Rob Buckingham's Blog

Five Bad Reasons to Leave a Church

Let’s be honest, while there are some good reasons for leaving a church, there are a lot more bad ones. As a pastor, I hear some of them every now and again. Here are five really bad reasons to leave a Church:

1. “I’m not being fed”

As a pastor with a teaching gift I take my job of feeding God’s people VERY seriously. But there are also lots of other things vying for my time: managing staff, meeting needs, putting out fires and developing leaders – all while overseeing the overall vision and direction of the church. Years ago a man in our church had a vision. He saw adults sitting in baby highchairs with a dummy in their mouth. God showed him that many Christians are like that – big babies who still cry every time they want someone else to feed them.

To leave a church because you’re not getting “enough” is a cop out. Your primary call in the church is to contribute, not just to consume. As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others. Remember, your call is not just to be a disciple but also to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)

2. “It’s getting too big”

I can appreciate the sense of loss that accompanies growth. When Bayside Church began 22 years ago we were a small band of Christians who could all fit into one living room. It feels very different now that we are a large church spread across multiple services & sites. There are moments when I miss the intimacy and simplicity of those early days. But remaining small is a sad and unbiblical goal.

When churches are faithful to the Great Commission, lives will be changed and people will be added to their number. Growth is inevitable for faithful and healthy churches. If you have a problem with big churches, you really wouldn’t have liked the first church, and you definitely won’t like heaven.  Instead of seeing size as a negative, learn to appreciate all the variety and influence that a big church can achieve.

3. “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached”

Guess what? Neither do I and I’m the pastor. As such I fully reserve the right to disagree with myself. And every now and then I do exactly that, because I’m learning, growing & asking questions, and my hope is that you are doing the same. I trust the pulpit at Bayside Church to our team members & visiting ministries and I don’t always agree with everything that is said or the way they say it but, unless it is rank heresy, I just let it slide because we’re all learning and growing together.

Chances are you are not going to agree with everything that is preached anywhere. We need to learn to disagree on secondary issues.

4. “My Needs Aren’t Being Met”

People who use this as an excuse to leave a church have bought into the lie that, when it comes to church, it’s really all about “me.” Here’s the problem: the Church actually isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus. It’s His Church. He came for it. He died for it. He redeemed it. He continues to build it. And one day, He’ll come back for it. It’s His.

This is the same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost and then commissioned his Church to go and do the same. The Church doesn’t just exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the others. Put away the shopping trolley and pick up a shovel!

5. Unresolved Conflict

This is the number one reason people leave a church and of course wherever you find imperfect people you will find conflict. The Church is one big family full of characters and misfits. Sometimes sisters argue and brothers fight. But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard.

Paul addressed a lot of church conflict in his letters. Nowhere do we hear him encouraging believers to bail on one another or move on down the road to a different church where it’ll be easier. Instead, much of his letters are his encouraging and coaching these ragamuffin communities in how to do this very hard and messy thing together.

One of the key aspects of the gospel is forgiveness and reconciliation. How will we ever demonstrate these things to the world if we don’t practice them ourselves?

Based on an article written by Aaron Loy in Relevant Magazine

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