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7 Reasons You Should Invite (Some) People to Leave Your Church

Because I’m naturally wired to focus on what I lose, not what I might gain.

Why am I not more excited about the people who are joining than I am saddened by the people who are leaving?

What’s wrong with me?


So I did an experiment.

People are naturally wired to focus on what they lose, not what they gain.

My experiment: How I invited everyone to unsubscribe from my email list.

So two days ago, I sent out an email to 4,842 subscribers with this headline: “Why You Should Unsubscribe From This Email List … Unless This Is True of You.”

What was “this”?

“This” one thing was simply an invitation to stay subscribed if the person was passionate about leadership.

I was nervous. I thought maybe I’d lose 60, or 600 or even 1,600 subscribers. I didn’t even want to think about losing more.

Want to know what happened?

Everyone unsubscribed.

I’m kidding.

No. 1,600 people didn’t. 600 didn’t. Not even 60.

So how many people actually unsubscribed?

45 people unsubscribed. That’s it.

That’s less than .001 percent of the list.

And some of the unsubscribers even wrote nice notes to thank me for the time they’d been on the list.

Even better, dozens of people who stayed took the time to write me unbelievably kind emails telling me they would never unsubscribe and told me story after story of how the blog was helping them and their team lead better.

I had never expected that. I replied personally to each one and saved them in an encouragements folder in my email.

Want to know the last weird thing?

More people signed up for my email list that day than unsubscribed.

That’s right. The list actually grew again.

So what can you learn from this?

Quite a bit.

7 Reasons You Should Invite (Some) People to Leave Your Church

I think the lessons I’ve learned from my little blog experiment and 19 years of leadership have taught me some things about allowing people to leave your church or your organization.

None of this (I hope) is motivated by ego or a closed leadership style. It’s just that too many people in the church—and in many organizations—are afraid to lead. And it costs everybody.

Here are seven reasons you should invite some people to leave your church: