Philippians 1:27 – When to Leave A Church

Church leaving is a pervasive and regular occurrence, and it has no small impact on the Christian communities of which we’re a part. Yet despite the weight of the issue, it’s not something we reflect on thoughtfully too often.

We ought to reflect on what the Bible tells us about what church is. We’re thinking here primarily about the local church. So what is the local church? The local church is a family of believers who gather in a habit of love, who depend on each other in service, and who listen to God in humility as his word dwells richly among them.

We must not miss the significant things God’s word says. The claims the Bible makes about the local church are nothing short of staggering. The Bible speaks as if belonging to a local church is an astonishing privilege. It teaches me that when I turn up to my local church, I’m part of the family of God and that my spiritual needs should be met by those on whom I depend, and that, likewise, I am indispensably needed by others. It teaches me that when I turn up, I will encounter the God of the universe, and that I will hear him address us in a way that enriches the gathering, changes lives and impacts the world. We often turn up to church thinking anything but these kinds of thoughts. Yet this is what we should expect when we belong to a local church.

[Now] there are some situations where changing churches may actually be wise: (1) When false teaching has taken hold, (2) When unsuitable leaders are immovably established, (3) When infecting sin is going unchallenged, (4) When a special opportunity for service or training arises elsewhere, and (5) When your church is no longer local.

Now of course, life is inevitably more complicated than these five scenarios, [but] at the very least, Christian brothers and sisters should ask themselves some very hard questions before making any decisions about leaving church. The decision matters too much to be taken any less seriously.

May God strengthen us to be the kind of people who always know that leaving church is a big thing (not a small thing) to do, and may he strengthen us to be the kinds of churches that conform to his wonderful design for us—that is, churches people hate to leave.

Simon Flinders

Read Philippians 1:27. How does this verse speak to how you should value and relate to the church? Also read Proverbs 15:22. Many people make decisions about leaving a church without receiving wise counsel particularly from other church members or their elders. How would Scripture advise us to handle this process?

Take My Life by Frances Havergal

Posted on: April 20, 2017 - 10:00PM

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