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It is one of the most common and painful issues pastors face.
A number of people leave the church around the same time. The exit is painful for the exiting members, the members who remain and, of course, the pastor. I have walked with hundreds of pastors through these scenarios. It is painful. It is messy. And, though I wish I did not have to say these words, it is often inevitable.
Share - Perspectives - Place - Group - Church
Allow me to share five perspectives on what is often taking place when a group leaves the church. For certain, there will be a myriad of exceptions. But these five issues are common in many of these situations.
The exit usually takes place when the pastor’s leadership becomes clear and established. It is, therefore, common for these exits to take place somewhere between the second and fourth year of a pastor’s tenure. The exiting members may have had unmet expectations of the pastor. The vision the pastor cast and the direction the pastor was leading them were not aligned with their own hopes and dreams.
Hurt - Church - Members - Fingers - Blame
Hurt exiting church members do not often leave well. Please hear me clearly. I am not pointing fingers and placing blame. But, in many of these exits, the departures are handled from a posture of hurt. Letters are written. Unhealthy conversations ensue on social media. Matthew 18 is not followed. The departures are messy and engender more conflict.
Those often neglected are the members who remain. The pastor is hurt. The exiting members are hurt. But, on too many occasions, we forget the pain experienced...
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