Church division is a touchy subject, I know.
But I also know that many people mishandle this kind of situation often. I believe this happens mainly because no one teaches what to do or, in this case, what not to do when someone leaves your Church.
As a Senior Leader of a Church, I’ve gone through some significant “break-ups” with Church members. But even before my husband and I planted our Church, as a member of another Church, I saw people leave in good and bad terms, and I have seen how much this can hurt the congregation.
It doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why today I want to share five things I’ve learned NOT to do when people leave your Church, regardless of the reason why they left.
1) Please don’t try to convince them to stay.
I tell people all the time that the second most important decision you should ask God to lead you about, after whom you should marry, is what Church you should join.
Where you serve in the body of Christ is so pivotal for your destiny. It can create a ground for you to bloom, grow, and become who God called you to be. But, it can also suffocate the fire out of you and lead you to hurt and pain.
So, needless to say, that decision should be made between God and them alone. Because when disagreements occur or difficulties arise, you are only left to stand on the foundation of your trust in what God led you to do and not people.
Manipulating them with a long list of reasons why they should stay is setting them up for a lot of uncertainty and mistrust in regards to the Church.
Let them make that choice on their own. It’s called “Free-will.”
2) Please don’t call them or their decision to leave Evil.
I know it is so easy to blame Satan for everything we don’t like. But the truth is that sometimes God himself leads people to leave.
Maybe they are a hindrance to where Jesus is taking the Church, or perhaps they have outgrown the Church, and God is leading them to where they fit best.
But even if them leaving was Satan’s work, guess what? God will still use all things for our good, the Church’s, and them’s.
So instead, bless them and wish them the best.
3) Please don’t burn your friendship.
People leaving your Church doesn’t mean they have to disappear from your life.
I know that’s a tough thing to imagine because what else could ever connect you guys, if not your Church.
I don’t know, maybe… Jesus.
Jesus is a strong enough connection to at least not remove them from your life altogether.
One of the saddest things I’ve seen is people throwing away years of friendship just because of church splits.
Yes, I know that slander is almost always involved in the mix and that sometimes really hurtful things are said both ways. But didn’t Jesus say to forgive people when they come against us?
Like you want to defend your theological standpoint of view but fail to obey a direct order from God. That’s crazy.
Just forgive them. Do they deserve it? Maybe not. But you wouldn’t have to forgive them if they did anyway, would you?
What I’ve learned to do is to swallow my pride and try to see things from their perspective. And then love them anyway because people are more valuable than our ego.
I can tell you with all certainty that God will honor godly behavior. I have lived through this, and I can testify that He is faithful to protect and justify you or the church.
4) Don’t pray for them to come back.
Ok, this one might be a little confusing because the Bible tells us to pray for everyone, especially our enemies or opposers.
But there is a difference between praying for God’s perfect will over people’s lives and for God to impose YOUR perfect will on people’s lives. The former is called witchcraft.
If you love the people that left, then you are better off praying for God’s perfect will over their lives, for Him to be a lamp unto their feet and for Jesus to guide, protect and bless them in whatever they choose to do.
5) Don’t talk bad about them or their decision to leave.
Gossip is so dangerous, and there is no excuse for it. So please, don’t engage in it.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us the power of life and death is in our mouth. So instead of trying to spread your negative opinion on their departure, try to speak about whatever is pure and excellent or worthy of praise like Philippians 4:8 tells us to do.
Of course, if you are a leader, there might be some things that you inevitably have to discuss about the situation with other people, but that should never include a bashing of character sessions.
If they are wrong, then God will show it to people. And if they are acting out of character towards you, try to take the high-road and disregard their offense. That will help you grow a thicker skin.
Well, friend, that’s it for today. I pray God gives you peace and wisdom to handle this kind of stuff. If you would like to stay connected with me, remember to join my email list below and follow me on IG. Also, if you want to be part of this conversation, or you like this post leave me a comment below. It helps me tremendously when you engage in the post.
You are so loved.