What would Jesus have said?
Should we ever suggest that people leave our church or our Christian organizations? Donald Miller has an intriguing post on his blog about one pastor that suggested some people might be better off at another church if they didn’t want to get plugged in via service or home churches. Lively discussion in the comment section.
Here was my comment:
I don’t remember Jesus ever asking anyone to leave because of a lack of space or because they lacked committment. People did, however, stop following Jesus after he spoke about commitment and what it meant to be his follower (Jn 6:66). He asked the twelve in v67, “Do you want to go away as well?” His words were hard and yet they were loving–I think of how Jesus loved the rich young ruler (in Mark 10:21 but not said in Mtt or Lk) and yet still spoke the hard truth–truth which made the young man sad because he was not willing to obey and he went away.
Challenging people to live the life of a disciple will make them uncomfortable if they are not. Yet we continue to love them. If they leave because they don’t like to be challenged, hopefully we are sad because we love them but we let them go. Trying to keep people in our church because we think we need their money or talents when they are unhappy and out of synch with the direction we are moving will only lead all to much pain down the road