May 20, 2003

I received a letter from an old friend a few weeks ago, sharing with me some difficult circumstances he and his family have experienced in their church. It seems there's been a power struggle of sorts, and it's so stifled the life of the church that my friend and his family have decided to leave. Sharing their decision with the pastor, they were surprised to learn that other church members have felt the same way...and they left with the pastor's blessing. =/

(For the uninitiated, the above emoticon is my "puzzled/worried" face.)

Anyway, as you've probably already foreseen, it wasn't long before my friend's wife received phone calls from two other members of the church, informing her that they were considering starting a "home church" and asking if my friend and his wife would be interested in being a part of it. Suddenly, my friend found himself in the middle of a church split.

I counseled my friend to take a look at what reasons the New Testament offers as "Biblically approved reasons for leaving a church." What kinds of things does Jesus prioritize over church unity? And what is church unity anyway?

Interestingly (and sadly) enough, there is a couple considering leaving our church right now...


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