There will be a time when you will leave one fellowship you have been connected with and then be connected to another. The reasons vary, whether a change in geography or convictions or a different leading from the Lord, but almost every believer will experience this at one time or another.
One of the strengths of our particular group is that we try to encourage people to leave well, as much as it depends upon them. The original “members” of our church came mostly from another local Baptist fellowship to start doing house church exclusively. This was a process, but it was also a positive experience in that the pastors at the Baptist church blessed them and they all still have healthy relationships to this day.
This is rare.
It is sad that it is rare in the universal Church, but many people’s experience is very different.
Leaving one church to begin living among another is an awkward thing. It is easy for the former church to feel rejected. What do they lack that the new church has? And of course no church is perfect, so often there have been conflicts and contentions along the way if there’s been any real relationship at the former church at all.
The first piece of advice is that you should never leave one church and to go another while there is still unresolved conflict, bitterness, and contention between you. The reason to move on to another fellowship is simply that God is leading you to another church and another family of believers to walk with for a season. Be sure of His leading from a pure heart before making any decisions.
To move on with unresolved conflict and bitterness leaves a root that the enemy can, and will, use to cause more bitterness and contention in the new church, usually in the form of criticism and judgment on your part. As awesome as they may be, the new church won’t be perfect, either.
This is an issue that first must be dealt with in your heart. And the answer is to look upon those people, that former fellowship, with a thankful heart and love. See the gifts in the people and how God loves them. Be thankful for them. There may be valid issues, but God is among them to some degree, too.
If you have left with bitterness and unresolved conflict, it is almost never too late to go back and have phone conversations or meetings with people and come to peace with others in the Body of Christ.
The second major piece of advice is to bless them as you leave. They have been a blessing to you. Don’t use the leaving as an opportunity to say all the negative things you never had the guts to say before. I don’t believe in parting shots. Bless and give thanks for them to their face, whether that is leadership or others you have been close to. Take the time to have those conversations and affirm who they are in the Lord. If you’ve truly been in fellowship with others, that should be an easy thing to do. If not, God can show you. 99% of the time you will leave as brothers and sisters in peace and hard feelings will have been avoided.
From that place, you are able to dive into the lives of others with a free and pure heart.