5 Positive Things that Occur When Disciples Leave Church

©theverybesttop10.com

©theverybesttop10.com

Numerous articles are published and posted listing reasons why Christians should go to church and the lousy excuses we make for avoiding church attendance on Sundays. We all pretty much know the reasons people leave, so I won’t list them here. Pastors and others in church leaderships make lots of assumptions about what happens to us Christians when we leave church. For their benefit, and for the benefit of those of us who do, I want to set the record straight.

1.We have the freedom to establish our own relationship with God without having to follow a pre-established, denominational set of rules.

In solitude, we are able to develop our listening ears for His voice without the stumbling block of anyone else telling us how we’re supposed to listen. We have the freedom to step outside of rules without the construct of an organization telling us what we’re supposed to do or not do in order to have God’s unique attention. We finally have the comfort of talking with God with ease, and telling Him everything we’ve wanted to say. We can talk and listen anytime, and simply be with Him any time of the day.

2. We ask the questions we’ve always wanted to ask.

Without being rebuffed, we have the opportunity to ask stupid questions, deep questions, and questions that relate directly to our own circumstances. We are finally at liberty to bring up questions of doubt, of contradiction, or lack of understanding and have them answered fully without regard for time. We can choose our own study Bible and look through it to help us understand God’s Word, going at our own pace.

3. We find other believers across the nation or world who are exactly where we are, establish relationships with them, and grow and mature our faith with them.

As we join in exploration of our faith together, we open our hearts and minds to different ways of perceiving and receiving the heart of God. We are able to allow more of His Spirit to work in us because we allow ourselves to know Him more deeply. We see a bigger God than we ever imagined, and begin to understand the amazing ways in which He lives and works through others across the world.

4. As we increasingly know God, we increasingly show more of Him.

Our heart and mind transforms. No longer do we live in the fear of doing the wrong thing. Instead, we live in the love of our Father’s embrace. We live in the knowledge there is no more condemnation, and nothing can separate us from the love of God as we live in Christ’s Spirit. We allow the light and love of Jesus to shine through us; this is the glory of God.

5. We begin making disciples.

The more we know God, about His heart for us and about His lavish love and grace, the more we desire to share it with others. We want to make Him known to those whose only experience of God is through those who would present Him as a God of wrath and condemnation.  The more we understand the vastness of God – that He isn’t only for one country or one denomination or one people group – the more we want to shout His name and glorify and honor the immeasurable height and width and depth of Who He is.

6. (Bonus) Some of us actually return to church.

When given the opportunity, without judgment or condemnation, to spend a season outside the confines of church walls, some of us are moved by the Spirit to come back, perhaps in the hope we can make a difference in the lives of church leadership. Perhaps we return as a way to touch the lives of people in our former church. Maybe we come back because we miss group worship or Bible study. Conceivably the Spirit has sent us back to contribute in a way our gifting will benefit the church.

Either way, returning or not, I would ask you who write about those of us who leave church to open your outlook a bit and see it from a different perspective; rather than abandonment, view it as a season of growth.

15 comments

  1. Yes to this! I was rescued by God once I finally surrendered my own pursuit of perfection–including church going.

    (Incidentally, as per your bonus #6, I eventually went back to church… with a very different perspective).

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    1. 🙂
      I’m convinced sometimes we are called away to go deeper. And I don’t think we’re in the minority. It certainly doesn’t help to be accused or bullied about our Spirit-led decision. I think somehow it threatens others to see us walk away; I’m not sure why exactly, but it it definitely generates fear and anger.

      I can only pray this post will lead to greater understanding on both sides.

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      1. If we look at the trajectory of maturation–either the history of the world, or the growth cycle of the individual–it seems like it often includes the age of “wilderness”.

        Even Jesus was “cast out” into the wilderness by the Spirit, just after being baptized.

        What is a Spirit-led decision sometimes feels like the only and necessary option.

        From where I sit, wilderness is a necessary part of the process–whatever it looks like.

        I could go on and on… thank you for writing your post.

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      2. I like that reminder: a season of wilderness. John the Baptist spent time there, too. While there is testing, there is much maturation there – a readying for great things to come. Thank you so much for adding greatly to this topic.

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  2. I loved this, thank you!

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    1. 🙂 You’re welcome, IB.

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  3. A addition to the above post. As I was re-reading my post from above. I came across a part of it that did not resonate with my heart. Where I said I do not believe God calls mature christians away from the church to grow. I should have said disgruntled mature christians or christians that have issues with the church that could be worked out by staying if they would just get out of the flesh for a moment. So I sincerely apologize if I stepped on anyones toes. This is a difficult thing to write about when some folks would become offended easily. Why a mature christian would get offended I don’t know, but we do.Thank you for allowing me to respond as best as I can.

