10 Reasons You Should Leave Your Church

There are some really pretty people on this earth. According to someone official this is the most beautiful woman in the world…

And according to those same people this is the most beautiful man…


On a side note when searching for the most beautiful people in the world this guy’s picture also came up…

So maybe official people don’t know what they are talking about. I digress.

Now when people possess incredible beauty it’s hard to imagine that they get zits. But even the most famous pretty people get blemishes and when they do they all use Proactive…

Churches are imperfect. Imperfect people make up the church so that equals every church having blemishes. Similar to beautiful people churches that look really pretty and seem like they have it all together have blemishes.

I’ve been on a church staff since I was 18 years old. I’ve been on staff at mega churches, seeker churches, traditional churches, church plants, and even a country church. All churches have one thing in common. No matter what style the church it will come with some imperfections. Those imperfections can lead people to think about leaving. Minor imperfections shouldn’t be the reason why someone leaves a church. It should be more. The following is a list of ten reasons why you should leave your church.

  1. The pastor is preaching heresy.
  2. The pastor and or staff don’t have integrity. Now no church staff is perfect but if you see a continued trend of unethical decisions then you need to hit the road jack.
  3. Your unchurched immediate family becomes a Christian at a different church and for whatever reason doesn’t connect at your church. Now this one should be used with caution but if you have a spouse or child that doesn’t know Jesus and then becomes a Christian then I think it’s wise to support them and go to the church that was influential in their salvation. This might mean you take one for the team and leave something that you’ve known for years. If this is the case remember that you aren’t leaving on bad terms. You are simply going to support your family.
  4. The church as a whole is lukewarm or dead. Now God might have called you to be a spark at a dead church. You should do some serious praying and soul searching here. But there does come a point where a pastor and church takes it’s stand against God’s spirit and there is nothing that you as a member can do about it. If that’s you then leave.
  5. The Bible is not preached. This is different than heresy.
  6. You should leave when you can’t follow the senior leadership. Sometimes we just need a change. You can tell when you become extremely negative about blemishes. A blemishes is an imperfection that wouldn’t cause a preacher to get fired. If you are spreading negativity at your church then the first thing that you should do is STOP! Stop talking about what you don’t like. Stop spreading negativity to your friends. Negativity breads negativity and your words could destroy God’s work in someone else’s life at your church! You need to repent of your gossip and talking behind your pastors back and if after that you still find yourself being negative then you have permission to leave. Now this is dicey because if you have a spirit of negativity it will only become a matter of months before you start complaining about your new church. However if you are not normally a complainer and you can’t stop complaining then it’s probably time to leave. The reason you are feeling so much negativity might be because God is leading you elsewhere and that’s okay as long as you don’t bring a ton of baggage to your next church.
  7. You have moved too far away to drive to your church. In this day and age it is really easy to say that your church is still a church that is hundreds of miles away. Most churches at least have the audio of a sermon online. A lot of churches have videos. The problem is that you are not able to give back to a church when you are never able to attend. The church is more than preaching and singing. People are the church. The church misses out when they don’t get to benefit from your physical presence and what you bring to the table. If you are just soaking in the church from thousands of miles away then you need to leave. Find a local church that you can serve in and give back to.
  8. The church closes it’s doors or is about to. In a lot of areas in the Bible belt of America there are churches on every corner. A lot of those churches the members would define them as dying. I understand holding on. I would never want to give up too quickly, but at the same time your core group could be an awesome shot in the arm to another church. What if the 20 or 30 or 40 of you that are left went to a church and just blessed the mess out of them? Now you should be willing to come under the new churches vision and mission and not try to make them what you left. But there comes a point when the people of a dying church could bring life somewhere else and when you’ve exhausted every door and the church is still dying it might be time to leave and go bring life somewhere else.
  9. If the church doesn’t make it all about Jesus. If the preaching, worship, programs etc. primarily about something other than Jesus then it’s time to leave.
  10. God has called you. Sometimes there is nothing wrong at your church. Sometimes God has just called you to something new. Maybe new isn’t even better. Maybe it’s a new mission, a smaller church, a bigger church, or simply a different church. If God is calling you then you have permission to leave. Leave on the best terms that you possibly can. Just make sure that you’ve heard from God before you blame Him for your departure.

Now this isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s made up from my observations. Before you leave you should pray about it and seek God’s leading. I promise you that no pastor wants you if you are just going to bring drama and unresolved issues from your last church with your transfer. Please read: I’m not saying that you have to be healthy to go to a church. The church should be like a hospital birthing life and helping the spiritually sick. I’m talking about the drama of a being dysfunctional at church and then bringing that dysfunction into a new church. Don’t talk bad about your past church or pastor. Don’t leave one place filled with drama only to go to another place and create even more drama. Give the church some grace.

Some of you need the courage to stay when it would be easier to leave and others of you need to the courage to leave when it would be easier to stay. Seek God. Make a wise choice. Be a blessing to whatever church God leads you to.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this post. What are some other reasons you should leave a church? What do you agree or disagree with in my list?

Stay tuned tomorrow for Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Leave Your Church.

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

  • I agree 100% with your list. Another reason you should leave is if you are not being used where you feel you could be the most beneficial for your church. If you have God given skills/talents they need to be utilized. That being said, you should also be willing to “take one for the team” and let the church use you in areas where needed.

