People leave houses of worship of worship regularly. They may have spent years serving the Lord, developing relationships with other believers, and experienced many meaningful events. Then a departure takes place.
Departures happen. It’s a part of church life.
There’s many reasons but the common reason is because of a pastor’s actions or lack thereof.
Yes, pastors will say and do things that will significantly contribute to the reason behind departures. Of course, people in the pews may have done something as well to walk away, but to be real about it, chances are, something was said or done by the pastors.
For the most part, we can always take for consideration that not everyone will agree with the leadership. It’s equally important that sometimes, people suppress disagreement for the common good of a house of worship.
But when something is wrong, suppressing disagreement only adds to the decision to depart. A person is given space to voice their disagreement, and it shouldn’t turn into a thing of ego’s locking heads and hearts in conflict over trivial things.
Sometimes, disagreements are so small that when we look back at it, we ask ourselves, “Why were we in such disagreement and what were we fighting over?”
Then there’s other disagreements that’s serious. When there’s a place where the disagreement isn’t resolved, and a departure takes place, it’s not the time to point fingers, place blame on others, and cause more harm than help.
We need to keep such disagreements and departures mutually respectable and keep disagreements from escalating and just be better at handling it.
Departures hurt and leave scars for quite some time because of the closeness that developed over the years. We all know that blame could be shared, but in the end of all these things, sometimes a pastor has to assume responsibility and must do everything not to go down a path where it can happen again.
We must never act with such profound arrogance in the pulpit and try to spiritually trivialize the reason why the departure took place. The way that pastors do this is to do what Paul said. “Preach the Word.”
Find another subject and let it go.
Years ago, someone said that “Those that are with you won’t leave you and those that are against you can’t stay.” I think that this statement is rather arrogant and full of pride.
If I weren’t with you at the start, why would I stick around only to depart?
As a pastor, it hurts to be the one to hurt people. We do it knowingly and sometimes, we don’t have our wits about us because in the heat of things, we say and do things without thinking it through. That’s why I like what James said, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak.”
Pastors need to suppress the ego and we need to humble ourselves.
Also, we’re not in the business to please people. We’re in the business to please the Lord. We serve the people the Lord sends us. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and the people are His sheep. He’s the One that sends sheep and tells sheep where to go.
This makes our jobs a little easy so that when departures take place, the responsibility of the care of the sheep falls on the under-shepherd as long as they’re attending His house of worship. Once they depart, the Lord still cares for them and will tell them where to go to get the spiritual care they and their family need.
Church can be simple. However, unnecessary drama can happen.
We see a lot of other houses of worship and pastors say, and do things, and without thinking things through, we try to incorporate some of the things we’ve seen and observed because we want to experience a certain level of success that they’re experiencing.
Not realizing that implementation may be harmful.
Then we see that people do get upset when a place isn’t as successful as other places.
One thing that could be said is that church success isn’t dependent upon the pastor ensuring the happiness of sheep on the sheep’s terms.
Success is dependent upon the Lord and obedience to His Word.
There’s so many variables as to why people leave and to start a list, obviously, I will leave out some things. But just know that departures happen, departures hurt. Even Jesus had people depart from Him after He miraculously fed them. A miracle couldn’t keep people.
How we grow from there is left up to us.