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The Fading Footsteps (aka Ghosting a Church)

In today's world of instant connections and effortless disconnects, a new challenge has arisen for faith communities: the phenomenon of "ghosting" a church. This silent disappearance, where members simply fade away without a word, leaves both the individual and the church community worse off. As Brené Brown reminds us, "clear is kind, unclear is unkind." While leaving a church can be a valid choice, the act of ghosting offers a disservice to all involved, lacking the clarity and kindness necessary for a healthy departure.

Firstly, ghosting deprives the individual of a chance for closure. Leaving a church can be a complex decision, often driven by unaddressed concerns or a feeling of disconnect. An open conversation with a pastor or fellow member can provide valuable insight and potentially address challenges that might lead to a complete departure. Ghosting leaves these issues unresolved, hindering personal growth and potentially leading to a sense of resentment or unresolved negativity towards faith itself.

Secondly, ghosting disrupts the delicate fabric of a church community. Church communities rely on the active participation of its members to thrive. Each member contributes unique talents, perspectives, and energy that enrich the life of the congregation. When members simply vanish, it creates a gap in the community, impacting everything from volunteer staffing to the emotional support system.

Furthermore, ghosting can create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty within the church. Without clear communication, the remaining members are left to wonder why someone left and if their own involvement has fallen short. This can lead to speculation, gossip, and a sense of insecurity within the congregation.

Finally, ghosting deprives the church of the opportunity to learn and grow from shared commitment Even further, when members leave without explanation, the church lacks valuable feedback on what might be driving people away. This can hinder efforts to improve the worship experience, outreach programs, or the overall sense of community.

Leaving a church is a personal decision, and there are valid reasons why someone might choose to do so. However, ghosting serves no one. By openly communicating with the church leadership, individuals can find closure and potentially contribute to positive change. The church, in turn, receives valuable feedback and avoids the disruption and uncertainty caused by silent departures. Ultimately, a transparent approach, guided by the principle of "clear is kind," allows both parties to move forward in a healthy and respectful manner.

See tomorrows article on church life: Leaving a Church: Exploring Your Options

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