    • Joan, I agree as long as you’ve talk to the leadership about your gifts and talents. They may not be using you because they don’t know what you bring to the table.

      • Patrice

        What if the Pastor has told you more than once that he is going to use you but has not making excuses. Eventhough he has ordained you, completed the school of ministry at the church where he taught must of it. He uses others in the church who did not attend classes. Since being at the church I am discouraged and feel as if I have lost my purpose.

        • bobbie

          This is hard especially if one of your spiritual gifts is serving.If this is your gift, not being used is very frustrating. God gives us gifts to use, not to sit on. I know I had to move on when most of the ministries in our church were discontinued and there were very little areas to serve. Many left the church and we only ha about 40 people attending. The church could not support many ministries. I could not just sit there and do nothing.

  • Since I’m a pastor Rob, I have a “unique” take on your list. I agree with your thoughts. There was a point when I was between ministries & attending a church that was some of the above. The preaching was awful. The church was very traditional and old. We almost left but then the pastor resigned. Ironically, he told me I needed to apply. I did and was hired 5 months later. Suddenly my reasons were staring me in the face. the preaching was no longer awful. πŸ™‚ But the other reasons I gave took on a different perspective. Sadly, there were some changes in the 5 years but not enough for me. I left to pastor “my” current church. I am usually on the receiving end of “we are leaving.” But several stand out when people visit or talk about leaving their current church. #1, 2, 5 & 6 are big ones to me. That being said even those ought to be double checked to make sure it is not the person’s own agenda. This is a good post Rob.

    • Bill, I am so glad you commented on this. I love having another pastors opinion. Thanks!

      • tony baze

        do you think I should leave or stay ,my pastor allways correct me I feel the only way to have a talk with him everything that comes out of my mouth must be right and this is all the time , should I stay or go?

        • Tony, what do you feel you should do? Have you talked to him about how you feel? If you let him know how you feel and it doesn’t change then maybe you need to move on. Pray through all of it.

  • Danielle D.

    I like this post and wish I had read something like this sooner. Next month will mark 3 years since I started attending church on a regular basis. I left two churches and now at a third church. The reasons I left was because God rang and I knew that as I grew, needed a church that fit. Also #6 fit a little with one of them. I think #6 is so easy to do and something a lot of people have done (bad mouth blemishes of church). Every church is diff. and, as you, stated, will have imperfections. I totally agree on your of handling it. Stop gossiping and pray about. If still unhappy, perhaps your calling is elsewhere (which was my case)-God has a plan and everything has it’s reasoning.

    #3 kinda hit home. My parents were trying to get me to go to her church for eons. I went a few times-enough to know the pastors and members. The pastors even wanted me to come more often and participate but I just didn’t feel moved. When I did start going (another church), my mom came with me twice because she wanted to see where I was going. SHe said it was a good match for me and that was refreshing. A few friends that it was cool too.

    And I agree with Joan too.

    Looking forward to the other list.

    • Thanks Danielle! I was nervous about posting this. I didn’t want anyone to think I was recruiting people to leave a church. I just want people to seek Jesus and not make it all about themselves. Thanks for your comment.

  • I recently left a church because it had gotten too big, too impersonal, too much about style over substance. I am a sheep that needed a s(S)hepherd’s personal touch to help me along my path. It was absolutely the right decision for me and I have no regrets about leaving or going to where I go now.

    But, take away one more row of chairs on the right side of the auditorium and I will have to find another place (smiles).

    • Daniel, I saw what you did there with the Shepherd. Well played. Love having you at Next Level!

  • Doug

    Hi Rob —

    Great post today. Definitely food for thought. Looking forward to the follow up tomorrow.

  • Shay

    Awesome post Rob! You hit the nail on the head with all of your reasons. In order to leave a church you need to make sure it’s about “what Jesus wants” and not about “what I want.”

    When I got married I started going to the church my husband had went to for years, and it was awesome! Just what I needed and where I needed to be. After a year, I felt the call of God to serve full time there, so I quit my job (which was really scary) and went to work as the church’s youth director, as well as their Christian Education Administrator. I was so content, and happy knowing I was in the will of God for my life at the time. And so I served for two years.

    But you should never get too comfortable, and be ready to move when God says so. Things happened, things that biblically I could not support, and as hard as it was (we loved the people, and still do, that go there) we knew that God was saying go. We tried other churches, but we never felt the sense that this was where God wanted us. Until we found Next Level. God put us here, we are certain, and now we are just waiting with baited breath to see how God will use us for His service.

    Discerning the voice of God and not being afraid. Those I think are key to knowing which church family you should belong to.

    • Shay, I love having you and Time at Next Level. Making sure your decision is what Jesus wants is crucial. Thanks for sharing that.

  • I see that you did not have a picture of me to put in as the most beautiful man in the world. πŸ™‚ You have made a pretty good list of legitimate reasons to leave a church. A list that would be much longer and more depressing to read is “not good reasons that people leave a church.”

    • Phil, have you ever googled your name? It’s funny the pictures that have come up with my name. Oh and the reasons not to leave is coming tomorrow.

  • Mike Harper

    I find myself so down on the church at this moment that I may not be a fair judge of this…but right now these are the issues that have blocked me from connecting with the church:

    1. The church trying to make converts and not disciples(people need to grow in their faith)
    2. Church’s not preaching the bible..and instead preaching experiences(this matches your #5)
    3. Being unable to connect with the fellow church members as a fellowship(church is a body)

    • Mike, are you going anywhere now? Do you still live over in Norfolk? If so I’d love to try to connect you to some guys I know at some churches that might fit what you are desiring.

