Why do the good people leave?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jeremiah, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah
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    My Pastor's daughter (30 years old) asked me a pointed question. "Why do the good people leave?"

    Background: I have been placed in a bad situation in our church and my hand is forced. To avoid splitting a church, my family is opting to leave our ministry on correct terms and seek fellowship somewhere else.

    I know that I am not alone to know churches that have had fights over biblical issues where the people on the side of scripture are the ones that leave?

    Is this really biblical? Should Christians stand up for the fight or should we avoid divisive situations and leave the others to follow?

    So ... What is a pastor's perspective? "Why do the good people leave?"

    :confused:
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    This is a tough one Jeremiah and I hope you do not take me wrong in my response.

    Most of the time I think that those who leave perceive that they are the good people. Often it is a difference in a perception of scripture. I am pastoring a small, pioneer church planting work in Ireland and about a year ago the three familes who were in the church all left at the same time. I am sure they perceived that they were doing the "right" thing. I believe that I took the biblical stand.

    Please, I don't know your situation and am not comparing you to those who left my church. What I am saying is that those who leave will normally perceive that they are right and the others wrong. Those who stay will also seem themselves as right.

    This is a tough one, Jeremiah. I appreciate you asking the question.
     
  3. Jim1999

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    How important is being "right"? Sometimes we can be right as rain, as the saying goes, but totally wrong in action.

    We somehow get the impression that the New Testament churches were perfect, when they were far from it. Why should we expect the modern church to be any different. Sometimes we must endure the pains in ministry for the same of ministering. Be patient in all things, including with people who may be wrong.

    Preach the word where the word is clear and do not be afraid of contentious passages, but allow liberty in the latter.

    A good rule is this: If it is personal, forget it. If it is principle; die for it.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    The people on the side of the Scripture are right. They should not leave to preserve the church from a split. The good people leave most often, IMO, because of bad leadership. When they feel that the leader is waffling, they believe that there is no direction. A strong leader must lay the cards on the table and lead.

    Wnen I went through somewhat of a difficult situation, I had a good friend and mentor tell me, "Split the church ... What do you have to lose? A church that doesn't want to grow anyway?" Of course, in doing that, we need not be unbiblical in our attitudes and actions. I know of a pastor who recently left his church (about to be voted out) because in a disagreement he lost his temper on several occasions and lost the respect of some of the people (as well he should have). Being right and being the leader does not mean being unbiblical.

    Of course, it depends on what the division is over. There are some divisions that are stupid things do divide over. Not knowing more than you have said here makes it impossible to offer any informed opinion.
     
  5. Jeremiah

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    Nothing wrong taken here. I have been in situations like that as well.

    A little more background w/o all the details ... it seems there is a very vocal minority in the church that are calling for my head as well as the pastors over this matter. My pastor is sticking by me because I am correct in my part in this mess. However, as a result I have been informed that the pastor will be asked to resign by the associate pastor and a deacon. You wonder why pastors get fed up and leave.

    I am the music and youth minister in our church. I can leave over principle or die fighting for it. My human nature (another post for later I am sure) wants to stay and stand my ground. However, the majority of people are silent, they likely don't want to be publicly treated by the others like I am being treated.

    I would be lying if I didn't admit there is not now a personal element of this matter. Because of things said in public business meeting, and directly to other people it is personal. I have chosen not to react to it publicly (not because I am bigger or a better Christian but because I hurt and I don't want others to hurt).

    So it started over principle but it has become increasingly more personal. So where is the line? Where do the "good people" take a stand?

    Needless to say I am pretty hurt in this matter it is easier to just quit, My family and I would have to drive 40+ miles to the nearest Bible believing church that I can agree with doctrinally, but it would still be easier. Yet I don’t know that the right action is to walk away.
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Jeremiah,

    You have a responsibility to you and your family which I believe overrides your repsonsibility to the local church. What will a "fight" do to your family? What will a "fight" do to you and your pastor? What will a "fight" do for the cause of Christ in your community.

    Abour 20 years ago, before we were missionaries we were in a similar situation. We talked to the deacons and did our best to move our membership in a godly spirit. It took a while after we moved, but God healed wounds and today that original church is one of our supporting churches.

    Do what is right for the Lord, for you and your family, and for the local church in the long run. In reality only you can determine that because you are the only one there. Prayed for you just now brother.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    How can an associate pastor and a deacon ask the pastor to resign?? That is not baptistic in the least. Baptists are congregationally governed. It takes the congregation to take such a step of action. If I were the pastor, I would immediately ask for the associate's resignation for undermining the God ordained pastor of that church, and I would immediately assemble the deacons to deal with this wayward deacon.

