My wife and I recently decided to leave our local church after being members for 5 years. It was a difficult yet easy decision. The difficult part was leaving the close friends and the deep relationships we have built over the years. The pastor of the church is the father of my best friend from High school so I have known him for well over 12 years. I have watched young children mature into teenagers, and watched the teenagers in our church become adults. My dedication to growing into Christ began at this church but yet something didn’t sit right in my heart and of the heart of my wife.
The easy decision was following Jesus. Jesus was not the center stone of the teaching at our church and it took us 4 years to discover this. The last and final year we were members, my wife and I dug into scripture to expand upon teachings from our pastor and when we discovered contradictions, we raised these questions to our pastor and other leaders in the church to get answers. The answers we received were convoluted and confusing. Often coming to us after weeks of waiting for an answer. It seemed like we were a burden and felt as though we were not listened to.
Our fellow members of the church are close friends like I said prior, and the pastor and his wife are honestly some of the closest people in our lives. It is a strange experience leaving a church.
It began exactly a year ago when my wife began listening to preaching on the grace of God and the freedom we have in Christ that led us down this journey. At our current (now our former church) we were taught to “work” for Christ. And how we must “die to ourselves daily” to be more like Christ. Our Salvation must be “worked out”. My wife asked our pastor during a Sunday morning this question; “If we are born again believers and accept Christ as our Savior, but we then commit sin and don’t repent, will we lose our Salvation?” and our Pastor’s answer was “Yes”.
This was the moment I said in my heart that this church was no longer for us. I know in my heart that Christ died for my SINS–not sin. His blood HAS washed me clean and I AM seated at the right had of God with Christ because of his sacrifice. It took us 4 years to find out that our pastor believed that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t once and for all…
I would go into more detail on why we left, but I don’t believe it is necessary. What I discovered is that as long as you keep your eyes on Christ and read his word daily, he will guide your path. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit for leading me into greater knowledge of HIS finished works. I am thankful for God’s provision of forgiveness and abundance of grace on my family. I am thankful for the friends and relationships I built over the years at my former church, but I know my spirit thirsts for truth and revelation in Jesus Christ and I cannot deny my Spirit.
Is there anyone reading this with a similar experience? If so, what was your journey to leave your church?