Thursday, May 21, 2015

"This is the Best Church EVER!" Until it's not.

Many of you know that I meet monthly with 8 other Bible teaching churches in our community. This of course is of great encouragement to me and others I meet with. We learn from each other, challenge each other and pray for each other’s ministries.

The one thing besides Jesus that we have in common is the understanding that there are times when church ministry is painful. We as a group have experienced similar pains in each of our ministries. One pain we have in common is the hurt when someone leaves your church. The very people who say “It’s my church home. I will never go anywhere else!” But they do. And every time, it hurts.

We all have heard the reasons: “I’m not getting fed any longer.” “We feel called to support a new pastor in town.” “We don’t sing my favorite songs enough and the music is too loud.” “I’m having some issues with ________ and feel it best to just move on.” “It seems like you’re all about numbers and reaching new people, what about me?”

Every one of us in my pastor group have heard each one of these reasons. Of course, there are a hundred other reasons given, but these are the most common.

I read an interesting article by Kurt Bubna concerning this very issue. Pastor Bubna says people leave because of one reason and it always boils down to this: they don’t love you anymore or at least not as much as they used to. Let’s face it, people rarely leave what they truly love: they don’t leave a dream job that they love, a spouse whom they love, a church that they love. It just doesn’t happen.

So how do you handle this reality? Many of you have had close friends who have left the church you love and you know the hurt I’m talking about.

The first thing we need to do is accept it. People are people and our emotions are fickle. That is why someone can say “This is the best church ever!” until it’s not.

The second thing we must do is get over it. Rather than fixating on the ones who leave, let’s focus on the thousands in our community who have no relationship with Christ or His church. The harvest is still ripe, and we still have a job to do.

The third thing we must do is learn from it. Jesus had people who followed Him because of His miracles but many of them left Him. (Read John 2:23-25)

Love people, serve people, but if they leave, stay the course and reach others. Entrust your life to the One who promises never to leave or forsake you.


P.S. Have you ever felt that Christianity is nothing more than a bunch of do’s and don’ts? Have you ever felt another Christian imposes his rules on you? If so, come and discover what the single greatest impediment to being graceful is and what you can do to combat it. See you Sunday at 9:15am or 11:00am! 

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