AJ and Angela De LaCruz bought a new home over an hour away from Community Church of the Hills. Instead of fading away and never returning again, with members left to wondering what happened to them, they did the right and proper thing, something that the vast majority of church-goers do not do. They allowed the pastor to send them off with a blessing, even standing in front of the congregation to be prayed over before beginning their new venture.
Yes, it was a miracle.
The sad reality is, most people just leave. They may have good reasons or bad, but pastors do want to know when you go away, and would like to know why as well, even if it's something we've done wrong...especially if it's something we've done wrong!
When I was an Associate Pastor at my large church in California, people would just disappear as if they had spontaneously combusted. When our Senior Pastor would come back from his two month sabbatical every summer, he'd begin our staff meetings with this question: "Well, who left while I was gone?" Each pastor would then recite the list of people who bid farewell with out bidding us "Farewell."
He would sometimes say, with great sadness, "And to think, I've been their pastor for over twenty years."
Brothers and sisters, please, if you are going to leave your church, let your pastor know. We are accountable to God as shepherds of your souls. It breaks our hearts when you leave without telling us. If you can't inform us personally, send a letter or an email. Heck, I'd even settle for a text like one man sent me without explanation. When I asked what I did, he replied, "You know what you did." (I really didn't.)
Believe it or not, AJ and Angela were the first people in the five years I've been at Community Church of the Hills who I was able to send off publicly with prayer and a blessing. They will always remain friends, too. I'm looking forward to having dinner with them tonight and praying over their new home.
Oh, and I already introduced them to a pastor friend of mine who's church is, get this, only 5 minutes away!