Tag Archive - unity

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Top Posts of 2013 #5: “5 Reasons it’s Good When People Leave Your Church”

We’ve finally made it into the top 5 in our countdown of top posts for 2013. This one came in at number 5 and for good reason. When it comes to church world I frequently hear conversations about churches trying to reach and keep everybody. Truth is, no church can do that, and in fact what you’ll learn in this post, is that sometimes it’s good that they leave.

Over the past 17 years of full time local church ministry I’ve seen people come and go from churches for all kinds of reasons. For the most part I’ve observed that those reasons have more to do with personal preference, style, and relationships than God actually “calling” them to be at one church or another.

And when this begins to happen I’ve seen Church Staff agonize over people departing from their churches. Frustration and fear can begin to creep in. How are we going to replace their financial support? Who is going to fill their recently vacated volunteer role? If they’re leaving and they’ve been here so long, then is there something wrong? Do they know something that I don’t? Should I be leaving too?

Even worse I’ve seen Church Staff begin to make decisions rooted in the fear of people leaving as opposed to the advancement of the mission. And when that begins to happen it’s a clear indicator that the church is drifting towards becoming insider focused.

What if I told you that people leaving your church can actually be a good thing? Maybe even the best thing? Below are 5 reasons that it’s actually good when people leave your Church:

1. They fell in love with who you were, not with who you are becoming

They’re stuck in the past. They were there when the church was small enough that you could know everybody by name and the Pastor was more available. Or maybe their favorite Staff Member excelled in their role when the church was smaller but it passed by their capacity and they’ve been moved to a different role, or they’re off the bus all together. Now things have changed and they’ve become critical that things aren’t the same anymore. You know people are stuck in the past when they keep talking about the “good ‘ole days” instead of what God is doing now.

2. It creates new opportunities

When people leave your church it creates an opportunity for new people to jump in, serve, and fill the gap. The exciting thing about new people is they always have fresh eyes, a different experience base, a new perspective, and new ideas. When people leave your church it’s an incredible opportunity for an infusion of new talent and ideas that will help propel things forward.

3. It keeps the Unity of the Church

When someone is dissatisfied, disgruntled, and defaming the Church and the Leadership of the Church, you’ve got a problem. The goal would obviously be to win their heart, but sometimes someone leaving the church is best for the unity of the church. The Scriptures are clear that the unity of the believers is paramount and nothing to fool around with. Simply put if someone can’t submit to the leadership of the church, then they need to go. To dig into this more here’s a post I wrote some time ago about “When is it Right to Leave a Church?”

4. To Start a New Church or a New Campus

When you’re sending some of your best volunteers to go support a new church plant or campus, that’s a great reason for someone to leave a church. Hiving off people to start a new church or campus not only is catalytic in the support of that new work, but also if done well it infuses an entrepreneurial Gospel driven spirit in the culture of the sending church and creates room for new people who have yet to say yes to following Jesus!

5. It Forces Staff to Develop New Talent

Churches are notorious for having the same people volunteer in the same role week after week, month after month, year after year. In fact a lot of churches get stuck in their volunteer culture for this very reason. Many Staff even have their “go to” volunteers that they know, love, and trust. And while it’s not bad to know, love, and trust a volunteer, if it leads you to over using or abusing a volunteer that’s another thing altogether. When people leave your church who were volunteering, it forces Staff to allow “outsiders” to break in.

The truth is people are always going to leave your church. Some will receive a job transfer, others will relocate for family reasons, while still others will simply get mad at you because you didn’t behave the way they expected you to and they’ll take their toys and go to another church down the street. The good news is you get to choose who goes and who stays by the leadership decisions you make every day.


Posted in Leadership

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Embracing Conflict in the Church

There’s an unhealthy presupposition in a large majority of churches in America that conflict is bad and should be avoided at all costs. After all if we’re all Christians shouldn’t we all just somehow magically get along? When conflict is avoided all kinds of negative things happen. But when it’s handled well, even properly encouraged it can be a team leaders greatest asset.

Healthy Conflict is a Pathway to Intimacy

When conflict is pressed into instead of shied away from, the team learns to address issues in an honest and straightforward manner. Attacking the problem, not the person. The best ideas are allowed to surface, unhealthy behavior is corrected, and the mission of the church takes ground. The best byproduct of healthy conflict is it provides the opportunity for greater depths of trust to be built on the team. By the way if you’re looking for a healthy model for Biblical conflict check out Matthew 18.

Unhealthy Conflict is a Pathway to Dysfunction

Unhealthy conflict leads to politics, posturing, and silos. Among other things a culture of enablement is built, problems get bigger, passive aggressive behavior is more common, and rumors abound. Ultimately the unity of the team is at stake and the advancement of the mission of the church slows to a crawl at best.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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5 Reasons it’s Good When People Leave Your Church

Over the past 17 years of full time local church ministry I’ve seen people come and go from churches for all kinds of reasons. For the most part I’ve observed that those reasons have more to do with personal preference, style, and relationships than God actually “calling” them to be at one church or another.

