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#1 Nakia

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:26 PM

That sounds like a silly question. I can hear Doran now, "Just walk out the dang door!". :lol:

But, seriously, how do you leave a church? We started attending our current church, a Church of God, about 8 years ago. Our oldest was barely one at the time. All my children have always gone to this church. But we just feel like God is calling us to find another church. There haven't been any problems in our church. In other words, there are absolutely no hard feeling, on our part. We went to a Baptist church before, and when we left we didn't say a word, just pretty much walked out and never went back. No one ever called or asked why we left. But I did leave that church with hurt feelings so I wasn't surprised that no on followed up with us.

Anyway, we aren't sure whether we need to sit down and talk to the pastor. Our church is very small, so it is noticed when we aren't there. I've had a few phone calls from people I am close with, and they know what's going on. I'm just not sure what we need to do. There is not "letter transfer" as there is with a Baptist church. We have been attending a non-denominational church, and we love it there, so we will see!

I would just like to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

#2 Photo Ninja

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:33 PM

I think it would be appropriate to talk to the pastor and let him know what is going on. You have been part of that church for 8 years, and have no hard feelings, and others in the church will notice you are not there. If you don't talk to the pastor (at least to him), it is very possible that the rumor mill will start moving and there could be wrong assumptions made about why your family has left. I think the pastor would appreciate you letting him know. Then he won't be wondering if something happened to offend you, or whatever. Communication is good in situations like this.

#3 Mommyof4ks

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:44 PM

I agree. Talk to the pastor and just let him know that there are no hard feeling, and you feel God is leading you elsewhere.

#4 KidsHappen

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:46 PM

I can hear Doran now, "Just walk out the dang door!". :lol:


That was my first thought. :001_smile:

#5 Word Nerd

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:52 PM

For me, it depends on the church and the situation and there isn't a single across-the-board answer. Based on what you described here, I would meet with the pastor before leaving.

#6 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:52 PM

I talked with the exit pastor before I talked with the new church pastor about joining. I thought that not to do that would have been tacky. Like you, I was in a good church, but not a good fit. I was happy to tell him how much I liked the church even though I was leaving. It was hard to make the appointment and hard to follow through, but it was the right thing to do and I'm glad I did it.

#7 MamaT

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:00 PM

I think it would be appropriate to talk to the pastor and let him know what is going on. You have been part of that church for 8 years, and have no hard feelings, and others in the church will notice you are not there. If you don't talk to the pastor (at least to him), it is very possible that the rumor mill will start moving and there could be wrong assumptions made about why your family has left. I think the pastor would appreciate you letting him know. Then he won't be wondering if something happened to offend you, or whatever. Communication is good in situations like this.


:iagree: As a matter of courtesy, I think you should talk to the pastor.

#8 Cadam

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:06 PM

When we needed to leave a church that we loved but needed to leave anyway we set up a meeting with the pastor. We simply went in and told him that we felt we were being called to change churches but that we loved this church and felt so blessed to have been a part of it. - No big deal, we still get the newsletter.

When we left another church there were some hurt feelings but that's not why we were leaving. Dh talked to the asso. pastor with whom he had a mentor relationship and that was that. Since we had moved further away about a year before no one really questioned it, although the move was only a tiny piece of the reason.

Edited by Cadam, 19 October 2009 - 06:08 PM.


#9 Quad Shot Academy

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:15 PM

A couple families that I know have tried out new churches every 3rd or 4th week. Very few people questioned where they were and on any given Sunday; they usually just assumed that they were sick. I have known numerous families that have felt this calling and after 6 months of church shopping, went back to their old church. It seems that those that had already found a church fared a little better.

#10 BikeBookBread

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:34 PM

I think it would be appropriate to talk to the pastor and let him know what is going on. You have been part of that church for 8 years, and have no hard feelings, and others in the church will notice you are not there. If you don't talk to the pastor (at least to him), it is very possible that the rumor mill will start moving and there could be wrong assumptions made about why your family has left. I think the pastor would appreciate you letting him know. Then he won't be wondering if something happened to offend you, or whatever. Communication is good in situations like this.


:iagree:

#11 Garga

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 08:58 PM

I agree with the pps. In a somewhat small church, just go to the pastor, explain that you're called somewhere else, assure him that it's nothing personal and there are no hard feelings.

Just so you know: friends of ours did this when they left their tiny church. However, these friends also led the music ministry, so when they left it was going to cause a bit of a problem for the church to find new music people. The pastor and wife and my friends were pretty close.

