Monday, April 18, 2016

When People Leave the Church

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



When People Leave the Church

Dedicated to “New” Pastors


Those who have been there and done that
pray for you in a Psalm 62 kinda way.


People leave churches for many reasons.
More often than not, the “new” pastor will be blamed for the move.
Easy target.
She’s/he’s not like the “old” pastor, too liberal/conservative, too young/old, too whatever, and just hasn’t measured up/down to expectations for a worship leader, discipler, friend/foe of Jesus by the book, champion, paramour, BFF, or resurrecting miracle-worker for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.
Yes, there are times when the “new” pastor is just too ideologically bent to fit in with the established power structure – kinda like Sanders for the DNC and Trump for the GOP – or too whatever; and then anything but heaven breaks out as conspirators strutting around in “Christian” masks meet clandestinely and begin a campaign to boot ‘em in a way that makes ISIS look civilized.
Truly, truly, truly, I say unto you, churches in conflict are one of the reasons why saints like Gandhi confessed, “I would have become a Christian if it were not for Christians!”
Adamson put it this way: “Pastors stay at churches until the minority who hate him/her in a Christian kinda way become the majority with enough clout to destroy him/her in a Christian kinda way.”
While I’ve had one scare in over four decades – I deserved it! – the satanosly inspired lynch mob in every church never succeeded because, despite my many flaws, most of the members knew/know I love Jesus, love them, and will die for all of ‘em. 
Yes, love covers a multitude of sins; which, of course, is why most churches in America are declining and dying.
Most people who leave churches or cause people/pastors to wanna leave have no clue about what it means to love Jesus because loving Jesus means loving like Jesus with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Most people who leave churches or cause people/pastors to wanna leave have Bibles without Matthew 18 and 25, John 17, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 13, and…
Most people who leave churches or cause people/pastors to wanna leave them are navel-gazing religionists with no perceptible relationship with Jesus documented by their anti-Christian behavior.
They repel more than draw people to Jesus and have no spiritual integrity, moral persuasion, or credibility as they betray, by example, “Come, let us tell the world how to do what we don’t do!  Come, join us so you can learn how to hate each other even more!  We are neo-Pharisees!
We hit and hurt and hate for anybody but Christ’s sake!”
 Make no mistake about it.
If a pastor doesn’t love Jesus by the book, I urge people to get away from her/him asap.
If a church is dominated by people who don’t love Jesus by the book, I urge people to get away from it/them asap.
That’s not what this KD is about.

This KD is about people who leave Jesus-loving-Bible-esteeming pastors and churches because they don’t “like” someone or something.
They have personal prejudices only coincidental to Christianity as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture.
This KD is about people who leave Jesus-loving-Bible-esteeming pastors and churches because they can’t “get along” with ‘em or insist on their “my-way-or-the-highway” OCDs masquerading as Biblically Christocentric faith.
Truly, truly, truly, I say unto you, people who leave churches for any reason other than cardinal faith issues insult the very Lord they pretend to be honoring because He enfleshed, taught, suffered, rose, and reigns to bring everybody together in/through/for Him regardless of color, class, culture, or any of the other worldly silliness, superficiality, stupidity, and selfishness that cause fractures in the family of faith.
Now I’ll tell you a little secret about people who leave Jesus-loving-Bible-esteeming pastors and churches that will shatter the sound of silence surrounding and enabling ‘em.
Most people who are loving each other in those churches are kinda happy to see ‘em go and prosper almost immediately after they’re gone; or as an old preacher once observed, “Sometimes revival don’t mean bringin’ people in but gettin’ the people out who don’t love Jesus and all His children.”
Personally, I’m a three-stories-of-Luke-15 kinda guy.

I don’t want to see anybody leave unless it’s to become a missionary to a church that needs more Jesus-loving-Bible-esteeming people; and God knows there are lots of ‘em.

I don’t want to see anybody go unless they’re irretrievably irascible, irregular, and irreconcilable in a Romans 16 kinda way; and God says get rid of ‘em before they infect everyone with their disease.

