Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Three: 'The Psychology of Transition - Part Two'

In this third installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I talk about understanding and managing the pain and strain that occurs in our social and relational networks during times of transition, particularly when leaving or changing a church affiliation.

Leaving a church association can be a very emotionally challenging time. Friends and family often do not understand, and all attempts at explaining motives seem to fail. It can be as painful as a death or divorce in a family. It can be a very lonely time of disorientation in relationships.

There are human relational dynamics that accompany “disembedding” from any group, not just a church family: job, fraternities, clubs, literal families, etc. Understanding the dynamics that every human being experiences during a major life transition will help you personally process through your pain, provide a pathway for wholeness and wellness, and equip you to help others. We must understand the stages of transition and find resources to successfully navigate each. There is hope, life, and wellness on the other side of transition.



The Church Refugee Sanity Guide

The Church Refugee Sanity Guide

Copyright 2016,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself?  Please go to for details of our Affiliate program. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.

6 comments on “Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Three: 'The Psychology of Transition - Part Two'

  1. Great insights Steve!! 4 years ago our 16 year old daughter Grace started up an Adaptive Ski Program and it has really helped us to reach out to the community who have physical/mental and emotional challenges along with their family members. It has been a very rewarding thing but just as you talked about in order to get “out” youve got to reach out beyond your comfort zone. The Holy Spirit will lead each one uniquely in reaching out in unique ways. It helps to break that church mindset.
    We have met some amazing people and some “different” people but the Lord has done the greatest work in Grace and I as we see that Jesus and the Father love these people so much and yes it is a challenge not to talk “christianeze” all day long. It has been hard but wonderful at the same time! Get out there, it really works! Start an adventure with the Holy Spirit.

  2. My problem at 25 (just returning home from college) was knowing I had to disembed, but not quite knowing how. I wish you had made this video then! 🙂 In addition to the depression of leaving my college friends behind (most of whom showed me what true Kingdom living looked like) I was very ill for about 3 months with intense abdominal pain that turned out to be a cyst. This left a lot of time to read, and what I read in the Bible freaked me out! First there was that verse about if you’re building a house you count the cost, so you should count the cost of following Jesus. (Nobody told me that when I accepted Christ at age 7! This led to a “Yikes! What did I do back then?” feeling, and having to forgive my younger self.) Second, there was this: 2nd Peter 2:20, “For if AFTER THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE POLLUTIONS OF THE WORLD THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 2:21, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, AFTER THEY HAVE KNOWN IT, TO TURN from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” 2:22, “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”I then said to myself, “There’s no way out of the church (institution)? Really?” I was so scared and angry by that point that I told God I was never reading the Bible again except for the stories I had liked as a child… then turned to the story of Rachel protecting her family’s idols, and then questioned why she would do that… then decided I wasn’t going to read the Bible anymore. I guess this is my equivalent of the “You ruined my life, thank you very much, Jesus!” because nothing could make God angrier than us not reading His holy book, or so I thought at the time….

    Now I realize 2 Peter 20-22 is relating to those who came to Christ and continued to live in sin, thereby implying they didn’t really want Christ, but I didn’t know that then. I have realized through you and others how full the Bible as we know it today is of human error and political correctness as well. I guess I just added this to say that the way I understood certain Bible verses at the time nearly kept me from disembedding!

    • I certainly understand, Sarah. Your journey is uniquely yours, but change the details, and tens of thousands have had the same experience as you, so even in your history, you are not alone, you are not alone now, there are those around you who understand, and Jesus remains faithful.

  3. I can’t edit, so I’ll say the way I understood the Bible could possibly have kept me from disembedding if I hadn’t wanted to.

    • That is always a possibility, Sarah, our own understanding, or at least “what we have been taught” keeps us from disembedding. We just don;t have confidence in the Holy spirit in us to lead us, and we are certainly not encouraged by the entrenched authority structures to trust Him.

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