What to Say to Church Members Leaving for Bad Reasons

| January 9, 2015

There are better and worse reasons to leave a church. Are you moving to another city? That’s a good reason. Are you harboring bitterness toward someone who has offended you? That’s a bad reason. Does the church neglect to preach biblical sermons weekly? Good reason. Don't like the church’s style? Probably a bad one.

So how should you respond to a fellow member who is leaving for what sounds like a bad reason?

This question raises a number of tough theological issues, such as how far the authority of the church extends, or how much weight should be given to cultural preferences. There are also difficult pastoral issues, such as knowing how to differentiate between a bruised reed and a fool.

But let me see if I can pack some of that theology into the form of practical counsel. Here are some bad ways to respond to such a situation, combined with better responses.

Bad response: “Oh.” This is the non-response. This is the “I don’t care” or “I need your approval so I’ll say nothing” response. I’m not saying it’s never right to keep your mouth shut. I’m just saying that fear of man or failure to love…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-to-say-to-church-members-leaving-for-poor-reasons.