We have recently left the church we have been an active part of for the last four and a half years. We love the people there. I miss them still, even though I only saw most of them at church. But it seems odd. So I related to a post I found at Missio Deo which I found via American Digest.
The Question Of Leaving
The idea of leaving the church is actually a dramatic and even life altering decision. We ask ourselves what it would mean to leave the local community we have been part of for how ever long? What would it mean to separate our selves from the relationships we have established? Because it is likely not the people we relate to, but the structure of the community that creates the dissonance in the first place. At some point we realize we are no longer growing.
And as we sit in the pew and contemplate the questions our minds will not forget, we often realize there is a deeper question to leaving. Am I saying the church is broken? Am I saying something is not quite right? What does it all mean? These questions haunt us because we know in our souls that God is real and what we currently are experiencing is not the fullest expression of what is possible.
To leave requires permission. We have to come to a place where the dissonance outweighs the fruit of what we are experiencing. This moment of coming to a place where we give ourselves permission is often a long enduring process. We hold out hope amidst the questions, and yet the problem proves it will not resolve it self. And so we wake up one morning and realize that we must give our selves permission to say no.
We left. Our pastor wrote me a email in which he said, “I know the need to change something, in fact almost anything, just to see change.”
He did not realize we did not leave for change. We left because the church where we lived and worshipped, where we worked and volunteered, was breaking more and more, not less and less. And it was moving away from what we wanted for and expected of it. So we left. And we went to a church that, while not perfect, is a positive force in our lives.