One year ago I retired and my wife and I moved to Austin to be near our older son and family. The first Sunday here our cloths were still packed and we did not get to attend any church. The next Sunday we did. Soon we joined Great Hills Baptist Church and are so thankful for our church. We are satisfied and have no plans to leave. During my ministry I have been asked more than once how a person could know it was time to find a new church.
Many say, “I’m just not getting anything out of it.” “Getting” from a church is an unhealthy concept. Many Christians have simply become church shoppers, looking for the hottest program in town. If we are looking only for maximum personal gain, we will never find that ultimate local fellowship that will please all of our “needs.”
There are situations when leaving a church may seem necessary:
(1) When you move across town yourself. My wife and I drive 17 miles to our church in Austin. There are many members that drive further than that. When you move across town ask yourself if you will become less involved as I tire of driving the distance to the old church? If so, move to a church closer to home where you can willingly serve wholeheartedly. Often a transfer to a church of the same denomination lessens the shock and keeps you in touch with friends from the previous church.
(2) When family needs dictate it. We have a responsibility to our family. If a member of the family becomes handicapped and must attend a church that has aids for the handicapped, you should attempt to find a church that does if you present church does not. Our children can become alienated from Christianity due to a negative church experience. All of the idealism (they need to learn to enjoy it) doesn’t lessen our responsibility to introduce Jesus Christ to them in a very positive way.
(3) When you longer agree with the theology. Sometime the leadership of a church can gradually drift from the theology upon which the church was founded. If this happens, you owe it to yourself and family to leave.
Before leaving a church, we should spend much time praying about this important decision. Talk with your family about the type of church they like. Make a list of churches in your area that meet this criteria. Research churches that may be of interest. Visit other churches. As soon as possible join another church. It is important that the family attends church faithfully. Once the change has been made, never say any negative thing about the church you left. Do not try to get personal friends to join you in leaving the previous church. Become active in the new church and get involved in ministry to others.