  • Good post. I have been part of a lukewarm church whose leader I couldn’t follow. I have been part of a church that had serious issues and no leadership. I left both, but took as much time as I could in leaving, six or seven years for one of them.

    • Larry, reading your posts it is clear that you love the local church and that you are looking to make it a home. Love your church posts. Keep up the great work.

  • Hmmm…those seem pretty solid reasons for me…

  • Jim

    Great Post. Powerful food for thought. Especially #9. When the church become more about tithing, and you dedicate a whole series to tithing. I understand tithing is an important for the church to function, however when it becomes an overbearing obsession it tends to sour the financially challenged and make them feel unworthy of Gods favor. Just my take….

    • Jim, one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory is Gospel by JD Greear. You should check it out. It is insightful. Let me know if you get a chance to read it.

  • A very timely post today Rob. I am currently going through some reservations about my own church. We will probably be getting a new Pastor in the next few weeks to replace the one that left over a year ago, so I am hanging in there right now to give him a chance. But I have to watch myself to not be critical and to be the cause of some of the disfunction that is happening. So #6 is a great reminder.

    • Sele, I hear ya. As a senior in high school I was a part of the interim search committee at my church. It was one of my first times seeing the disfunction that can happen at a church between leadership. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Kim Dean

    I agree with ALL of these reasons 100%. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was leave the church I had been at for 13 years. I knew I needed to leave and God was opening my eyes to so many reasons why. Probably 6 of the 10 reasons you named above BUT I was so resistant. Leaving was so out of my comfort zone. It was the only church I had ever known. The ONLY people I did life with for 13 years at least 3 or 4 days a week. I have always, always taken the easy road over the one less traveled. I had really started to make myself sick over the battle I was having with God. I was so angry that He opened my eyes after all the years BUT I can see so clearly now why. Makes me cry just thinking about it all. I am so thankful I left and it sure has made me much less resistant to His leading. I don’t need that brick to hit me as much or as hard! πŸ™‚

    • Kim, I hear ya on needing that brick. I like that it was a struggle. Too many people leave and don’t pray or struggle. You have a great heart and I think that God has honored the way you handled things.

  • This is a solid list. A few things:

    1)I’ve been working in my church’s office for a couple years now. We’re a small church (150-200 people on Sunday mornings) so when I’m in the office it’s just me and the pastor. Because of that I’ve gotten to learn a lot about what goes on in churches and why people leave. Too often the publicly stated reason isn’t the whole truth — if it’s part of the truth at all. It’s weird how often people will offer a righteous-sounding reason that the pastor knows is just a smokescreen. If you’re going to leave, be honest. If you can’t in good conscience state your REAL reason to the church leadership, maybe you should reexamine your attitude and your motives. Maybe the problem isn’t with the church.

    2)What drives me crazy is when people say they’re leaving because the church doesn’t offer x or y. Hey, you know what? If it’s a good church and you’re disappointing it doesn’t offer a program or something you wish it did, don’t leave. STEP UP AND MAKE IT HAPPEN. If it’s that important to you, then you should be willing to be proactive and to fill the need to make your church better and to serve others in the church who might benefit from what you think the church should offer. If you’re not willing to give that a shot, then go back to the end of point 1. I’ve seen several people leave my church because they said it didn’t offer something they wanted. In every single instance there were other reasons they were trying to avoid stating.

    (It’s a whole different topic if you do try to launch whatever it is you think the church is missing and the leadership declines to support it. I’m not talking about people who actually try to do things. I’m talking about passive church members who complain about what isn’t there but never try to fill the need. There are a lot of those everywhere.)

    (Also, regarding the first sentence of that last paragraph, be open to acknowledging that the leadership could have good reasons for declining to support a new program. Just because you want it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do — and just because the church doesn’t have something you want doesn’t mean that it’s not still the right church for you.)

    3)I’ve been a part of only two churches in my life. I went to another church (about half an hour away) for a few years but ended up coming back to the church I grew up in (five minutes away). I moved to the other church because I was in my mid-20s and I had a solid group of friends most of whom went to that church. I was chasing that group of peers. I’m reluctant to say I say I regret my time there — it’s a fine church — but after a few years I noticed pretty much all of those friends had gone elsewhere and I was still driving half an hour (two towns away) to try to be a part of church that was nowhere near the town I spent the rest of my week in. I realized it’s hard to really be a part of the church when nothing is nearby — I’m a small-town guy who’s built to live in a relatively small world. Trying to be a part of a church where every single group or event had me driving 30 minutes one way just didn’t work. And then I realized my childhood church had an awesome pastor (HOORAY EXPOSITIONAL PREACHING) and was right down the road, so I went back and I’m still there. (In fact, I’m in the church office as I’m typing this.)

    I guess the first two points would be more relevant to the why NOT to leave your church list, but they were in my head now so I typed them. Deal with it.

    • Burrill, dealt with. I wish more church attenders would volunteer in the office. It would open their eyes. Thanks for your thoughts!

