Skip to main content

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?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

David Powlison (1949-2019)

David Powlison died around 11am on Friday, June 7th, 2019.

I wrote this about him a couple of years ago:

He taught some of my counseling classes at WTS and is the Executive Director of CCEF. His ability to pastor the human heart and his relentless pursuit of the glory of Christ was on display in the classes he taught. We would often begin classes by singing a hymn together and Dr. Powlison would pull a nugget of truth from the hymn and riff for a few minutes. It was always encouraging to our faith. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Powlison and his wife Nan for how kind they were to me and my young family.

He has left a treasure for us in what he has published. Without reservation, I recommend everything below:

The Journal of Biblical Counseling. You can subscribe to the digital copy or a hard copy. He was the editor and past copies are available.

Seeing with New Eyes. This is a "vision shaping book" that makes the case that the Bible is sufficient for all we experience.

How Do…

My Teachers

Ephesians 4:11-14

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (ESV)

In the last couple of months, I've heard of the death of a couple of influential professors. The tributes I read reminded me of how God has blessed His church with these men. I began to think about the teachers and professors who have influenced me.

And then I read a post recently from someone who graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS). What he wrote about WTS was foreign to me. He admitted it was based on "his experience" but it was full of char…

Suffering--Book Brief

Paul Tripp is a faithful counselor and has served me and many of you through his conferences, books, video series, newsletters and booklets. He has written on the transition to middle age, love, sex, and money, raising teens and many other subjects.  If you are not familiar with him or his writing, I highly recommend him.
His latest book, Suffering, is the best thing he has written.
There are multiple contact points any reader will have with this book because suffering is universal. We all experience it. We can’t escape it. Tripp, through his decade's long association with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) has counseled hundreds of sufferers. You will hear many of their stories in this book. More importantly, you will hear how a skilled biblical counselor helps the sufferer frame her experience in such a way that the truths of the Bible connect to the experience of the sufferer.
The chapters “The Awareness Trap”, The Fear Trap”, “The Envy Trap”, “The Denial T…