Leaving church with grace-filled footprints

The time has come for my family to transition to a new church home.  After almost six years, we don’t make this decision lightly and we are carefully/prayerfully navigating transition.  I have done it wrong so many times, but this time I am attempting to do better because I know it is important to finish well.  It is important to leave well. Too many times I have seen individuals leave church in a big messy exit and it shocks and grieves me.  Is there a better way?  Even when hearts have been hurt?  I am also discouraged and frustrated and I wonder what way is best?  Many people DO leave well and make the proper closures….but those people go quietly and the rest of us never know what was said or done so it’s hard to follow a good example when a good example is leaving quietly. At first, I wanted to blast them with a letter of all my complaints but as I sought advice and prayed, a different objective surfaced.  In the end, what I desire is for the church to thrive, to help people find God, to be a place of love and healing.  My thoughts became a little less about me and more about how can I help the church be more effective.  A face to face meeting with the head pastors may have been ideal but since we were not currently serving in any leadership role, it did not seem necessary to take up their limited time.  This post is for others who want to transition, but like me, are unsure of how.  Here is my attempt at leaving well;

November 3, 2013

Dear Pastors,

We are writing this letter to thank you for the five and a half years we spent with you at Church and to inform you we have joined a new fellowship.  We want to first thank you for all the positive teaching, for encouraging us in our walk with God and for wonderful times of corporate worship.

Thank you for the opportunity Jenny had to serve on the leadership team of MOPS for three years and for the years we spent in Lifegroups.  We have made an incredible group of Christian friends as a result!  Thank you for allowing us to host two events: Keith Wheeler and Jen Hatmaker (make sure to check out her show on HGTV starting in January.)  Our children were so blessed at the VBS and the final show was the highlight of our summer!

Of course, it was a joy to be able to provide the furnishings for two rooms in the foster care house and we are excited for how the Lord will use that home to help foster kids and families.  We will continue to partner with you in helping the foster child population in our state.  Thank you especially for partnering with us and our friends in our annual refugee Christmas party and we look forward to continuing to work together to reach this group of under-served people in our community.

Unfortunately, there were also some things that saddened our hearts and have led to us moving on.  If you are ever interested in hearing those things, we are willing to share them with you, but it is not necessary.  We are leaving with a focus on the many things we are thankful for.

We pray God’s blessings on you, your pastoral staff and all of this Church.  May you continue to reach many people with God’s love and see our community transformed.  We will be working with you in this same endeavor from our new church home.  Thank you again for being godly pastors and for the positive impact this Church has had on our family.


T & J

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