General Discussion Almost an awkward question:

Feb 12, 2021
749
577
How does one gracefully change church families? My wife and I are feeling a call to move on from our present church to another, but how is that done without fostering ill feelings?
 

lynnmosher

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2007
23,272
4,817
Probably depends on the size of the church you're leaving. The relationships you've made. Are there those who would understand? Is it necessary to announce to others? I would say that you feel the Lord is calling you somewhere else and has something there for you to do. It's a calling. And those who poo-poo it, do not understand. If you've made friends and cementing relationships, those will continue on.
 

Grey_Skies

Struggling writer hoping to make dreams come true
Dec 27, 2020
1,521
1,404
I feel somewhat qualified to answer your question, Paul, as someone who was dragged around to and from four churches in the span of roughly ten months. (Yeah, it wasn't fun, and by the time we left the third one and went on to the fourth, 16-year-old me was feeling very unhappy and insecure.)

The first one we moved on from, we had been going there for six years. From the time I was 9 to the time I was 15, that's where I grew up, where my favorite people were, where I felt safe and comfortable, and where the people had known me at my best and at my worst. They were the ones who taught me, mentored me, and attended all my community plays. (Literally the whole church would attend, in full effect anytime I had a show.)

Without going into our reasons for leaving, it was very difficult because we were close to so many people there, but thankfully our friendships have continued, and in fact, we still visit there on an occasional Sunday night. My dad was formerly an elder at that church, and he was asked by the pastor to come up and just make the announcement about our departure that night. So that's what we did there.

The second church simply didn't work out, we just didn't quite "click" with the people there, so we simply moved on.

The third church we thought would be the one. I was settling in happily, making friends, and crushing really bad on one of the teen guys there. 😂 We left about two months or so after I turned 16 (we'd been going to the church for seven months). That hit me hard. I've maintained a friendship with the one guy though, just a nice, normal friendship, which has been a blessing. Our reason for leaving aas mainly that my dad felt like it was too far of a drive to keep going, and we just kind of slowly stopped going there. My dad did have one meeting with the pastor to talk things over, and last I heard, the pastor (a very nice man overall) was disappointed about our decision.

After that, we started attending the church that we are currently members of. I'm reasonably well-adjusted now, and have a good friend group, but it definitely took some time. I was unhappy at first, I'll admit.

So I guess that was more of a story than an answer, but maybe that's just it. There is no cut and dried answer for that. Everyone has to be accountable and do what they feel God is leading them to do. Just bathe the situation in prayer, and hopefully those you are leaving will understand.
 
Last edited:
Feb 12, 2021
749
577
We have 20 attending on a good day. My wife and I, along with one other even older couple and an even older lady, are the only ones who come to Sunday school on time, offering a very poor example for that new family who never comes. I'm 65 and the older guy of the other couple who shows up on tim are the ones who seem to do most of the maintenance on the church. My wife and I seem to be drawn to working with youth, of which we have only one in that church. We feel as though we were called to help pay off the building loan, which was accomplished 2 months ago. One of my wife's skeptic friends said she'd probably go with my wife, if she went to 'this other church' --which is the one we would've picked to go to anyway. I guess I just want to do this without frustrating folks. We take care of the worship music slides, the bulletins, much of the supplies ordering, tax registration forms, Sunday school literature ordering and more. Our leaving will be felt, as there are so few regular attenders.
 

Grey_Skies

Struggling writer hoping to make dreams come true
Dec 27, 2020
1,521
1,404
We have 20 attending on a good day. My wife and I, along with one other even older couple and an even older lady, are the only ones who come to Sunday school on time, offering a very poor example for that new family who never comes. I'm 65 and the older guy of the other couple who shows up on tim are the ones who seem to do most of the maintenance on the church. My wife and I seem to be drawn to working with youth, of which we have only one in that church. We feel as though we were called to help pay off the building loan, which was accomplished 2 months ago. One of my wife's skeptic friends said she'd probably go with my wife, if she went to 'this other church' --which is the one we would've picked to go to anyway. I guess I just want to do this without frustrating folks. We take care of the worship music slides, the bulletins, much of the supplies ordering, tax registration forms, Sunday school literature ordering and more. Our leaving will be felt, as there are so few regular attenders.
I completely understand that. The first church I mentioned above (the one I was at for six years) is a very tiny little country Baptist church with, as you said, twenty on a good day.
 
Aug 10, 2013
8,880
2,903
Can you get "volunteers" to take over some of the tasks you have been doing? It sounds like your absence will be deeply felt. You have become very involved in the church.
 
