One thing I’ve gotten more used to as we’ve gotten older is that people leave churches for all kinds of reason – and that’s totally ok and even healthy. In fact, while it usually hurts personally when people leave, I’ve never personally experienced it being a bad thing for the church itself. So let me just say, if you want to leave or need to leave, go ahead and do it. I only ask that you at least let your church or pastor know that you’re leaving and if it’s necessary, share why (hopefully after you’ve done everything you can to improve things).
I got to thinking about this because of an email I got that mentioned how one of our current PARTners had run into somebody who used to attend Discovery over a year ago when we were meeting at the high school. When they left, it hurt, but they told us why and we could respect that. Well, the person who used to attend a year ago, had nothing but great things to say about us and the church. This family left Discovery, but they never stopped being a fan and that’s what makes it ok when people leave.
Let me put it this way. I cheer for Notre Dame football (even after last year) and for the Minnesota Vikings and Twins. I’ve been to their games, gone to where they play and meet. But the one thing I’ve never done is move into or even spend the night in Notre Dame Stadium or the Metrodome. Why? Because there comes a time when even fans need to leave. When I left I didn’t stop cheering them on….I was still a fan, even though I wasn’t there. We need more of that in the Christian community. We need to be fans of other people’s ministries, churches, pastors, and when people do leave, we need to do whatever we can to let them leave but still be a fan who cheers us on. It’s ok to make fans, it’s not ok to make them prisoners and try to keep them locked in when it’s time for them to be released.
What do you think? What’s been your experience?