Grow Your Church By Asking People to Leave

July 18, 2007 by

Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv has an interesting series of blog posts on getting people to leave your church. It seems completely counter-intuitive, but it makes sense. If people aren’t moving your church forward, they’re dead weight (which is kind of scary–am I dead weight?). And it’s not just about helping your church, it’s also about helping those people find the church for them.

Craig gives an example where he preached on the church’s vision trying to get everybody on board. If people weren’t on board with the vision, he asked them to find another church. He even offered brochures from 10 other churches he knew and recommended. It was a serious challenge and 500 people ended up leaving. Most people would freak out at that thought. Not Craig:

The next week, we had about 500 new seats for people who could get excited about the vision. Within a short period of time, God filled those seats with passionate people. Many of those who left our church found great, biblical churches where they could worship and use their gifts.

Everybody won!

That’s why I sometimes say, “You can grow your church by asking people to leave.”

Craig focuses on making leaving a church a graceful option and a positive thing and not the bitter experience it often is.

Or for a, uh, slightly different perspective, there’s Mark Driscoll from his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev:

“The church is a body, and one of the most important parts is the colon. Like the human body, any church body without a colon is destined for sickness that leads to death.” (page 131)

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Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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44 Responses to “Grow Your Church By Asking People to Leave”

  • Geoff Brown
    July 18, 2007

    In my experience as a layman, I have seen several examples of a congregation growing because one or more people who could not “get with the program” moved on.
    We go a little farther than that, however. We know that we are not for everyone, but we also want everyone to find God in a way that works for them, regardless of where they are on their own personal Journey.
    Hence, this (rather popular) page on our website:
    http://www.trinitylimerock.org/2003/houses_of_worship.htm
    Interestingly, the statistics about visitors to this page show that many elect to remain on our website rather than surf over to some other house of worship.
    Interesting.


  • Matt
    July 18, 2007

    You’ve ever so slightly rephrased his words and there’s a bit of a nasty overtone creeping in:
    On face value, your post here suggests if a member is not contributing to the forward movement then we cut them loose – his does say that, but it speaks first about the heart of the pastor: if one of your flock isn’t flourishing then something’s up with their walk and maybe they’d be better elsewhere.
    I think it’s crucial for us to remember when “the church” moves forward it’s because the individuals in the place are moving forward in their own faith. Jesus strikes me as the kind of guy who looked people in the eyes: we must always do that.
    Now; on topic – it’s a continuum, isn’t it, from “I am actively working against the vision of the pastor” to “I’m not really sure I fit here”; then on to “this place feels right” on to “can I get our logo tattooed someplace?”


    • Pastor Lee Austin
      September 8, 2010

      Well I know it is just not the popular thing these days to accept the congregants who are just plain hurting and needy, so you all can send them to my church, because if there had not been a church that just let me be and let me heal for a long, long time, I would not be the Christian I am today. We are all so caught up on the great commission, bring em in and send em out, that we forget those parts of scripture where Christ said Come unto me all you who are weary and heavily burdened because I will give you rest…and some of us needed that rest for a prolonged amount of time, and a prolonged amount of nurturing…before we were healed enough to go back out into that world and do our part. I’m glad I had a church which understood that. So you send me all your dead beats, and they will be welcomed, and they can take thei time the Lord knows they need, and they will be loved here and New Hope, and when God knows they are ready, they will be ready.


      • Deborah
        September 11, 2010

        I agree wholeheartedly with this. I work in a church in England, and it seems amazing to me to suggest easing out the people who are not “on message”. I initially went to my local church, where they welcomed me warmly, but I found that they welcomed me warmly because I was married with three children, and ticked all the right boxes. They then urged the other local churches to pass a motion condemning homosexuality (which failed). I moved to a church that would not dream of putting forward such a motion. Come to me ALL who are weary and heavy-laden is exactly right.


  • RC of strangeculture
    July 18, 2007

    I love your inclusion of the Mark Driscoll quote.
    Very well played.


  • Dennis Laing
    July 19, 2007

    I think it’s extremely egocentric to blast the whole congregation this way. While some critics are just jerks who need to move on, others have some amazingly important things to teach you. I have no problem asking someone to go find a place to fit, I just think if it’s going to be effective, you must look them in the eye and say it, having taken into account what you, as their pastor can learn.


