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COVID-19 Update

In compliance to Governor Cooper’s Executive Order regarding COVID-19 we have cancelled all services tomorrow and all services through April 1st. 

We are continuing to monitor this virus with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

Please continue to pray for our pastor, staff and church family as we navigate through these difficult times.

Articles

Finding Direction for Our Lives

One way God demonstrates His grace is in having a plan and purpose for our lives that He wants to reveal to us. It’s a pathway He’s designed specifically for each one of us, yet sometimes we fail to consider this. We move through life without giving God a second thought. Instead of wondering whether our lives have counted for anything, we can choose to believe that the Lord has the best plan for us, discover His path, and get on it as soon as possible. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us what’s required to follow the Lord. Let’s examine this passage:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (v. 5).

God commands us to trust Him. Trust is a strong belief in someone’s integrity, ability, and character. This is the kind of confidence we are to have in the Lord. Then whatever He says or requires of us, we will know with certainty that it is right. If we lack trust, we won’t follow Him and will find ourselves living outside the will of God. On the other hand, if we’ve spent a lifetime trusting and obeying Him, we can testify that He has never let us down.

The basis for trust in God is His sovereignty. He is the divine Ruler over all things and all people at all times. His wisdom, power, and righteousness are all wrapped up in His sovereignty. The Lord’s purpose is always right and good even if it doesn’t look that way from our perspective. We can’t always understand why He allows illness, trouble, or heartache, but we can know that He is a loving and trustworthy God. If we don’t believe this, we’ll question His will when situations don’t match our expectations. That’s why we’re told not to lean on our own understanding. When we don’t comprehend what’s happening, we can trust in God because He never changes. Knowing that He’s always gracious, merciful, and kind allows us to rest in His sovereign will for our lives. He knows us intimately and has chosen exactly the right path.

The degree to which we are to trust God is with all our hearts. Instead of relying on our own knowledge, perception, or reasoning, we should put our total trust in the Lord. This requires more than just agreeing with Him. We can actually agree with God about many teachings in the Bible without actually trusting Him. Agreement means we believe something is right, but genuine faith responds to that belief with action—we do what God says because we trust Him to guide us the right way. Wholehearted trust also means we can’t pick and choose areas we entrust to Him while trying to keep other parts of our lives under our control. It’s foolish to rely on our own perception because it is so limited, but God’s understanding is complete and eternal. Even when we don’t comprehend or like what’s happening, we can still rely on His loving wisdom and respond in trust. 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (v. 6).

To acknowledge someone is to recognize him. But when we acknowledge God, we are not merely admitting that He exists, but confirming that He is our Lord who has authority over us and the right to give us direction in every area of our lives. In each choice or situation, we acknowledge Him by surrendering to His will and trusting Him fully. 

“He will make your paths straight.” When we follow the Lord’s guidance, He protects us from side roads and eliminates obstacles and confusion along the way. In basic terms, the straight path is the one of obedience. We may stumble along the way or need redirection, but God repeatedly brings us back when we have a heart to obey Him. His path isn’t always easy, but it’s always the best. When we think we can do a better job of plotting our own course for happiness and prosperity, it may look good for a while, but eventually we’ll suffer the wear and tear that comes from taking unprotected detours.

In what area of your life do you have the most difficulty trusting God? Why do you think it’s so hard to trust Him sometimes? Continue to learn about and rely on the promises found in God’s Word, for there is no better place to put your faith.

source: Charles Stanley/intouch.org

Articles

Is God Above All?

Quote: “Never get so busy doing the work of the kingdom that you forget who the King is.” 

– Anonymous

In our sermon text, Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul calls attention to the two words, “above all.”

Look at his words to the believers at Ephesus. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Paul’s writing to the Christian church, the Body of Christ, and he emphasizes how God is a God of unity as He works in the church.

He also stresses how the church, the Body of Christ, is to be a body of unity. The word he uses over and over is the word “one.” Notice the phrases:• There is a vocation, a calling for each one who is part of the body of Christ.• There is one body, and there is one Spirit.• There is one hope of our calling. • There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and then he adds in verse 6, “One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all!”

