If we minister to people in our congregation for any significant amount of time and don’t succeed in raising them up as disciples who desire to do the Lord’s work and God’s will, we have failed.
The painful part of making disciples, of course, is that a few of them will move on to other fields of labor. That means PCC loses them to another church where an opportunity for ministry presents itself. It’s a bitter-sweet experience for us. On one hand we hate to lose them. On the other, they go to a new place where they have kingdom impact, which is a joy for us. Our loss is another church’s gain, and in the end God’s will is advanced.
These kinds of departures are good. Real good. They happen in manner they are supposed to happen – on good terms with blessings, tears, and excitement at what the future holds.
This is normal and natural. It’s like the child who grows up into young adulthood and leaves home for college to begin a new life. The parents experience joy at seeing all their years of training into their child paying off, but are saddened by their child’s departure.
So the cycle of life continues. And so does the ministry at PCC. In fact, you can read about mine and Renae’s similar journey on her blog (here). It’s an excellent article.
The other side of the coin is longevity. These are the people who are in the for long haul. Many stay for a lifetime. We thank God for such people at PCC who feel led to remain planted here, to deploy their gifts here, to flourish here, and to invest themselves and resources in a ministry that has proven itself fruitful over that last fourteen years. And they are willing to continue doing so for decades to come.
Why would you do such a thing? Because you know this is where God wants you to be, just as I know this is the place He wants me to be.
I have written about the benefits and blessings of longevity before. It’s worth re-reading.
Pastoral Longevity and Church Health (here)
The Benefits of Not Changing Churches (here)
Bloom Where You Are Planted (here)