MBFLP 113 – Dealing With A Toxic Church

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MBFLP 113 - Toxic Church - V



The Church is God’s people gathered together, but we know even God’s people have remaining sin in their lives – and sometimes, that can make a good church turn bad, or even toxic. This episode we talk with Andy and Kendra Fletcher of Homeschooling IRL about how to recognize, respond, and recover from a church which has fallen into bad doctrine, bad practice, and bad relationships!


2:28 – Sometimes toxic churches and healthy churches look the same
4:36 – Churches that lose focus on Christ and fail to minister to inquirers or immature or new believers
6:10 – Staying in a bad situation to try and reform it from the inside
8:50 – “Good” things that distract the church from its true focus
9:30 – Recognizing God’s grace in believers and churches which aren’t like us and ours
10:30 – “Gospel amnesia” happens
13:15 – When do you decide to leave, and how do you leave without being destructive?
18:34 – “Hope-shifting” and the idols Christians set up
23:00 – Abusive churches
26:45 – Healing takes time – expect it!


  1. My husband and I have just gone through one of the most difficult years. After being part of a church for nearly 40 years, raising 7 children there, and employed as the custodian for over 20 years, we were brought before the church in July to be removed from membership. This happened after 6 months of meetings, misunderstandings and ultimatums. Our “crime” as stated by them was disagreeing with leadership, and not submitting to their authority. To be honest we did disagree with some decisions, but after sharing how we felt, we dropped it. We went to that meeting and repented, (for the wrongs we had done) but they wanted rid of us, and proceeded to vote us out. I think what hurt the most was the lies they told about us. Most people have still not heard our side, (we were forbidden to share) and we are both struggling with bitterness. My husband told them they should apologize for the sinful way I had been treated, they sent a letter stating they were sorry if I was hurt, then proceeded to say they had done nothing wrong and they had pure motives. Then they told everyone they had apologized and we refused to accept it. Your broadcast struck a nerve because we feel violated by how we were treated. I feel they misused God’s word. I’m not sure how to move on, and we are struggling with forgiving them, when they basically say they’ve done nothing wrong. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

  2. Hey Julie Bean!
    Fletch here from the Homeschooling In Real Life podcast. I’m super glad this episode struck a nerve and I hope that was in a positive sense, because it got you thinking more about your situation.
    Not knowing the ins/outs of your situation and fully acknowledging that I have not heard both sides of this issue, I still have a few thoughts:
    1st – If this church is the member of a denomination and you are really THAT concerned about your treatment, consider an appeal to the denomination. If something is really going on and you have the option to take it to a “higher court” – go for it! You might be saving someone else from future abuse.
    2nd – If this is an independent church/non-denominational, then I would recommend to RUN! Run Fast! Run to a church where you can heal and hear the gospel taught faithfully. Remember, the gospel says: It is finished! You are done working and trying. Jesus was faithful. Jesus was perfect. Jesus met the rules. Jesus fulfilled the law. Yes, go to a fellowship where they will remind you how loved you are by a great God and how that love from/for God is what motivates our obedience (not the other way around). Find a church that tells you regularly that you are saved because of what Jesus has done, not what you do. Find a pastor that encourages you to obey BECAUSE you are accepted (and not the opposite).
    3rd – I would encourage you to drop the idea that you will “change their mind” or “reconcile.” You will just get weary and more frustrated.
    Lastly, can I encourage you to give a listen to our last two episodes on the HomeschoolingIRL podcast pertaining to Spiritual Abuse and see if they provide more information for you.
    Spiritual Abuse Part 1
    Spiritual Abuse Part 2

    I’m really sorry to read your story. Hope these suggestions help!

  3. Julie Bean, I am so sorry to read your story. As Fletch said, I do not know both sides either. But my response is to you stating you are struggling with forgiveness. I know how that feels. I have had times of struggling with forgiveness at different times in my life, but it has always been in an extremely painful situation like yours. How did I get through it? I spent every day praying for God to help me find forgiveness, as well as help me work through the pain. Because for me, forgiving while my heart still hurt so much just wasn’t going to happen. But after months (longer in different circumstances) of being on my knees I managed to find the healing I needed, as well as forgiveness for the one who hurt me. I did not try to reconcile the past, because that would have just made things harder. I realized that forgiveness wasn’t to benefit the person who had wronged me, but it was for me to be able to move on in my walk with Christ. And I could not expect forgiveness (from Christ) if I wasn’t willing to forgive, which took sacrifices on my part. My flesh did not want to get on its knees everyday. It wanted to hang on to the hurt and hard feelings. But My heart, where Christ abides, wanted to forgive. So I did what had to be done for my sake, not my offender. Not sure if my words help any, but I hope you can draw some strength from knowing others have been thru similar situations. God bless!

  4. leave other fellowships are loving

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