Issue #36: Not Everyone Will Stay At Your Church, And That’s Okay
Before this week’s newsletter, here’s a brief note about our upcoming student conference:
Are you helping the students and college-age kids in your church stand firm against the opposition coming at them in the culture? If you’re not actively equipping them on issues of gender and sexuality, you can be sure the culture is. We’re here to help.
Join us October 13-15 at Black Mountain, NC (at Ridgecrest Conference Center). An incredible line of speakers will be teaching students about who they are as image-bearers of God. These foundations will supply students with important understanding of their identity. Plan to bring your students. It’s going to be a fantastic conference.
Every pastor knows the feeling of hearing the news that someone in the church is leaving. It stinks. I remember in TJC’s early days when we only had about 70 people in the church. I could tell who wasn’t at church on Sundays because we had such a small number of folks. Any time someone decided to leave the church because it wasn’t a right fit or some sort of conflict, I felt it.
In the past, I tried desperately to prevent people from leaving. I met with folks and tried begging them to stay, promising we would make adjustments. Even if they stayed, many of them left later.
Why? Because sometimes people are simply not a fit. They don’t align with the church, its doctrine, and its ministry philosophy. Sometimes it is okay for people to leave. It is better for them and for the church.
That’s the subject of this week’s newsletter.
Encourage those who tell you they are leaving. Yes, it hurts to hear the news. But remind yourself that these are God’s people. Remind them of the importance of finding a church body to connect to. Encourage them to get plugged into community, use their gifts, and be contributing church members.
It can be helpful to understand why they are leaving. You may find they have valid critiques of something your church isn’t doing. Other times you hear things that indicate your church isn’t a good fit for them in particular. One person may want you to promote their personal ministry so others in the church will join them. Others want to start ministries that you know don’t align with the church’s vision and mission.
You can’t change the church to accommodate folks. Just bless them as they look for a new place.
1 Actionable Tip
Remind yourself that having the right people at your church is more important than having the most people.
Having 150 people in your church with only 80 people truly aligned is less advantageous than having 90 people in church that are aligned with the vision and culture of the church. When people leave your church because they’re not aligned, it is best for them and the church. Don’t be discouraged. Encourage people if they leave. But don’t rush to change everything about the church to keep a family. Choose the right people over the most people.
Opportunities for Next Steps
1. KJM Student Camps in 2024. I’m excited to announce that Knowing Jesus Ministries is launching our own camps in 2024 called ARISE Camps. Check out the announcement video and join a list of leaders interested in hearing more as details finalize.
2. Student Minister Leadership Lab. We are excited about pouring into student ministry leaders with a practical workshop style event. Join us in Nashville August 3-4th for coaching and practical help for leading an effective student ministry. Register here.
3. Engaging Truth Conference at Ridgecrest. Join us in the mountains of North Carolina on October 13-15 for our national student conference. We’ll gather with Trevin Wax, Matt Smethurst, Dean Inserra, Neil Shenvi, Abigail Dodds, Katie McCoy, Journey Worship Co. and many more. Register or learn more here.