After ten great years, it’s time for our family to leave this church.She said this over a cup of coffee and with a hint of tears in her eyes.During these years many people have left our church (some of them because of me).To be honest, some of the people who have left I don’t miss much. But I always appreciate the one who takes the trouble to say good-bye.If you are a pastor, then you understand the feelings when someone or a family leaves your church.Even though you may do everything you can to close the "backdoor", it is inevitable that people are going to leave your church.Still, it is rarely easy to hear someone say, I gotta go. Church membership and church involvement are serious undertakings. The Bible speaks of our being members of one another (Romans 12:4-5). We eat from one loaf and drink from one cup (Ephesians 4:4-5).
We are to be a forgiving community (Colossians ) that is deeply in love with one another (John ). Christ died to bring the church into being (Ephesians )!The New Testament knows nothing of individual believers taking a little from here and sampling a little from over there.The biblical doctrine of the church describes a body of believers deeply committed to Christ and to one another.It’s fairly easy to find a book or an article that tells you how to choose and join a church.Eugene Peterson, for example, writes in one of his books that it’s a good idea to choose the church that is the smallest and closest to your home. American evangelicals shuffle all too often from church to church, following the movements and fancies of the moment, but that’s not what I’m addressing here.