Sad Good-byes

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If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

Welcome to another Terrific Tuesday, where we take a look at God’s word, His kingdom or His people to see what we can learn about ourselves, Him and/or our relationships with Him.

The church, which we evangelical Christians also refer to as the body of Christ, is made up of people. Human beings. No surprise there.

As born-again believers, we have been forgiven, and we’re in the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus, but we all still have that sin nature we were born with. Nothing is going to change that in this life. Hopefully we’re better than we were at the time of our salvation—hopefully we’ve grown since then—but we still have that sin nature.

Personally, I’ve never been involved with a church yet that didn’t have some level of division within its ranks. These people think the pastor should wear a formal robe, while those people over there think he should wear jean and a t-shirt. These people think the only music worthy of being sung is the old hymns found in hymnbooks and that we should all stand rock-still while we sing. Those people over there think we should toss out the hymnals and sing only the latest in praise music.

Our church has a young pastor. While he consistently expresses respect for us senior citizens, he naturally draws a younger crowd when it comes to new members. He dresses very informally, even in the pulpit, and we sing the latest praise songs with the words displayed on large screens. No hymnals.

This has been a point of contention among my classmates, who are basically in their seventies and eighties. They don’t like the music, and they don’t like the way he dresses. Personally, I like the less formal atmosphere, but most of my peers don’t.

Because of the feelings about the informality at our church, we’ve lost a number of people from my Sunday School class in the 15 years or so I’ve been there. Of course, they have the right to move to another church if they think they’d fit in better there, but it hurts to see them go.

More recently, we’ve had a change in the lead teacher our class. Everyone in the class, myself included, loved the teacher who’s no longer there, and some have had trouble adjusting to the teaching style of the new one. I hated to see our old one go, but after inviting several guest teachers over a period of time, as class leader I asked the new teacher if he would consider taking over.

His teaching style differs greatly from that of our old teacher, but that doesn’t make me like either one more or less than the other. Unfortunately, some of my class members don’t feel the same. One of our long-time members whom everyone in the class likes told me Sunday he and his wife would not be coming back to our class.

It saddens me every time we lose a member. Unlike younger classes, we don’t attract a lot of new members, and our class size has dwindled through the years. I hate seeing this happen to our class. Each member we lose is like a part of me is gone, and seeing fewer and fewer people sitting there on Sunday morning hurts. These are people my wife and I have come to love, and each loss leaves a bit of a vacuum.

Organizations are dynamic, whether they are churches or Rotary clubs or any other kind of group. They’re either growing or diminishing. I understand that, and I can accept it rationally, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less when it involves losing fellowship with old friends.

Do you have a New Testament passage or concept you’d like to see discussed here? Maybe something you’ve never quite understood. I’d love to hear from you about that, too. I’ll try my best to explain it.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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4 Responses to Sad Good-byes

  1. People don’t adapt well to change unfortunately and it’s sad to see some go. On a personal note, I like being a little informal, but I do love my hymnals and old hymns. I don’t mind the other songs with the words on the screen, but would prefer they be in addition to… 🙂

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    • I also like both, Rhonda. We handle that by singing from hymnals in Sunday School class and with the screens in the church service, yet we’ve lost several classmates over the music. Go figure.

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  2. David, this happens in synagogues, too. Every time there is a change of leadership, there is a change in the membership. Like you, I don’t love it. Why can’t people just hold of ether during times of change? It always baffles me. Sorry you are missing people about whom you care. Maybe you can meet up after church and compare/contrast sermons! 🙂

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