Category Archives: Relationships

When The Bags Are Packed: When A Staff Member Leaves Your Church

Brandi WilsonIf I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Psalms 139:9-10

When I received my blog topic several weeks ago, I remember thinking, “This is going to be an easy one; I can write from a past situation that we’ve walked through and healed from.” I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it wasn’t a few short days later that I learned a beloved staff member of ours was being called away from our church. This wasn’t just any staff member but someone who had become a close and trusted friend. Someone I had dreamed with. Someone who had walked through tough times by our side and celebrated the shared joy of triumphs. Someone I believed I would be telling Cross Point stories with 20 years down the road. Someone I thought I would have the honor of working with and doing life side by side for a very long time. After that description, I am sure you can tell my heart is still a little tender.

One of the reasons I think a staff member leaving your church is so difficult to walk through is because our hearts are so torn. We are seeing someone we love dearly follow God’s call in their life. How exciting is that?! We want everyone in our church to follow God’s call in their lives… except when it is someone we love and God’s call is taking them away from us, right? No, following God’s will in our lives comes without any exceptions. We have to celebrate the departing staff member’s obedience to His call while our hearts are aching. It is a tough situation for our hearts to navigate.

Several years ago Pete and I had the opportunity to have dinner with Rick and Kay Warren along with several other pastors and wives. At one point during the dinner someone asked the Warrens how they handle it when a staff member chooses to leave their church. In her usual manner, Kay had some great words of wisdom. She said in the past she used to take it personally and would be hurt when staff would choose to leave. But over the years she has come to look at the departing staff member’s time at Saddleback as an investment. They were “in training” at Saddleback for some God-ordained purpose, and when they left God had moved them somewhere else to minister. Saddleback was part of their experience and part of their journey.

Truly, they were words of such depth. I loved her attitude and her positivity. I loved that you could tell her words were words spoken from experience, something she’d worked through in her own life and learned how to feel her way through.

Here are a couple of thoughts on transitioning staff members that I have learned:Brandi Wilson b

1) Just because they are being called away from your church doesn’t mean they have been called out of your life. Will the relationship look different? Yes. Mainly because the amount of time you spend together is going to change. But the relationship itself still exists. Who they are to you as a person is still the same. Continuing to be a cheerleader for them as they transition and move on speaks volumes to their hearts. We have to remember even though God has called them away and their next steps are exciting, their hearts are hurting, too. We must always care more about the people than the job they do for the church.

2) Ultimately we must remember we are still serving God’s Church. God is going to call people away. He is also going to bring the people He wants serving on the front lines with us. Anytime I start to feel anxious about transitions and who is going to fill certain roles, I take a second and remind myself: “This is still God’s church; He will provide abundantly more than I can imagine.”

Whatever our former staff member does from here on out, our church is part of her story. Cross Point helped train her up and helped her grow. I have to trust our church shaped her in the way God intended during her time with us. We are honored that God chose us to be a permanent part of her personal story. And that blesses me.

How have you navigated through staff transitions? What important lessons have helped heal your heart.

 

When The Bags Are Packed: When A Person Leaves Your Church

Cindy BeallDuring the darkest time of my life, she became a friend to me. Well over a decade ago our friendship blossomed and we’ve been friends ever since. We saw each other at church regularly and then continued to grow as friends during the rest of the 167 hours of each week. Her daughters even babysat my sons for me. We experienced life together and felt very comfortable sharing our hearts with each other. There was just something in both of us that said, “Your heart is safe in her hands.”

Several years later, our paths didn’t cross as much but when they did we picked right back up where we left off. It was as if no time or distance came between us. Somewhere along the way, her family stopped attending our church and decided to go to another one in our town. I was kind of surprised because I love our church and thought they did, too. It instantly made me feel strange when I saw her because I wondered if I should ask her what happened and why they left. But what if I did that and she shared their disappointment at the church where my husband and I are called to? Would I feel the need to make excuses or justify the things we do that they don’t agree with? So I never asked.

What do you do when someone leaves the church you love? How do you handle the unspoken distance that it creates when you see that person again? I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this. It happens all the time. And I believe that it doesn’t have to be weird when this transpires.

We should expect people to leave our churches. People have different needs and desires. They have different styles and tastes. Some love traditional churches while some love those that are more “cutting-edge”. Some love to sing old hymns from a hymnal while others enjoy singing contemporary worship songs. Some love the energy that accompanies large churches while others prefer the intimacy in a smaller setting. Just because someone leaves your church doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them or something wrong with your church.