  • A.B. Dada
    July 19, 2007

    As someone who has been asked to leave 3 times in 6 years from various congregations and serving positions, I think it’s a good idea if your vision conflicts with that of the leadership team and the congregation as a whole. From my perspective, I always did a “Letter on the Wall” when I left outlining why I believe the leadership team’s focus points were not consistent with the community, or with the congregation, or just plain bad ideas that have failed numerous times in the past. Sad to say, none of the congregations are around anymore, although I know I would not have made a hill of beans of difference had I stayed beyond the opening of the door for me. It is always sad to see congregations fail after you leave, you always feel like you could have made a difference.
    The congregation I am with now is at capacity. The 200 seat sanctuary is too small, and the 80% rule has proven true every week. When they’re at 80% capacity (160 people), new people don’t come back. When people leave the congregation (for whatever reason), they fill up to 80% quickly with new attendees who do stay. Then it’s 80% forever.
    If you are at 80% capacity, and there is “dead weight,” I do believe a face-to-face conversation with those who are not with the direction is acceptable. Everyone has a place in the Church, but maybe not THAT congregation. I wouldn’t “boot” someone over doctrine or disability, but I see so many people who have abilities that can not be tapped. One congregation I help with (who is also at 80%) has _5_ graphic designers who do nothing. It makes me crazy to see them go to “church” for 2 hours a week, and then not have room for their talents. What a waste!
    My pastor is not one to force anyone out. Doctrinally, we are complete 180 degrees apart, yet he also knows that my skills and my tools allow him to further the direction of the congregation, even if once-in-a-while I won’t develop something that he wants. Yet if someone else came to the congregation with my skills and tools AND a considerably similar doctrine and direction, I’d happily move out of my position and move on to another congregation where I can instill some excitement and drive in others.
    I think the biggest need for most congregations is instilling a sense of “I have talents” in the majority of the attendees. No, not just a “find a place to serve here” sermon, but an actual “Let us find your talents, and let us find a place for your talents.” If your congregation does not have open communications with other congregations in your community — including sharing their needs for servers, then there is no way you can push someone elsewhere. You have to know what you need, and what others need, and what your attendees can do, and where they can do it best.


    • keith Gloor
      August 4, 2011

      It is easy to lead to water.. but to drink is the freewill of the person to drink. To eat, drink, breath, and pray. It shoud be automatic to band with other christians to heal a heart or fill a need. people have to feel wanted in a friendly atmisphere. like a coffe hour before church or after to meet everyone in the stahh and congration, to find a home. Prayer is the easy way to fill the 20%. with all other churchs looseing people holding 80$ is fantasic number god job fine servant!

      A christian serevant
      KEITH GLOOR


  • Brian Metz
    July 19, 2007

    I just read Joshua Harris’ little book entitled, “Don’t Date the Church”. In one chapter he lists the things that could be used for someone who is deciding on a church home. One of the criteria is; Choose a church that would ask you to leave. I want to be in relationships with Christian’s who care enough about me that they will confront my sin. Confronting, of course, with the heart of restoration. I think that the bottom-line is that there are a lot of churches out there and if people aren’t syncing with the church that they are at, for reasons other than the essentials, than it is most likely healthy for them to go somewhere else. For the most part, those of us in leadership need to be calling people to repentance and commitment to their Lord in the form of commitment to their local church body. If they find themselves in a church that is preaching the gospel and all they do is complain about what programs are not being offered than perhaps they should step up and do it or get saved and then put the good works that God has prepared for them to do in Christ Jesus to work.
    Some people need to just move along, because these are clearly not the droids they are looking for.


  • Lance E. Leonard
    July 19, 2007

    Two recent situations struck me as I read this. One was where I was involved in the asking (as a layperson with a pastor’s support). Someone was complaining about a change our church had made and I suggested that maybe we were moving out of his comfort zone and there might be a better fit for him at one of the more traditional churches in the area. He said “So if I don’t like, I shouldn’t come back?” In this case, yes.
    The second was a visiting pastor who spoke several times. In one message, he promoted another church and some of the things they were doing. Some in our congregation didn’t like that idea and requested that we not invite him back. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been back.
    It’s simply a matter of understanding that there is a huge difference between church (our congregation/building) and Church (the Kingdom). We need to shift our focus to Church. I just wrote a post on this topic this week.
    However, we must make sure that our hearts are right before we take this on. Where is the vision? Is the Spirit involved? Can the situation change before giving up and trimming the fat? Only when all else fails, and with constant prayer, should this situation be addressed.


