Today men and women leave churches so readily if they see something wrong in the leadership. Perhaps it is the way the pastor takes offerings. Maybe it is the way the money is spent.
If they don’t like what the pastor preaches, they leave. He is either not approachable, or he is too familiar. This list doesn’t end. Rather than face the difficulties and maintain hope, they run to where there appears to be no conflict.
Let’s face it: Jesus is the only perfect pastor. So why do we run from difficulties in America instead of facing them and working through them? When we don’t hit these conflicts head-on, we usually leave offended. Sometimes we say our prophetic ministry just was not received. We then go from church to church, looking for a place with flawless leadership.
At the initial writing of this, I had been a member of only two churches in two different states in the past 14 years. I have had more than two—in fact, numerous—opportunities to become offended with the leadership over me (most of which, I might add, stemmed from my own fault or immaturity). I had the chance to become critical and judgmental with leadership, but leaving was not the answer. In the midst of a very trying circumstance, one day the Lord spoke to me through a Scripture verse and said, “This is the way I want you to leave a church: 'For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace'" (Is. 55:12).
Most do not leave this way. They think churches are like cafeterias; they can pick and choose what they like! They feel the freedom to stay as long as there are no problems. But this does not agree at all with what the Bible teaches. You are not the one who chooses where you go to church. God does! The Bible does not say, “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as they please.” Rather it says, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Cor. 12:18, emphasis added).
Remember that if you’re in the place where God wants you, the devil will try to offend you to get you out. He wants to uproot men and women from the place where God plants them. If he can get you out, he has been successful. If you will not budge, even in the midst of great conflict, you will spoil his plans.
John Bevere is a popular speaker at conferences and churches and the author of the best-sellers The Bait of Satan and The Fear of the Lord. He is host of The Messenger TV show and directs Messenger International ministry. This article was excerpted from his popular book The Bait of Satan.