      • It would be hilarious if more people spent time in their church offices. For the record, I’m not a volunteer — I’m an employee. I didn’t want people thinking I’m more noble than I really am…

  • Gayle

    I think you need to connect to the pastor. They are your spiritual mentor and there does need to be a connection. (at least for me). I went to a church back home for years and always loved it and the people. The pastor left and they got a new one. There was something about him that grated on my nerves. I did not like to listen to him and found myself focused on how he was saying something instead of what he was saying. He was kinda creepy. I guess alot of people agreed with me, because he didn’t last long there. πŸ™‚

    • Gayle, I do agree that a connection plays a part. I would advise if anyone asked my opinion to make sure that prayer is involved. We are human so going to a church where there is no connection doesn’t make sense. But to leave a church before giving the new guy a chance I would advise against.

  • sirvhim

    So…not trying to Jesus juke on this one…

    “I promise you that no pastor wants you if you are just going to bring drama and issues with your transfer.”

    …but I think about the drama that must have come with some of Jesus’ followers, those “sinners” as some folks called them. The church is a place for broken people, hospitals are for the sick, to some extent we all bring drama wherever we go.

    But I think I get your heart and see what you mean by it, reminds of that song line “everywhere you go, there you are”, sometimes the issues are internal but we think the problems lie with those around us. Good thoughtful post brother.

    • Sirvhim, thank you for your thoughts. I wish I would have clarified. If a person is leaving for drama reasons that are from blemishes a pastor isn’t going to get excited about having a new person but they left because their last church didn’t do something minor that they caused drama about. That’s different than bringing the life issues or personal drama. At least it is in my mind. When a broken person (we are all broken and being mended) comes to church I get excited. The least of these, the hurt, the down and out that are looking for hope are always welcomed. Does that help clarify?

  • Troy

    #10 is hard, at least for me. My wife always tells me I don’t take clues! When I’m struggling to hear from God I tend to want that big neon direction sign or the big “James Earl Jones voice” to tell me what to do.

    Good list Rob.

    • Troy, if you get a chance listen to the talk that I did last week at Next Level. It’s Risk Part 1. I talk about wanting to hear that booming voice of God but getting nothing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you get a chance.

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  • Sean Coleman

    Finding a church has been one of the most interesting ordeals in my christian experience.

    For starters- I have never been able to Google a church. I’ve tried (many times) but any church that has impacted me in a significant way, has not been found on my own accord.

    This isn’t the case for everyone- but I think God has to demonstrate to me that His church/people will be found His way.

    I also found it interesting that it took me a total of about 1 Sunday to decide when a church wasn’t for me, and multiple Sundays to decide when a church was.

    I’ve only ever left 1 church voluntarily- and that was a rough call. Much wrestling with God over why He would take me out of my precious comfort zone πŸ™‚ Reason- wife was not as on board with the church as I was at the time. I couldn’t (and still can’t) handle us not being equally passionate about the church we attend. Looking back on the process- it’s one of the more clear and easily observable movements of God doing something in my life. I definitely think He HAS to be involved with the process!

  • Lynne

    I agree with your list! My family and I are about to leave our chuch that we have went to faithfully for 6 years. Half of your list(2,4,5,6,&10) describes why we are leaving! First of all we got a new childrens pastor about three years ago. When she first came she was and is still hard to get to know. She is very outspokken and wants everthing to be her way or no way at all. If you make suggestions she does the total opposite. My family and I have tried so hard to get to know her and help her. In fact me and teenage daughter watched her child the summer before last,while she worked at church her two days, and didnt charge her because we believe doing all we can to help out our church family. My daughter is a childrens helper and is on the puupet team, which the childrens pastor is over.Last year they made it to nationals to compete for a whole week. Well we saw a very ugly side to her that I never want to see again. My husband comfronted her because everyone was tired of how she was acting. He realized he didnt confront her in the best way and apologized even after she had came back and told our pastor a totally different story. Since last year she has taken her anger out on our daughter because she doesnt like us. My daughter, which is 16, is very on fire for God! At two we would here her in her room talking to herself, when we would ask her she would say she was talking to God and He was talking to her. He would tell her stories and verses from the bible. We didnt go to church at that time. He told hershe would be called into childrens ministry. Since last year her childrens pastor has put her down and made her feel not worthy and even to the point where she has fear of coming to church because she doesn’t know how she would be treated. She endured it for so long because she loves working with the kids. We have been praying about it for a year now and never felt release from our church until recently.When my husband went to tell our pastor that we was leaving in a month or until we wouldnt put the church in a bind because we all have different areas we serve in at our church. He told him that God had released us and about the childrens pastor which my husband and another member of church had already talked to him a year ago about how she acted and really didnt listen to what they had to say because she was part of staff. As soon as my husband said her name our pastor said before you say anything else I’m going to defend her. And told us we were just being offended and that we were making a mistake. For a month now he’s been doing a series on fear and this Sunday he says that he feels lead to preach on being offended and how you shouldn’t hurt God’s annointed. And my daughter and I had nursery that day which the childrens pastor comes and takes her kids out of because she didn’t want us to watch them and everyone is giving us the cold shoulder. You talking about hurting, we are so hurt by this! All we’ve done the whole weekend is cry! The pastor and his wife was not only our pastors but our friends! He and my husband had been to Africa together on a mission trip. We know God has called us to leave and we have peace about that but it HURTS knowing that our pastor has always preaced about coming to him with problems and several times we did, he makes it look like its our fault! We tried to leave in the right way.I know God will take care of us and lead us to where we need to be!! I dont have hatred for any of them and I wish the church nothing but the best but we have lost all respect for him!! Are we wrong in being like that?

