Most people attend church, join as members and serve alongside leaders, intending to remain at the church. They don't plan to leave or resign their membership. Some circumstances, however, may necessitate resigning your membership from the church, including church splits, moving, a church closing and doctrinal error on the part of the church. In cases where you must leave, an official church letter of resignation provides an appropriate closing to your attendance. A few simple steps will help you write a polite, but effective letter.
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Examine yourself before you write the letter. Keep your heart and attitude right before God and the church, even if members or the leadership have wronged you. Starting over at another church will do you no good if you carry bitterness with you.
Keep the letter short, without listing conflicts. By this point, you have probably tried to resolve any disagreements. If you leave because of a move, by all means, mention that. If a family member may be pastoring a new church nearby and you feel led to support him, feel free to say so. But avoid rehashing doctrinal or leadership issues in a letter. Include positive information and blessings, if possible.
Review the church constitution and bylaws so you follow proper procedures in your letter.
Use a very brief letter in the wors- case scenario of especially challenging circumstances. The letter could be worded as follows:
Dear Church Office,
Please accept the resignation of the John Doe family from membership at First Church.
God bless you.
John Doe family
Tips and warnings
- Conduct any meetings with pastors and leadership before you resign, as opposed to after leaving. By this time, the staff already knows your reasons for leaving, if they are doctrinal or based on leadership issues. Additional meetings serve no further purpose. The pastor will try to change your mind and you will try to change his mind, which might result in further conflict. When telling friends, stick to the facts. Don't lie, accuse, criticise or embellish. Be polite and nonaccusatory.
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