HPBC Pastoral Statement on Members Leaving the Church
1. There are good reasons for church members to leave a local church: being sent out for gospel purposes (Act 13), joining a church closer to home to be more involved, or joining a church to serve in a particular area of need.
2. Local church members should work to graciously confront, repent to, and forgive one another in situations where one has sinned against another (Matt 5:23-24, 18:15).
3. Local church members should expect to endure differences and give up personal preferences in areas of church life that Scripture does not definitively address (Rom 14; Eph 2:19-22).
4. Local church members should work towards unity in the local church so that non-gospel issues do not create division in the church (1 Cor 1:10-13; Eph 4:1-6; Phil 4:2-3; Titus 3:9-11).
5. If local church members disagree with other members in a non-gospel issue to the point where they are no longer able to work towards unity, it would be better for them to find another local church where they can serve with joy
rather than to stir up division in their existing local church (Acts 15:36-41).
6. Local church members should submit to the leadership, oversight, and authority of their pastors (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
7. Local church pastors should lead the church in a gentle, caring, and understanding way (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
8. If local church members come to the point where they can no longer in good conscience submit to the leadership, oversight, and authority of their pastors, it would be better for them to find another local church where they can submit with joy rather than to stir up division in their existing local church.
9. While pastors may appeal/urge/exhort local church members to remain in a local church to work through differences, they do not have the biblical authority to keep anyone from removing their membership, except for the following reasons: the member is running from the process of church discipline, the member is attempting to join a non-gospel preaching local church, or the member is not attending any local church.