So, when my friends told their pastor they were leaving, the pastor and wife burst into tears. The wife said she just couldn't take this and said she wanted to give up and "move back home" which was a few states away.

It turns out that for this pastor and wife, the last time someone left, they did leave with hard feelings and caused a lot of heartache in the church. The pastor and wife thought all that bad stuff was going to start happening again and temporarily wigged out.

However, my friends really meant it that there were no hard feelings and made a point of still calling the pastor and people in the church and being very upbeat about everything and it all worked out fine.

It all depends on the size of the church and how close you are to everyone. If it's small and you're close, people could feel hurt and sad at your leaving. If it's a little bigger and you're not terribly close, people will probably miss you, but it won't rock the entire church.

#12 Texas T

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 10:08 PM

I just went through this. We left a small church where we knew we'd be missed and people would not be happy that we left. We took a couple of our friends aside separately, as well as the pastor, and let them know we'd be there for 2 more weeks and then be moving on. We tried to keep it low-key while we were there, other than letting those key members know. After we were gone for a couple of weeks we let some of the others know also. We just didn't want it to be a big focus that we were leaving. We moved on after that, and it was the best church move we've made. God had led us to leave, and he let us know very quickly after moving on to our new church that we had found home. :)

#13 Cindy in C-ville

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:05 PM

As one who has seen MANY people do this (I'm a pastor's wife in a church plant), I have a few thoughts:

1. Meet with the pastor ASAP. You don't want him to hear from someone else. Be as honest as you can. Be prepared if he takes it kind of hard. He has cared for you (I trust) and he will personally feel your absence and knows the rest of the body will too. Let him know where you are in the process. If the decision is made, let him know that. If you are still open to staying, let him know that. Too many people come "for a discussion" but really have already made a decision. Does this make sense?

2. Be absolutely above reproach as you talk with other people, and it sounds as if you have been. Don't give the enemy an opportunity to create divisions and factions.

3. Don't pull out of service immediately. Fulfill your commitment on whatever rotations/service areas/ministries you and your family serve. You'll have to realistically determine what this is. For some people, they can pull out with barely a ripple. Others have been vital to the life/calling/service of the church and for them to suddenly pull out can leave a hole that creates confusion, resentment, etc.

4. Consider whether you are near burn-out (or passed it) and if you really need to leave the church, or if you just need a season of rest. Some people leave when they really just need to rest. We need to be courageous enough to be able to say that, when it's the case, and our churches need to be gracious enough to grant us rest.

Just my thoughts ...

#14 Nakia

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:38 PM

I really appreciate all of the responses. I am going to talk to my DH more about it tonight.

As one who has seen MANY people do this (I'm a pastor's wife in a church plant), I have a few thoughts:

1. Meet with the pastor ASAP. You don't want him to hear from someone else. Be as honest as you can. Be prepared if he takes it kind of hard. He has cared for you (I trust) and he will personally feel your absence and knows the rest of the body will too. Let him know where you are in the process. If the decision is made, let him know that. If you are still open to staying, let him know that. Too many people come "for a discussion" but really have already made a decision. Does this make sense?

2. Be absolutely above reproach as you talk with other people, and it sounds as if you have been. Don't give the enemy an opportunity to create divisions and factions.

3. Don't pull out of service immediately. Fulfill your commitment on whatever rotations/service areas/ministries you and your family serve. You'll have to realistically determine what this is. For some people, they can pull out with barely a ripple. Others have been vital to the life/calling/service of the church and for them to suddenly pull out can leave a hole that creates confusion, resentment, etc.

4. Consider whether you are near burn-out (or passed it) and if you really need to leave the church, or if you just need a season of rest. Some people leave when they really just need to rest. We need to be courageous enough to be able to say that, when it's the case, and our churches need to be gracious enough to grant us rest.

Just my thoughts ...


Thank you so much, Cindy, for sharing your thoughts. I really like what you've said. It makes so much sense.

#15 asta

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:09 PM

I got up and walked out.


a

#16 mamato3 all-boy boys

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:15 PM

I think it would be appropriate to talk to the pastor and let him know what is going on. You have been part of that church for 8 years, and have no hard feelings, and others in the church will notice you are not there. If you don't talk to the pastor (at least to him), it is very possible that the rumor mill will start moving and there could be wrong assumptions made about why your family has left. I think the pastor would appreciate you letting him know. Then he won't be wondering if something happened to offend you, or whatever. Communication is good in situations like this.


