I’ve been feeling something for a while now.
Maybe you have, too.
It’s something I’ve even “prayed” about… like how Christians say they pray about things, but really just conclude something they hope God’s okay with.
I’ll stand in front of my congregation and say,
“I’m going to attend elsewhere. Things don’t feel like they used to. There’s another congregation that seems more put-together and exciting. They even somehow seem more ‘biblical’ over there, too. You guys just aren’t feeding me anymore.”
Such a plan only lasts for a nano-second.
(Translation: I’m not actually planning on leaving my church. I’m confessing a temptation I feel every now and then… maybe you have, too.)
I’m supposed to be mature.
I need to think bigger than that. You need to think bigger than that.
We need to think bigger than that.
As a lead pastor, I do get emails from people who do this almost every season. It’s like the changing weather makes people change their church.
Thankfully, there always seems to be a remnant through God’s grace – a core group who understands things at a healthier level. These are the “for better or for worse” servant-leaders who get it and push through spiritual walls for the sake of what God is doing in them and through them.
The problem is on a general, church-wide scale it feels like when people aren’t “feeling it” they’re eventually gone:
- “The worship team doesn’t play the songs I like.”
- “I purposefully didn’t come for weeks as a test. No one from the church called me. Never mind that I’m not in a small group… the point is…”
- “The building campaign should be run this way…. instead of that way.”
- “I showed up for an event and it wasn’t what I expected.”
- “It’s not how it was when I first started attending.”
- “I’m just not feeling fed.”
It’s the last one that grinds me the most… not because I believe I’m a great preacher, but if God’s Word is the foundation of a message the only reason people couldn’t feel “fed” is if they closed their “mouths.” According to Jesus, God’s seed is good – it’s the soil that has the problem. Maybe it’s just easier to blame a preacher or church than personally own that.
Why am I posting this here?
There’s a reason why your senior pastor seems worn down some days… it’s because your senior pastor is worn down some days.
Senior pastors often feel like plate spinners who are trying to keep things healthy so people stay happy. It’s not our job, but it somehow becomes our job. It ultimately makes us want to work somewhere where people demonstrate long-term commitment and patronage… like their favorite ice cream store. (Sadly, that comparison is truer than we’d like to admit.)
Right now, go reaffirm a “for better or for worse” commitment to your church and its senior leadership. While you’re at it, dare others to do the same.
Feed up… before he or she gets fed up.
What are some of the “reasons” you’ve heard someone left a church? Share a comment. (Maybe by confessing some of the insanity we’ll better recognize it before it comes out of us.)