I want to call your attention to verse 6, and the two words, “Above all.” Take that phrase at face value,and it merely implies that there is nothing above it. No person, no power, no authority, no possession, no love, no passion! There can be nothing above it!

Yes, God is, above all! He is above all things, above all people, above our self. But is He?

Do I live each day, at work, or play, acknowledging that He is “Above All?”

When I serve, when I minister, when I use my talent, is God, above all?

When I give of my time and my treasure, is it with the conviction that God is “Above All?”

Think about it – Is God

-Above myself

-Above the world

-Above Fame and Fortune

-Above Family and Friends

-Above all Other People and Things

Today’s sermon asks the question, “Is God, above all?”

May the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts through the Word of God and bring us to the conviction that God is Above All!

Articles

SO YOU WANT TO BE HIS DISCIPLE OR DO YOU?

Do we think about the commitments we make? Or, do we get caught up in a moment of spontaneous passion or emotions and then blurt out the words, “I’ll do it!” or “You can count on me!”

When we take a look at the Christian church, it’s sad but true that so many begin with good intentions, but soon their passion for Christ fizzles out, and they slowly become another casualty of the Christian battle.

Commitment is missing in many relationships. For example, some marriages result in a one-night stand, running down to the Elvis Chapel and tying the “Love me Tender” knot, only to find that it’s easy to say words, “I Will Always Love You,” but it’s a different thing to live them.

Not only is commitment lacking in marriages, but it also is missing in jobs and careers. We make commitments until we find out precisely what all is involved and expected of us, then it’s not long before many tell their boss, “Take this job and shove It!”

What a tragedy, that when it comes to the Kingdom of God and eternity, many do the same thing with their commitments to Christ! They boast with a lot of enthusiasm for how much they love Christ and His church; of how they want to win people and to see others changed; but then it’s not long before the passion is gone, like the air escaping from a balloon.

When people don’t keep commitments, they not only hurt themselves but also a host of other people, for no one lives or dies to himself.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Christmas

The Son in the Songs

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” is a line from the popular Christmas song written by Eddie Pola, George Wyle and heard so often around Christmas. It lists lots of things that many consider to make this the most wonderful time of the year. Some of those things are “kids jingle belling, everyone telling you be of good cheer. Holiday greetings and gay happy meetings, when friends come to call, parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.”
Then we find a brief phrase that seems to be lost these days for so many, and that line reads, “And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” To me, that’s the very best part of the song, more so than all the other things combined in this song, for it speaks of caroling about the “glories of Christmases long, long ago.”
Our dictionary defines a carol as a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas. I, for one, love Christmas time and I especially love the songs and music of this time of year, but the greatest of all Christmas music is that which shares the real meaning of Christmas. I am listening to carols in the background as I write these words.
Please allow me to share just a few of these lyrics with you. Do you remember, “Noel, Noel?” Some of the lyrics are: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.” The First Nowell has been around since at least the 1700s. The spelling of the word Noel as Nowell has been around since at least the 1800s. The word Noel comes from Noël, which is French for Christmas. Noël, in turn, is derived from the Latin word natalis, which means birthday. So, a long, long time ago, when carol first began to be sung, they sang of Christ’s birth!
And then a favorite of believers and non-believers is Silent Night. The words go, “Silent Night! Holy Night! All is calm. All is bright. Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy infant so tender and mild.” “Silent Night” was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.
How about “Joy to the World?” The lively and joyous song lyrics ring out, “Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing.”
English hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote this carol. It was based on Psalm 98 and first published in 1719.
You may be wanting to ask, “What’s your favorite carol?” Honestly, I love them all and it’s difficult to choose a favorite, just like asking me to pick a favorite flavorr of ice cream, I love them all! However, I always tear up in wonder when I hear the words of “O Holy Night.” O holy night was composed in 1847 by the French composer Adolphe Adam. The original lyrics to O Holy Night is a French poem named Minuit, Chrétiens – in English Midnight Christians – written by Placide Cappeau. Later, minister John Sullivan Dwight wrote the English words.
Let me remind you again of some of the lyrics, “O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.”
I wanted to share these thoughts with you just as a reminder that although we enjoy fun songs, like “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” the original Christmas songs were about Christ and His birth.
So, enjoy all the delightful and joyous Christmas music, but please, don’t forget the reason for the season and don’t forget the Son of the songs!
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5

Merry Christmas and a very wonderful New Year!
Loyd C Taylor, Sr.

