The church is supposed to give you a sense of faith and community. There are many benefits of attending church, even extending outside of religion and worship.
Churchgoers have a larger group of friends and receive more support than those who don’t attend church.
Even though churches are places of worship, they’re run by humans. Humans are capable of error and even sin. This is why some churches are best to avoid.
Identifying bad churches isn’t easy. If you suspect you’re attending a bad church, it’s best to leave and find a new place of worship.
If you’re not sure when to leave a church, here are 14 signs to remember.
1. Your Church Is Political
When you’re attending church, your focus is worship. The church is your way to find peace and relax. Your problems and the outside world don’t walk through the doors. That’s why it’s a sign when the church brings these issues inside.
The biggest red flag is a political church.
In the United States, a common belief is the separation of church and state. This not only benefits the political sphere, but it also benefits the church. Ideally, what happens in the political world doesn’t affect the church and vice versa.
But is this belief enforced? Many politicians today implement religious beliefs in their politics and the other way around.
Everyone has different political beliefs and this topic is sensitive. You don’t attend church to discuss politics. If your pastor or any church workers become political, this is a good sign to leave.
2. Embraces Heresy
We live in a different and changing time. Younger age groups such as millennials are influencing the way we think and are transforming social, political and religious norms.
Scientific and technological revolutions and social liberations are at the forefront. The church keeps up with the times; it embraces all church attendees and is open-minded to new beliefs.
But the modern times shouldn’t compromise orthodoxy.
This is why many modern churches are embracing heresy, or abandoning classic doctrines and teachings.
Everyone and every church have their own definition of heresy. It’s up to you to decide if the heresy committed is strong enough to leave.
3. The Church Is Far Away
This point may not be a fault within the church. But is any church worth driving long distances to attend? There are currently 45,000 churches in the United States. It’s likely there will be another church closer to you.
Why is it important that you choose a close church? You have more involvement with the church than attending worship or mass. Churches host events, charities, and engage in many activities as a group.
Attending these events becomes difficult if you live far away. This may make you break away from the church.
Choosing the best and the closest church is difficult if you live in a small town or you live in an area that doesn’t cater to your specific religious beliefs.
If you’re still having difficulty finding a church close by, many churches host online worship and you can interact with other cyber-worshippers on forums, chats, or blogs.
Many churches also host online podcasts and other forms of content so you can always engage in faith. An example of a great website is www.newcitynow.com.
4. Transformation and Improvements Aren’t Achieved
Churches offer more than just worship. They provide a way for you to become a better person. Even if you don’t have any major sins or regrets in life, the church still inspires you to be a good neighbor and an overall better person.
This is especially true for religions such as Christianity.
If your church doesn’t initiate this doctrine or doesn’t offer an environment for you to improve as a person, you can’t help but wonder what the church can offer its attendees.
It may be time to leave and find a new church that offers more for its members.
5. You Don’t See Your Leaders as Authority Figures
Church leaders devote their life to religion and worship. Even though you worship, you have other priorities in life. You have a career, a family, and other interests.
When you attend church and look up to your leaders, you should gain respect and admiration for their life-long dedication to the church.
Do you not get that feeling with your church leaders? Maybe you get the feeling their initiatives aren’t right. Maybe you outright disagree with their beliefs and the way they run the church.
If this is the case, it’s time to leave.
6. You’re Not Serving
Those who love church want to serve.
You could dedicate your free time to volunteering or you can simply hold the door for guests every week.
Plenty of churchgoers want to use some of their passions and talents toward the church.
If you’re a teacher, teaching Sunday School is a popular method of helping. If you’re a professional pianist, every church welcomes music every service.
No matter what time you can give, your church should be accepting and enthusiastic about your will to serve.
Have you approached your church leaders and they weren’t interested in your services? It may be time to seek out a church who will appreciate your help.
7. Your Church Only Welcomes One Group of People
Religion and faith have no preference for its worshippers. The church should welcome members from all walks of life.
Your church should have no restrictions on age, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and other traits. The church should also have no restrictions on socioeconomic status, lifestyle preference, salary, and other lifestyle factors.
It’s easy to attend a church where many of the attendees have a similar culture or community.
In some cases, you can’t help it; many churches cater to one language or are based in a community where everyone is of the same culture and economic status.
If you live in a diverse community and your church still caters to the same group or culture of attendees, it’s best to seek an open-minded church.
8. The Leaders Are Criminals
More former church attendees are coming out with stories with criminal activity from church leaders.
Many wait to charge the offenders because of fear or not knowing what they did was wrong. In addition, many churchgoers don’t support or deny these allegations or suspicions.
That’s why criminal activity in the church is so hard to report and experts can’t get a solid statistic.
Church leaders aren’t the only ones who can commit crimes. Their family members can also get out of control.
This is commonly seen from their children; studies have shown there’s a link between religious parenting and criminal behavior.
Many incarcerated children and adults who were raised in religious families succumb to drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling, and even violent behavior.
This isn’t always the case. Many church leaders, their families, and their children are wonderful people. Unfortunately, the bad eggs do exist.
If there are rumors circulating around the church and you’re getting suspicious, it’s best to avoid that church.
9. You No Longer Respect the Pastor
A pastor is able to teach. Whether they teach about faith or about life in general, you should always be able to learn something from your pastor.
Pastors also offer support. If you’re going through a rough time, you should always know you can speak to your pastor. They should respect every other church member and provide amazing hospitality at each service.
And you should know deep down that your pastor is a good person. They show love and kindness to all. They don’t act out, don’t judge, and aren’t rude.
All of these qualities gain a sense of respect for your pastor.
If your pastor doesn’t have these qualities, it’s hard to respect them. In this case, it’s best to leave the church.
10. Their Teachings Are Biased
A practice of many bad pastors and cult leaders is taking verses and twisting them or exaggerating them. They do this to justify their own personal beliefs or to establish themselves as a deity.
A good church doesn’t do this. The pastor will express verses and teachings as the word of their deity. Ideally, these teachings are the same that have existed ever since the scripture was first written (which, in most cases, was thousands of years ago).
Any pastor who takes famous verses and twists them to promote selfishness, heresy, and promote an overall biased message is a pastor you want to avoid.
11. There Are Fights in the Church
This one should be an obvious reason to leave. If there are turmoil and drama in your church, it’s a negative environment.
You don’t attend church to engage in drama. You attend church to worship. While disputes and debates may happen, constant fighting and arguing are looked down upon.
A church should be positive and promote a sense of community. If your church doesn’t properly handle any drama amongst its members, it’s best to remove yourself from that negative environment.
Know When to Leave a Church
No matter what religion you practice, attending church or any place of worship should be an enlightening and empowering experience.
But not every place of worship holds these same ideals. If you suspect your church isn’t a good environment, you should know when to leave a church.
You should improve your life, in and out of the church. Click here and learn more healthy living tips.