“It’s my church home. I will never go anywhere else!” I smile when I read those words on our church’s Facebook page, but I know differently. Nobody stays forever. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only person not eventually leaving is my wife.
People come, and people go, often for all the wrong reasons.
- They grow bored with your teaching. “I’m not getting fed any longer.”
- You’re not new and exciting anymore. “We feel called to support a new pastor in town.”
- They don’t like the music. “We don’t do my favorite songs enough and the music is too loud.”
- They’re struggling relationally. “I’m having some issues with Bob and feel it’s best to just move on.”
- It seems like you’re all about numbers and reaching new people. “What about me?”
Of course, there are a hundred other reasons given, but they always boil down to one: 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.
They don’t leave a spouse whom they love.
They don’t leave a church that they love.
It just doesn’t happen. We do what we want to do because we want to and because of our affections.
Sadly, when it comes to matters of the heart, we humans are a fickle lot (and I include me in that we). Driven by emotions, we tend to make a lot of our decisions based on the way we feel rather than on what’s best for others or for God’s kingdom.
I’ve been pastoring for nearly 35 years. I’ve been a church planter, a staff pastor and the senior pastor of both small and large churches. My point is, I’ve heard thousands of people show up at church and say, “Best church-evah!” Until it’s not.
And the rejection used to shred my soul.