Denominational Departure

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In the last few years, several people I know who were once loyal to their denominational churches are now going non-denominational or charismatic. Pastors within the denomination that ordained me are wondering why. From my observations, the answers are easy. But first, I want to address the accusations, not the real reasons for why they are leaving their denominational churches.

They are not leaving your church because they want watered down preaching! I have heard so many pastors and church members arrogantly say, “He/she left our church for one of those feel-good churches”. That is true on some occasions, but many I have seen leave one church and go to another church where the teaching and preaching is just as strong if not stronger. And while we’re on that “feel-good” subject: if being forgiven because you have placed your faith in Christ doesn’t make you feel good, something is seriously wrong!

They are also not leaving because they are out of God’s will or have sin in their life. Your church is not the only church in town. I hate to burst your bubble, but your church doesn’t have the premium on spirituality. It is imperfect just like any other church. Your church ministers to some, but it won’t minister to all. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard such self-righteous, arrogant statements.

They are going to churches outside their denomination because they find love they didn’t find elsewhere. They found condemnation and criticism, so they went seeking the love and Christian community they craved for so long. No one seriously wants to be a part of a church that is guilt-driven rather than grace-driven.

They are also leaving their denomination because they no longer want worship services that resemble a funeral. So many churches need the Holy Spirit to book Himself days in advance in order to do a mighty work there. Some people really are excited about Jesus and want to express it. If you won’t welcome a move of God, they will find a church that will.

They also leave because they are more concerned about “being” the Church than just going to church. Some churches are all about meeting. Groups have meetings all the time. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to have little impact if all they do is meet and not minister outside the walls. I have heard pastors within my denomination criticize churches who have small groups ministries and do community outreach in more relevant ways. Let’s face it, you can try to continue to go door to door but I honestly don’t want someone coming to my door while I’m trying to eat and get ready for bed. If I’m an ordained minister and feel that way, I know those who aren’t believers feel the same if not worse.

The bottom line: if your church won’t wake up and be loving, exciting, and outwardly focused, your people will find a church that is. Wake up and get biblical or watch good people leave behind empty seats!

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6 thoughts on “Denominational Departure

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  1. This post really hits home with me. I recently left a pentecostal church I’d been attending for several years. I noticed that most of the members were “praying in tongues” by repeating the same thing over and over, week after week, year after year. There was no interpretation of tongues for the edification of the church body. I was certain God had to be bored with the same babbling every Sunday. I was made to feel that I did not have a “heart for God” because I wasn’t babbling along with them. The church kept getting smaller rather than bigger. I got tired of going. I wasn’t growing spiritually. So I returned to the church where I accepted Christ at age thirteen. It’s an independent Bible church. I’ve never been happier. Funny thing: Shortly after leaving the pentecostal church, I ran in to my old pastor. He said, “When are you coming back to church.” I said, “I’m not coming back. I’m going to another church.” Did he tell me I was always welcome if I wanted to return? Did he pray for me on my new spiritual path? Did he wish me luck? No. Actually, he said, “Then you’re going to the wrong church.” He got in his car and sped away like a child having a tantrum. It was then that I realized I’d made the right decision. So I totally understand your comment, “Your church is not the only church in town. I hate to burst your bubble, but your church doesn’t have the premium on spirituality. It is imperfect just like any other church. Your church ministers to some, but it won’t minister to all. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard such self-righteous, arrogant statements.” Thank you so much for this post.

  2. Hey now you are talking about my denomination. You are hitting a little too close to home. Seriously though we have so many of the issues you describe. Many in tribe answer the losses with lets double down on the very things that are driving people away. Great post.

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