Leadership

People Leaving Your Church? Here's How to Respond

While it’s never easy when a member decides to leave your church, knowing how to respond can help make the process a little smoother. Here are some things you can do when someone leaves.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

People leaving the church is a reality that all churches have to deal with at some point or another. 

Whether it is due to poor leadership, internal conflict, prevailing insensitivity, or just losing interest in attending, it's something every pastor deals with.

While it’s never easy when a member decides to leave your church, knowing how to respond can help make the process a little smoother.

So what are some things you can do when someone leaves?

1. Take time to listen 

The best way to start figuring out what went wrong for a member who has decided to leave is by listening attentively and non-judgmentally. It's easy for us as humans to jump in with our own ideas about what happened; but if we can resist this impulse and simply listen without judgment, we'll be able to identify possible causes, and work to correct them. 

2. Don't be defensive

Defensiveness is one of the most common responses to criticism and feedback. When someone criticizes you or your church, don't get angry or offended. Don't make excuses for yourself or others in your church community. Don't point fingers at who "did" this to you or why they're the ones responsible for leaving.  Instead of focusing on why this person left, try concentrating on what you can do next as a team (or individually) to make sure everyone feels heard and supported by the church community.

3. Correct them when necessary

It's also important to correct the member if they've gotten something wrong about their decision or about the church. This isn't about attacking them or making them feel bad about themselves—it's about helping them see what they've misunderstood and getting them to understand it correctly.

4. Apologize if needed

If something within the church has caused someone to leave or made them consider leaving, apologize immediately. You won’t be able to make everyone happy all the time, but you can always work to be fair, and you can always show that you are working towards being a better church. Apologizing for something you did in the past might be enough to bring someone back into your church community in the future.        

5. Offer support

If someone tells you that they're leaving, try to be as supportive as possible. Even if they're leaving because of something you did wrong, never take it personally. Instead, focus on being there for them during this difficult time and helping them find what they need to move forward with their lives (whether it's another church or just some space and time).

6. Show them love and kindness

When someone leaves your church, it can be hard to keep your emotions in check. You may feel hurt or angry about their decision, but it's important not to let those feelings show—especially if you're the leader of the congregation.

It's normal for people to want to vent about what happened, so don't be afraid to encourage them to do so. If possible, meet with them one-on-one or in small groups so they feel comfortable sharing their feelings with others who understand where they're coming from. They'll also be able to get any questions answered that may have led them down this path in the first place.

7. Acknowledge their decision and respect it as valid

Sometimes members leave because they feel like something isn't right within the church—whether that's true or not—so be sure not to make any assumptions about why someone has decided to leave without hearing them out first. 

This will allow you to understand their perspective better and respond with empathy, which can be an important step in healing rifts and restoring relationships. 

8. Thank them for their past contributions

Thank them for their service to the body, whether they've been in your church for two years or twenty years. Even if they aren't coming back anymore, they were once a part of your church community, and their contribution shouldn't be forgotten or ignored.

9. Ask for feedback

You may not be able to stop members from leaving, but you can learn from them why they left so that you can improve your ministry going forward! It's good practice to ask for feedback so you can learn from those mistakes and prevent them from happening again in the future.

10. Pray for them

This is probably the most important thing you can do when someone leaves your congregation. There is no doubt that losing a member of your church can be difficult, but it's important to remember that God has a plan for each one of us. 

Whether someone leaves because they are unhappy or because they feel that God has called them elsewhere, pray for them that they will find healing and peace and continue to grow in their faith.

Over to you

When church members leave, it can be a difficult time for everyone involved. However, by responding with love and grace, you can minimize the damage and keep the door open for them to return in the future.

Hopefully, the suggestions above will help you deal with people who are leaving your church in a God-honoring and loving way. 

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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People Leaving Your Church? Here's How to Respond

People Leaving Your Church? Here's How to Respond

While it’s never easy when a member decides to leave your church, knowing how to respond can help make the process a little smoother. Here are some things you can do when someone leaves.

Show notes

People leaving the church is a reality that all churches have to deal with at some point or another. 

Whether it is due to poor leadership, internal conflict, prevailing insensitivity, or just losing interest in attending, it's something every pastor deals with.

While it’s never easy when a member decides to leave your church, knowing how to respond can help make the process a little smoother.

So what are some things you can do when someone leaves?

1. Take time to listen 

The best way to start figuring out what went wrong for a member who has decided to leave is by listening attentively and non-judgmentally. It's easy for us as humans to jump in with our own ideas about what happened; but if we can resist this impulse and simply listen without judgment, we'll be able to identify possible causes, and work to correct them. 

2. Don't be defensive

Defensiveness is one of the most common responses to criticism and feedback. When someone criticizes you or your church, don't get angry or offended. Don't make excuses for yourself or others in your church community. Don't point fingers at who "did" this to you or why they're the ones responsible for leaving.  Instead of focusing on why this person left, try concentrating on what you can do next as a team (or individually) to make sure everyone feels heard and supported by the church community.

3. Correct them when necessary

It's also important to correct the member if they've gotten something wrong about their decision or about the church. This isn't about attacking them or making them feel bad about themselves—it's about helping them see what they've misunderstood and getting them to understand it correctly.

4. Apologize if needed

If something within the church has caused someone to leave or made them consider leaving, apologize immediately. You won’t be able to make everyone happy all the time, but you can always work to be fair, and you can always show that you are working towards being a better church. Apologizing for something you did in the past might be enough to bring someone back into your church community in the future.        

5. Offer support

If someone tells you that they're leaving, try to be as supportive as possible. Even if they're leaving because of something you did wrong, never take it personally. Instead, focus on being there for them during this difficult time and helping them find what they need to move forward with their lives (whether it's another church or just some space and time).

6. Show them love and kindness

When someone leaves your church, it can be hard to keep your emotions in check. You may feel hurt or angry about their decision, but it's important not to let those feelings show—especially if you're the leader of the congregation.

It's normal for people to want to vent about what happened, so don't be afraid to encourage them to do so. If possible, meet with them one-on-one or in small groups so they feel comfortable sharing their feelings with others who understand where they're coming from. They'll also be able to get any questions answered that may have led them down this path in the first place.

7. Acknowledge their decision and respect it as valid

Sometimes members leave because they feel like something isn't right within the church—whether that's true or not—so be sure not to make any assumptions about why someone has decided to leave without hearing them out first. 

This will allow you to understand their perspective better and respond with empathy, which can be an important step in healing rifts and restoring relationships. 

8. Thank them for their past contributions

Thank them for their service to the body, whether they've been in your church for two years or twenty years. Even if they aren't coming back anymore, they were once a part of your church community, and their contribution shouldn't be forgotten or ignored.

9. Ask for feedback

You may not be able to stop members from leaving, but you can learn from them why they left so that you can improve your ministry going forward! It's good practice to ask for feedback so you can learn from those mistakes and prevent them from happening again in the future.

10. Pray for them

This is probably the most important thing you can do when someone leaves your congregation. There is no doubt that losing a member of your church can be difficult, but it's important to remember that God has a plan for each one of us. 

Whether someone leaves because they are unhappy or because they feel that God has called them elsewhere, pray for them that they will find healing and peace and continue to grow in their faith.

Over to you

When church members leave, it can be a difficult time for everyone involved. However, by responding with love and grace, you can minimize the damage and keep the door open for them to return in the future.

Hopefully, the suggestions above will help you deal with people who are leaving your church in a God-honoring and loving way. 

video transcript

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