Archive for the ‘Change/Transition’ Category
Last post was for pastors. This one is for everyone else. It’s the advice I’d give to someone who is considering leaving a church. (Then tomorrow, I’ll post Part 3 – which is for those who are showing up at the new church.)
To those thinking of leaving the OLD church.
Offense is never the right reason to leave a church. Leaving a church with offense in your heart is dangerous to your soul. Work it out. That’s the tough side of community that we don’t talk nearly enough about. Often times, it’s through the working out of hurt, pain, or offense that we become more closely connected in our communities. It grows and matures us.
Don’t just disappear. People do this all the time. POOF! They’re gone! (And often times they get offended when the church they left doesn’t desperately chase after them when they’re gone.) Look, if God is behind your decision, then trust that He will give you the courage and strength to have the (yes, somewhat uncomfortable) conversations needed to do it well. Finish your commitments. Connect with your leader through the process. Ask them to pray with you about what you’re feeling. Give God an opportunity to make it seem right with them too.
Don’t look for reasons to leave. If you are….trust me, you’ll find plenty of them! If God is calling you to leave, you don’t have to wait until you find a tangible reason to do so. Sitting around waiting for a “reason” can turn you into a nasty, judgmental, and negative person. It’ll hurt your soul and probably others too. In fact, if you’re walking around looking for reasons to leave, then I’d suggest looking at the inwardly condition of your heart and soul.
Don’t be negative. I hate hearing people talk negatively about the church or pastor they just left. Chances are, those same people will be standing in front of my pastor friend down the street saying the same thing about me in a matter of months. If you feel like you need to talk negatively about the pastor or church you’re leaving, chances are……you are the one who needs to change first.
Show Gratitude. Take time to say ‘thank you’ to the pastor and leadership of the church you’re leaving. If you stayed too long and are offended, that’s your fault – not theirs. When someone takes the time to send me an email or letter saying ‘thank you’ for pouring into their lives as they transition to a different church, that’s huge! I have a ton of respect for people who do that.
HOW you do things is just as important (if not even more important) as WHAT you do.
Part 3 Tomorrow: To those SHOWING UP at the NEW CHURCH.
(This just turned into a two part post… This one is for pastors. The next one will be for everyone else.)
If there’s one thing we all know about our churches, it’s that people come…..and sometimes people go. For lots of reasons. Most pastors really struggle with this. At times, I have too. But, taking it personally or internalizing it as some sort of failure every time it happens is a miserable way to live. And frankly, it’s also probably a sign that you’re taking too much ownership for something that isn’t yours to begin with.
And besides…you know as well as I do that your church will never be the right church for everyone. In fact, trying to be will pretty much guarantee that you’ll end up reaching no one. Actually, you will. But trust me, you don’t want them.
Pastors…the best thing you can do is to just be very clear (right from the beginning) what your church is all about. The clearer you are about that, the sooner newcomers will be able to make a decision as to whether or not your church is a good fit for them. But listen…don’t be arrogant about it! Don’t say it in a way that makes your church sound like it’s “better than all the others” and therefore “it’s not right for everyone….because we’re so bad a$$.“ No….if you do that, you’re just an ass.
(Part 2 tomorrow)
“Changing the pattern of outcome in your work means first identifying things about your approach that are as automatic as wedging the clay, as subtle as releasing the arrow from the bow.” David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear
This quote isn’t just for the “artist”. I think it’s relevant for everyone. Including me. Unfortunately.
Does the pattern of outcome in your work need to change? If so, start by asking yourself this question:
What are some of the “automatic” (and perhaps subtle) behaviors or approaches in my life that could be contributing towards these negative outcome patterns?
Here’s are a couple of, what I’d consider to be, my subtle automatics:
- Giving myself to useless distractions that end up sabotaging my focus and attention on the things that have the potential to change my life the most.
- Allowing my lips to move at the same pace of my brain.
- Leaning too heavily into technology.
- Being too quick to say “no” to my kids. (Instead of finding creative opportunities and ways to tell them “yes”.)
And…..I’ll stop there. Not that there are any more of course. Ahem.
How about you?