In the last blog article, I talked about how the responsibility of the church is not to make you happy, but to make you mature disciples of Jesus Christ. In many cases, that may mean the same thing. I also said that God doesn’t want you to be miserable here at Northstar Church. God wants you happy at Northstar. Since God placed you here, I honestly believe that God wants you happy here, not at a new church.
I want to give you some additional ideas and thoughts on the subject of leaving the church. Basic math will tell you that the church will not grow if it people are leaving at about the same rate as people are joining the church.
Let’s be honest, while there are some good reasons for leaving a church, there are also bad ones. As a pastor, I hear some of them every now and then, as people walk out the door. As a growing church, we hear them as people walk in the door.
As I talk about some of those reasons, decide for yourself if they are legitimate reasons to leave the church.
It may be framed in different ways, but the most prevalent reason is because of unresolved conflict. A church of Northstar’s size is going to have some conflict. Wherever you find the community of people working on their walk with God, you will find conflict. The Church is one big family, and like any family, sometimes sisters argue. Sometimes brothers fight. And what about that weird uncle? But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. The same thing applies to the church. Rather than consider looking for a new church it would be wise to work together to find ways to reconcile our differences in loving ways. Unresolved conflict will disappear if we practice humility and become the peacemakers that Jesus wants us to be.
Another reason is people simply want less drama in their lives. I understand that. My life has enough drama in it without adding to it. So often, people seek out church because they need a reprieve, a refuge from the emotional drama of their lives. However, sometimes church relationships find a way to add to your drama. Our jobs, family dynamics and friendships provide us with enough opportunity to be gossiped about, ridiculed, we don’t need to add to that. Northstar needs to be a safe place where one can escape the typical relational drama we all face and instead experience loving support and acceptance. There is no guarantee that there will be any less drama in the new church. There could be more.
Another reason is Northstar is “getting too big.” No one is more surprised than I that God has chosen to bring people to Northstar. And I can appreciate the sense of loss that accompanies growth. When we first began, our church was a small band of people meeting together in a funeral home. It feels very different now that we are a church of 2,500 people spread across multiple campuses and multiple services. There are moments when I miss the intimacy and simplicity of those early days. But remaining small is a nostalgic and unbiblical goal. When churches are faithful to the Great Commission, lives will be changed and people will be added to their number. Our growth happened pretty rapidly, which means that God is alive and active. Size also means we have more resources to build his kingdom. If you have a problem with big churches, you really wouldn’t have liked the “Acts” church, and you definitely won’t like Heaven.
Continued in Part 2