    • Rob

      Lynne, So sorry to read about your story. That’s tough! Pastors are humans and I understand him wanting to defend his staff. Church staff are attacked constantly so it’s hard to know where constructive criticism is coming from. I wish that they listened or the outcome could be different. I don’t think you are wrong for leaving. It’s a new season for you. I hope that you can plug into a new church and find grace and restoration.

    • henry adams

      Blessings and Greetings to you my dearest sister in christ.(LYNNE ) I am not one to advise people but i have experienced what you are going thru. At times on this journey the lord has to give us a slight nudge, it may come form friends loved ones or even our pastors friends or another saint of GOD. I do believe in my heart the lord has bigger and better things and works for you and your family to do for him.. So i must say to you yes leave- but do it on good terms The lord opens doors for us and all we have to do is walk in .. but we being of free willed and minds have to be coerced a bit. Yes trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding and he ( THE LORD ) will direct thy path.. do be blessed of the lord and continue to grow in him and his word and in his deeds

  • Diana

    I agree with your list. What happens when your husband has been a member for 30 years and does not want to leave (he has held a position of leadership for all the time I have been with him). I met him at church, we have been together for 18 years. 2, 4, 6, 9 & 10 all apply to my situation on your list! I have spent 4 years praying about this and just finished Breaking Free from Beth Moore and I have left this church. My husband is fine with me taking a break, but members from the church are blasting me saying that I am not being submissive or a Proverbs 31 woman. I respond in love and have peace as I go to other churches. This is not a hasty decision…I walk closely with Jesus…daily!! Just would like to know your perspective.

  • Malyssa

    I left my Church that I was a member @ for 5 years, I am a Single Mother, I was in the Leadership for 3 years that I was there, I prayed and fasted for many months before I made my decision to leave. It was very hard on My Children and Me. The Pastor’s Wife was always slandering people and Lying about people, and saying hurtful things to people to make them leave. It really bothered me, I prayed about it, I talked to the Pastor about it many times, and nothing changed. I even had a meeting with the Pastor , his wife and an Elder, and in that meeting I felt like the enemy himself came up against me, I was told in the meeting that I was the accuser of the Brethran, I was prideful and I didnt hear God’s Voice. I was asked to step down off of leadership, but I had already made the decision to leave, and that is why we had the meeting. I feel like God gave me an ok to leave. I felt like He wanted me to leave because the leadership was operating in Control and Munipulation, along with many other things! Was I wrong by leaving?

    • Rob

      Malyssa, I don’t think you were wrong. If that was going on it sounds like you did what was Biblical and tried to talk to the source. I hope that you don’t let that situation scar you from plugging into another church. Are you at a church now?

    • henry adams

      No I feel you were not wrong for leaving you see GOD is not the author of confusion and niether does he tempt any man ..He wants us to serve him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of Holiness. We all know who the accuser of the brethran is lucifer.The lord wants us to be joyful in our service and devotion to him.. Enter to his gates with praise aand be happy when we come to service and show the smile on our faces ,, I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the lord.The holy aspirit will lead us and giude us into all truths he will not have you ignorant follw him be happy serve the lord and live

  • Comfy

    I have read and understood your point above.But i have an issue at hand that i would like my mind cleared on.My husband is the choir leader in our choir.I am one of the chorister.we have being faithfu to the church in a ways even when some members feels that it is not their job.i and my husband always make sur that things are in other in the church and they is aware of these things!But right now! i dont feel like going to that church anymore.Ther are many things that has happened in the past but my husband being humble personality would wiave it aside.recently my husbnad got a new job in another city and we all as a family had to move with him.it was around this time that rumours came from the pastor’s wife she said somebody told her dat my husband has a different mission associated with adultery ,dat is why he is movig to another city.i trusted my husband.she said many untruthful things about my husband.when the time i demanded to know who told her these evil things about my husband,to my surprise she denied it,saying it was a reveletion.i was sad,annoyed and down hearted.My husband being the gentle type took every cool with them,two months after, it was the pastor that came to my husband and was telling that ‘somebody told him dat my husband impregnated a wowan and my husband got upset about this and demanded to see who is spreadind this rumour about him again the pastor said my hsuband shoul forget about it.I husband now cannot take it anymore he has stopped going to the church.we are highly dissapointed in the pastor and his wife becoe they open thier door to rumours.we fell dat we can not worship in a place where the pastor’s wife is the carrier of rumousrs ,when u demanded to see the gossips they tell you it is not biblical.do you think it is a enough reason to leave the church?As for me i am not comfortable worshipping there anymore .thanks

  • Ashley

    I like this post until I got to the bottom where it said something along the line if u bring baggage and drama than no pastor wants you. Im not sure when it became the pastor’s choice in Christ church. God says to love the difficult, weap whn they weap, pray for each other… Im very fed up with pastors calling the church “My church”. It should be built on Christ not on man and therefore Christs church.

    • Rob

      Ashley, I meant that different than it read. What I meant is if you bring drama from your past church and start trouble at your new church. I was not talking about life drama or personal drama. The church should be a hospital for the sick. I hope that helps what I was trying to say.