  • JenS
    July 20, 2007

    No one has said it – Asking people to leave your church from the pulpit IS WRONG.
    Church growth should be about the spiritual growth of the people who attend. Sadly, I think we all know it isn’t.
    Numbers always win. Always. However, numbers and your church’s “vision” are meaningless if you are not ministering to the people in the pews and encouraging them to carry the same ministry to their communities.
    Church isn’t about using your “talent” for the church. It should be about how to minister to those talented people who use their gifts in the community every day of the week. Sunday morning should be a time to fill them up and encourage them to continue to minister in the community by using the gifts they possess. We don’t need more Christian communities, or Christians contributing to their own Christian communities – we need more Christians IN the community. But I digress.
    Church, above all other organizations should be personal.
    Equating those who seem to be “not on board” as people who have lost faith, or their “way”, or worse yet – “dead weight” – is a judgment we cannot afford to make – ever. You won’t know unless you speak with them. As, A.B. stated: You must look them in the eye and say it. Jesus would have.
    Asking people to leave a church because they are hard to get along with, or don’t comply with your plan, or have a differing opinion – is wrong. It is wrong.
    Talking one-to-one with people you have a hard time with is the most important thing you can do – in or out of church. Perhaps you will find they make a point – one you may not like, but one you should ponder. Perhaps you will find out the source of their dissatisfaction – wow that would be a good thing. This way of working with people is akin to being on a journey to finding Truth – maybe some about you.
    Sometimes, people just want to be listened to.
    I know, all of this would take time – a lot of time – relationships are like that – very messy. Maybe churches married to timelines and “visions” cannot afford this path. And if you have to clear five-hundred seats, well this would be a most effective way of doing things. But it would still be wrong.
    The behavior and attitude from the pulpit is a huge reason why many people leave the church – and never go back – not even to another church. Don’t kid yourself – this was not a “challenge”, it was an execution. You could use the ever popular term of “pruning”, but it seems that what really happened was the surgical removal of people they didn’t like out of the church, apparently without ever speaking to them. That’s wrong.
    Everyone doesn’t win. It couldn’t have been “graceful” or “positive.” This was a lose-lose situation. You must consider the ripple effect you are causing in their lives, and in your own. What damage – beyond repair – are you causing and will you feel responsible? Does this make a difference at all to people in church – the personal pain caused to individuals? Or is the attitude, “Good, they’re gone and out of our way!” After all, it’s the reputation of the church that matters…
    Five hundred people left a church. Astounding. Five-hundred individuals. Five-hundred people who might have had something very important to contribute – we will never know. AND we will never know if they found another church – let’s be honest, did anyone from LifeChurch ever follow up? Doubtful.
    LifeChurch says the new five-hundred people are “passionate”, but what if they turn out to be something else? What if the “new” five-hundred turn out to have problems, bad attitudes, and have messed up lives – what’s a church to do then? What has been accomplished? Nothing.
    What was the big vision of LifeChurch? There really is only one mission of the Church: Love God, Love Others. Get that right and everything else will fall into place.
    Jesus didn’t make it a habit to ask people to leave…he confronted people face-to-face. I’m glad he doesn’t ask me to leave every time I am unresponsive, irritable, hard to get along with, or differ with the plan or “direction”.


    • Mary
      March 8, 2013

      Just read your comment and although it was posted in 2007 it is as appropriate today as it was when it was posted. Pastors should look those in the eye as Jesus would have done an confronted their sins instead they are so a part of the problem of what is wrong in the church not only do they listen to but engage in lying, backbiting and gossiping. And that is what is wrong the fact they won’t confront sin because they are engrossed and es-meshed in it. Thanks for your honesty.


  • DeWayne Lehman
    July 21, 2007

    I have one thing to say. If you have to ask people to leave, YOU don’t belong in the ministry. In fact, you are a coward and a thief. It’s not your church. They’re not your congregation. It’s all God’s.
    Try running a prison ministry, and asking the “bad apples” not to attend your services.
    “Feed my sheep.”
    It’s God’s sheep, not that of some egotistical pastor with a dictator complex. Always remember, God called them, NOT you. God saved them, NOT you.
    He didn’t say, “Feed the ones who’ll agree with everything you say.” No, He called every minister to be a servant.
    Jesus went for the 1 sheep OUTSIDE the fold. He didn’t start shooting sheep who wouldn’t follow Him, he went after them and brought them back!
    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the ministry. This is the most self-serving thing I’ve heard lately in the name of advancing the Kingdom. Little emperors creating tin crowns for their personal kingdoms.
    Let’s think outside of the box, but let’s not throw out people because they “get in our way”. Leadership leads from ahead, not from behind. As a minister and military leader once told a group of us in a meeting about leadership, “If you want to know if you are a leader, look behind you and see if anyone is following you. If nobody is following you… You aren’t a leader!”
    People getting in your way while you are trying to build a mega-church? News Flash! People ARE our business!
    I’ll be bold and say such persons should quit their ministries, hand in their credentials, burn the ministerial membership cards, and go back to being laymen. Their first stop as they leave the pulpit should be the altar of repentance.
    By the way, my church, with a loving pastor with 27 years experience who came to us just a few years ago and knows how to use even the not-so-pretty members to the glory of God, is currently experiencing 300% growth per year. And, not surprisingly, many of them are from churches that made them feel like outcasts. I rather be a poor, broken, outcast Macedonian experiencing great revival and power than a rich, fickle, and carnal Corinthian experiencing shallowness of principle and sickness of body any day of the week. (II Corinthians 8-9)