And when this begins to happen I’ve seen Church Staff agonize over people departing from their churches. Frustration and fear can begin to creep in. How are we going to replace their financial support? Who is going to fill their recently vacated volunteer role? If they’re leaving and they’ve been here so long, then is there something wrong? Do they know something that I don’t? Should I be leaving too?

Even worse I’ve seen Church Staff begin to make decisions rooted in the fear of people leaving as opposed to the advancement of the mission. And when that begins to happen it’s a clear indicator that the church is drifting towards becoming insider focused.

What if I told you that people leaving your church can actually be a good thing? Maybe even the best thing? Below are 5 reasons that it’s actually good when people leave your Church:

1. They fell in love with who you were, not with who you are becoming

They’re stuck in the past. They were there when the church was small enough that you could know everybody by name and the Pastor was more available. Or maybe their favorite Staff Member excelled in their role when the church was smaller but it passed by their capacity and they’ve been moved to a different role, or they’re off the bus all together. Now things have changed and they’ve become critical that things aren’t the same anymore. You know people are stuck in the past when they keep talking about the “good ‘ole days” instead of what God is doing now.

2. It creates new opportunities

When people leave your church it creates an opportunity for new people to jump in, serve, and fill the gap. The exciting thing about new people is they always have fresh eyes, a different experience base, a new perspective, and new ideas. When people leave your church it’s an incredible opportunity for an infusion of new talent and ideas that will help propel things forward.

Continue Reading…


Posted in Leadership

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Overcomming the Fear of Moving to Multiple Worship Services

Churches are often stuck because of their systems and structures. Many churches cannot grow because they have maximized their building’s capacity and they lack the financial resources to expand. Eight common fears cause them to fixate on building a bigger building instead of adding multiple services.

1. The fear of losing the unity of the church

It is true that everyone will not be able to worship together at the same time with multiple services but this has more to do with the comfort of friendship and the familiar than church unity. Unity is driven by consistent teaching, clear vision, a strong culture and the Holy Spirit.

2. The fear of not having enough volunteers

It is proven that moving to multiple services actually makes it easier to find volunteers. With additional services, people now have additional choices. Volunteers now have the option of attending a service and serving in another. Having only one service forces people to choose between attending the worship service or volunteering in a ministry.

3. The fear of overworking the pastor

In many churches, the pastor is responsible for preparing messages for Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday Bible studies. This workload leaves pastors with little time to lead. Eliminating some of these teaching responsibilities gives pastors additional time to focus on leadership and the weekend services. It is much easier for a pastor to teach the same message multiple times on the weekend than to prepare three different talks each week.

4. The fear of deciding what to do with Sunday morning programs (i.e. Sunday School)

Understanding that your primary objective is to connect people in an environment that is centered on God’s Word will give you many different options. If you have the parking capacity, it is possible to run discipleship programs concurrently with the worship services. If this is not the case, you can have it before, after, or in between services. Another option would be to offer Sunday School for children and students and have Bible studies another time for adults during the week. Many churches have transitioned to weekly small groups.

5. The fear of determining whether or not the style of worship music should be blended, the same or different in each service

Some well-known and successful churches have chosen to have multiple worship venues using niche styles such as rock and roll, contemporary worship, country, and unplugged. What keeps these services unified is ensuring that the same message is preached in all of them. Others approach music as a unifying factor and choose to keep all of the services the same style. Generally speaking, blended worship styles are confusing and don’t make anyone happy. Whatever route you choose to take, allow the decision to be driven by vision and the culture you want to create.

6. The fear of past failures

If you’ve unsuccessfully tried multiple worship services before then answer two important questions. First, “Why didn’t it work the first time?” And second, “What can we do differently this time?”

7. The fear of losing people

You will probably lose people if you make this move but you will also lose people if you don’t. Churches always lose people, fortunately you can help decide who leaves and stays by the leadership decisions that are made. The real issue is, “Do you want to build a culture focused on insiders or outsiders?” Having one service limits who can be part of your church (capacity issue) and it also limits the impact that your church can have in the community.

8. The fear of not knowing when to start a multiple service

It is better to add two completely new times instead of simply adding another option to what you already offer. This strategy forces everyone to choose a new service time and creates an “all-in” mentality. Also keep in mind that optimum times for worship services in America seem to be between 4:30pm – 6:00pm on Saturday evenings and 9:00am – noon on Sundays. You will also want to pick a strategic time of the year when your church experiences natural momentum to launch the service. Many churches experience momentum at the start of the school year in the fall or in January when everyone is back after Christmas-break.

This article originally appeared as a guest post I wrote last year for TonyMorganLive


Posted in Leadership