Why I Left: Jimmy's Story

What type of church did you attend at the time of your leaving?


Did you find a new church to attend?

Will attend but not get sucked in

Did you leave organized religion entirely?

On the margins

Jimmy’s Story:

I’m an ex-pastor. I have always lived in the tension of following Jesus and running the religious institution. My colleagues would exaggerate numbers, use people for selfish gain, cover up abuse, explain away misogyny, rationalize greed, exist to preserve the institution, twist scripture, self-promote for selfish ambition, steal sermons, hide their own mental health issues and destructive habits, shake hands with the elites, kiss babies of the influential, show favoritism to the rich, promote the politician to secure the most white privilege, rail against all social sins except for our own, be consumed with anxiety but never let them see you sweat, ram our agendas through behind the scenes to win the public vote, prayerfully flirt, excuse affairs, use fear as control, and the Bible as our weapon.

Everyone knew.

I was told I could change the system from within. I tried. I failed and resigned, then was abandoned and blackballed.

I emptied the pews for seven years.

I took another church job with more wisdom and strategy. It didn’t last long.

The system is broken and cannot be redeemed and restored. It is worse than you think. It is deeper than you know. The system was once my career, identity, value, reputation, future, legacy. It was my idol.

I am free. I am wounded. I am lost knowing what to do next. My pew is empty.

If you have a Why I Left story you're ready to share, submit it here.