      • Ashley Headrick


        Are you saying church drama is in someway different? Are these sinners you speak of some how worse? Are they is someway the “untouchables” of the church? I’m not sure where you get to judge that. God says welcome all from in the streets. Can you see you have a predisposition to reject those hurt in the church?

        • Ashley, still not what I’m implying. I’m saying things like a person who finds negativity at their church stirs a bunch of trouble, and then brings that to the new church. Not at all trying to judge. More I’m saying that all churches have issues and if you have an issue with the church work on that issue and try not to bring that specific drama to your next church.

          • Ashley

            All Im saying is no matter what your struggle Jesus says come as you are, wounded and broken, negative and pessimistic and He will make you whole. You dont wait til your fixed u go to the hospital to get well. I think we should have love for those who.come bitter and negative. For Gods love covers a multitude of sin.

  • Chris Clifton

    I have been at a Church for about 10 years or so and I feel that I am spirtually dying. Our Church has financial issues and our Pastors wife is not a Christian. Several of our Leaders have mostly the passion for having a title rather than being there for what they should be there for. If I do not feel the presence of God and feel as I am spiritually dying, should I find another Church?

    • Rob

      Chris, I think that you are safe to find another church. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, but if this is going on at your church then quietly go find a church that has more integrity. I pray you find what you are looking for.

    • henry adams

      Well you see now when it comes down to the churh being spirtually dead stagnat The members whom the lord has laid this upon their hearts ( you see the lord has shown to you what must needs to be changed what is not right and not in order ) need to fast and pray and seek the lord’s face, prayers will conquer the enemy. The lord has ordained the church to be for the healing of the land/ nations. We must pray for our leaders those who have rule over us in the lord . For they are still in the human flesh. Still prone to fail/fall. the strong must hold up the weak. You wil be very surprised and what spiritual growth the fast and prayer does. I suggest you try it before leaving

  • Ashley

    Yea well whatever type of baggage it is, evn if its resentful.church baggage, people need healing. Why not stop and look at the issue the same way? God is healer and author of fellowship just love the person and pray for them. Im sure they want nothing more than to be successful in the body of Christ or they wouldnt be bak trying to start ovr but a little plagued by the hurt.. Maybe a little leprosy ya kno? I kno because Ive felt it. Ive had a Past pastor yell “Submit to me!”.over and over in my face before with my husband there. Ive had people betray me in church leadership and pretend to be my friend. Yeah Ive had scars but I still love and want to seek God like he designed us to.

  • Kenny

    I do agree.

    I am the worship leader at my church and I love leading people into the presents of God (and that never gets old). I once was able to see where the churches vision, and was excited about it. But later came I started feeling like I was part of a “plan” if you will and not a ministry..

    It has left me confused and not being able to see the positive…

    Am I doing the right thing and sticking it out and praying or is it time for me to move on?… It’s become so frustrating to the point of tears to know to stay or not…

    I don’t want to be Abraham and push for a son that god has promised me and “sleep with a servant” but to be completely patient

    What would be your advice?

    • Rob

      Kenny, the Bible talks about that there is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. It sounds like your season may be up at your church. Now if you can have an honest conversation with your pastor to let him know how you feel it might help. I don’t know all the details of your situation or where you are at. I do know that when people stay too long and don’t talk to someone who can do something about the frustration it leads to all sorts of bad things. If you have the type of relationship with your pastor where you can have a heart to heart and he won’t get offended then I’d try that. Pastor’s can be sensitive. If it’s past that or if it’s just a difference in vision or leadership style then feel free to move on. Don’t feel bad about your season ending. Leave the best way you know how.

  • Jean

    After 32 years in our church my husband & I are planning on leaving. This has been a gut wrenching decision for us. My husband has served as a deacon for about 20 years and I have been very active myself serving in various leadership positions. We are serving under our 3rd pastor who has been there for about 8 years. His son is our associate pastor and has been there for about 10 years (he was originally hired by our previous pastor as youth pastor). When the 2nd pastor left the associate pastor’s father was hired as head pastor. I was concerned there might be a conflict of interest because of the father/son team. Well after 8 years our membership has dropped to below forty members. We are so in debt and can not afford to pay two full time pastor’s salaries. The board has brought this up and the pastor will not ask his son to step down or go on part time. Our pastor keeps asking for sacrificial offerings to keep the doors open, but this is only a bandage on a large gaping wound. We no longer support missionaries and are no longer giving our required church tithe to our district office. Our associate pastor works part time now outside of the church which at times conflicts with working at the church, but he still gets paid as if he is full time. His outside job takes precedence over his pastor position and rarely comes into the church to work. I have gotten so negative about our church condition and our finances. We tithe and give offerings. We have participated in the “sacrificial offering” appeals. We love this church and we have been praying and hoping for church growth. On the positive, our pastor is a very good teacher and we have grown under his leadership, but our growing debt and declining membership is becoming too heavy of a burden to carry. We love our Pastor’s , but ignoring the elephant in the room, is not going to solve our problems. I hate to leave the people we have grown to know and love over these years but we can feel we can no longer serve here and be effective for the kingdom.

  • Shaun

    These are all good reasons & were very helpful.

    What do I do when my personal relationship has bled over to the ministry? Because of some choices on my Pastors part & mine I no longer trust, have faith or can hear what is being said or taught. Not open to receive anything given.

