It’s a sad fact, but one that you need to face up front.
You will lose people.
When you transition from a legacy church to a network of simple churches, not everyone will come with you. For many, the legacy church has been their whole life, and when you suggest a paradigm shift as major as the one this entails, you are rocking their spiritual world. They’d rather find somewhere else where they feel safe and that meets their needs. Jesus said, “They will say the old wine is better.”
What should your reaction be?
I hear many stories where people say they feel betrayed, hurt and angry when others leave, or for those who are leaving, they feel rejected and ostracized.
Don’t let it be that way!
If people want to leave, don’t let them slip out the back door. Ask people to let you know if they want to go so you can bless them. Throw a party! Yes, if your legacy church has done anything right, you’ll have tears, but let it be a time of spiritual growth. Honor them. Let them know it’s good that the Lord is leading them that way. Have a group of people gather round and prophesy over them and pray for them. Send them out from your legacy church with the blessing and good wishes of everyone concerned. Help them find another legacy church if that is what they want. Write a letter of commendation to their new pastor. Do everything within your power to make their leaving something they will look back on as a time when the Lord was leading and blessing them. Ask them to pray for you and bless you.
You won’t experience the sadness of broken relationships.
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6 replies on “One sad fact of transition you need to know”
I know of some who could have joined us when we transitioned to a simple church. Though they wished us “Godspeed” they couldn’t seem to break away from what they have known all their lives in the traditional church. Now they often contact us with the well-known complaints that follow those stuck in their old ways. Difference is, we tried to do something about it. They aren’t happy, but prefer security to the unknown freedom.
I think though, they are watching us, to see if we endure, and keep our joy. Who knows? Maybe its not to late, but I can’t express enough what they are missing out, having the Lord as their shepherd everyday and not just on Sunday’s!
It’s not just that people don’t want to leave the safe and familiar. There can be a false sens of guilt too–would they be rebellious or disloyal to walk away? And then they watch us wistfully from the sidelines.
Sadly, I suspect that if they had joined you when you transitioned, they would probably have been looking wistfully back at the legacy church, and eventually left you to go back. We’ve seen that happen with many people, unless the Lord has really given them a different DNA. And that’s okay.
The month of June will be the last month before we move on. The party idea sounds very good. Something proactive anyway and peaceful and healing and not minimizing this in the lives of those who need to continue legacy style. Thank you.
I wish I had done something similar to this two years ago when we left our legacy church. I thought at the time slipping out the back door would be easier on everyone- but it caused confusion, hurt and broken relationships. I’m learning that just because we do home church doesn’t mean we aren’t on the same team as our brothers and sisters who continue legacy ones.
Trying, you have really hit the nail on the head when you say that we are on the same team as our legacy family. I believe the Lord is blurring the distinctions in many different areas and simple/legacy is one of them. It’s the King and his Kingdom that’s important.