The reasons people leave churches today are as diverse as the number of churches in your city.
Sometimes it’s a relational conflict, a doctrinal issue, a job transfer, an unmet need, or a style or preference. But there’s one reason that seems to surface perhaps more than any other: “I’m just not being fed.”
Most pastors take offense to the “I’m not being fed” excuse because it’s perceived as an indictment on their teaching. It’s usually interpreted as, “You’re not good enough, so I’m going to find someone who’s a better teacher than you.” Even the most graceful response is accompanied with a sting.
So how should we respond when we hear someone say, “I’m just not being fed?”
Do we simply write off these members of our congregation or, worse, judge them as unfaithful, uncommitted and irresponsible?
Being a pastor myself, let me challenge you to ask yourself seven questions rather than casting stones.
1. Am I Growing Me?
It’s no secret that you can’t give what you do not have. That’s why an aggressive learning posture is so crucial if you’re a communicator. Pastors who don’t grow consistently, intentionally, deeply and strategically simply run out of stuff to say.
People declare “I’m not being fed” because they’ve reached the bottom of their pastor’s personal growth reservoir. Your personal growth reservoir is more than a content reservoir. If all of your growth efforts are nothing more than a quest for another sermon outline or a fresh illustration, you’ll quickly move into survival mode.
The question isn’t, “Am I growing my sermon pool?” but rather, “Am I growing me?”
2. Am I Equipping and Resourcing People?
When people say “I’m not being fed,” the default response of many pastors is, “Then feed yourself.”
I know because I’m guilty. It’s especially easy to say because we live in a consumeristic culture.
So if you really believe it’s the responsibility of people to “feed themselves,” then let me ask you this: Have you equipped and resourced your congregation to grow themselves? You wouldn’t expect infants to feed themselves, but we do just that in the church when we don’t challenge and equip people.
What training, resources, mentoring and tools can you put into the hands of people to help them become self-feeders?