Saturday, May 31, 2008

The "Church Hop" Hits the Headlines

He had been stranded on a desert island for years. When he was discovered there, his rescuers asked the man about the three grass shacks on top of the hill.

"The one on the left is my church. The one in the middle is my house."

"What's the one on the right?"

"That's my old church."

Today Democratic front runner Barak Obama announced that he and his family have resigned their membership at Trinity United Church of Christ and are looking for a new church. Deciding to leave a church happens. The Obamas' reasons revolve around controversial statements made from their former church's pulpit that they find offensive.

I'm not so much interested in the possible politics behind this, but find it to be an American church past time - if things at church aren't to my liking I'll just have to leave.

I do believe there are legitimate reasons for changing churches. I also believe they are few because the Gospel is one of reconciliation. At the same time Jesus promised that His Gospel would divide families.

So I'll post about what I see as biblical reasons for resigning from your church and seeking another. Let's start with this one: Unchecked immorality within the congregation. By that I mean the church and her leadership close their collective eyes to immoral behavior within their ranks and let it go. See 1 Corinthians 5.

Have you left a church for that reason? How did you come to the decision to leave? Before leaving, did you confront leadership about your concern?

Reason #2 to come later.


Apple said...

Looking forward to the other reasons. Moving to your church was the first church change in my life that was not based strictly on change in address. And, we were blessed that this change was not made based on hard feelings or disagreements. It has been a remarkably smooth transition.

Unknown said...

I found your blog through Nate's, and really enjoy your take on things!

We left our last church due to "unchecked immorality within the STAFF."

This has since been addressed, however, I think part of it was God's way of helping us find the church we SHOULD have been at all along. (We had moved here 5 years ago, and our church decision was, unfortunately, not as well-researched as we had thought it was.)

Rick Lawrenson said...

You make a great point, Karen. I encourage people to take their time checking us out. Do your homework and find out as much as you can about a church.

Unknown said...

Rick- I wish I lived close enough to check you guys out!!! The 10 hour commute would be a tough one!

We are now part of a fantastic church... and I love the baptism photos on today's post... they remind me of my kids' baptisms in the ocean last summer... no better way!!!!!

Brenda said...

We also left a church because of the immorality of a staff member, namely, the pastor. The leadership knew about it, but refused to confront it. Twenty years later, that church still hasn't recovered from the consequences of ignoring the situation.