This is Part 3 in a series called, “How To Leave A Church.”
I’m pretty sure we’re the only church…
- That refuses membership to someone who comes from another church, but left that church with unresolved conflict.
- That stands up on Christmas, Easter, and other highly attended days and tells the Christians who are visiting from other churches to not come back.
- Whose pastor shakes the hands of Christian’s visting from other churches (intent on staying) and promptly encourages them to go back to their former church (if that is possible).
Because the foundations of discipleship are laid by how someone is “called” to become a disciple among a community of believers.
When we read the gospels we are immediately struck by how much time and attention is placed on the calling of the disciples to follow Jesus.
Peter, James, John, Matthew, etc. and others had their stories beautifully retold for future generations for a reason.
Each call to discipleship had the same three characteristics:
- They were called to follow Jesus.
- They were called to leave something important to them behind.
- They were immediately embraced and enveloped into the community of those who had previously left something to follow Jesus.
Modern-day Christians and their pastors rarely are called to become disciples.
Instead, they are pandered to, coddled, and placated, as if discipleship revolves around their needs, wants and interests. They’re given the impression that being a disciple is like receiving the a-la-carte menu of options from the local YMCA and picking and choosing a spiritual program that works for their needs, wants and interests.
For sure, disciples are all on the same program.
But it’s called the death program.
It starts by focusing on a cross and its ends with our driveling preoccupations lying in waste around the former shells of our lives.
And the sooner Christians who have been floating around from church to church are given a spiritually stiff-arm at the door and confronted with that message, the better.
Because if they don’t heed that message, pretty soon they’re going to hear this one:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
I share this because my experience has been that how someone “starts” a church, is how they’ll “end” a church.
Start as a disciple, leave like a disciple. Start like a consumer, leave like a consumer.
Has that been your experience?
Sign up HERE to get my articles delivered straight to your inbox.