Over the past 17 years of full-time local church ministry, I’ve seen people come and go from churches for all kinds of reasons. For the most part, I’ve observed that those reasons have more to do with personal preference, style and relationships than God actually “calling” them to be at one church or another.
And when this begins to happen, I’ve seen church staff agonize over people departing from their churches.
Frustration and fear can begin to creep in.
How are we going to replace their financial support?
Who is going to fill their recently vacated volunteer role?
If they’re leaving and they’ve been here so long, then is there something wrong?
Do they know something that I don’t?
Should I be leaving too?
Even worse, I’ve seen church staff begin to make decisions rooted in the fear of people leaving as opposed to the advancement of the mission. And when that begins to happen, it’s a clear indicator that the church is drifting toward becoming insider focused.
What if I told you that people leaving your church can actually be a good thing? Maybe even the best thing?
Below are five reasons that it’s actually good when people leave your church:
1. They fell in love with who you were, not with who you are becoming.
They’re stuck in the past.
They were there when the church was small enough that you could know everybody by name and the pastor was more available. Or maybe their favorite staff member excelled in their role when the church was smaller, but it passed by their capacity and they’ve been moved to a different role, or they’re off the bus altogether.
Now things have changed and they’ve become critical that things aren’t the same anymore. You know people are stuck in the past when they keep talking about the “good ole days” instead of what God is doing now.