|Image from Cicero Kirk|
Leaving a church is a difficult affair.
Sometimes it’s for happy reasons, a couple from two different churches wed and need to choose a congregation to belong to as a family. Work, school or another opportunity leads you elsewhere causing happy, tearful farewells back home and a joyful welcome at your new place of worship. More often than not though, it’s a struggle. A hard-thought, hard-fought decision that leaves you with no other choice but to leave old friends behind and hope they understand. It can be from not being comfortable with the direction your church is headed which moves you to take your family elsewhere. It could be a decision from the synod causes a mass-exodus that you feel you need to take a stand on and take part of. In the worst cases it’s that the leadership is corrupt and abusive, or covers up a member’s corruption and abusiveness to the detriment of the rest of the congregation, and you need to depart for your family’s safety: mental, spiritual and physical.
These latter churches especially will do everything in their power to squelch dissent or prevent you from leaving. Doug Phillips‘ church, Boerne Christian Assembly required a letter of transfer before you left. A requirement he didn’t see fit to follow himself when he departed amid shame and scandal. Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church would fire you if you showed the slightest whiff of concern or disagreed with the leader. When this came to a head, one man’s ego and unwillingness to submit himself to the same spiritual authority he had demanded of others led to the dissolution of one of the largest church networks in the Seattle area.