I want to give you a few things to think about as you experience this:

  1. Be happy for them. You love your church, right? Wonderful. Apparently, they needed something different. If they have found a church that is completely opposite than yours, don’t get offended. You wouldn’t be upset if they chose a different style of jeans than you or preferred a different restaurant, would you? Of course you wouldn’t. Choose to rejoice that they have found a place where they want to plant roots and grow in Christ. It doesn’t mean your church isn’t working. It just means that finding a new church home has helped them get more plugged in and that brings growth.
  2. Support them. There is something most humans have in common – the need to be supported. Ask them how God is working in their new church home. Be excited about things their church is doing in the community and in the world. It may be different than yours and that’s okay. And don’t get into a competition with them. When you ask about what God is up to in their lives, listen and rejoice with them. Don’t turn it back to what God is doing in your church. Just enjoy listening to how God is working in their new spiritual community. My friend and her husband are mentoring many younger couples in their new church and making a huge impact! And for that I praise God!
  3. Pray for their new church and leadership. If the situation was turned, wouldn’t you want your friend to pray for your new church and its pastors? One of the things that the Christian church tends to be poor at is supporting other churches. Most of this stems from a competitive spirit. We don’t want that church to steal “our people.” Friend, there are enough people in the world and certainly enough lost people to go around and fill all of our churches. We just need to pray they do. We are all a part of the CHURCH. Let’s pray for revival in all of our churches that preach Jesus Christ as Savior!

I know it’s hard to watch people leave your church. I have seen more people leave my church than I can even remember. And while there has been a bit of a sting at that realization, I just remember that so many people are coming to our church for the first time and meeting Jesus. And that is a good thing because they have found our church to be their new home.

We have to live out the faith we proclaim and believe that God is truly in control. If we do, we will trust that He will lead people to and from churches in order to impact this lost and dying world in which we live.

Do you struggle when people leave your church? Why or why not? If you do, try to pinpoint the reason(s) why. Whether you struggle or not, consider implementing the suggestions when you hear that someone has left your church.

Pirate Parenting: Honesty

FM_graphic980x250Posted by Lori Wilhite

There is no other book, Bible Study, or ministry that has made a greater impact on my life as a mom than Julie Richard and Fearlessmom.com With practical, yet powerful content, she has encouraged me like no other in my family life. Her insight in establishing a vision for our families and training our children’s hearts has absolutely transformed me as a mother.

Over the next 5 weeks, we will share the incredible Pirate Parenting series by Fearless Mom. No matter where you are in your mom journey… expecting your first baby, chasing toddlers and pre-schoolers, managing school-age kids, navigating life with teenagers, learning to live with step-children, or parenting adult children… this series is for you, your ConnectLIVE or ConnectLOCAL group, and small group or women’s ministry at your church.

Each Monday, we will post the video, the PDF of the notes and scripture memory cards to be printed and enjoyed.

Soon, Fearless mom will launch into their new ministry season, and you can subscribe to have their parenting videos sent directly to your inbox each Friday. Incredible! CLICK HERE The best parenting materials out there, straight to you! Pass this resource on to your friends, family, and church gals.

Notes and Scripture Card

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.55.21 PMMemory Verses Honesty Full Sheet

Pirate Parenting: Gratitude

FM_graphic980x250Posted by Lori Wilhite

There is no other book, Bible Study, or ministry that has made a greater impact on my life as a mom than Julie Richard and Fearlessmom.com With practical, yet powerful content, she has encouraged me like no other in my family life. Her insight in establishing a vision for our families and training our children’s hearts has absolutely transformed me as a mother.

Over the next 5 weeks, we will share the incredible Pirate Parenting series by Fearless Mom. No matter where you are in your mom journey… expecting your first baby, chasing toddlers and pre-schoolers, managing school-age kids, navigating life with teenagers, learning to live with step-children, or parenting adult children… this series is for you, your ConnectLIVE or ConnectLOCAL group, and small group or women’s ministry at your church.

Each Monday, we will post the video, the PDF of the notes and scripture memory cards to be printed and enjoyed.

Soon, Fearless mom will launch into their new ministry season, and you can subscribe to have their parenting videos sent directly to your inbox each Friday. Incredible! CLICK HERE The best parenting materials out there, straight to you! Pass this resource on to your friends, family, and church gals.

Notes and Scripture Card

Memory Verses Gratitude Full SheetScreen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.51.40 PM

 

 

Pirate Parenting: Responsibility

FM_graphic980x250Posted by Lori Wilhite

There is no other book, Bible Study, or ministry that has made a greater impact on my life as a mom than Julie Richard and Fearlessmom.com With practical, yet powerful content, she has encouraged me like no other in my family life. Her insight in establishing a vision for our families and training our children’s hearts has absolutely transformed me as a mother.

Over the next 5 weeks, we will share the incredible Pirate Parenting series by Fearless Mom. No matter where you are in your mom journey… expecting your first baby, chasing toddlers and pre-schoolers, managing school-age kids, navigating life with teenagers, learning to live with step-children, or parenting adult children… this series is for you, your ConnectLIVE or ConnectLOCAL group, and small group or women’s ministry at your church.

Each Monday, we will post the video, the PDF of the notes and scripture memory cards to be printed and enjoyed.

Soon, Fearless mom will launch into their new ministry season, and you can subscribe to have their parenting videos sent directly to your inbox each Friday. Incredible! CLICK HERE The best parenting materials out there, straight to you! Pass this resource on to your friends, family, and church gals.

Notes and Scripture Card

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.43.43 PMMemory Verses Responsibility Full Sheet