Nov 11

The subject of whether to look for a different congregation or not is on the mind of many people. This is an issue that comes up as God leads people into a deeper Christian walk and they receive more light and understanding. They have to address the following question: “Do I stay in this congregation, or do I find one that is more in line with what God is showing me?”

This issue must be considered carefully and prayerfully. You must not lean on your own understanding, but acknowledge God by asking him to guide you and direct you. I do not think there is any ‘across the board’ answer for this question, but there are guidelines that can help you with your decision.

The most important issues are going to be:

  • Can you grow and thrive in your Christian walk where you are?
  • Are you being fed by the preaching and Bible studies? Or have church meetings become a source of battle where you leave discouraged about the standards and doctrines that are being upheld and taught?
  • Are people moving forward for God and growing in the knowledge and grace of God, or are things pretty well stagnant?
  • When is the last time you got challenged in your soul by the Sunday message?
  • Are you being exhorted and held accountable by the other brethren in the congregation?
  • Are you being challenged by the lives of the brethren?

Further issues that need to be addressed for those who are married include:

  • How is your family doing where you are attending?
  • Is your wife being challenged and is she growing?
  • Are there sisters in the congregation whose Christian lives are being an encouragement to her soul?
  • Are your children being properly influenced for the good?
  • Is the fellowship going beyond just having two meetings a week, where the other members are a part of your lives on other days also?

The issue of inviting people to church meetings needs to be considered also. As we are all called to missional living, this is a very important issue. As you reach out in your daily life to those people that God has placed in your life, you need to be able to feel comfortable with inviting them to the fellowship you are attending. Will the other members be a good influence on them, or will the good work you are trying to do for the Lord be torn down?

Our devotion and commitment is first and foremost to God. This commitment is higher than any commitment we make to a group or congregation. If there are things going on that you disagree with, you need to address them with the leaders of the congregation and see if things can be worked out.

You will need to be able to discern the cause of the problems you see, and deal with the root instead of dealing with the bad fruit. If there is worldliness and sin in the congregation among professing Christians, the problem is often a lack of church discipline and a lack of clear teaching that true conversion delivers from committing sin.

If the ministry is rude, overbearing, and carnal in their manner of dealing with members that disagree with them, the concept of ministers leading by example, instead of by authority and control, is missing. If a large number of the members are falling into sin and cannot seem to break the sinning and repenting cycle, then there is probably a lack of a system of accountability or discipleship.

I could go on with this list but you get the idea.

If you do decide the Lord wants you to leave, the next big question is “where will you go?”. In some cases, it is wise to move slowly and test the waters. The idea of just ‘upping and leaving’ and not knowing what you are going to do or where you are going to go, can leave you in a state of confusion and discouragement.

It is wisdom to visit prospective congregations and see what their meetings are like. Is there a strong core of spiritual families that are moving forward in the things of God? Are the people warm and hospitable, and did you get invited out for a meal and fellowship after meeting? Is there regular outreach and street-witnessing? Is there a spiritual ministry that is bearing a burden for the congregation and teaching the people to live the Bible instead of expounding on a system of dead doctrine?

Of course, you want to check and see what they are teaching. Do they have any unorthodox teachings? Are they sectarian and think they are the only church? Are they clear that salvation saves from committing sin?

Leaving a congregation can be a very difficult thing to do, and it can cause turmoil and stress in your home. I strongly suggest that you get up earlier and spend extra time in prayer and reading of the word of God, seeking God for extra grace. Make an extra effort to be graceful with your family and realize that this will be a difficult time for them too.

Life is very short and there is much to do for the Lord. The congregation we attend, and the instruction and fellowship we receive there, will -in many ways – effect our spiritual growth one way or the other. Lean heavily on the Lord, and let the trials of this life build in you patience and a greater desire for heaven. Amen.

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6 Responses to “Looking For a Different Congregation”

  1. 1. John Banman Says:

    Hi brother Bob,
    I appreciate your writing on finding a church. I read what you wrote on sectarianism as well. I actually work with a brother from a Church of God in Christ Mennonite. We drive to work each day together and he has an open heart so I believe it’s from God that we can go through the scriptures together and discuss doctrines. Praise God for His word.

  2. 2. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi John; There is some articles in my blog that have to do with sectarianism and the one true visible church (OTVC) sect teaching. While I am writing from from the an ex-Restoration (Church of God Restoration) point of view a lot of it can be applied to other OTVC groups like the Holdeman (Church of God in Christ Mennonite).
    You can read these articles in the Church of God Restoration category.

    I also have been posting on a COGCM Forum for about a year and have meet a lot of people that have left the Church of God in Christ Mennonite (COGCM) group.

  3. 3. Elizabeth Says:

    Have you found that the charity fellowship teach the sin free life?

  4. 4. bob Says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    >>>Have you found that the charity fellowship teach the sin free life?

    No. In the congregation I attend there are those would hold that there is no place for willful or known sin in a believers life but they would think you can have willful or known sin in your life and still be saved.



  5. 5. bob Says:

    You have the wrong email address as Layne’s email is on the domain. Also Danny would never make the slip of calling what he feels like is the one true visible church his or “our church”.

    But lets say that Danny did send me an email like that. Here is how I would respond.

    “Dear Danny,

    >>>I hope you will be repenting…

    I am more than open for you or any one else to point out what you feel like is sin, carnality, or anything else in my life that I need to repent over.

    >>>and returning to our church soon.

    That’s kind of strange. I emailed brother Henry Hildebrandt and asked for permission to attend the special meetings that brother Steve held this month in Aymer and he forwarded and email from you stating that I was not allow to attend any of the meetings.

    Christian love and prayers,

    Bob Mutch.”

    Also I don’t think Danny would enter into an email discussion with me.



  6. 6. Benji Says:

    I am definitely wanting to find a good congregation but seem to have not fond it in California. Can you make any suggestions here. I am wide open for suggestions. Maybe you can emial me.

    Thank you.

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