5 Positive Things that Occur When Disciples Leave Church

©theverybesttop10.com
©theverybesttop10.com

Numerous articles are published and posted listing reasons why Christians should go to church and the lousy excuses we make for avoiding church attendance on Sundays. We all pretty much know the reasons people leave, so I won’t list them here. Pastors and others in church leaderships make lots of assumptions about what happens to us Christians when we leave church. For their benefit, and for the benefit of those of us who do, I wanted to set the record straight.

1. We have the freedom to establish our own relationship with God without having to follow a pre-established, denominational set of rules.

In solitude, we are able to develop our listening ears for His voice without the stumbling block of anyone else telling us how we’re supposed to listen. We have the freedom to step outside of rules without the construct of an organization telling us what we’re supposed to do or not do in order to have God’s unique attention. We finally have the comfort of talking with God with ease, and telling Him everything we’ve wanted to say. We can talk and listen anytime, and simply be with Him any time of the day.

2. We ask the questions we’ve always wanted to ask.

Without being rebuffed, we have the opportunity to ask stupid questions, deep questions, and questions that relate directly to our own circumstances. We are finally at liberty to bring up questions of doubt, of contradiction, or lack of understanding and have them answered fully without regard for time. We can choose our own study Bible and look through it to help us understand God’s Word, going at our own pace.

3. We find other believers across the nation or world who are exactly where we are, establish relationships with them, and grow and mature our faith with them.

As we join in exploration of our faith together, we open our hearts and minds to different ways of perceiving and receiving the heart of God. We are able to allow more of His Spirit to work in us because we allow ourselves to know Him more deeply. We see a bigger God than we ever imagined, and begin to understand the amazing ways in which He lives and works through others across the world.

4. As we increasingly know God, we increasingly show more of Him.

Our heart and mind transforms. No longer do we live in the fear of doing the wrong thing. Instead, we live in the love of our Father’s embrace. We live in the knowledge there is no more condemnation, and nothing can separate us from the love of God as we live in Christ’s Spirit. We allow the light and love of Jesus to shine through us; this is the glory of God.

5. We begin making disciples.

The more we know God, about His heart for us and about His lavish love and grace, the more we desire to share it with others. We want to make Him known to those whose only experience of God is through those who would present Him as a God of wrath and condemnation.  The more we understand the vastness of God – that He isn’t only for one country or one denomination or one people group – the more we want to shout His name and glorify and honor the immeasurable height and width and depth of Who He is.

6. (Bonus) Some of us actually return to church.

When given the opportunity, without judgment or condemnation, to spend a season outside the confines of church walls, some of us are moved by the Spirit to come back, perhaps in the hope we can make a difference in the lives of church leadership. Perhaps we return as a way to touch the lives of people in our former church. Maybe we come back because we miss group worship or Bible study. Conceivably the Spirit has sent us back to contribute in a way our gifting will benefit the church.

Either way, returning or not, I would ask you who write about those of us who leave church to open your outlook a bit and see it from a different perspective; rather than abandonment, view it as a season of growth.

17 thoughts on “5 Positive Things that Occur When Disciples Leave Church

  1. The church is a living organism not an organization. We can’t leave the one but sometimes, it’s necessary to leave the other. I think every Christian that leaves the organization will end up connecting with other Christians on the outside because we need one another. After all, the church doesn’t really live inside a prescribed set of walls, we live in the world but aren’t of it. It isn’t possible to stop being a Christian because salvation is a work of God and not a temporary human work. Those who leave the organization and fall away from Christ altogether were never part of the organism.

    It’s a wonderful thing to be the church.:0) Thank you for this very honest and true post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. After serving on staff and pastoring an unhealthy church, I can totally see why people long for something authentic. Some of those churches truly exist, but they are few and far between. I am currently a hospice chaplain who is no longer a church staffer. I am in pursuit of a healthy church. Some people are telling me I should start one. The bottom line is that many people are thinking the same things you stated but are afraid to be honest. Thank you for being real!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Authentic, that’s the key here. So many of us want an authentic relationship with the Lord, and somehow have had difficulty finding it in church. But as joyindestructible said in her comment, there’s a difference between Church and church. Church is not found between four walls; it is found wherever Christians seek God and seek one another.

      For me, the 18 months I spent away from those walls were the richest and deepest faith life I have ever experienced. And yes, the Spirit led me back through those four walls on Good Friday, and I’ve even had coffee with my pastor at his invitation. Things have changed there on a leadership level. He has invited me to participate based on my Spiritual giftings, not on church needs. We will talk again, and I am hopeful.

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  3. Excellent Susan! “Either way, returning or not, I would ask you who write about those of us who leave church to open your outlook a bit and see it from a different perspective; rather than abandonment, view it as a season of growth”
    You just wrote the depths of so many hearts. Thank you.
    ❤ Cate

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  4. Good stuff Susan. Of course, you know one of my prayers everyday is that the ones who have left will come back. And, of course I will keep encouraging them to do so.

    And specifically praying things work, and glad you went on Good Friday!

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    • Of course, you know yours was one of the posts that prompted this, Wally! 😀 I hope you see in this perspective that, along with your prayers, you continue to be an encouragement to people, in their individual walk with the Lord.

      And thank you for your specific prayer for me, too. I would never have traded my 18 months of solitude and Spirit-led growth in my faith. I will say my meeting with my pastor went quite well; I am encouraged and hopeful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I figured that out when one of your opening sentences was almost a quote of the Post title LOL.

        🙂

        What you have done is real and authentic. My writings on this topic, when I write honestly and directly, are not pointed at folks like you.

        The truth is, Susan, not all who abandon church do so for good reason, or with good intentions. My own community is packed with people who have abandoned church because…it simply doesn’t fit well with the other things they have made idols in their lives.

        Your quest has always seemed honest and real to me, and now it seems maybe you are going full circle in it. Restoration is always the objective.

        I am also encouraged and hopeful for you.

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  5. Beautiful Susan! This reflects my journey so much! In the past couple of years, I’ve drawn closer to God than the rest of my life combined. We’ve gone to depths together that I never dreamed possible. He led me to a church several years ago, then led me away from it when I was no longer growing there. One day he may lead me to another, or a local fellowship may form with those he’s bringing together. Either way, I’m learning to truly trust him in each new day and not assume my next step until he has directed it.

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    • It’s so important for us each to trust the Spirit’s unique guidance in our relationship with God. A woman I know once said to never allow anyone to “should on us” regarding our relationship with God. 😉 I agree.

      Liked by 1 person

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