I have recently been reading Dr. Greg Allison’s book Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church. While I don’t find myself agreeing with everything he proposes, I have found the book incredibly helpful and well worth the read. One example of this are the questions Dr. Allison suggest to ask before leaving a church. Perhaps you are contemplating leaving your local congregation. Are there any guidelines for thinking through this difficult issue? I hope you are helped these questions:
1. Have I expended all of my opportunities to effect change in this church?
2. Will continued participation in this church exert a negative impact on my relationship with and worship of God, my ministry for Jesus Christ, the use of my spiritual gifts, etc.?
3. Do I have to compromise too much— essential doctrines and practices, a lifestyle in accordance with biblical values and principles— principles— in order to remain in this church?
4. Do I have a legitimate reason for leaving?
5. For members who also serve in positions of leadership in a church, an additional question should be posed: has God released me from my current responsibilities in the church so that I am free to leave?
A positive answer to any or even all of these questions does not necessarily mean that the step of leaving one’s church is the right one. These questions serve only as indicators, not strict determiners of one’s actions, so positive responses may indicate that leaving the church is the proper course of action but they do not demand departure. Indeed, leaving a true church should be a fairly rare step; certainly, it should be far less common than it is in many of today’s evangelical churches. An important reason for this affirmation is that it violates the unity of the church.”
Allison, Gregg R. (2012-11-30). Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) (Kindle Locations 4359-4365). Crossway. Kindle Edition.