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It's Always Difficult

The privilege of planting and pastoring the same church for 11 years brings with it some hard good-byes. Literally, from the first month, January 2005, people have come, joined and left. This is just part of church life.

But, at the same time God has brought many new people in these 11 years, people committed to serve and worship at Grace Community Presbyterian Church, PCA. We always rejoice when we receive new members. This too, by God's grace, has been a wonderful part of church life.

We've lost valuable servants and members because their jobs have taken them out of Fort Worth. I don't like it, but am grateful that another church in another part of the country will be blessed with these former members.

But then there are the others who simply transfer their membership to another church in our area.

I've heard a whole host of reasons why these former members have decided to leave. Here are just a few:
1. The preaching is bad and getting worse.
2. The church doesn't have a paid youth pastor.
3. I need a church with people who are more my age.
4. The church didn't care for me or my family.
5. Too much "sin talk".
6. The church lacks community.
7. If someone I knew came to faith, I couldn't bring them to church because of their view of baptism.

When people leave our church for these reasons (and these are only 7 of the dozens of reasons I've heard in the last 11 years), it is always difficult. I think it hits my wife especially hard. But we, the leadership, need to be willing to hear these criticisms and address them if we believe them to be legitimate. Also, if possible, we take the opportunity to pastor the people who hold such views, if they don't leave first.

This blog post (not the one you're reading, but the one I'm linking to) has some helpful "decoding" advice for me, and all those who hear frustrated or disgruntled church members.  The decoding is overly general, but I hope you find it helpful when and if you hear such things about the church where you are a member. But most especially, if you are a disgruntled member thinking about leaving your church, does the "decoding" help you?


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