Articles

A Collapse of Courage

Oftentimes people work very hard to achieve a particular goal, yet at the edge of seeing their dream come to pass, they miss it.

One of the reasons is because they don’t have the courage to grasp what God has provided. They may have even prayed and hoped that He would answer, but when He does, their courage collapses.

Courage is the quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or face opposition or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness. The story in Numbers 13-14 is an illustration of what happens when we lose our courage and fail to follow through in full obedience to the Lord.

Israel’s Situation

After God had miraculously rescued the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, parted the Red Sea for their escape, and led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, He gave them His law that was to govern their nation and their worship. From there, He led them across the desert until they arrived at the edge of the land He’d promised to give them.

At this point, the Lord told Moses to select twelve leaders from each of the tribes to spy out the land and return with a report (Numbers 13:1-2). The spies came back with a sample of the fruit—some figs, pomegranates, and a single cluster of grapes so big that it was carried on a pole between two men. The land was certainly fruitful and productive. However, the cities were large and strongly fortified, and the people were extremely strong. The spies even reported seeing giants there.

The Spies’ Reports

Because God had promised to give the Israelites the land, Caleb said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). But ten of the spies discouraged the people by giving a bad report. Instead of remembering God’s promise and power, these spies focused on the situation and raised the following objections.

  • “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us” (v. 31).
  • “The land . . . devours its inhabitants” (v. 32).
  • “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (v. 33).

As a result of the negative report, the people wept, grumbled, and accused the Lord of bringing them to this land “to fall by the sword” (Numbers 14:3). They wanted to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb and appoint another leader to take them back to Egypt. How quickly they forgot their previous slavery and God’s supernatural work on their behalf.

The Reasons for the Collapse of Courage

The Israelites came to the wrong conclusion for several reasons.

  • They forgot God’s promise. Although the Lord had promised to give them the land, the people let the negative reports overshadow and diminish what God had said.
  • They focused on their resources rather than the Lord’s. Looking at their own abilities, they saw no way to defeat the people of the land. But God has the power to do whatever is required to fulfill His promises whether we understand His ways or not.
  • They chose to listen to doubters rather than believers. When the people rejected the counsel of the two men who believed God would empower them to defeat their enemies, but instead listened to the spies who doubted Him, they made a disastrous decision. That’s why we should be careful about taking advice from those who don’t believe in the Lord’s power and promises in Scripture.
  • They left God out of the decision process. Even though Joshua and Caleb encouraged them to believe that the Lord could bring them into the land, the people didn’t even consider Him in their reasoning. We are often guilty of the same thing. Instead of seeking God’s will in the matter, we rely on information, opinions, and our own reasoning. Like the Israelites, we have the promise of His presence, power, and provision to enable us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do, if we will only trust and obey Him.
  • They allowed negative reports to overshadow God’s promises. After hearing about all the obstacles that awaited them in the Promised Land, they didn’t remember all that God had done for them in the past. After being supernaturally rescued from Egypt and given divine provision in the wilderness, they had no legitimate reason for doubting that the Lord could bring them into the land. But they listened to men, not the Lord.
  • They forgot God’s previous promises and work in their lives. Instead of realizing that the Lord had brought them this far and would take them into the land, they wanted a new leader to take them back to Egypt. They refused to believe the Lord’s promise and trust Him to overcome their enemies. Any time we leave God out of the equation, we’re going to make foolish choices.

The Consequences

Everything the Israelites longed for was across the border, but because they wouldn’t obey the Lord, His judgment came upon them. He declared that they would wander in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were twenty years and older when they left Egypt had died. When they heard this, they changed their minds and went out to take possession of Canaan, but because the Lord wasn’t with them, they were defeated.

Sometimes God gives us opportunities that only come once. If our courage fails, we will never receive a second chance. This is why obedience is so important, even if we’re afraid or reluctant. When we live in daily obedience to God, we’ll never miss the opportunities He has for us, and He will supply whatever we need to accomplish what He’s called us to do.

The Key to Obedience

Meditation on God’s Word keeps us in line with His will. This includes reading the Scripture each day, talking to God, and bringing Him every issue that concerns us. The promises we need to strengthen our obedience are found in His Word. Scripture has the power to change our minds and attitudes from fear and uncertainty to confident courage. And it also reminds us that we are never alone if Jesus is our Savior. His Spirit lives within us, giving us guidance to know what to do and the power to accomplish it. When we trust the Lord and believe His promises, we have nothing to fear as we courageously move forward in obedience.

source: Dr. Charles Stanley/In Touch Ministries

Uncategorized

Seeing Obstacles Through God’s Eyes

Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity. 

We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition. 

When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear. 

For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.

Joshua 2:1-24

Source: Charles Stanley/Intouch Ministries

Programs

Kids4Truth

Immanuel Baptist Church is embarking on a new and exciting adventure for our children, Kids4Truth Clubs. Kids4Truth is a ministry for children from ages 3 through 6th grade. Our club meets Wednesday nights from 7:00 – 8:15 pm during the school year. This year we begin with a kick-off on September 22 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm. The first class will be September 25 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Kids4Truth seeks to reach boys and girls with a memorable, creative, leading-edge teaching of God-focused truth. We desire to fortify young hearts and minds with essential Bible truth in an age that desperately lacks understanding of what Christian doctrine is and why we ought to believe it. 

The program consists of twelve key doctrines of our faith. Each of these doctrinal themes contain ten questions and answers along with supporting Bible verses. This knowledge is repeated and deepened every two years to give children a firm grasp of basic Bible doctrine and a solid framework whereby to base all other life decisions. As the child progresses through the four levels, the same doctrines will be studied more thoroughly and with the purpose of deepening each child’s understanding and appreciation of God’s truth. The twelve doctrines emphasized are:

1.     God’s Word – The Bible

2.     The Greatness of God

3.     The Goodness of God

4.     The Trinity

5.     God’s Creation

6.     God’s View of You

7.     God’s Law

8.     Jesus Christ

9.     God’s Gift – Salvation 

10.  God’s Purpose for His Children

11.  God’s Work – Past and Present

12.  God’s Plan for the Future

We use levels instead of grades, which allows leaders to decide what level works best for your child. We are creating a dynamic program that will give your child a strong foundation.  It will be an educational, inspiring, entertaining, and a fun time for your child. 

Thank you in advance for allowing us to teach your child these important bible truths.

Events

Homecoming and Revival

We will have an Old Fashion theme for Sunday, September 15th with a morning service only. Our church will be celebrating 70 years in the community. Let’s have some fun and come dressed in clothing styles of the 1930-1950 years. Prepare your favorite dessert. Invite family and friends! Plan for an exciting day of fellowship, singing, and preaching by Evangelist Ron Zwart.

Revival September 16-18, Monday-Wednesday night at 7:00pm.

Articles

How Do You Leave Your Church?

Sometimes you just can’t stay at your local church. You have to leave. This is one of the gut-wrenching seasons in any God-loving Christian’s life. The good news is that there is a way to leave your church well. And there is a way to leave poorly.

 I have been growing discontent with my church. I don’t know how much of it is the church and how much is me. At this point, I’m not sure if I can resolve anything by communicating my concerns with the leadership.

I am not one to church-hop. I have been in this church for nearly a decade, so I don’t consider a change of churches lightly. At the same time, my area is not a Christian mecca, and I don’t know if there is even a better option out there.

Would it be wrong to start visiting other churches once a month or so to get a sense of other options while not severing my current connection? I have young children, and if I did seek out a different fellowship, I would want to make it as easy a transition for them as possible.

How do you leave your church?

Well.

That’s it.

You leave well.

There is no other biblical alternative for leaving a local church, but to leave the right way. Leaving well means you must be right with God. The counter to this is to leave when your heart is not right with God. That is not an option.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – Romans 12:18

You do everything within your ability to leave on good terms. Leaving on good terms with every individual may not be possible in every situation, but it is possible for you to be right with the Lord regardless of what they do.

