We all know that the Bible doesn’t explicitly say anything about people being asked to leave churches. But just because it isn’t mentioned in the New Testament, doesn’t mean there aren’t Biblical reasons for doing so. In this article, we’ll explore some of the Biblical reasons why a church might consider asking someone to leave the congregation.
Have you ever wondered about the Biblical reasons for asking someone to leave a church? I have. I don’t want to make the mistake of being judgmental or offend people at the church, but I also don’t want to risk the safety of my church family in the long run. In this article we’ll see scripture on asking someone to leave the church.
Now that you have decided to ask someone to leave a church, how do you go about it? You simply ask them to leave the church – right? Not so fast… There are Biblical reasons for asking someone to leave a church for the sake of their own spiritual welfare net of knots and snags. If this is something that your church should consider, I think the following passages from scripture will help guide you in the process. We’ll also discuss leaving the church but not the faith in this article.
There are many reasons why people leave a church. These reasons range from doctrinal disagreements, theologically unsound teachings, abusive leadership, to the simply bored. There are also many different ways in which to ask them to go. In this article we will discuss several biblical examples and give you two biblical examples of how to ask someone to leave your Church.
There are two biblical reasons to ask someone to leave a church:
- They are living in sin, and the church is unable to help them overcome their sin.
- They are teaching false doctrine and leading other members astray with their false teachings
It’s not always easy to know when to ask someone to leave a church. Here are some Biblical reasons you might consider doing so:
- If they’re spreading false teaching, it’s your responsibility as a follower of Christ to confront them and call them out on it. You may need to do this in private first, and then if they don’t listen, you can go public with it.
- If they’re committing adultery or any other sexual sin (including pornography), you have a duty to report that person—not just for their own sake but for the sake of others who may be hurt by their actions.
- If they are showing no signs of repentance for their sins and continue in their sinful behavior without any indication that they will change their ways, then it’s time for them to go!
Biblical Reasons To Ask Someone To Leave A Church
Some people need to be asked to leave a church. The list of “some people” is provided in Scripture and covers the following categories:
- Immoral: Sexual immorality, greedy, swindlers, or idolaters (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
- Divisive: Those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught (Romans 16:17).
- Disrespectful: Anyone unwilling to work with their hands or who becomes lazy., those who refuse to obey your instruction, those who become unruly, those being disorderly and disruptive (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Titus 3:10-11).
These are biblical reasons for asking someone to leave a church. In most cases these measures will be enough to get the person on track. But sometimes they don’t work and then you have no choice but to ask that person not come back until they repent (Matthew 18:15-20). If they go elsewhere in town it is best not gossip about them or make public statements since those things can actually hinder their repentance process by making them feel like there’s nothing left for them at your church anyway so why change anything?
Scripture On Asking Someone To Leave The Church
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
The Bible is clear that when it comes to church discipline, you are not dealing with a punishment or legal process. Church discipline is not a way to get back at someone. It’s not an act of revenge.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel…I have delivered this person unto Satan for the destruction of his flesh…your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump …Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Romans 16:17, 19-20
- Don’t associate with people who are immoral. The Bible tells us not to be yoked together with unbelievers: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
- Don’t associate with people who are divisive. As Christians, we have a responsibility to love and care for others—to be united as one body in Christ (Romans 12:5). If someone is engaging in sinful behavior, they should repent; otherwise, they will ruin the unity of the church and cause division among believers (Matthew 18:15-17).
- Don’t associate with people who are disrespectful. Disrespectful behavior can include gossiping about others or speaking negatively about them behind their backs (Proverbs 10:19), backbiting about others’ lives outside of church (1 Timothy 5:13), or failing to treat everyone else in Christ’s body equally and fairly as brothers and sisters together on equal footing before God no matter their differences including race/ethnicity/social class/gender identity/sexual orientation etcetera .
- Don’t associate with people who are just plain rude! After all Jesus called us all brothers & sisters so let’s act like it!
2 Thessalonians 3:6
“But we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which they received from us.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6
This verse is pretty simple. It says, “we command you.” That means that it’s something that God wants you to do. You may have heard this verse before but if you haven’t noticed how many times it has been used in the Bible as a reason for something else or why it was even included in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 at all. Let’s take a deeper look into what this verse means so we can better understand why someone should leave your church because they are immoral and walking disorderly.
