When Church Membership Is Revoked

I’ve known people who have been asked to leave churches. I’ve had my church membership terminated. The libro de un curso de milagro, and most often, done under circumstances that are suspicious and/or unfair. So what can be done after that happens? It would seem obvious that it is time to look for a new place to worship.

That is easier said than done, especially if membership at the previous church had been held for many years. The healing from whatever happened at the former church needs to take place before joining a new church. It would be advisable to visit many different churches and take the time to evaluate each one before making a decision to join.

An appeal to restore membership may be attempted if there is a desire to remain a part of the congregation. Once again, this depends on circumstances. It also depends a lot on the feelings of all involved. Sometimes, the door is left open for someone to return. Unfortunately, there may be conditions attached to a return that people may not want to do. For example, I know of a person who was told they would have to attend new membership classes if they wanted to rejoin, even though they had been a member previously for a couple of decades. The offer was not taken up. If one side, doesn’t matter which one, is not open to reconciliation, then there is no use in considering restoration.

Keep in mind that churches are public buildings. Revoking of membership only means an individual is no longer counted on the membership rolls, and cannot participate in activities such as church business meetings, singing in the choir, volunteering in the food pantry, etc., that are exclusively for church members. However, churches are traditionally open to all, so people cannot be barred from entering. A person may continue to show up for worship if they so choose, and if they feel comfortable in doing that.

The anger and hurt feelings have to be worked through and placed somewhere. Holding pent up anger is not healthy for people, and unfortunately, depending on what led up to the revocation, being civil may be next to impossible. Understand that forgiveness may be hard to grant for a long time, as well. Some yelling and screaming at the pastor and/or board members may have to be done. Let it out. Write a letter, vent to family and friends, do a hard workout at the gym, clean the house from top to bottom – in short, whatever has to be done to get the heaviest part of the anger off of the heart.

Unfortunately, it may be necessary to end associations with some at the church. In such a situation, there will always be members of the congregation who agreed with the pastor and church board’s decisions. If the church was on the other side of town, it’ll be easier not to run into church leaders and others who still attend there. If the church is located in the neighborhood, the chance of running into someone on the street who voted for the revocation and re-igniting an argument is likely. Being cordial may not be an option, and walking in the other direction and putting people on ignore might have to be done. But if there were good relationships with others at the former church, by all means, keep those lines of communication going.

The subject may even be stickier if one half of a couple was kicked out of the church, while the other is still a member in good standing. The couple could attend separate churches, but most couples would prefer to worship together on Sunday mornings. The couple would have to pray about what action they may take, which might involve the other half of the couple ending their membership and the couple going off to find a church that they both agree on.

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