by Michael Bayne
It’s very hard to watch people walk away from the ministry, organization, or church you lead. People are going to walk away and for many reasons. What matters most when people leave is how we respond. When I think about people leaving the ministry I lead I always come back to when people walked away from Jesus and his ministry. People told Jesus that what he was teaching was too difficult to come to terms with and they walked away. I am sure it hurt Jesus the same way it hurts us…Jesus was fully human…Jesus had to hurt that people did not understand His message. Like people walked away from Jesus, people will walk away from our ministries. How we respond is what matters! When you see someone walk away from your ministry you have to…
- Listen > you need and want to know why someone walked away even if on the inside you really don’t want to know. It’s hard to hear someone reason out why they left your organization but it really can help you process what is going on in your ministry setting. When you listen it shows you care. It does not mean you have to change anything, you are just respecting people enough to hear their story.
- Encourage > when someone walks away do everything you can to encourage them to connect with another ministry. When we respond to people leaving with grace and love then we help them leave on a good note. We also leave the door open for ministry down the road. When people walks away be a promoter of the the Kingdom of God not just a protector of your organization.
- Refine > many times we can learn from people who walk away. Maybe some things do need to change. Maybe nothing needs to change but the way you communicate your strategy needs to adjust. When people walk away I am reminded that we have to get better at what we do. We have not arrived, we can always improve.
- Move Forward > you have to move forward with the team you have. Sometimes when people walk away we can be distracted from the mission. Why? Because it hurts. When people walk away we always are reminded of the amazing people who are with us. Deal with the issue but always remember to move forward and focus on what God wants to do next.
Michael Bayne is a follower of Christ, husband, dad, and pastor passionate about reaching the next generation for Christ. Michael serves as the executive pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee.