Iâ€™ve seen this before.
Several times actually.
Even been told to â€˜expect itâ€™ as a pastor of a thriving, growing church
Iâ€™m still not used to it though.
Recently I heard about a family that I really love moving back out into the church shopping arena.
Southbrook wasnâ€™t meeting their needs.
They donâ€™t know that I know, but I know more than they think. And it breaks my heart.
Not because I donâ€™t think there are other good churches out there.
But because they used the line that is the kiss of death for any hope that they will ever find a fit.
Whatâ€™s the line?
â€œOur needs are not being met.â€
But how could they?
For example, I know they would not join a small group.
They would not serve and attend a service.
Itâ€™s one or the other, they would say.
They Siskel and Eberted nearly everything to deathâ€”putting forth problem after problem, criticism after criticism, but offering no solutions.
They started to wish the music would be more of what they like.
They made it known that â€˜other peopleâ€™ constantly let them down whenever they tried to serve.
They wanted the sermons to be less evangelistic.
As I started hearing these phrases I prepared for the inevitable, so Iâ€™m not really surprised. When the focus begins to turn inward you have very little time.
In that small window of opportunity all you can do is keep casting the vision and hope that they will see the outward focus with fresh eyes.
A lot of times they do and you can see in their eyes and hear in their voices the renewed excitement of a fully devoted follower of Christ reactivated and moving full steam ahead.
But sometimes they donâ€™t and my heart just sinks.
Mostly because I know that the journey inward is frustrating and lonely. It never delivers the satisfaction we long for.
I wish them the best.
But unless something changes, the best isnâ€™t likely to happen.