There are several Facebook groups that I have joined to connect with people about hunting, fishing, pastoring, Church, and humor. Every day my feed is filled with pictures, links, and discussions that I find educational and enjoyable. But there is one thing that happens in one of my groups at least once a week. Someone will get upset over a comment, joke or content shared and make a big post about leaving the group.
I suppose this should not surprise me as this is precisely how some people leave the Church. Sure, there is a group of people who go quietly. They drift away or decide not to return without telling a soul. Then some people leave with shouts, and they contact as many people as possible to get sympathy. I know that people who do this are crying out for attention. They want people to listen, sympathize, and spend time on them.
These are not the people who concern me. Rarely have I had someone leave the Church in a loud way that it was better for everyone if they stayed. What concerns me are those who quietly leave and never speak to anyone about it. Sometimes this happens because of life changes like a job, family situation, or sports. Because of those things, I often don’t know if a person is gone for good or planning to come back. I hate that, but it is hard to know when to contact and how much to do it because each situation is unique.
As a Pastor, I want people to know that the elders and I care about every one of you. If you are having personal struggles, we want to pray and try to help. If you are having trouble with something or someone at the Church, we would like to address it and make it better. We know that the Church is filled with sinful people, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. But we want to work together as a Church to show love, concern, and aid to everyone.
I am not asking people to make a loud proclamation of their departure. Unfortunately, that is the stuff for attention hogs on social media. But if you are considering leaving or haven’t been to church for a while, know that you are missed, and we would love to connect with you and develop the opportunity to grow together as followers of Jesus.