  • sdesocio
    July 21, 2007

    Yeah Its ok to talk about the way the church is made up,Call me a Fundi but I think u might want to try pattern yourself after the Bible. I never read anything from Paul about dropping dead weight. He cast one man out for gross sin, something most churches wouldnt do, and yet he never just told people to leave if they disagreed with him.


  • Dee
    July 21, 2007

    While I agree that there are times when individuals or “clans” need to be shown the door, I’m not so sure that a mass exodus is necessarily a good thing.
    If you have people, especially if they are in a position of leadership, and they are about causing drama (for lack of a better way of putting it) and riling people up, then they need to be told to leave. Those kind of folks who cause dissension will kill a church…they are like cancer. It shouldn’t be done from the pulpit, however, but on an individual basis.
    That being said, if a pastor has a large chunk of their congregation that is “not on board” with their vision, then perhaps their vision needs a bit of revision, and a lot more prayerful consideration.


  • st. Mars
    July 23, 2007

    …perhaps 500 leaving can avoid a church split? ….perhaps its a Gideon’s army thing? I could never see my pastor doing that ….


  • Michael Box
    July 24, 2007

    What do you do when the person you should ask to leave is the senior minister? So many times in my experience, the senior minister has been the major factor that inhibits the growth of the church.


  • dp
    July 27, 2007

    As someone who was asked to leave their church as recently as 72 hours ago, I can honestly say this is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE experience and will not go over well in our church. We were the first family asked to go for the simple reason that we would not attend Sunday School. We were told that we are a bad example to the rest of the congregation and were “unfit to serve” in our ministries (children’s choir and Homeschool group). We were told this was due to our repeated refusal to come to Sunday School regularly and our lack of Wednesday night attendance over the summer. Incedentally, we were out of town part of that time and we did not miss one NOT ONE Sunday morning service. Our Pastor is intending to do this to others in the congregation using this philosopy and I know Christ does not approve. The last time I checked the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers and my relationship with Christ is mine. Shame on my Pastor for buying into this and shame on any church that believes this is pleasing to the Lord.


  • rick
    July 28, 2007

    This is no doubt a difficult topic, but first let me say that someone suggested that Paul never “cut loose any dead weight”. I fully disagree. In Acts Paul and Barnabas have a full on throwdown about John Mark going with them and Paul is fully against it because roughly John Mark didn’t “buy in” to Paul’s vision of missions. Paul takes Silas and Barnabas takes JM and the rest is history. BTW the missionary force is doubled and the KIngdom advanced.
    I think what some may be missing is that Craig isn’t kicking people out of the Kingdom; he’s encouaraging them to find the right fit. Many are right to say that there is only kingdon, but there are many many expressions of that Kingdom. I think he’s just asking people to find the place that they fit and can support. What’s wrong with that?


  • Janine
    July 29, 2007

    Rick,
    John Mark was not dropped because he “disagreed with Paul’s vision.” He was dropped because he had abandoned them altogether when they were in Pamphilia.
    The Biblical model is only to drop those who are in gross sin – and hopefully not permanently. The hope is that they may be restored in love after their sin has been dealt with.
    I agree wtih those on this thread that believe that this is plain WRONG. Vision statements are a trend, and most of them are not biblical. If a pastor, for example, has the vision of growing a mega-church- he is wrong. If numbers fit into it at all, he is wrong. The vision of the church should be to be faithful to the worship of God, edification of the Saints, Equipping of the Saints, and once they go out – evangelism to the lost.
    G O D B U I L D S T H E C H U R C H ! ! ! !
    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
    We get the idea that we are somehow supposed to “build” a big church. WRONG! God builds His church and regardless if it is 100 people or 1000 people, if it is proclaiming His Word faithfully, edifying and equipping the body, caring for one another, and witnessing to the lost God is pleased.


  • Rick
    July 30, 2007

    Janine,
    I guess you might ask why did JM leave in the first place? It doesn’t say in the text it was “gross sin”—and Paul didn’t do the restoring either…all I’m saying is that if you can’t support the vision and direction that one particular church leadership is taking, then leave and find a place you can support. It’s better for everyone. BTW, i’m speaking out of my experience as paid staff prson and as a layman. When I couldn’t agree with staff while a layman, I quietly left and found another church that was a better fit. Everybody won.
    This is not rocket science.


  • George
    August 8, 2007

    “We go a little farther than that, however. We know that we are not for everyone, but we also want everyone to find God in a way that works for them, regardless of where they are on their own personal Journey.
    Hence, this (rather popular) page on our website:
    http://www.trinitylimerock.org/2003/houses_of_worship.htm
    Ummm, why would “United Muslim Masjid” be linked off of a “Christian church” site?


  • Alison
    August 9, 2007

    I agree with some of you and I disagree with others. My comment is simply this: familiarize yourself with the vision of a church, the mission they claim and then criticize. I don’t think many of you did any research on Craig’s vision before you started casting stones. If you had, you’d realize that it is neither a “trend” nor does it mention anything to do with “building a mega-church”.


  • Doni
    August 10, 2007

    The Church belongs to God, not to men, and only God can direct them to leave a congregation.
    Jesus had those among his followers who didn’t see things his way and didn’t further his cause. Some left, but he didn’t actively get rid of them.


  • Dave L
    August 14, 2007

    Want clones? Kick out the nonconformists. Good news, you’ll have more people like you. Bad news, you’ll have more people like you.
    Rejection is rejection. Shame on you for nuking people from the pulpit.


  • Tom
    August 14, 2007

    “We go a little farther than that, however. We know that we are not for everyone, but we also want everyone to find God in a way that works for them, regardless of where they are on their own personal Journey.”
    This is about as unbiblical a statement as I’ve heard in a long time. “…we…want everyone to find God in a way that works for them”??
    This folks is what is called a postmodern doctrine and is found nowhere in scripture. Jesus nor any of the apostles ever made the Gospel a matter of “taste” – what works for you works for you; what works for me works for me.
    There is only one Gospel! Take it or leave it. Preaching any other doctrine or Gospel other than the one Paul preached is damnable. (According to Paul himself)
    The best thing those 500 in the article above ever did was leave that church.
    If I hear one more so-called “Christian leader” talk about his “vision” I’m going to lose it. I am not attending church to hear about some preacher’s invented “vision” that he claims God gave him, but which includes NOTHING biblical!
    Often times these “visions” are more like “delusions”. Often times these delusions of grandeur look nothing like the biblical pattern and often promote the preacher’s own “CEO” apostacies. They’ve never prayed over them, wept over them, or poured out their hearts to God over them – no, they’re just copy-catted ideas they’ve seen the other postmodern preachers up the street use.
    Then they wonder why the laiety are sick and tired of their silliness and launch websites like this one criticizing them. Have any of these used car salemen ever considered for one minute that maybe, just maybe people are wanting Christ alone! Maybe, just maybe they are looking for just a simple relationship with Christ – One that is in keeping with God’s biblical pattern and mandate and not some “corporate approach”?
    No, I suppose that just goes over their head. Sometimes I wonder if some of these CEO’s are even saved at all.


  • Tom
    August 14, 2007

    “We go a little farther than that, however. We know that we are not for everyone, but we also want everyone to find God in a way that works for them, regardless of where they are on their own personal Journey.”
    This is about as unbiblical a statement as I’ve heard in a long time. “…we…want everyone to find God in a way that works for them”??
    This folks is what is called a postmodern doctrine and is found nowhere in scripture. Jesus nor any of the apostles ever made the Gospel a matter of “taste” – what works for you works for you; what works for me works for me.
    There is only one Gospel! Take it or leave it. Preaching any other doctrine or Gospel other than the one Paul preached is damnable. (According to Paul himself)
    The best thing those 500 in the article above ever did was leave that church.
    If I hear one more so-called “Christian leader” talk about his “vision” I’m going to lose it. I am not attending church to hear about some preacher’s invented “vision” that he claims God gave him, but which includes NOTHING biblical!
    Often times these “visions” are more like “delusions”. Often times these delusions of grandeur look nothing like the biblical pattern and often promote the preacher’s own “CEO” apostacies. They’ve never prayed over them, wept over them, or poured out their hearts to God over them – no, they’re just copy-catted ideas they’ve seen the other postmodern preachers up the street use.
    Then they wonder why the laiety are sick and tired of their silliness and launch websites criticizing them. Have any of these used car salemen ever considered for one minute that maybe, just maybe people are wanting Christ alone! Maybe, just maybe they are looking for just a simple relationship with Christ – One that is in keeping with God’s biblical pattern and mandate and not some “corporate approach”?
    No, I suppose that just goes over their head. Sometimes I wonder if some of these CEO’s are even saved at all.


