So I have talked a lot about not leaving your church but how do you know when it is time for a change or when God may be preparing you for a new church body. How do you help your church body deal with your loss. Here are some biblical principles for you to consider.
If you are a casual observer in church most of these principles will not apply to you with exception of #1. I would encourage you to get involved with a ministry at your local church and serve your brothers and sisters. It's time to realize that you are important to the spiritual growth of others and it's time to do your part. It can be simple such as volunteering for nursery, preparation of communion, or being a greeter. Don't know who to talk to get involved, try your church secretary or pastor. Church should never be something you just attend.
1. Do not leave out of anger or resentment. Your relationships should have time to heal after a hurt or misunderstanding. Part of growing in Christ is becoming patient with others. You should be able to pray the best for the person or persons who harmed you. You should be able to serve them gladly.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.2. Your responsibilities and authority are given to another person whom you train for your job. Full-fill your promises and jobs. You are part of a body and if you cut off your support suddenly the church may fall underneath the weight of your loss. Training up a person for your job should have started early in your ministry. Part of leadership is learning to delegate responsibility. By delegating these tasks you are training for your job using one or more people. You are grafting them in by use of your relationship with them and shared responsibility.
Romans 12:4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
3. Dust off your shoes. Sometimes you have done everything possible to help and not harm your church family. You have preached the Bible to them and they have refused to hear or change even when they agree with you that there is a problem. You have provided them with a plan to change behaviors or the behavior of another and they refused to implement it or take action. Yes, there is such a thing as church politics and traditions but doing what is right biblically should not be held captive because of it.
Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.4. You are at peace with the leaving this church and with God. Sometimes we want to leave but God is telling us to wait a little longer. If you cannot carry on your relationship with God while you are planning on leaving you are just not ready to leave yet. Both you and your spouse should also be in agreement for the change. You will often have a spirit of "knowing" from the Holy Spirit. It's as if God himself is telling you to go and opening the doors for you. It's a little scary and exciting at the same time as the consuming fire of God and his message burns within you. You are being lead to a new mission field and a new place to grow with God.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Luke 10:27 He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.5. Needs of your immediate family. Sometimes health issues and spiritual issues arise in your family and in order to fulfill your obligations to them you have to look elsewhere or move. While God is your first priority your immediate family is to come second. Sometimes it doesn't require a move to a new church but to add a venue to your existing schedule. For example: Simply add a weekly bible study class or awana type program for your kids to attend along with your normal Sunday morning activities. If your church doesn't offer them look for ones close to you that do. The church isn't just your church you attend on Sunday, it is a part of a much larger body.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.It is my hope that your decision to change your church family is not one taken lightly but one where you have considered other options. Here are a few of my other posts on the topic.
Did you break up with your church?
Are you playing Hide and Seek with God?