One of the problems that I commonly hear from church planters is that the core of people with whom they launch the church don’t last.
What does that mean? They are a part of the church for two, perhaps three, years (or even on occasion, only one year), and then they leave the church.
The scenario goes like this:
They invite you over to their house for a meal, or he meets with you for coffee, because they want to talk about something important. That’s when they let you know that they’re leaving the church. They feel they owe it to you. You naturally inquire why, and the answer is usually, “It’s not what we thought it was going to be!”
No doubt about it — this hurts. It’s a very painful thing to see people, good people, leave the church. And many, if not all of us, have experienced this.
The question I would like to address is: What can we do about it up front?
I don’t think we can eliminate this from happening, but I do believe that we can cut down on the losses.
I believe the answer lies in casting a clear vision from the beginning of where you see the church going. You can’t repeat the vision enough. And about the time you think everyone is tiring of hearing it, they’re just starting to get, or better, see it.
However, I must warn you from the experience of a number of us that some simply won’t get it. Every time you address the vision, they hear something else, most often what they want to hear rather than what you want them to hear.
Regardless, you can never cast the vision often enough. However, it’s most important that you “pepper” them with questions. Ask your core people questions about the vision to see if they’re really getting it. Ask what they hear you saying. Ask them where they want to see the church go in the future.
These kinds of questions asked up front will enable you to clarify what God is putting on your heart in a way that more people will “get it.”