How Do You Manage This Tension?
All of this can leave you feeling discouraged unless you realize one core truth.
As a leader, you need to choose your focus. As my friend Reggie Joiner says, you need to decide whether you will focus on who you want to reach, or who you want to keep.
If you think about it, deciding to focus on who you want to reach is the better choice. Some people are un-pleasable, and deciding to please the un-pleasable is an exercise in futility. (In fact, here are seven kinds of people no church leader can afford to keep.)
But even if the handful of people who might leave aren’t unappeasable, the people you need to reach are far greater in number than those you’re trying to keep.
The people you might lose always have other churches they can go to.
The unchurched people you will reach by changing…don’t.
Don’t burn bridges with those leaving (be gracious…thank them for their time with you), but don’t sacrifice the mission for the sake of a handful of people who don’t like the future.
The challenge, of course, is to reach more people than you lose, and to keep unnecessary to a minimum.
I hope this post comes as encouragement to you. Just know if despite your best efforts, you still see a small group walk out the door, you’re not alone.
Keep making progress. Keep leading. Keep pursuing your mission.
If you’re leading well, who you reach will be greater than who you lose, even if in some moments it doesn’t seem that way.
What’s your experience with this?