  • James
    August 14, 2007

    I have to agree with Tom. To paraphrase Martyn Lloyd-Jones, let us stand on the hill overlooking Corinth and be able to say I sought to nothing among thee save Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Oh how the Ephesian elders fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, he had for three years taught them day and night with tears…now there’s a “strategy”!


  • micah
    August 18, 2007

    finaly someone else said what i’ve been thinking for a long time. Church culture is that we save the one at the expence of the 99. The one sheep that Jesus saved when he left the 99 had gotten lost. it wasn’t trying to cause issues or “teach” the shepperd.


  • Thomas
    August 19, 2007

    Well, at least this is one problem I don’t have as a Roman Catholic!


  • Steve
    September 2, 2007

    There is good news in the face of the tide of “Churches as Businesses”…
    According to a recent Barna poll, as many as 11% of people who identify themselves as “born again” are in HOME CHURCHES! My, what a breath of fresh air!
    I know, some may find the idea of a home-based congregation to be a damnable heresy. But in reality, that was the model of the “early church”.
    Out of sheer necessity, the home congregations, then and now, HAVE TO take care of their own, and HAVE TO get their spiritual direction directly from Scripture, instead of from some half-baked, seeker-friendly, denominationally-slanted, latest book based, crowd-pleasing cow poop.
    The fruits of the latter is becoming increasingly apparent: Leadership scandals, entire denominations becoming apostate, poor treatment of its flock, big building projects at the expense of serving its members and its community, societal and cultural ineffectiveness and irrelevancy, etc. This is a pattern of an institution that is slowly destroying itself.
    In Scripture, we often see a pattern where God removes the status quo, and uses a remnant (sometimes remnant and tenth/tithe are used interchangeably) to start over. Some examples were barring the older generation from entering the Promised Land, and the Babylonian exile and the return…
    And we have 2 indications in our time that suggests that we may be in for another “Divine house-cleaning.”
    1. The hierarchal, bricks-and-mortar “church” model is simply not working!
    2. God has already been at work forming a remnant!
    My .02


  • John
    September 2, 2007

    This is a tough and sensitive issue. One way to reduce the need to recommend a departure for a member of a church is to make the vision God has for the body bigger than anything in the church. Allow God to make it bigger than growth itself and bigger than everything else. Then make it known to all. Then truly invite them all to take part and specifically encourage them to use their talents and gifts. Let the passion for true fellowship with God and others become so contagious that there is really little time to complain. If after you have made all attempts to paint God’s vision so clearly and include everyone in a personal way to that vision and there are still a couple people that just don’t seem to “gel” into the life of the body, find out why.
    All people are messed up. Even the people that “gel” have problems. What the goal for the leaders should be is to be ready to help those at the time they “discover” their need for change. God is good at change. We are not. Praying with a troubled member and letting them hear God about it for themselves may help them get through a real barrier in their life that is presenting itself in the church. The cool and most important result is that you are not only helping them get into the church life but you are helping them get healthier as a believer which makes their life better at home and work and more.
    If you have done all of that and the person seems to be just sent by the enemy to cause trouble…then you’ll need to ask God for advice, check the scriptures and make the decision that the Holy Spirit puts on your heart. But it just might be that the one person you thought was worth losing was the person God wanted you to help. I have had this experience and know that it can be a real blessing if you don’t give up.
    But if all you are interested in is church “business” having a big church, large tithe and a name at a parking spot close to the office…just go ahead and send the people you can’t help to a real church.:)


  • Ed Cantarella
    October 6, 2007

    I thought this was a horrible idea and really lazy. It is easy to be “nice to the nice”, but the nice will never tell you anything bad that you need to hear. I’m at a church for almost 3 years that I’ve come to realize is down to 25% of where it was(numbers-wise) from when this pastor came there 10 years ago, and of that 25%, 1/2 haven’t been here even 3 years like me. So this Pastor(he’s suggested from the pulpit that if people aren’t happy they should leave)has effectively dumped 7/8 of the congregation. This is a rural area, we don’t have a bunch of transients or job related moves.
    What we have is a core group of maybe 7-8 people who have clustered around the pastor and nobody new is allowed to take on any responsibilities, even temporarily. Same people on the board for 10+ years? The same counters every week for years,the same people running preschool even though THEIR children are in high school?
    These churches and their pastors are building empires on earth – they are not building the kingdom.
    Not even close to Scriptural!


