• Asking People To Leave Church… When Is It Okay?

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    I admit it… I’ve removed myself from a church a couple of times. Lack of growth was one reason, the other from a church split. But being asked to leave is an entirely different subject. But, after witnessing some of the things, I can see why it could be necessary. Here’s an interesting article from Douglas Miller, Relevant Magazine on this very touchy subject:

    Asking People to Leave Church

    Church Pews

    Donald Miller wonders when it’s OK and right to ask congregants to move on.

    A couple times at a church here in Portland, the lead pastor has very kindly asked people to leave. I remember a specific time he just stood up and asked how many people had been coming to church for a year or more but hadn’t found a way to plug into the community. He then invited them to plug in (which at this church means to serve or find a home group or work in a ministry), and then told them if they hadn’t found a place that fit them, it might be time to try another church. It sounds rude, and the pastor wasn’t making anybody feel guilty—he just needed the chairs. He didn’t want to have to preach another service. The next week, there was a slight drop in attendance which freed up some chairs. I always admired that about this pastor.

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    To be clear, he hadn’t given up on them. And to be more clear, he hadn’t asked them to leave the Church (capital-C). What he was doing was leading; he was saying “this is where this community is going, where God has called us to go, and there may be other churches that God has called to just preach sermons and have people come and listen, perhaps doing ministry outside the community.” This pastor felt very strongly that the sermons, and even Sunday morning, weren’t what defined the church he had planted, but rather it was the act of “doing” work “together.”

    Perhaps I admire this for the wrong reasons. Perhaps I get a bit tired of the unwritten rule of be as absolutely friendly to everybody as you can, nearly kissing up to them. I wonder if that doesn’t make a group of people spoiled. That idea is certainly debatable. My “black and white thinking” readers will see it as one way or another, but I think this is largely contextual. And it’s also a matter of calling for each church, perhaps.

    I think we are often afraid to say to somebody “You know, you don’t fit” because we might hurt them… Read More Here!

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