- Titus 3:10-11
The next verse, Titus 3:10-11, instructs the reader to “not put up with people who cause problems, but reject them. They are twisted and sinful.” If you find yourself wondering whether someone should be asked to leave a church, consider this verse. Are they causing division? Are they immoral or lazy? Do they disrespect their leaders or others in the church? If so—ask them to go!
Immoral, divisive and disrespectful people need to be dealt with.
- Immoral, divisive and disrespectful people need to be dealt with.
- It’s not just that they’re spreading toxic ideas through the congregation; they’re also hurting those around them. People should never be afraid of confronting these kinds of behaviors in the body of Christ because it’s right and good to do so.
- You don’t want someone like this in your church, but what can you do? If you don’t take action, then nothing will change—and if nothing changes then you’ll have a problem on your hands when it gets even worse down the line! So how do we deal with this situation? There are three steps: ask questions; confront problems; ask for accountability from leaders or elders who can help if needed (depending on where you attend).
In summary: Be bold! Don’t let fear get in your way of doing what God has called us all too—to love one another as Christ loved us by dying for our sins (1 John 4:7-8).
Valid Reasons For Changing Churches
In our consumer society, where prevailing wisdom says we should be loyal to products or brands only insofar as our needs and tastes are satisfied, it can be easy for churchgoers to have a very low threshold for leaving a church. The preaching loses some luster. The children’s ministry isn’t as fun as it could be. The worship leader’s hairstyle becomes bothersome. There are lots of bad reasons for leaving a church. But what are some legitimate reasons for leaving a church? Here are seven:
- The church abandons orthodoxy.
If your church begins to fudge on matters of orthodoxy, placing cultural relevance or social gospel initiatives above sound doctrine and biblical authority, look for another church. Sometimes a church outright embraces heresy and it is loud and clear, but more often the march away from orthodoxy is a slow and hard-to-discern series of small compromises. If you see your church headed in that direction and your alarm bells go unheeded, get out sooner rather than later.
A church should be a living, growing organism.
- The church becomes more about politics than Jesus.
If you’re in a church that succumbs to the broader culture’s current “politics is everything” orientation, placing political activism above Jesus worship and gospel proclamation, you should look for another church. A church that is more interested in advancing a political party’s agenda than in advancing God’s mission is not a church where you should stay.
- Transformation is absent.
Churches are not meant to be inert institutions where nothing and no one is ever changed. On the contrary, a church should be a living, growing organism where the Holy Spirit is sanctifying believers, changing lives, and transforming communities. If your church never sees people being saved or baptized, if church members never grow, and if nothing in the surrounding city is changing for the better because of the church, it might be time to find a new church.
- You live too far away.
Perhaps you’ve moved a bit farther away from your church and the distance begins to pose challenges to your connection there. You find yourself going to fewer church events and meeting fewer people in your neighborhood who know about your church. When it comes to church, proximity is important. If there is no overlap between the people you worship alongside and the people who live in your neighborhood or city, it might be a good reason to find another church.
- You have no opportunity to serve.
Every church member should be serving in their church in some capacity, whether it be welcoming guests at the door, taking up the offering, teaching Sunday School classes, or helping out in some other way. If you are in a church where there are literally no opportunities to serve (and this would be a very rare church indeed!), it might be a good reason to find a church where you can serve.
- You cannot submit to the leaders.
If you find yourself unable to defer to the authority of your church’s appointed leaders, and you’ve tried but can’t seem to resolve your issues with the leadership, it might be time to look for another church. Churchgoers who are chronically subverting leaders, or at loggerheads with them on everything from music style to preaching topics, are not happy or helpful churchgoers.
- The church is homogenous and insular.
This is a common problem, because humans are naturally prone to group together in like-minded communities that will naturally start to look inward and exist for themselves more than anything. But this is not healthy for a church. If everyone in your church looks the same (same life stage, same socioeconomic status, same culture, same ethnicity, etc.) and if your church feels more like a country club community than an outward-minded community on mission, look for another church.