Your attitude is controlled by God, not by other people. You’re free and empowered to be right with the Lord. You can leave with grace. The main thing to think about when thinking about leaving a local church is your attitude.

A right attitude is how you should end any relationship, whether it’s with another person, your job, or your church. It is never right to have a sinful attitude toward other individuals or institutions. If you leave on bad terms, ask the Lord to work in your heart so you can do as much as depends on you–at the appropriate time–to make things right.

I realize there are times when people leave on bad terms. It can work out this way when emotions are high, feelings are hurt, and uncharitable things are said. Stressful situations happen. The good news is when things spin into an unresolvable disagreement, it does not have to stay that way. Minimally, you can change.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34

An attitude of forgiveness is the power of the gospel that works in all God’s children. The gospel has “reconciling power,” and at some point, people should be able to work through any sinful attitudes they may have toward each other.

The main point is that you can do right regardless of whether others follow your lead and pursue Christian charity and reconciliation.

Guard Thy Heart

Leaving well is imperative, and I want to drive this further home. Leaving a church is a big deal. No Christian should take this lightly. There are three big spheres in the Christian’s life–family, work, and church.

When you shake up any of these spheres, it’s a serious matter, and it’s hard to be objective about what is happening to you. You love God’s family, especially His family that makes up your local church.

You commit to your church, and you have expectations of your local church. There are times when these expectations are unmet, and a person begins to think about leaving. When that happens, nobody is objective.

Still yet, you can leave with hurt and anger, or you can go with grace. If you’re in a situation where someone hurt you, the temptation will be to leave with the wrong attitude. Maybe this can’t be avoided.

It would be wrong for you not to seek to gauge your heart. The biggest thing you’ll struggle with as far as a sin issue will be self-righteousness, which is a “greater than, better than attitude” toward your church.

Self-righteousness is looking down on others. In this case, it is looking down on your church–possibly the leaders or someone who has disappointed you within the congregation. A lofty position is a dangerous place to be in your heart.

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. – Luke 5:31-32

There is no grace for the self-righteous person because Christ did not come to him/her. He came for the unrighteous, the needy, the hurting, and those who realize they are not better than anyone else. These humble servants want His mercy and grace.

Apart from the grace of God, you are not better than any other person in the world. On your best day, you are equal to the human family. Without God imposing His grace into your life, you stand on level ground (1 Timothy 1:15).

An angry, cocky, condescending, “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitude is not how any person should leave a church. The first place to begin is your heart. Appeal to the Lord to search your heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24

A Pastor’s Perspective

When I pastored, there were times when a person or couple came to me and said, “We’re leaving the church,” and they left. They did not leave with malice, as far as I know. They just left.

My goal was never to keep a person in a place where they did not want to be. It was never about our church as the only church. It was never about building a local kingdom or thinking, “we are the people.”

But I was a pastor. I cared for people, and while I never wanted to control people, I desired to serve them. When they would come to me and state their intentions, but not ask for advice, it was always awkward for me.

Good shepherds shepherd, but when a person has made his decision and packed his bags, and the moving truck is at his door, there is nothing for me to say but, “May the Lord bless you and thanks for letting me know.”

It’s not like I wanted to talk them out of leaving. I wanted to serve the “exiting couple,” but I also wanted to learn more about why they wanted to leave. In nearly every case there was something for me to learn about myself and our church.

Their departure was not only an opportunity to come alongside them, but they could come alongside us. I was not under the illusion we had the perfect church, and if a person was at the point of leaving, there was always something I could learn.

People leave churches because they like something better somewhere else. It would be arrogant of me to downplay their reasons for leaving while not humbly self-assessing how we could be a better church. This idea is another aspect to Matthew 7:3-5–the log in my eye and the speck in yours.

In this case, I applied it to our church. Rather than being critical about why they left, I judged the “log in our eye” by asking hard questions about our church. Perhaps they left for inadequate reasons. Those reasons did not hinder me from self-reflection on how we could do church more effectively.