  • Curt Edsall
    October 7, 2007

    We were just asked (directed?) this morning to leave a church. The message from the pulpit was quite clear, either join up or leave.
    Being fairly ecumenical in our beliefs, we are comfortable in most any Protestant denomination. There are minor differences (obviously) but not so much that it has ever caused us to question whether we were welcome in a pew, until this morning.
    This is the first time we have ever experienced a church present a “join up or leave message” and it was disturbing.
    Although we were not members, we were involved as much as the church allowed non-members (giving our time, money, and talents to the church). The only place membership made a difference (prior to today) was involvement in youth ministry. Having just come out of 20 years of active youth ministry (weekly meetings) prior to coming to this church, re-engaging with youth was not at the top of our list. Youth ministry aside, we were as involved (and perhaps more involved) in the church as any member. We had been at this church for over five years and never heard a message like this before.
    I guess we simply didn’t understand that membership was that important. Apparently it is. It didn’t make a difference to us but apparently it is important in this denomination (the church is southern baptist).
    We’ve spent most of our time prior to this church in military, methodist, pentacostal, and non-denominational churches. Our children were educated in a baptist school. We’ve been involved in a number of ecumenical ministries. This is our first experience worshiping in a baptist church and it has ended poorly. Is this insistance on membership normal for baptist churches?
    We’ll find another church (probably not baptist this time). I guess we’re just suprised to hear a message to leave from a church that touted itself “a place where you belong” (I say touted because I noticed this morning that the quote is no longer on the sign in front of the church).
    Ah well, I guess it was just a need to vent a bit. Thanks for listening.
    Grace & Peace


  • Rachel West
    July 23, 2008

    I don’t undestand why a church would ask people to leave, I’ve heard this same speech many times and I just find it saddening.
    Especially when preachers allow wolves in sheep clothing to dominate and manipulate and they are not bothered by their performance because of growth, either they worship the pastor or they worship the building.
    Where is God in this I mean Jesus did not turn away those who truly wanted to seek him so why do the religious feel so superior to Jesus and his love.
    It’s a disgrace a troubled path that will lead to a saddeneing and mocking of our unity to the world. Besides you reap what you sow, why is it okay for you to play God and direct those you feel are not important what about the least of them?
    American churches are in deep need of revival I wonder what will take place when we are held accountable for our actions. Who is the real judge here is it God or man and to me it sounds like man.
    I wouldn’t want a part of that kind of gospel it’s too conditional and idolizing in my opinion. And yes I was deeply involved in a church and I guess because I have a certain belief about the weak and cast down that is why I was not politically correctand yes they wanted to publically demean me as a terrible woman (even though we did alot of service in this church and donated time & money).
    At least I can sleep at night and know that God will defend me because I left in silence, just didn’t go back until a visit a year later. I saw growth but it was kinda sad I thought. But I wish them all the best!
    “Wow” I wish we could really get ahold of God and not self. Read the love chapter it talks about what real love is and it is patient and kind. I have met probably 3 to 4 Pastors who I have viewed their fruit and know that they have delved into 1 cor. ch 13.
    May God help us all with godly decisions and wisdom.
    I am terribly sorry for every person who has been shot down by some Pastor or church and I hope God will restore the years the locust have eaten.
    No wonder the world thinks we are hipocrites its like you have to be slapped in the face if you question and if you just leave how dare you try to rise, because they try to sabotage.Just remember fear God and not man!


  • yellowrose
    October 26, 2008

    Our Youth minister has been asked to resign and leave the church the Pastor has requested this action. Now the church is being torn apart. She was a church member before a youth minister. She has been at our church for 13 yrs, youth minister 10. A biblical reason could not be given as to why she needs to leave.