    • Rob

      Shaun, then it might be time to go. Go with grace. Pray for wisdom. Best of luck to you.

  • Shaun

    Ok πŸ™ but what if my husband isn’t ready to leave? I don’t want to be out of order & I don’t want cause separation in our home. Please help… In so much turmoil over this.

    • Rob

      Shaun, have you talked to your husband about it? If so then you bear it out till he’s ready to change. Maybe join a small group or Bible study through another church so you can have a taste of what you are looking for.

      • Shaun

        Wanted to thank you for reminding me to be obedient. GOD will give my husband direction on how to lead our family, not me. As of this past week my husband has determined that the church we belong to is no longer where we need to be. We have an exit plan, which consist of training & some other things, so we don’t leave the ministry in a bad way. The best part about it is that we are leaving because of biblical reasons, not because of my emotions. Feels good to be obedient, if it was up to me.. We would have left a long time ago & forfeited our blessings.

  • Burdick320

    Thank you for this and thank you for #6!!!!
    Would love your thoughts on a pastor led church as we have been members and very involved in our church for 7 years which is pastor led and have started seeing some issues surface. Not saying we have #2 issues but have some struggles and are praying about where God wants us to be.

  • Jean

    So after 32 years at our church, we are leaving (reasons about). We sat down with the pastor and his wife and shared all the reasons we were leaving (in love). They were crushed. They tried to convince us to stay because they felt we are vital to the church’s future. We said we couldn’t stay. We prayed together before the end of our meeting. My question is, how do you respond to those in the church who will ask why we left. After 32, people are going to wonder what really happened. Do you let fellow board members know, if they ask? How do you go about finding the right new church? I don’t want to be hasty, but yet I just want to get involved and get to work. What do you tell the new pastor? I’m sure they will wonder what caused us to leave after 32 years.

  • Carla

    I am 28 and I just moved back home to Baltimore from New York and I am having a hard time connecting with my childhood church. I feel that my church in New York really helped me grow spiritually, I was even recently baptism there but with my childhood church home, I just don’t feel at ease. And it might have to do with the fact that both of my parents are now servicing in the church. My father is a deacon and my mother is a church mother. Since I have been home- about a month- there have been numerous occasions where I haven’t been going to church in the best spirits. Right now, I was on my way to church until my father said something to me in the car and I told him to take me back home. So in the first time in about 2 years, I have missed a church service.

    I feel like I am being judge more on my attending church then if I didn’t attend. I think because my parents now have positions in the church, they are so concerned about me and my attire then my actual attending church. I am always rushed out the door to get to church when my father stops to play the lottery before church, today I had on slacks and a blouse and my father goes, the Pastor is going to say something about your two buttons undone. And I’m like what? I feel like they are trying to get me to become a nun and all is see is a much of hypocrites and people who are judging me.

    If I didn’t attend church, would I be judge? Would I have to see my father playing the lottery before going to church? My church in New York was bigger and yet I was active in the church and I just felt really good about going there by myself without having my parents judging me, being worried about my Pastor saying something to me- because who knows if he was going to do? My father just assumed that he was. I just feel like I want to worship and serve God without having people close to me judge me and then be hypocrites.

    I told my father, I think it’s time I found a new church home where I felt more comfortable. I’m not interested in being judge because of my parents position especially when I am a grown woman. I don’t know what to do.

  • Kristen

    My husband and I joined a church a few months ago and everything was going well until one night at Bible Study. The pastor was teaching and told us that he was paying for his younger sister to go to college a few years ago, and his sister got pregnant out of wed-lock and he said that he prayed that God kill the baby because it was from an unholy union. His sister miscarried and he felt that it was Gods will. He stated that he has not spoken to his sister since. This bothered me and my husbands spirit because even though his sister got pregnant, that is between her and God. That child was innocent and I feel he had no right to speak a curse over her because she didn’t do it Gods way. We as individuals have to work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling and because of her choices he should have shown her love instead of cutting her off. What is your take on this?

    • Bobbie

      I’d say run, don’t walk, find a new church!

    • Ashley H

      Speak a curse? That is ridiculous when you have the Lord by your side. That child’s death has nothing to do with your pastor. God knew for the moment that child was concieved how many days it would live here on Earth. I find it overbearing and ridiculous that the pastor thinks he can control God and condemn others. Do you know how many people would be dead if you could just curse someone dead? That is crazy. This pastor does not understand the Grace of God at all.

  • kt

    Thank you for your article. It’s been two and half years since God made it abundantly clear that we were to leave our church family. He uprooted us and even though it was incredibly hard, heart-breaking and painful, I knew it was His protection.

    I was also on staff for 11 years and was under strict muzzle in order to receive my severance. But of course that time has passed and I chose to be the godly person and not spread my grievance and concerns, believing God’s will would prevail.

    However, I find myself still struggling with what I know is continuing at this church. I just heard from another wounded former member and I’m wondering if there was more I needed to do.

    My heart is breaking for the many wounded people as well as my former pastors who will be held even more accountable for what they are allowing.