If your situation is not to where you feel comfortable sharing all your reasons for leaving or receiving counsel from your leaders, I recommend you receive guidance from two or three other sources.

I appeal to you if at all possible to talk to your leaders about your intentions. If a person is thinking about leaving because the church has not met their expectations, there are probably others who are thinking similarly. Your departure may be an opportunity to motivate the church to make some changes.

Don’t Gossip

Whatever you do, please don’t gossip. Don’t tell others about your disappointment, unless the church is preaching heresy or there is abuse in the church.

If the church is a biblical church and the leadership is humbly leading, they are doing some things right. They may not be doing it the way you want but the gospel is going forth, and in that, you can rejoice (Philippians 1:18). Other people do like your church, and the church is ministering to them.

It’s always like this. It works for some people, and it doesn’t work for others. It would not serve other people to hear the downside of the church. Keep the circle tight regarding your critical opinion of your church–if it’s a good church.

There can be weak Christians in your congregation. There may also be those who are checking out the church. You don’t want to cast doubt in their minds. Again, we’re not talking about heresy or sin being in play.

Gossip unnecessarily divides people and if it’s at all possible to keep division from happening in the body of Christ, do your part to keep it out of the church. When folks ask you about what you’re doing, let them know the Lord may be leading you to another place. Keep is simple.

You’re not obliged to tell everyone more than that. If your peripheral friends press you, tell them what you love about your church, but remind them how the Lord is doing another kind of work in your heart.

Your Children

If you have children and they are young, they will hardly remember your church relocation. Children are resilient and have a great capacity to overcome challenges. They will overcome this move if you decide to move.

I would not recommend taking too long to make the decision. Your children need structure. If home, work, and church are the big three spheres for adults, then home, the church, and school are the big three spheres for children too. You will disrupt two out of their three primary contexts if you move.

The temporary upheaval does not mean you shouldn’t move, but it does say that you don’t want to drag things out for them. They need security as much as anything right now, and a good church can partly provide this for them.

Sit them down and talk to them about what your plans are–as much as is appropriate for their ages–if you’re going to visit other churches. You can remind them that the Lord is working in your hearts and how this is a good time to check out other churches.

Let them know you’re not making a decision right now, but only looking around perchance the Lord has something else for you guys. Reaffirm your love and protective care for them. Get their opinions, though staying or leaving should not be determined by their views.

They are too young and will not be able to think about all the layers involved in this kind of decision, but you can allow them to be part of the “family team” by talking with them and removing as much mystery as possible.

Insecurity (fear) will tempt your children. They need security and protection. Change can create instability. Stay close to them. Communicate with them. Reassure them about God’s sovereign care.

Perfect Church

You know there is no perfect church. No clear-thinking Christian is under this illusion. Your next church will be a disappointment to some degree. Sin, sanctification, people, and a local church are four things that cannot be made right on this side of heaven.

It’s the sin piece that disrupts the entire fig cart. Make sure if you leave, your reason for leaving is biblical and a matter of the conscience.

As you visit other churches, be careful to scrutinize how they think about the gospel and their theology. These two things are the most important pieces to any sound church.

Don’t make this move about the children. Sometimes parents can over-worry regarding their children and not trust the Lord to take care of them. I was not in a church until I was 25-years old.

Before coming to Christ, I was a hardcore pagan. I made it to Jesus via the jail. If your children make it to heaven, it will be because of the grace of God, not because of a perfect church. I know you know this. I’m only stating the obvious. The best gift you can give them is your prayers.

Think and pray robustly about this decision. If there is no heresy or sin in your local church, you may be at the best place you could be at this time.

If your heart is free, live in God’s freedom and make your decision in God’s freedom. It’s not wrong to shop around. It’s not wrong to leave a church. It may not be wrong to stay.

Call to Action

  1. Do you like your church? Why or why not?
  2. Do you want to leave over doctrine, abuse, or preferences?
  3. What specific ways do you differ from your church leadership, and can you stay at your church though you differ?
  4. In what ways have you contributed to the problems in your church?
  5. In what ways have you contributed to making your church a more effective sanctification center?

Source:Rickthomas.net