One of the most discouraging aspects of planting churches is the fact that most people who start with you leave early on.
Why does this happen?
- Unmet expectations.
- Physical fatigue sometimes enters in.
- Some just aren’t called to be with you long term. God might be using you to develop them for the next church they go to.
- Often there are people with crazy motives that just can’t stand to stay if this isn’t their church.
So what do you do?
Brace yourself with the facts. Many churches will see an annual turnover rate of 25%. That isn’t uncommon so don’t be surprised if it comes your way. Try to walk securely by developing mentors and leaders around you as well as outside the church to help you maintain perspective. Most of all, maintain perspective by focusing on the fact that God has many people who will be joining you who aren’t there yet.
I have often asked myself if it’s just me or does everyone else lose good friends in the process of planting a church. And when you are planting do you get closer than usual to your people. This is painful stuff. I have been leading for more than thirty-five years and have been in on planting at some level 150 churches or so and it still catches me off guard when major supporters bail.
Then again you hit upon a miracle every once in a while. I had a dozen of the original fourteen people in the church after eighteen years. So it is possible to be surprised. The amazing part of this is probably due to the fact that I didn’t really “need” any of these people to stay.