Home > Christianity, Church, Faith > Why I Didn’t Leave The Church

Why I Didn’t Leave The Church

Next week will be the two-year anniversary of when my family and I left a church we had been part of for several years. It was an event that affected us in way where we will never forget. Fortunately, we have two years of perspective and growth regarding that situation and I hope to be able to share that in a post nearer to that date.

With all of the talk recently about Millenials leaving the church, I did pause and consider why we didn’t quit? We took a break for a few weeks before we began our church search, but we never truly considered leaving. The words may have exited our mouths, but I never thought about quitting. The reason is really simple.

I am the Church.

The Church is not some human organization that I can join by paying my dues and fees.

The Church is not some local building where I go to worship every Sunday.

The Church is not a place where my wife and I were married nearly twenty-one years ago.

No, the Church is something more than that.

The Church is who and what I am. The Church is made up of many members. That’s what Paul writes. Can a hand or a foot really decide that it will no longer be a part of a body? Can I really leave something that I fundamentally am? I suppose that I could stay home on Sundays, but I can never leave the Church.

I look around at the local church that I attend and I see a motley crew of people. I see people who the Lord has brought together in into His Body. I see people who are part of His Bride.

How can any of us who are part of those leave? I truly cannot comprehend it.

Perhaps it’s possible, but someone will have to explain it to me. If I tried, I can’t imagine that joy and happiness would be part of my life. The Church is who i am.

I am the Church.

Have you ever thought about leaving the Church? Why did you stay?

Categories: Christianity, Church, Faith Tags: , , ,
  1. August 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I have not because I feel the same way you do about it. I also have quit saying that I go to church because you can not go to something that you are. Instead I talk about going to church services.

  2. Lynette Sharp
    August 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I do not regularly attend anymore and am struggling spiritually, but something keeps bringing me back. I’ve gone to the same church for 18 years. I have history with these people, they are my family. There are just too many people I love. Also, my children need a community and these are the people I prefer to have them be around. Are the perfect people? No, of course not. No church or group of people are perfect. Thanks for the article!

    • August 6, 2013 at 5:56 am

      Lynette, I know how you feel. There is no perfect church or person, but we need to be a part of it.

  3. August 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

    You mean to tell me the building isn’t the church? Doggone it Larry! You just messed with my mind.

  4. August 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Well said, Larry! We can’t leave who we are. I mean we can try, but like the prodigal there’s a Father watching, and waiting, for us to come back to ourselves.

    • August 6, 2013 at 5:54 am

      And He runs down the road toward us when we are on our way.

  5. August 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I have thought about leaving a church because I felt led to work at another one. I’ve been working in a church for so long now that I don’t even remember thinking about changing churches for any purpose other than a job. Your point though is spot on!

    • August 6, 2013 at 5:53 am

      Rob, what is sad is that I know of a handful of preacher/pastors who no longer go to church. It causes me to wonder what was going on, you know?

  6. Wildcard608
    March 21, 2014 at 8:46 am

    You cannot comprehend why someone would want to leave the Church or the religion? That is surprising to me. If you really want to know it mostly because they find the Church’s teachings immoral or find evidence against it or some combination of the two. So many churches teach bad lessons or leave no room for compassion it is no wonder people no longer want it. So many Christian preaching “Gays are just pedophiles in waiting” and then they grow up and meet an actual gay person and learn that is not the case. Or a woman they know gets an abortion and knowing her circumstances they feel wrong calling her anything awful for choosing to get one.

    Also community has a dark side as well. With people who do not fit the bill getting shunned or hurt because those in their community are suspicious. To many it brings joy and happiness, to others it just brings pain and suffering. I’m surprised you don’t know this already, after all you have made a call for followers to be more compassionate.

    I don’t follow Christianity for a different reason but even if I believed I would not join Church culture. I hope this does not come across as too confrontational or troll-like but you asked.

    • March 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

      The problems you mention are there. It would be foolish for me to say they aren’t. But there are many reasons they exist. One is that the church is filled with many people who aren’t the Church. I dare say that as much as 50% on a given Sunday. Many are there for cultural reasons. But as I said, I can’t leave something I am. I am the Church. My wife is. And I have many brothers and sisters who are the Church. We and some people who aren’t make up the church we attend. We who are the Church seek Jesus and seek to display Him. We have problems. We do good things. We argue sometimes. We love each other.
      Thanks for reading.

  7. Wildcard608
    March 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Well thank you for the reply.

    Why do you think 50% of them who aren’t the Church go? Do you think anyone in the community is rightly or wrongly afraid of how they would be treated if they were not followers of Christ?

    • March 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Fantastic questions.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was one of those 50% for a long time. When I was 12 or so, I “got saved” because I was supposed to. I kind of got pushed along with some others and thought, “Well, ok, it’s time.”
      Then when I was 19, I did it again to impress a girl I was dating. Wrong reasons and motivations both times. Also, nothing really changed in my life.
      Then around age 26 I wondered if what I had done was real. Based on what I knew in my mind, my life didn’t match what I claimed. There are all sorts of churchy names for what happened, but, for lack of a better term, I had a life changing experience on a Tuesday afternoon during my lunch hour.
      I’m not perfect and make tons of mistakes, but I have a faith that sustains me through that.
      Now, are there people who would fear their treatment from my local church if they did not follow Christ? I don’t think so. We reach out to the community by giving clothes, food, and other needs to folks regardless of that. Would some churches treat them badly? There might be some and I would wonder if they are more cultural Christians than true followers.

  8. Wildcard608
    March 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I have a feeling your probably right but I cannot say for sure as I do not know your church. I have come to find in a personal experience with my friends that not every place is a safe as it seems. Tell me though, do you allow gay men and woman or people who do not attend the church to serve on the charity staff and does the church serve as a sort of “cornerstone” of your town?

    • March 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Well, the term “charity staff” makes me chuckle a bit. We are located in an area with a total population of 2-3,000. We have, maybe, 150 on a given Sunday. That is handled by an individual who is accountable to our elders.

      But if we were bigger our benevolence would still be handled in-house without someone from outside having a say in it.

      Regarding the gay issue, we would approach that the same as we would, for example, an unrepentant adulterer or thief. Our worldview is that all of those would equal. We would welcome each to join us in worship, proclaim the Gospel, and pray the Holy Spirit would change their hearts.

  9. Wildcard608
    March 21, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    By the last paragraph do you mean that all sins are equal or that those three sins are equal? If that is what you mean it sounds pretty messed up to me but I can’t think of what else it could mean. Especially for something on the exact same level as harm as heterosexuality, (you could argue it hurts spiritually but that argument means nothing to someone who does not believe that the spiritual consequences are real. Other than that nothing).

    There is just isn’t a way I could reconcile that value of that being a sin and on the same level as stealing and adultery with my own moral values. Also part of my issue with that is that in the passage described he offered no reason why it was wrong. It is more like a cosmic “because I said so” and I just can’t by into something like that for no reason.

    Many of the commandments have reasons they should be followed. It helps others and brings happiness to our fellow man. I don’t find most Christian Values immoral but they have to not just need a reason but make a better Earth, and with some of the values The Bible provides I do not feel it does that.

    • March 21, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      No, I meant all sins are equal. I just pulled those three for examples. I could have added gluttony, greed, envy, murder or covetousness. We tend to have a scale for sin when it’s all an affront to God.
      Basically I boil it all down to sin being unbelief. We simply don’t believe God and go in the opposite direction. There’s a whole lot of theological gobbledygook, but let’s not go down the path.

      BTW, I’m slow and figured out who you are. Glad to have a civil discourse about this. Not everyone who disagrees is.

  1. August 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

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