4 of the Worst Reasons to Leave Your Church

There are good reasons to leave your church, but there are also plenty of bad reasons.

I once heard a pastor say that the church is like a body. Sometimes you eat food and sometimes you “release” food. In other words, a church will always be bringing new people in and letting people go. And both are required to be healthy.

There certainly are valid reasons on why you should leave a church, but that’s another topic of another post. In this post we are going to examine some of the worst reasons to leave a church.

1. I’m Not Being Fed Anymore

If a church abandons it’s call to teach God’s word and grow and develop the congregation, this can be a legit concern. However more often than not I see this used as an excuse to leave based off a dislike of the new direction, type of preaching, or some other stylistic preference.

It is not the church’s job to feed you. It is your job. 

It’s popular in our culture to abdicate our responsibility and assign blame to someone else for our own failure. If you are not being fed in your spiritual life the only person to blame is you. It is your job and your responsibility to feed yourself, not anyone else’s. If you are not being feed at your church I suggest you find a way to feed yourself. Buy a book, download a podcast, journal, pray, dust off your bible, just find some way you can feed yourself. 

If you aren’t getting spiritual fed at your church, don’t leave; find a way to feed yourself.

2. I Don’t Have Any Friends Here

Whenever I hear “I don’t know anyone here” or “I don’t have any friends” I always ask, “Do you go to a small group?” “Have you tried to hangout with anybody?” Most of the time the answer is no. If you aren’t plugged in anywhere outside the Sunday service you will never build relationships. Relationships are built when you invest your time. In other words, the grass isn’t greener over there; the grass is green where you water it.

Friendships rarely just happen. They are forged by time spent together. If you go to church once or twice a month for an hour on Sunday you aren’t going to develop any friendships. You need to spend more time with people.

Find a place to serve, check out a small group, find a common interest with someone and just hang out. Learn people’s names, listen to their story, and when you find someone you connect with hang out with them outside church. You aren’t going to get connected without first putting in effort. 

Instead of waiting for someone to invite you, invite. Don’t leave your church until you at least put effort into building a few friendships.

3. They Don’t Have “________” Ministry

As a pastor I get approached regularly about starting a ministry for “__________.” Nine times out of ten they are great ideas. We won’t talk about the one out of ten bad ideas… When I ask if they would want to lead, start, or help in the ministry the answer is essentially no you do it, I just want to attend. This consumeristic mindset is crippling the church.

Maybe the reason you have such a great idea for your church is because God wants you to do it!

Every church cannot have every kind of ministry. Each church is unique and will look different and have different ministries, and that’s okay! Just because your church doesn’t have this great ministry doesn’t mean it should be started. It might not align with their specific mission and vision.

If you have a ministry you think would be beneficial to your church go meet with your pastor. See if it will fit the direction your church is heading. If it does, don’t assume your pastor will do all the work; offer to help start it or even lead it. The pastor of your church isn’t the only one gifted to lead a ministry. You are too! Use your gifts to grow and benefit the church.

4. The Pastor Doesn’t Know My Name

If you go to a smaller church or hang out with the pastor regularly you might have a case. However, I have seen people get mad that a pastor cannot remember their name when they talked to him once, and they are part of a 1000+ congregation. I am terrible at remembering names, and I feel TERRIBLE when I forget someone’s name. But there are 100’s, sometimes 1000’s of names pastors have to keep track of. Give them a little grace.

While in a larger church not everyone can have a personal relationship with the lead pastor, there is a benefit. The larger the church the more pastors will be on staff. You might not be able to be best buds with the lead guy, but find another pastor on staff that you can connect with.

The purpose of this article is not to convince you to never leave a church again. Most of us will not be at the same church for our whole lives. And that’s okay! The purpose is to challenge why we leave. A lot of people bail at the slightest inconvenience, and in doing so they are robbing the church of their gifts and skills and they are robbing themselves of what the church has to offer them.

Sometimes the greatest things in life are on the other side of difficulty. Maybe, just maybe, if you stick it out you will find it was well worth it.

Before you leave your church prayerfully consider your reasoning. Have you considered talking to someone on staff or in leadership at the church? Is the issue a reason to leave or can it be solved with a few conversations? Doing life with others is hard, and there will be conflict. But if we push through that conflict there is beauty on the other side.