Yes, I know some people should leave because they’re so miserable in staying that they’re like a rotten apple in a barrel of freshly picked ones.
I know some people who leave make things better for all who stay and come after they leave.

Yet, I’ve still got this lingering lamentation that that’s not why Jesus enfleshed, taught, suffered, rose, and reigns.
When people leave the church for any reason other than cardinal faith issues, they make the church look so small and irrelevant and, by untrue association, make Jesus look insignificant and ineffective as mediator, reconciler, Savior, and Lord.
Really, if people who say they love Jesus can’t work through their differences and stay together in/through/for Him, what hope is left for our world, America, churches, families, and…?
I may be wrong – and if I’m wrong by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, please tell me so I can confess, repent, ask forgiveness, and restore broken relationships – but I think that anyone who breaks the bonds of Christian fellowship for anything other than peace, unity, and purity in/through/for Jesus is very, very, very close to…
We don’t want to go there.

I don’t know anybody who wants to go there.

But – Help us, Jesus! - sometimes we act like that’s where we’re headed.

Those are some of the things that really, really, really trouble me when people leave the church.
It’s a dark plague in the first few years of a “new” pastorate.

If the majority who love Jesus hang in with the rookie and the minority goes to, uh, wherever it’s, uh, headed, God will send “new” reinforcements that, by comparison, will reveal the true DNA of those who left.

In short, people who leave the church insult Jesus and inhibit any chance of modeling Someone better for broken humanity.


Blessings and Love!


Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate! Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!




Laura said...

I like the way Carrie Underwood puts it: "Plain and simple. Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight."

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.--1 Peter 2:1-2

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


Brian said...

Shepherds need more backbone!
If our aim is to please people we set the whole thing up for collapse.
If our aim is to please the father then we will walk in the mighty anointing he has paved for us. He will go before us and be our rear guard. Then the people will have a chance to be happy in the Lord. The hour for playing church is OVER! We must run to the battle line as David did! Goliath is going down… We have the power and authority in Jesus. Pastors need to get their eyes upon the THRONE then everything else will pale in comparison. We live in a day when shepherds don’t really know his heart or his kingdom.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Right on, my bravehearted brother!

John said...

Well said.....take good care of my Uncle Richard. He really could use the help right now. peace & love,

Cliff Mansley said...

Bob, Enjoyed your Lamentations about leaving the church. My wife and I (of 63 years) only left one church and that was because the sermons were so poorly prepared and the ministers relationships with members was so ineffective that we couldn't stand it. I directed the church's last capital campaign, pro bono, which raised $900,000. The minister had to be embarrassed into saying "thank you" by the volunteer chairman. How about writing a statement about "when the church leaves me". The PCUSA is a case in point. Gay ministers and gay marriages. Isn't that enough to say " the church has left me? I see that the per capita is projected to go up since the denomination is planning to lose 500,000 members over the next 5 years. Wow! Talk about an evangelistic program. Best wishes to those we lose.

On another subject. The BSA committee that I work with is in need of 3 chaplains for this coming summer. The camps are here in Oregon in spectacular scenery. We pay $500/week and all they can eat. We provide uniforms, literature and New
Testaments they can hand out. If they come from the mid west we pay the airfare
roundtrip. Qualifications? The need to be 21 or older and meet ONE of these
ordained or, 4 years of pre theological at a Christian College or have served as a full time youth director in a denominationally approved position. If you can suggest a candidate or 2 or 3 let me know. Cliff Mansley, Sr.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


Thank you, brother, for salting, shining, and leavenating - shattering the sound of silence!

Scott said...

Thanks for the words

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


Well, my brother, your appreciation is noted; however, we need more folks to pick up the sword against the satanosly inspired who have slithered into churches like terrorist sleeper cells waiting, as we note in Holy Scripture, for "an opportune time" to hit and hurt and inhibit the advancement of the Kingdom. Sorrowfully, they have been enabled by fainthearts. The only existential hope left is the remnant concomitant to the eternal hope in Jesus.