  • happy

    I need help I’m so confused. My family and I moved to another state because we felt God wanted us to and it would be better for our family. It was not a easy move at all financially but we were all in it together and happy. My husband was working but we were still struggling the my husband’s boss told him of a local church that offered free food so we decided to go. We loved it everyone was so nice. We continued to go because we really liked the preaching. Shortly after my husband was laid-off from his job the preacher offered us side work at a ” church owned store” the pay was only $25 a day but we did what we had to. My husband found another job and is working and I agreed to stay at church store but now that I am so involved and learning the preachers personal life I am finding that I don’t like him or a lot of the things he does. He talks about everyone and talks about things that preachers shouldn’t talk about. I don’t think. He always makes it like if you go against a man of god ” himself” bad things will happen. He talks like his way is the only way and the right way. Sometimes he has sermons that are right but not as much anymore. Anyway recently I wanted to leave the store for a better job and more money to help my struggling family and well he kept saying well do you wanna serve god or work somewhere else and well I wanna serve god but I also need to help my family financially. He basically manipulated me and I stayed. Recently bad things have been happening to us and I am wondering if its cause I doubt my preacher or cause god is trying to tell me to go somewhere else??

    • Ashley H

      Pastors are not perfect people. The Bible directs them not to “Lord” over people. They are no more annointed nor have any more access to the Holy Spirit than anyone else. Just like the average person pride is something they struggle with. People serve the Lord in different ways and it does not have to be through a church store. The biggest way to serve the Lord is how you live your life to love and tell other’s about Christ’s love. If the store is an opportunity to share the gospel with someone than maybe it’s a good thing. I don’t think God is punishing you for going against “a man of God” as if he is better than someone else. We are all equal before God and our gifts are just as important to God’s kingdom as the next. I would ask your husband what he thinks about it and I would follow his leading. God Bless!

    • Bobbie

      There is a big difference big difference between being critical of the pastor and speaking about inconsistencies you see in his Christian walk. I don’t see that you have a critical spirit (which could bring problems in your life),in regards to you pastor. Pastor’s should strive to live Godly and holy lives, but it appears your Pastor if failing here. You should be under leadership of someone whose life is above reproach. See Titus 1.
      In regards to getting a job that can help support your family, I say go for it. You can serve God while working outside the church. Both you and your husband should pray about you getting a job and be in agreement.
      For four years my husband and I felt we were to go to another church, but stayed because the pastor kept telling us that we were pillars in the church and our leaving would be detrimental to the health of the church which was struggling to keep the doors open. We stayed on because we felt sorry for the Pastor and didn’t want to hurt him. God made those four years very difficult for us until we finally decided to leave after 31 years. Sometimes God makes situations difficult in order to get us to go in the direction He has for us. Sometimes we just don’t move on because it is still somewhat comfortable.This could be the case with you. The fact that you are on this site tells me you might be looking for confirmation in what your heart is already telling you. May God make things very clear for both you and your husband.

      • Ashley

        Hi Bobbie, there is a couple of things I would like to address here. First of all we should all be striving to live a Holy Life by first seeking the kingdom of God, this is not an exculsive command. Second, we can not clearly judge here if the Holy Spirit has convicted him, we should pray for that. Third, Holiness is not achieved alone but through the power and presence of God in our lives.
        β€œAnd you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”
        Col 1:21-2 I dont see where the Bible says we make ourselves consecrate and above reproach. In short above reproach appears to mean covered in the blood of Jesus and walking in faith.
        And then there is –
        Phillipians2:13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars”

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  • Madness

    Rob, I’m an assistant pastor at my church, and I was one of the guys who basically started this branch of our ministry (it was me and a friend). In the country of the main church, its a mega church, with the pastor on TV and all that.. Here, where I am, its not as big.. About 230 members.

    For a few years now, I’ve been through a lot of abuse at the hands of my leaders. Correction here just means judgement for the next few years, and no matter what I’ve done, I haven’t been recognised for it (mind you I dropped out of varsity to be a pastor here).

    It has been a nightmare for me, but I believed the saying “if God hasn’t said anything, you shouldn’t leave”. Whilst I do believe in hearing God, I think that statement can be damaging where there are obvious reasons like the ones you’ve stated.
    It also kinda negates things like discernment, where you can pick up the weird stuff, but you still have to just watch and wait.

    I’m seeing us go the direction of many churches, and preach good advice instead of good news.. Where scripture is used to justify pop psychology, and altar calls are made when the Gospel hasn’t been preached.

    At some point, I was cool with this, clearly… But as I studied and grew, I realised we are FAR off the mark.

    I’d love to believe I could make a difference, but the way I’ve been treated is really telling that I’d never even be allowed to.. And any “difference” I make is seen as disobedience or rebellion (popular terms in my circles).

    So I’ve decided to leave.

    My contribution to your list?

    When you know you won’t be allowed to express what God has placed in you, it time to go.

    Pray that I receive restoration as I search for a new home.

  • Today I am speaking to my pastor of leaving .
    I have been a member for 30 + years
    And I have seen the ups and downs . But alas the spirit has become luke warm and the relationships gone cold.

  • Randy Blunt

    Good list, thanks for that. I echoed some of these in a response I wrote to the popular “5 Really Bad Reasons to Leave Your Church” article that was of Relevant mag fame. Love to have you give it a read: http://crisisquest.com/6-good-reasons-to-leave-your-church-guest-author/

  • laura

    is it a valid reason to leave if your spouse had an affair with another church member? I cannot stand to be in the same room with her. I want to worship God in peace.

    • Laura, I would find another service time or church. That’s a tough one. I’m sorry you are going through that.