To Stay at your Church or Leave . . . part 3

Rick Mattson Church 2 Comments

Contemplating a move to a different church?

Generally, I discourage moving (see my prior post). After all, a local body of believers represents a spiritual family for Christians.
The phrase used in Ephesians is “members of God’s household,” then, “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives” (2:19,22).
Heavy stuff.
Ergo: Don’t leave lightly.
Still, there might be special circumstances in which a voluntary move is prudent. I’d like to comment on one:
DNA Mismatch: When the church’s DNA doesn’t match mine, a move could be in order. I’m talking about the church’s central ethos, its long-term philosophy of ministry, not the latest stylistic or leadership changes.
The issue might even be a major theological point, such as the  atonement or doctrine of scripture.
Before leaving, however, I’d check my facts: Have I verified the supposed misguided direction of church leaders over an extended period of time, finding out the true rationale behind their decisions?
Have I talked with them directly?
Interpreted them in the most generous light possible?
Or, have I jumped to conclusions based on gossip, side comments, and “patterns” that I’ve pieced together in my own mind?
I’ve found that when I persistently think ill of leaders to the point where they can’t do anything right and everything they say and do merely confirms my suspicions or prior-held conclusions, the real problem may not lie with them.
Still, DNA is DNA. If it’s not a match, maybe — just maybe . . . 

Comments 2

  1. Well said, Rick. I am not enthralled with my current church home currently (a 30-plus-year member at an evangelical Presbyterian metro body), but neither do I think everybody in leadership has got it all wrong.

    It's the “tone” and sense of staleness and tepid inclusion (being ignored despite my active legit efforts) that bothers me. The DNA factor is something I'll be thinking about. On a peer-to-peer lay person level, I'm blessed with many deep friendships, so moving is not foremost on my mind. And the church has made avaiable many mission trips that I've taken and gained from.

    Yet the DNA factor…hmmmmm, something to ponder.

  2. Hey John, Thanks for your comment. Seems to me it's not always easy to know when the issue is DNA or something else. The something else might be a build-up of annoyances over the years but nothing ultimately foundational. And some folks experience deep and abiding conflict that gives the appearance of DNA issues but may not be. Anyway, I am inclined, philosophically, to stay in a place unless I absolutely cannot.

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