have worth in their eyes, I no longer believe in true accountability in my ministry. Because I feel like real accountability isnt hoinored, instead they want you to have the right answers, and say the right things, but dont reveal where you really are. And finally, I am not getting spiritually fed. For the last year I’ve seriously felt like I am dying spiritually, but Im afraid to leave. I’m afraid that I’ll be making the wrong choice, I’m afraid that they will see it as this is just another thing that I cant complete, and I’m afraid to leave the bigger network that we are connected to. My church is just one church within a huge network that I really believe in, and I’m afraid if I leave I will give myself a bad rep and will be unable to attend any of the other churches in our network. So overall, I’m asking for your advice and experience.
When is it a good time to leave a church? What are your experiences as members and pastors with people that have left? How does the entire situation sound to you? I’m so torn over this whole situation, and I ultimately just want to be free! It doesnt help that I’ve left the church for a few months back in 2008, but that was because I fell in sin. Still, I know, no matter how justified my reasons are, there are some that will think that I am leaving again because of that. Ugh….so torn