Your turn… What are some valid reasons to leave a church? What are some of the worst reasons to leave a church?

15 comments on “4 of the Worst Reasons to Leave Your Church

  1. Pingback: 4 worse reasons to leave a church | Pastor Jim Driskell

  2. Two good reasons to leave a church come to mind: the presence of false teaching and the absence of good teaching. I know that the second reason overlaps “I’m not getting fed,” but if the sermons and hymns and Bible classes are all vacuous and empty, that would be sufficient reason to seek another church. Of course relocating to a different community would be a third good reason. J.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Maybe the reason you have such a great idea for your church is because God wants you to do it!”

    Amen. We are all given gifts for “ministry” of one kind or other. We are all commissioned to be and make disciples. All of us. If something is nagging you, it’s very possible that it’s not something you want God to do…it’s something God wants you to do.

    So important to keep in mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. T Willetto

    A change in worship style or pastor is frustrating for many and I empathize with those folks. However, it is NOT good reason to leave, imo. Especially if the change leaves one off the worship team(s).

    Life is learning (and enjoying) change. Further, the point of worship ISN’T to include all who wish to perform. It is to prepare the hearts those in attendance for the Word and to praise God.

    I have watched several take personal offense at being ‘a victim’ of change, then mope, complain and ultimately leave because of hurt feelings. Poor reason to leave.

    Always, it seemed to me they were worshiping for the wrong reason(s) in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not been a regular church goer for a while. I have visited quite a few in the last few years after the church I attended closed. It was unbelievable that some places actually call themselves churches. Example: I arrived a little early for service, the worship team were going over their songs, when the pastor started yelling at the leader. And I do mean yelling. The pastor’s compliant was the leader was too enthusiastic and sang too loudly. Of course, this scene was in front of everyone. I could not get out of the place fast enough. I realize that there are healthy churches and unhealthy churches.


    • Anyway, I learned to pray about where to go and how long I stay is up to God. I know God wants me to be in his perfect will. The church scene in the U.S. is mostly just sad. Yes, people leave for immaturity, offenses caused by the enemy to keep them out of God’s house. But there are some really unhealthy, hurting places pretending to be churches.


  6. Totally agree with this post. We recently left a church because the pastor preached on a certain topic and first said, “I am not a liberal”. and then proceeded to say, “God is doing a new thing…” and “God never intended…” and then went through some Scripture to prove his point, leaving out a verse right in the middle and the following verses that totally opposed what he was saying. After that, we could no longer trust him to “rightly divide the Word”. With the argument of “God is doing a new thing” and “God never intended”, then anything is possible and permissible with enough twisting of the Word. Sad, because it was the church I grew up in and we left a lot of long time friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great article!


  8. ryanbufford

    I like this! While there are valid reasons to move communities (as you mentioned), I have always approached the idea of moving with the suggestion of “quit complaining about the problem and be part of the solution.”


  9. Pingback: How Do You Know When It’s Time To Leave Your Church? – rethink

  10. Another solid job on a subject you are well-versed in, but I do disagree, to a point with reason number 1. Though I definitely do agree that all Christians should be reading their Bibles seven days a week and feeding themselves, a change of direction from the pulpit could very well be a reason to leave a church. If the pastor neglects solid teaching from the Bible itself, or merely uses a verse as a launching point for sheer application or to discuss social or cultural topics (on a consistent basis), I know I would be gone. (I know you mentioned about a church abandoning its call to teach God’s Word, but I can’t see any other way a congregation would not be “fed.”)

    For me, what comes out of the pulpit is number one in considering a church; I can live with weaknesses in all other areas … and this from someone who has been feeding himself consistently for 31 years.

    Despite this one objection, Jeffery, I enjoy your blogs very much. I like the topics you pick, your aggressive way of expressing yourself, and ably defending your points. Keep up the excellent work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see your point of view on number 1. I think there is a clear argument that teaching should happen within the church. And I would be the first to leave if a pastor continually neglected that area. I think I was approaching not from a church not teaching well, rather a person not like the style of teaching. Since there are so many resources today it’s easy for one to find and be fed that way. However I certainly see your point about that being a churches duty.

      Thanks for reading and for the encouragement!


  11. Pingback: Four of the Worse Reasons to leave a Church | The Crusty Old Sailor Speaks

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