It breaks my heart when I hear that someone has left my church. I’m quick to say “oh no” but I no longer ask why. Truth is I don’t want to know. I know that there are many reasons for leaving a congregation. There are legitimate reasons and there are reasons that are just excuses. People move. People church hop. People don’t want to be rooted. Some are just looking for the next best thing. Some don’t want others to get too close for fear of exposure. Some are not letting God lead. Some have been hurt and think it’s beyond repair. There are those that leave because families have split up. Sometimes people have “fall outs” much like getting a divorce. Sometimes the Bible is not being preached and saved people are waking up to it. Some are just stubborn and stiff necked and won’t take correction. And others are just full of pride, letting their flesh decide. There are more reasons than I can name. Whatever the reasons are, and whether they are “legit” or not, you decide. But be sure to count the cost of leaving before you go. It will disrupt, and in some cases destroy families. It will affect your children. It affects others in the church, especially new Christians. You may not realize it but there are people that look up to you. Where you go to church is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Even if you choose to not go to church. Not to say that you “have” to go to church to make heaven your eternal home. But as Christians, we’re supposed to be rooted. Church is where we learn and grow in all things spiritual. Hebrews 10:25 KJV “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” When you’ve really given yourself to Jesus you want to be around other Christians, you want to know more, be more, experience more. Your eternal destiny is at stake.
When God puts you in a church, you know it. He doesn’t later change his mind as the enemy would have you believe. He knows where he wants to "plant" you so you can grow spiritually. Jeremiah 17:8 KJV They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
It is too easy these days to not get “planted.” Some people just keep themselves in a bucket and never put down roots. There are churches on every corner, or so it seems. Just like gas stations and convenience stores. If you don’t like this one, go to another one. This one is offering free coffee with a fill up and that one you can have a donut and a coffee...and so it goes. It’s marketing. And we are caught in the middle. We can pick up our "bucket" and move it from place to place, get a little watering here and there but never get planted. We need to choose and stay with the one. The one that God has sent you to. The one that preaches truth, from the Word of God, where the leaders are open and honest and real people. Test it. Read your bible and listen to what the Pastors are preaching. Does it line up?
I had been saved and serving God in my church for more than a few years when someone very dear to me left. Other people had come and gone during that time and I paid no mind to it. This was someone to whom I looked up to during those formative years as a new Christian. I emulated her, I wanted to be “as Christian” as she was. It broke my heart. I just couldn’t understand. And I found out she left through someone else. I was devastated. She didn’t even tell me! I questioned my own attendance at this church. I thought if she left, maybe I should I leave too. It sounds almost as if I was making her my God. I assure you I wasn’t. I had just come from a place where I didn’t have Christian examples in my life and looked to her as a teacher. I was just a new convert. And to top it off when I asked her about it, she said “I can’t believe you don’t understand.” And then she said, “we can serve God anywhere.” True, but it hurt. And like I said earlier I questioned my own attendance at my church. The church where I knew God put me and where I was first saved, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. That’s how I got through this confusing time. God doesn’t bring confusion. The enemy does. I knew I was where I was supposed to be and from that moment on, I decided that this was my church, I had no intentions of leaving, and was going to get involved and stay involved. It was a resolve that I had to make. Making that decision then is what helped me get through lots of trials. It helped me to grow spiritually. I have since learned that God doesn’t just place us in a congregation for our own good, but also for the good of someone else. You don’t know who you are influencing, or who comes from afar and is encouraged because you’re still there. And I can say I’m still resolved to stay. I don’t have intentions of leaving. I won’t say I’ll never leave, because we just don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t intend to leave. I love my church and my church family. Since that time, God has brought many other strong Christian women into my life who I look up to. I am involved and plan on staying involved.
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