Last edited:

Wes B

Mostly Harmless
Jul 28, 2019
1,517
1,864
I understand that this is easy for me to say, because I'm not in your shoes. Nevertheless...

IF you truly feel called, then the best you can do is to tell the truth, as diplomatically as you can. Given your unique situation, only you can determine how to do this. If you are truly called then any ill feelings that result are on the others, not yourself. Without knowing the thousand details of your situation, we can give little advice on exactly how you'll do this, but you'll of course want to minimize the damage from your change. If you know it's God's will, you should be able to do so with a clear conscience.

Seems reasonable to fervently love and pray for those you've left behind, no matter how they treat you. You are responsible for your actions; other people are responsible for theirs...
 
Feb 12, 2021
749
577
I understand that this is easy for me to say, because I'm not in your shoes. Nevertheless...

IF you truly feel called, then the best you can do is to tell the truth, as diplomatically as you can. Given your unique situation, only you can determine how to do this. If you are truly called then any ill feelings that result are on the others, not yourself. Without knowing the thousand details of your situation, we can give little advice on exactly how you'll do this, but you'll of course want to minimize the damage from your change. If you know it's God's will, you should be able to do so with a clear conscience.

Seems reasonable to fervently love and pray for those you've left behind, no matter how they treat you. You are responsible for your actions; other people are responsible for theirs...
We'll be doing that. I'm anticipating some weird awkwardness between this Sunday, when we plan to mention it, and our Christmas departure. There might be some training involved on some of the tasks we do. We don't just want to drop and run.
 
May 29, 2018
1,552
704
At one time, several years ago, I was in a quandary about leaving the church I had been in several years. Our son was born during the time I was a part of that church. My prayer partner at the time said something I found profound: "The important thing is THAT we go to church, not WHERE we go to church. There always has been a warm spot in my heart for those people, (That church had its last service on Easter Sunday, partly due to COVID.)

Now, let me ask you these questions. Are you getting fed at your present church? Holy Spirit directing you and your wife to make a change? Do you see the Bible lived out among your fellow worshipers?

I ask these of you because my best friend recently left our church. There are a lot of reasons for her to do this. Not getting fed what she needs was a big part of it. And people not following the Golden Rule: " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We still are best friends and always will be.
 
Feb 12, 2021
749
577
At one time, several years ago, I was in a quandary about leaving the church I had been in several years. Our son was born during the time I was a part of that church. My prayer partner at the time said something I found profound: "The important thing is THAT we go to church, not WHERE we go to church. There always has been a warm spot in my heart for those people, (That church had its last service on Easter Sunday, partly due to COVID.)

Now, let me ask you these questions. Are you getting fed at your present church? Holy Spirit directing you and your wife to make a change? Do you see the Bible lived out among your fellow worshipers?

I ask these of you because my best friend recently left our church. There are a lot of reasons for her to do this. Not getting fed what she needs was a big part of it. And people not following the Golden Rule: " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We still are best friends and always will be.
We've been feeling a call for quite some time now. As to getting fed, probably not as we should be. We need to plug into active ministries. We've tried to start several at our present church, but it's not attracting people. The community is tiny, and the church is even tinier. The church I wrote into my story is based on this church, but I probably made changes there, I'd like to have seen at my church. Just wrote the first draft of our departure letter today.
 
Feb 12, 2021
749
577
At last night's business meeting we made our announcement. It was accepted fairly smoothly. One lady suggested they refuse acceptance of the letter. The moderator and senior deacon said he was brought up in a no-touching/no-hugging home, but he was gonna hug me farewell anyway. He's the only guy at that church who's older than I am. There were some tears, and a faint awkward silence after I finished reading my letter to the church, but it went better than I anticipated. Life goes on, and now we start at another church Sunday. --Oh yeah, and I actually got nine pages hand written yesterday. That's a significant jump for me.
 
Feb 12, 2021
749
577
As we left the parking lot after our announcement, turning in our keys, all the tears and hugs and stuff, my wife asked with a smile, "Is it sorta ironic we still had to lock up?'
 

Grey_Skies

Struggling writer hoping to make dreams come true
Dec 27, 2020
1,521
1,404
Glad it went fairly well for you, Paul, and I'll be praying for you and your wife as you start at a new church. As I said, I know the feeling all too well . . .

One thing confused me though:

The moderator and senior deacon said he was brought up in a no-touching/no-hugging home, but he was gonna hug me farewell anyway.
That sounds odd . . . and kinda sad? Like, isn't positive physical contact so important for people to grow up with?
 
May 29, 2018
1,552
704
I realize this has been a huge decision for you. I pray you and your wife will find what you need in your new church.
 

Recent Discussions

Top