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) It is important that you leave your church graciously and join your new church graciously.Eugene Peterson writes: Every time I move to a new community, I find a church close by and join it—committing myself to worship and work with that company of God's people. Everyone turns out to be biblical, through and through: murmurers, complainers, the faithless, the inconstant, those plagued with doubt and riddled with sin, boring moralizers, glamorous secularizers.When a church is moving in a direction that an individual or a family feels is contrary to God’s Word, that is another prudent reason for making a change. The usual method is to slither out the back door with the hope that no one notices. But these conversations—while cordial and sincere—are hurtful because they happen accidentally.Over the years I’ve had numerous conversations with people who have left Santa Barbara Community Church, conversations that are sometimes embarrassing and sometimes hurtful. That’s a great church, and I’m sure it will be better with you in it. A serendipitous encounter at the grocery store should not be the moment to announce that three months ago you left your church.Has your theology changed to the extent that you need to join a different church? Resist the temptation to concentrate on the warts and blemishes of the church you are leaving.Have the needs of your family or your work schedule compelled you to make a move? (You’ll find, soon enough, that your new church has a few of these too!

It should hurt because we have lived our lives with a group of people, and now we are leaving. Doctrinal considerations or the specific needs of our children are, for instance, two valid reasons for leaving a church.

After ten great years, it’s time for our family to leave this church.

She said this over a cup of coffee and with a hint of tears in her eyes.

We might even find ourselves selling our property in order to meet another’s needs (Acts ff.).

We are to be a forgiving community (Colossians ) that is deeply in love with one another (John ). Christ died to bring the church into being (Ephesians )!

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