Totally agree! A very involved family left our church 3 years ago. Our Pastor knew about it and had given the family their blessings. Coincidently, our church was having its annual meeting at this time, and their departure was mentioned during the meeting. Given the level of involvement that family had in our small church (150+ member families), their absence definitely would've harmed our church more than their announcement, which was bittersweet but blessed.

#17 Melinda in VT

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:48 PM

My experience is with leaving an entire denomination, so it may not apply exactly to your situation.

My advice is to come up with as neutral a statement as you can and use that to tell the people you feel you must tell. If you have made up your mind, don't present it as a discussion. That will only encourage them to try to change your mind, which usually leads to arguments and hurt feelings.

If you are leaving due to doctrinal disagreements, you can say that, but I wouldn't go into detail about what those are. If people ask, give them the smallest amount of information.

Expect people to be shocked and hurt. Extend lots of grace. If you want to keep relationships with them, expect to be the one who needs to initiate contact. Find other things to talk about.

#18 Laurie4b

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:48 PM

Churches are relationships of people worshiping God together. So when you leave a church, you are also making a decision to diminish or end the relationships with everyone there. So I would talk with the pastor, as others have said, but also take the time to say good-bye to other people there who may care about you. It feels really rotten when someone just bails from the relationship, without caring enough to say good-bye.

#19 Nakia

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:25 PM

Churches are relationships of people worshiping God together. So when you leave a church, you are also making a decision to diminish or end the relationships with everyone there. So I would talk with the pastor, as others have said, but also take the time to say good-bye to other people there who may care about you. It feels really rotten when someone just bails from the relationship, without caring enough to say good-bye.


I don't really know what to say to that. I don't agree that we are ending relationships with everyone there. One of my very best friends goes to church there, and I have told her what is going on. I have no intention of ending our friendship. After all, we are all the "church".

#20 Laurie4b

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:42 PM

I don't really know what to say to that. I don't agree that we are ending relationships with everyone there. One of my very best friends goes to church there, and I have told her what is going on. I have no intention of ending our friendship. After all, we are all the "church".


I probably wasn't clear enough. Yes, we are all the church. But we are creatures who only have so much time. The relationships with people who I go to church with are expedited: our paths cross often. We see each other on Sunday, we serve together, etc. When someone leaves a church, it is inevitable that some of those relationships end altogether. You simply don't see each other and your paths don't cross. Even in the case of a best friend, you can lose the element of the friendship that is about serving side-by-side, etc.

I've had very good friends leave--some to go to a church plant that our church was sponsoring--and the relationships absolutely changed--not because we don't still care for each other, but because we just don't see each other as much or in the same context. If you're at a stage of life when you have tons of free time and your best friend doesn't live far and you see her a lot for other things, then it may not impact that relationship much. In general, I find that people leaving overestimate the probablility that they will actually stay in touch. That's why I think it's better to actually talk to people and tell them good-bye. If you're the one leaving, you're off to a new adventure. The one left behind is being well... left behind. If you're not actually close to people, it won't matter. But if you are, it may well matter more than you might guess.

#21 Nakia

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:52 PM

I probably wasn't clear enough. Yes, we are all the church. But we are creatures who only have so much time. The relationships with people who I go to church with are expedited: our paths cross often. We see each other on Sunday, we serve together, etc. When someone leaves a church, it is inevitable that some of those relationships end altogether. You simply don't see each other and your paths don't cross. Even in the case of a best friend, you can lose the element of the friendship that is about serving side-by-side, etc.

I've had very good friends leave--some to go to a church plant that our church was sponsoring--and the relationships absolutely changed--not because we don't still care for each other, but because we just don't see each other as much or in the same context. If you're at a stage of life when you have tons of free time and your best friend doesn't live far and you see her a lot for other things, then it may not impact that relationship much. In general, I find that people leaving overestimate the probablility that they will actually stay in touch. That's why I think it's better to actually talk to people and tell them good-bye. If you're the one leaving, you're off to a new adventure. The one left behind is being well... left behind. If you're not actually close to people, it won't matter. But if you are, it may well matter more than you might guess.



Ok, I understand! Thanks for explaining it.