It’s easy for Christians to be so busy with the demands of life that we don’t take the time to consider whether or not people need to be confronted about their behavior. We must be willing to call out sin and confront people who are causing trouble in the church. As we have shown, God is serious about holiness, and He expects his people to help keep one another accountable when it comes to living a holy life. As Christians, we must never compromise our commitment by entertaining sin or having fellowship with those who refuse to turn away from their sinful ways.
Leaving The Church But Not The Faith
You attend services regularly, participate in the music and sermon, and give financially to the church. However, the entire time you have the impression that you are merely performing the actions required of you out of habit or duty. You don’t feel a part of the community, you have no spiritual or interpersonal growth, and you have no drive to help with the mission.
Then you start to feel guilty and second guess your desire to leave. Truth be told, you profess a deep devotion to the Christian God. He must want you to remain a member of your current congregation.
In all likelihood, no. In fact, it’s possible that He’s trying to tell you to go somewhere. If you’re feeling frustrated, try these strategies:
Focus on what it is you really want. Recognize the truths behind your dissatisfaction with the church, and pay attention to your desires for change. Don’t discount your genuine desire for a more fulfilling church experience, and take into account the possibility that your reservations are warranted.
Make a distinction between abandoning God and leaving your church. It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between leaving a church and abandoning your faith in God. Leaving a church for the right reasons should fortify, rather than weaken, your faith. Verify that the issues you’re facing are not a result of a personal crisis of faith but rather the church’s inability to meet your needs. Only think about leaving if doing so will allow you to pursue spiritual development in a different way.
It’s important to tell the difference between pressing on and licking your wounds. Investigate your feelings about the church to see if you’re considering leaving because you want a different spiritual experience or because you’re angry about being wronged in some way. Do you have a grudge against that place because of something said or done? If so, have you sought God’s help in making amends and forgiving others? How do you feel about being ignored? Have you tried to connect with people there? Be sure you’re not harboring any hard feelings and are instead actively seeking spiritual growth opportunities that are unavailable to you in your current church.
Think about whether or not the church’s teachings still resonate with you. Do you think that seekers make up a sizable portion of your church’s congregation? Does it fail to aid Christians in growing in their faith over time? Have you sought to grow in your faith there, but lacked the requisite spiritual nourishment?
Think about whether or not you feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Asking questions openly is encouraged in your church? Have your questions and concerns been heard, or have you been criticized when you brought them up? Do you feel like you need to suppress the profound spiritual questions that have been plaguing your mind? Are you able to have open, honest dialogue with other members of your church about your doubts and questions?
Check to see if the teachings of your church apply to your everyday life. Is there a connection between your time spent in church and the trials you’re facing outside of it? Does what you’re learning and practicing in church help you in your relationships with God, your family, your coworkers, and the world at large?
Look at your life and ask if you’re doing something worthwhile. Do people in your church encourage you to develop your God-given abilities? Are you involved in pursuits that have nothing to do with the church’s ministry? Do you have access to the resources you need to make a real impact?
Think about how wisely your funds are being spent. Is your church faithful to the Bible in its stewardship of the money you and others give? Have leaders made it clear how money is being spent? Is there evidence of excess or abuse in the church’s dealings with money?
Make a promise to God, not just your rituals. If you find that certain rituals at your church aren’t bringing you closer to God, then it’s time to let them go and try something new. Realize that it is not only spiritually dangerous to remain faithful to rituals that do not help you connect with God. Don’t get caught up in trying to figure out the “right” way to pray to God.
Remember these three pillars of the Christian church. You must understand that a building’s claim to “church” status is no guarantee that it actually functions as one. Acknowledge that, while no church is perfect because they’re all made up of imperfect people, churches that lack the biblical fundamentals aren’t healthy places to be. Understand that a healthy church should offer worship that’s centered on Christ, community that’s marked by love, and mission that helps fulfill the Great Commission. Consider whether your church puts God first, fosters deep relationships among its members, and reaches out to the lost. It’s important to keep in mind that a church is not a physical structure but rather a community of believers. Christ is present and they are the church whenever a group of people commit to Christ, to one another, and to the lost.