All of us have encountered discouragement at some point, especially when we were starting our first churches. Accompanied with the responsibility is fear of failure and anxiety to get everything just right. As church leaders and communicators, we are to be empowered by the Lord to face any trial or adversity that will come our way. But sometimes, it’s just hard.
Jordan Lacy, a member of our Facebook group, has been feeling this way as a communications director of a newly established church. If you relate to this on some level, this post could help you too. Here are some words of encouragement and advice from our members.
“If I may… I need some advice, and ask that I don’t be attacked for my feelings. We’re a church that opened a little over a year ago, we came from another church where essentially the old one died and the new one began. We’re close to many churches, but one in particular is about .5 miles down the road. We’ve had countless people leave our church to worship there. I am 100% supportive of people worshipping where they’re comfortable. As the communications director I feel a heavy burden that I’m missing the mark for those who leave. I have really been struggling to remain positive as it’s SO close and SO many of our former congregants go there that one of them joked to me that it “felt like a Connect Church (my church) reunion” the first time they went. Anyone else had similar experiences, or advice on how to remain positive despite the discouraging feeling? Am I wrong to feel this way?”
“As someone who is also one year into a restart, I ask myself, “Are we becoming the church we are called to be? Are we clearly communicating who we are called to be? If so, then maybe people are leaving because our calling is no longer a match for theirs. If that is the case, it is good that we part ways so that we can each be free to pursue that which God is calling us to become. “It is still painful. I shed many tears. But these reflections help me.” Chris Childs
“It can certainly feel demoralizing at times but we have to keep our eyes (and talents) fixed on Christ. We can only work at His behest for His glory… Also, we have to keep our focus on the new and unsaved and not look back towards those who have been sifted. Something our pastor always says is you can’t see who’s next if you’re looking at who’s gone.” Kelly Botelho
“It may be a natural part of the grieving and rebirth process. Some went along because that is what they knew. Once you arrived, they may not have been fully on board so they sought out a place that was a better fit. Keep doing what you are doing, focus on what is working and build a community. It may or may not work, obviously the old church died. Work and see where the spirit leads.” Brian Armen
“Don’t let the people who are leaving steal your focus. Who is STAYING? A wise pastoral mentor of mine warned me: beware of people who quit their church to come to yours. Eventually they’ll quit yours too. If you could get them back, you shouldn’t want them back. The people you have are your base. Nurture them.” Richard Hong
“Hey Jordan! I feel for you. I have been where you are and it was a growing experience for me. Don’t feel discouraged! The Lord has you where He wants you. Maybe this is just a good opportunity for you to remember how dependent you are in Him. It is good to know that you care. Remember who you work for! God bless you and your ministry!” Patrick Lima
“It is not on your shoulders alone, Jordan. Every church has their own culture that appeals to a variety of people. Because we are made individually in God’s image, we join together through that culture and commonality in Christ; and that individuality affects that commonality. Your pastor has a healthy view, focusing on connecting with who is new. It is important to review as a leadership team the culture and deciding it is good for making disciples or what would make it better. You cannot dwell in that arena of the past.” Stacia Keller
Take a break once in a while from thinking about these things. Try to minimize any anxiety that you are feeling. Reevaluate what your focus is in terms of building your church. Pray. Ask for God’s guidance and know that He has better plans for you. God will help you battle the discouragements that you are experiencing when you rest in Him.