  • Bob Bell
    January 30, 2009

    Hi. Can anyone help me with this- you church leaders out there. The church i attend in Scotland has been going for 10 years and there are still only 12 adults! Doing some good work with the kids and teens but that’s not really growing the church. Nothing to attract young families. Our Pastor has no formal training. He’s 70 and a bit dated in his approach. He is sure that God will bring people in- which of course God can do- but his approach is to “pray” people in. I’m all for prayer but we need to “do” as well right? It started as a result of a church split so I’m thinking maybe it’s just that- a church split- as most of the adults went to the Church where the split occured- rather than a Church plant. We’ve had a few families come and go but they don’t seem to want to stay. There are 12 adults, 6 of them being the Pastor and his family (that’s not a bad thing)so I’m wondering why after 10 years is there very little growth, even though the Pastor says this is the Lord’s work and that things are going to happen. I want to believe him, i really do! I know we have to go with God’s timing but 10 years? A genuine church plant seems to flourish after about 5 years ish, so I’m told. I’m a bit confused and looking for some advice. Is it time to pull the plug? Any advice anyone? Appreciated. Thanks, Bob.


  • T. Salas
    June 7, 2009

    “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”
    Unless, of course, that lost sheep is not “on mission” or “on board with the vision.”


  • Beana
    January 7, 2010

    We were just asked to leave because church leadership didn’t like our Facebook posts regarding politics. They took them personally and have asked us to leave. Our children are devastated and so are we.


  • Samson Petersworth
    March 5, 2010

    In response to Dennis Laing; I feel you have missed the point on “gifts and talents.” Those Graphic Designers should not be looked at as a commodity, but as human beings. Just because they may not be a resource tapped by that particular church, does not mean that they are “wasted talent.”
    There are plenty of other ways in which they can use whatever gifts they have to serve God, regardless if it benefits that church or not. If I do remember reading my bible correctly, Jesus says that the church is one body with many parts. These parts are said to be people, not groups of people.
    You sir need to rethink the church, what it is and what it’s purpose is. It’s not up to a group of pastors to commission and delegate tasks to specific people. These graphic designers, God bless them whoever they are, can be tapped by God at any time to serve him any way that He chooses to do so.
    I’m sick and tired of Pastors abusing or misusing their “God given authority.”


  • Mel
    September 10, 2010

    Vision is nothing more than corporate speak. How much can vision differ from church to church? It’s about the apostles doctrine, fellowship, prayer, the Lords table, and a heart for the unsaved. In this day and age of church consumerism we become accustomed to this sort of thinking where we are willing to send people away if they do not agree with the organizations goals and objectives. I believe that’s inconsistent with the biblical model.


  • Mel
    September 10, 2010

    I never read any account of anyone being asked to leave because they did not agree with a pastors vision. I believe it violates the principles of fellowship. If it is something that churches should do, don’t you think that Paul would have said something to that effect?


  • John
    September 11, 2010

    i can see both sides of the point here.

    First, I think some have the idea of the 99 and the lost sheep applied wrong to this post. I think they are reaching out to the lost sheep, but addressing the bullying, aggressive and cantankerous sheep who break up groups, try to stand just behind the shepherd nd direct them away from the green pastures and fresh water the shepherd is leading them toward. Remember the church brought in 500 more members. Can any of the critcs make the claim to have brought in as many sheep in as short a time.

    On the other hand, we do have to be careful in pushign people away. The thoughts of so many hurting voices in the comments points this out. There are rigth reasons and wrong reasons for asking people to leave. Too often we ask for the wrong reasons and it leaves the resentments expressed here.

    Simple put, evaluate your reasons for the choices, because Satan will step in to try to trip up God’s church either way we turn.


  • Cantarella
    October 18, 2011

    I left a church because they WOULDN’T ask someone else to leave, or at least step down from leadership.
    My Worship Leader had confided to me he was having some serious sexual addiction issues (possibly underage/illegal stuff) – I was his informal accountability partner. But as it turns out, he didn’t want accountability, he wanted someone to tell it too. Nothing more. And my Pastor knew also – he had even called me, asking me for help making HIS decision to ask the WL to step down (obviously Pastor wasn’t up to the job). Then WL left, I was left as WL. Former WL comes back the week after our Pastor had resigned and left, and apparently hadn’t explained any of the mess to our District Super. who was acting as interim Pastor. I was asked to leave because it wasn’t my place to “suggest” the WL stay gone. I killed my message by getting “cheesed”(no swearing, just brutal honesty). Unlike the church of the past, the church today has no power to reprimand people by putting them outside the congregation until they address their sin issues and truly repent. They only have the power to ask those willing to go, to go asap. My guilt is that I may have left a predator in a bold position, and that congregation is being fed weak and tainted worship. I Timothy and Ezekiel all make qualifications for church leadership very clear.



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