To Stay Or Go

The church we are members of has sent me a letter asking whether we wish to remain as members or not. I must say, it took me by surprise. Due to some very difficult personal circumstances we have not been able to attend regularly, but we did fulfill our service commitments. We also contributed generously to the church over the years. In fact, as recently as this summer I was approached by the youth pastor to present a summer program in apologetics at the church.

It is important to note what this is and isn’t. The local congregation is not the holy church of God. The church of God is made up of all His children, and Jesus is the head of that church. Not being a part of the local church does not mean that one is not a Christian or not part of God’s church. However, it is important to be in fellowship with other Christians, and the local church affords us that opportunity.

The local church is by no means perfect, nor does it pretend to be perfect. However, if the local church as an institution wishes to practice what they preach, then I am disappointed in how things turned out with our local church. One doesn’t give to the church in order to receive something in return, but as a member of a holy community, one expects concern and care when going through hard times. In fact, apart from spreading the gospel, taking care of the sick and others in need was the second most emphasized activity of the New Testament church. My personal experience with our current church unfortunately makes me feel uncared for.

So does one stay with the church, and try to affect changes from within, or does one move on and try to find another community of believers to fellowship with? Finding real reformed conservative churches is hard enough as it is, and I cannot bear to sit through the Dr. Phil sermons of some of the non-denominational churches in our area.

Hard decision indeed. Please pray that God will give me wisdom and lead me on His path.

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3 responses to “To Stay Or Go

  1. When you say you did not attend regularly, how often did you attend? Is the leadership aware of the circumstances that kept you away? Have you been attending elsewhere?

    I wouldn’t be offended by the letter unless there was a suggestion that you had fallen from the faith. I would look at the letter in appreciation for the fact that the local congregation is checking up on you (though I would suggest that a phone call and/or visit should have come long before the letter).

  2. It has been sorted out, so we will remain as members. But the letter was not checking up on me, it was a blunt “Are you staying or going?” question, apparently part of the yearly procedure. I was surprised because as little as 4 months ago I was approached for a leadership position in the church.

  3. I know this is late, but I went through something amazingly similar. For me, it had been health issues that kept me away…terrible health issues that eventually led to a hospital stay. The pastor knew, my friends knew, and there were a few families that knew. But imagine my surprise when I also received a blunt “are you staying or going”. The Pastor was very disappointed and, unfortunately, this was merely a symptom of other things going on. No phone call, no investigation….just “will you be staying?”. It was not a…comforting letter to receive when I had thought I part of a family.

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