I John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Nothing hurts as a pastor more than when you lose people from the church. You want to be a good pastor. You want to meet needs. You love the people God has put in your care.
Then they up and move to another church. It hurts. You feel embarrassed. You feel like a failure.
This verse is a verse that is often ripped out of context and used against those that leave our church. This verse speaks of someone who is leaving Jesus not the pastor. This verse speaks of someone that is turning their back on Jesus, the truth, the church, and going out to live a life without God or even against God.
The people that leave Vision do so for many reasons. Some because they feel that their ministry is over. Others because they get their feelings hurt. Others because they want a different style of music or worship.
Whatever their reason for leaving, if they are not leaving Jesus this verse is not about them. They should be loved, missed, prayed for, and thought of kindly. They should always be welcomed back.
Too many pastors try to manipulate people into staying in their church. They make it a black mark on their name if they leave. I believe this is a sign of our immaturity and lack of Spiritual growth.
We must allow our brothers the freedom to worship where they want.
Now do not think that I want to see people leaving. They often say to me, pastor, don’t take it personally but I do.
I hope you will commit to Vision and love Vision until Jesus comes or takes you home. It is your church. The church is only as strong as people who will stay and do the work, week in and week out. Our strength will come from your taking ownership of Vision. I hope you will.
But if you decide to leave you do not have to sneak out. You do not have to fear telling me you are leaving. You do not have to worry about if I am going to be mad or not.
You are my brother and sister in Christ. I love you. I will spend eternity with you and I will not allow something this small to give me a bad attitude about you or the church you go to next!