    In congregational polity, one person does not have the authority to ask for anything. It has to be the congregational call.

    Now, of course, I say that not knowing the whole story so I am commenting only on what you are saying here.

    [/qb]If there is public gossiping or sniping about problems that won't cease, then church discipline needs to be enacted. I question how a minority has gotten this kind of sway. If there is public mistreatment of people (or private for that matter), that is in direct violation of the biblical teaching on the body life.

     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    I know the issues and see it as a fault of many (not all) SBC churches. They have a facade of love, unity, forgiveness - peace and prosperity in perpetual possession.

    But a clearly doctrinal issue like yours and a godly pastor who is willing to stand for the truth even though the vocal minority might make it a cause for getting rid of him, too, is a rarity.

    If you do not want to hurt the church, you stand for the truth in honor preferring others. That means hat-in-hand, meek and mild. Not in-your-face-I'm-right-and-you're-going-to-hell like we would WANT to do.

    Hope others will share their hearts, too. [​IMG]
     
  9. USN2Pulpit

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    I'd be interested to know why you single out SBC churches in this trouble. I don't think the SBC has a corner on this market. There are in fact many churches that do this of both baptist and other denominations.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Just something I've noticed. Opinion only. In most of our historic ifb churches, good people leave, too. But they fight . . and fight . . and continue to fight.

    The SBC may disagree and have fusses, but until the recent defection to the liberal CBF most just continued in a "sham harmony" of the "beloved convention".

    Back to the issue. Jeremiah needs our help.
     
  11. Paul of Eugene

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    Good people sometimes leave because to stay and fight would divide the church, maybe even kill it, and by leaving they can work in another church leaving those behind to learn to work harmoniously with themselves.
     
  12. Jeremiah

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    UPDATE: Well my pastor has asked that my wife and I (my wife is 100% by my side btw) meet with the deacons and associate pastor wednesday night. Guess they want to hear our "side" of the issue because the only ones talking are the others involved and it isn't being handled very Christ like.

    So I have already washed my hands of the matter mentally and prepared myself to handle this gracefully and leave in the proper way.

    Now the problem I have is that I already know I can't "trust" my Associate pastor and at least two of my four deacons. Sooooooooo do I give the situation and the pastor the benifit of the doubt and meet with them, do I just let this effort go in love and continue to walk away, or do I go and let them know of my differences and my decision?

    Frustrated.

    -- Jeremiah

    NOTE: Thanks for letting me talk this out a little. We are 100% wrapped up in ministering to our church so we have no where to go when our church has a problem, and you hate to tell someone locally ...
     
  13. j_barner2000

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    I believe that in the least you need to present your side Biblically and in the spirit of love. Christ would rather see us united in the spirit of love than divided. Go prayerfully and speak openly and honestly. If all are truly seeking to serve Him and do His will, then both sides can come to an agreement. If you must leave, then do it in spirit of love and reconciliation, not anger and pain.

    At my last church, there was an issue with the pastor's daughter. My wife and I met first with her, and second with her parents as the youth director to the parent type of meeting. Nothing was resolved so my wife and I left and all were hurt. It took going back and praying with the pastor to resolve the effects of leaving out of anger and in a disgruntled attitude rather than leaving in a spirit of love.
     
  14. moses

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    I do not think it will be right for one to leave,considering the fact that you know the right thing.Check this out!If every good person leaves,who will be left in the church?The bad people of-course.
    I have strong conviction that if the good people stay,with time they will be able to convince them and they will know the truth about the right doctrine.
    I know this is a hard thing to do because I have experienced it before,people may think you are week by staying or keeping quiet, but they will later realise you are matured.
    Keep doing what is right,and they will learn from you.
     
  15. Trotter

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    A note from personal experience...

    I have found that the "vocal minority" usually get their way, just from them being "vocal"! The people say, "We don't want to make waves. We want peace and harmony." But the problem is that this peace and harmony comes at the price of being held hostage by a group of loud-mouthed bigshots.

    Many (if not most) Baptist churches (and any other church that is run by congregational vote) are run this way. The old saying "The squeky wheel gets the grease" proves to be Standard Operating Procedure in too, too many of our churches today. An extremely small minority can cause churches to split, when to expell these troublemakers from the congregation would keep the loss to a bare minimum.