    Much love Tom

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    1. Love you, Tom. And you’re right; a mature Christian would not get offended. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning my dear friend. I am not sure weather to shout amen ,or just offer my insight if I may. First I want to say for the benefit of those who might read this. My opinion shared here is at the grace of you Susan and I write it as such, with much appreciation. I thank the Lord for his patience with us and for the Holy Spirit who continually meets us on our level and time of growth in the Lord. He in no way has to do that, but has since the beginning. The Holy Spirit will not always do the waiting, one day it will be on his time, not ours.

    I believe to be true that no matter how much you go to a denominational or non -denominational church ,or church of any kind, it will not in it’s self get you or me to heaven. ,That said here are folks at different levels of their walk with Jesus that go to church. All of the saints mature and those coming along need each other in order to help each other grow and become mature Christians.The church is a great and much needed place for that growth.

    Ephesians 4:10-14

    10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    While it is true that where two or three are gathered together, God will be with us saints. All saints will always benefit greatly and contribute greatly to their local church and as such should not forsake that assembly. Having said that for the sake of some who will no doubt disagree with me. It is also well to say that, yes there is times when we are called away from the assembly. Mission trips,Different ministry opportunities the Lord has put on our hearts for reaching the lost. Perfectly natural response for a mature christian ,for a time. I do not believe God calls mature christians or immature christians away from the local church so they can grow in Christ.

    The truth is God uses all of our good and bad ways to change our character and thinking ,so we are just like him. So theses seasons of being out of church grow us and mature us if we will allow this. Its not that God wanted us to leave the local church. Sometimes it takes time away from the body for us to see how much we are needed there and need it ourselves.

    There are also false profits and and not so great of churches to be in. I understand this. Thats why we need mature christians in them, that study the word and spend time with God. That they would help keep the church on track, through prayer and good council. Some churches the teaching might be so perverted its time to just leave that church and not look back. That is not the norm though.

    We have many,many wonderful churches today,that need mature christians in those churches to help one another and encourage one another, sing songs of praise and bring our little ones along in Jesus. To come along side the new christian,so that they grow up and become healthy mature christians and offer the hope of mercy and grace from our Lord and Savior to a lost and dying world.

    In closing I would add that God uses many different ways of reaching the lost and growing in Christ.
    This internet blogging is a valuable tool that God uses to mature and grow the church and I thank Him so much for it. It serves a great need. There will always be people who don’t go to their local churches in this time we live in. So it would be very closed minded of me to say that, there is only one way to educate, love and lead others to Christ. Thank you all of you who contribute to the kingdom purpose in your own way.

    Much Love Tom

    PS Thanks Susan

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    1. My dear brother, you know I always welcome your comments because you always give them with such love and respect.

      I think the only caution I would give is this at the beginning of your comment: “All saints will always benefit greatly.” Using the words “all” and “always” may paint you into a corner.

      I read your additional comment as well, and I will respond to both here.

      I do think God calls us away from church sometimes – as I said, not to abandon church, but to mature in a different way with Him. It may also be a “wake-up call” for a particular church if it finds its parishioners leaving. Who knows? That I cannot answer.

      The important thing is for those still attending not to be fearful or resentful or condemning for or of those who leave. God has a reason for the departure, even for mature Christians (even non-disgruntled ones!), though we may not be aware of it at the time.

      This morning, I happened to read Romans 8:28-30 and it made so much sense to me in this context:
      “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the first-born among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”

      And thank you for being open to those of us who, as you said, “contribute to the kingdom purpose” in our own way. Again, I have much respect and love for you, Tom, and appreciate and value the discussion you bring to this blog.

      Peace to you, my friend.
      Love, Susan

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  5. Nice one! Thanks for sharing that. Many think guilt is the best way to keep people in conformity, but guilt never saved anyone. There is only ONE mediator between God and man, and we need to step back and let Him do His work in the lives of others, as He does in ours.

    Christian love, Ufuoma.

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    1. “guilt never saved anyone.” Wise words, Ufuoma. Thank you so much for your comment.
      Love to you, too, sweet sister. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like this piece Susan. It is all true and well laid out, clear and concise. I had never considered such a logical approach to leaving the church. That said, as I read it, one point in particular jumped out at me – when I gave up the church I gave up the fear of worship. In a way I acknowledge that God is to be feared – but that is because when you do not follow him, bad things can happen. In a way it is like driving a car down the road of faith – you know that if you leave the road you will do great damage and likely cause yourself pain ; which is not really God wishing you ill will but rather that because we were designed and built by God then to leave His ways will cause us harm. So, the fear of disapproval and even sanctions for following your beliefs that happens in church, disappears and we are free to worship God as we please without being told we are going to hell for it.

    Great post Susan, thank you.

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    1. Terrific comment, Paul. When we’re continually bombarded by fear of disapproval or sanctions (even His), it stands as a huge stumbling block to our ability to see God’s great outstretched arms, beckoning to fall into His embrace of love.

      When we are so worried about displeasing Him, it becomes impossible to take on Jesus’ lightest burden of surrender and trust, allowing Him to raise us up.

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      1. 🙂

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