Never Can Say Goodbye

You can’t stop people leaving your church. You can try to minimise it by more effective care and discipleship, but you can’t stop it.

Jesus prophesied that not everyone would make it. Some seed would fall on shallow soil and some on ground with thorns. Some will hear the word gladly, but fail to hold onto it in troubled times. Others will receive it but allow doubt and distraction to sabotage it. There are others, though, who are the good soil. Revivals come from good soil. Often it represents the quiet achiever, the no fuss people, the low maintenance people.

While we look for the next whiz kid who can take everyone to the third heaven in worship there’s a group of faithfuls who go about their Christian business, simply hearing the word and doing it. No fireworks. No depressions. They enjoy your sermons not because it tickles the ear but because it works. They eat a balanced diet that gives them all they need to personally and corporately pursue the will of God.

Jesus prophesied that something extraordinary will come from them. He referred to a multiplication. Thirty times, maybe sixty times, maybe one hundred times growth. That’s revival. Sometimes we preach to the people who aren’t with us in heart and tend to ignore those who are (Catch up with ‘Bridley Jones Diary’ in the mag). We tend not to preach to the choir but preach to the absentees who aren’t ever around to hear such fantastic and pertinent preaching. Instead of encouraging and thanking those who turn up to the all important, crucial prayer meeting we direct our prayers of frustration to those who didn’t. It’s time to preach and minister to the sheep that are ours and the sheep that are present! The sheep that know our voice. The sheep that have decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and therefore have decided to follow the under shepherds like you and me.

As we strengthen the good hearted, we will one day multiply the good hearted. Within every congregation is the reachable church. It’s that church that God wants you to focus on. Bless everyone, but only disciple the disciples. How do you know who is a true disciple of Jesus? The answer is simple – teachability. If people aren’t teachable they’re not yours to teach. If they’re not growing in God, they’ve neglected the very heart of Christianity becoming like Jesus.

Stop sweating over the people who say goodbye and start rejoicing over the potential over those who stay. The future of the church is right under your nose.

0 thoughts on “0

  1. Motivational preaching will cause a transient emotional response in your congregation. It is The Word which convicts. I find no ‘Team’ in scripture. The closest reference to a ‘team’ is in Galations where ‘factions’ (or ‘teams’ as you would say) are described as works of the flesh. Neither is there a ‘bench’, only a calling to make disciples of all nations. Your preaching is unbiblical. That is why long standing members are leaving, seeking a church which takes the Bible more seriously and is less self obsessed.

  2. @Joe Fiennes, Great to see someone so passionate about the word of God.

    @Brian Coots, Brilliant – I love your convictions. Thanks for responding. I’m thinking of changing.

    I’ve got a feeling that you guys and a few others aren’t using your real name…. The truth will find you out. See ya!

  3. The bench is a truely brilliant parable of the proving ground that every leader must become familiar with as dud Moses Joshua Elijah and of course the apostle Paul- thank you for this encouragement

  4. You did fantastic on Sunday Pastor Dave. You shouldered the criticism from the bloggers well. Being a smart guy, I suspect you already realise that your greatest critic can become your biggest fan, if you are prepared to listen to others and make a few changes. If some of the comments in this blog seem harsh, I suspect it’s because people feel very frustrated when things don’t appear right, and don’t always express themselves in the best way. You seem completely inaccessible to most, and already this year, several partners have voted with their feet, taking their tithing and spiritual gifts with them, with others now actively looking for other churches in the city to join. A body cannot stand with a crumbling spine, and neither can a church be sustained only on young, enthusiastic members, who lack experience and finance. I have hope now that this will not be the shape of things to come, and am confident that better things are in store for your ministry.
    Best wishes,

  5. There must be biblical ways to keep people in Church? Hillsong continues to grow, KICC, and many other contemporary Bible based Churches. Do these leaders have teaching “that will help keep people in Church” ?

  6. I have researched the big growing churches and they do take responsibility for people leaving-they encourage them to stay. They do “sweat” over people leaving! They treat attendees: kind, respectfully, give them a great experience. Much love and prayers.

  7. Dear Pastor Dave,
    I salute your courage, your wisdom and above all your unwavering faith. I am coming to the Leadership Summit by God’s grace. I love the excellence and creativity in ministry, that depicts Hope City Church. I am vexed in my soul to read troubling comments here. If anyone has an advise or comment such persons should do so as a Christian-Col 4:6, Eph 4:29. Words of grace, seasoned with salt, words that build up etc.
    There is no perfect Church and people who seek for such will be wanderers until the time of our Lord’s appearing.
    May the Lord increase Hope City and grant the Leadership every grace,knowledge and wisdom to reach the growth level of Hillsong CHURCH, Kessington Temple and more in Jesus name.

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