#22 KrissiK

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:57 PM

We left a very large church about 3 years ago and I must say we didn't do it very gracefully. We didn't do or say anything we regret, but, as in large churches, it is easy to fall through the cracks, so we just kind of let ourselves fall and then the pastor found out and we ended up have an interview with him (it all went well, fortunately) well after the fact (after we'd even joined our new church) and it just.... wasn't cool. So, if we had to do it over, we'd have talked with the pastor earlier on and been more up front with it all.

#23 tess in the burbs

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:05 PM

depends on the situation. we moved, so we left our church. they knew we would be too far to drive.

we were going to join one last year but things got so strange. I wrote the letter to the pastor expressing concern over the children's safety measures they did not have and he wrote back saying good luck in my new church ;-)

so I don't think you have to say anything. leave. transfer membership. you wouldn't be the first to just do so.

#24 i.love.lucy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:09 PM

We're in the process of finding a new church and leaving our old one. Our old church is a mega church, and after being there 7 or 8 years, we've never even met the pastor. We told our small group and they were disappointed, but it seems like we weren't that close anyways. I will accept the blame for not getting to know lots and lots of people by remaining sometime uninvolved, but it's just such a huge church that it's really hard to notice when you go several weeks without seeing even your closest friends. The kind of place where you hesitate to greet visitors because they might not be! It's one of the reasons we wanted to leave, but not the only one, just the gentlest reason that won't offend.

All that to say we haven't been there since mid-summer and no one has really even noticed. :confused: So we haven't bothered to set up a meeting with the pastor. If it was a small church, I would certainly do that.

#25 milovany

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:31 PM

I probably wasn't clear enough. Yes, we are all the church. But we are creatures who only have so much time. The relationships with people who I go to church with are expedited: our paths cross often. We see each other on Sunday, we serve together, etc. When someone leaves a church, it is inevitable that some of those relationships end altogether.


This does make so much sense. We left a church last March and the hardest part about leaving was not fellowshipping with the people we really love anymore. We'd hoped, and said, we would stay in touch -- but it's true; it's just too hard. There are only so many hours in the day and days in the week. We LOVE our new church, and our efforts/energies are going there. I'm thankful we've been able to at least say "hi" to each other on FB though. I really like that.

Edited by milovaný, 20 October 2009 - 04:33 PM.


#26 Denisemomof4

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:38 PM

Churches are relationships of people worshiping God together. So when you leave a church, you are also making a decision to diminish or end the relationships with everyone there. So I would talk with the pastor, as others have said, but also take the time to say good-bye to other people there who may care about you. It feels really rotten when someone just bails from the relationship, without caring enough to say good-bye.


I find this statement TRUE, but really sad. I can't tell you how much it has hurt ME when I've left the church and found that nobody really kept in touch. And I don't take it personally because I know it's the same for most people.

Thankfully, we meet regularly with our friends from the last church we left. We've been doing it for about 10 months now. It started out with us meeting once a month, and now it's up to three.

#27 Denisemomof4

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:49 PM

I probably wasn't clear enough. Yes, we are all the church. But we are creatures who only have so much time. The relationships with people who I go to church with are expedited: our paths cross often. We see each other on Sunday, we serve together, etc. When someone leaves a church, it is inevitable that some of those relationships end altogether. You simply don't see each other and your paths don't cross. Even in the case of a best friend, you can lose the element of the friendship that is about serving side-by-side, etc.

I've had very good friends leave--some to go to a church plant that our church was sponsoring--and the relationships absolutely changed--not because we don't still care for each other, but because we just don't see each other as much or in the same context. If you're at a stage of life when you have tons of free time and your best friend doesn't live far and you see her a lot for other things, then it may not impact that relationship much. In general, I find that people leaving overestimate the probablility that they will actually stay in touch. That's why I think it's better to actually talk to people and tell them good-bye. If you're the one leaving, you're off to a new adventure. The one left behind is being well... left behind. If you're not actually close to people, it won't matter. But if you are, it may well matter more than you might guess.


Again, very, very true. WHen I left the church we had been at for years and was hurt when others only remained in touch initially, I didn't understand. But I only had two kids at the time and both were too young for school. Now I have four kids, a farm and homeschool. I'd love to have time for everyone in the church I recently left but I just don't. It's not that I don't WANT to see them or remain in touch, but I can only extend myself so much outside my family. And we have a lot of friends between our group which meets (most of whom also left the church) and our homeschool co-ops. It's a matter of investing in the relationships that mean most to me. If my best friend were at the church we left, I would consider that an important relationship to invest in if I were at the church or not.


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