    Just my opinion.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  16. Bro.Adams

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    I would like to float an idea...perhaps we (both pastors and congregants) all become a little too territorial when it comes to church. We all feel that we have to "protect" the church and its doctrine.
    Floated idea #1 - Maybe God is big enough to protect the church if needed. Many times, I fear we are trying to keep alive something that God has taken his hand from. Let God be God and us be worshippers, gospel-spreaders and disciple-makers.
    Floated idea #2 - I think for both Pastors and congregants alike, we put way too much emphasis on staying at the same church come "heck or high water". A church is a living, changing organism. Hopefully all of us are living, changing, and maturing Christians...A forty year old don't go to a pediatrician. Sometimes we need to move on to a place that God is using OR move on to a place where God can use us!
    You all know good and well, there was no 20 yr members of any of those New Testament churches in Rome!
    Pastors, let God move you. Congregants, let God use you where you are, but be open to going where you are needed!
    A church is like a bus station- it is where you go to begin your journey. I fear too may of us are so busy fixing up the staion that we never use our ticket and begin our (spiritual) journey!

    Anyway...just another point to ponder...Blessings!
     
  17. Jim1999

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    Brother Adam,
    I think you are heading in the right direction.
    There is a secular saying, "Don't sweat the small things." From what I have seen over the years, far too many are absorbed by the small things. Things that are indeed small and really insignificant. They don't change the overall picture. We are concentrating on personal things, and missing the central point of church: to adore the Lord Jesus and to enjoy fellowship with fellow believers.

    Sometimes I wonder if these little splits aren't just a masquerade. To hide our lack of inner commitment to Jesus Christ. We forget that Jesus said He would build His church, and we have taken possession regardless.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. td

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    I believe that one reason many good people leave small churches, is that control of the church is not really vested in the whole congregation. Oh, the constitution and by-laws may say that, but in reality, it just ain't so.

    Actually, there is usually a small group who have the control. This group is almost exclusively made up of people from families who have been in the church forever. In this small group there is usually one individual who has a strong personality and looked upon by other members as a leader in the church and the community. The unwritten rule is that this person is like a tribal elder. Everyone follows his lead and will almost never oppose anything he says. It's almost impossible for new members (even a pastor)to be included in this group. They will always be considered outsiders.

    If you are an outsider, you might as well forget trying to be an agent of change in a small church. You will always be opposed and become frustrated. You can quote scripture and all the biblical examples you want but it will fall on deaf ears. To this group, it's never about the Bible, it's always about who 'controls their church'.

    If you can navigate the minefields, have a forgiving spirit and love the people in spite of this, you can probably survive. Many who are not prepared for this environment burn out fighting the battles, become frustrated, and leave.
     
  19. gb93433

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    You hit the nail on the head!!!

    I found that out the hard way when I came to a small church that just a few years was 25 and a few years later it went to about 220. The new people liked it. But the control group did not and asked me to leave. They knew they were losing control and new people were coming in. They would often remark about how much some earlier pastor visited them. I told them that I was veru busy visitng those who visited the chruch and those who were new believers. It was amazing the lies that some of the old huard staretd telling. Even my daughter was ridiculed some by some parents. She won the highest honors academically while we were there. She won the spelling bee in fourth grade among grades one thorugh eight. The parents didn't like it that my daughter shined as an outsider. They wouldn't say much to me directly. But one deacon told me, "Your family is just too good."

    One of the deacons had an altercation with a youth. Another youth worker was in the process of divorcing her husband. Another of the deacons had a daughter who was arrested for drug possession. He himself had been a drunkard until his wife left and told him to sober up or she would divorce him. All this was in the past and yet nobody stood against those men and hold them accountable. The deacons had invested their money in a stupid unscriptural investement and lost everything except about three thousand dollars that was in a local bank. Of course it was against my direct advice.

    After I left things got much worse I am told. Many have left and the church has not gained one person in the last almost four years.
     
  20. Walls

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    That is a tough one alright, but very common these days. We have a left churches for the same reason. When you have people who truly want to know the Lord and His word and the leadership in the church, just graze it enough to get buy, they fail to see the deep things of God. It is at that point where people collide and friction is caused. You do have the choice to stay and try to help others or go where you can be encouraged in further growth. We are at a church now, where there is no boundaries on the Bible and it is great. We are being fed milk and meat and we're very thankful we left. The people that we left behind are still at the same place without evidence of much growth.
     

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