Kind of a strange to even say it, isn’t it?
Why on earth would pastors and church leaders have a hard time attending church of all things?
After all, wouldn’t leaders who have led a churches be the most anxious to attend them?
Strangely, not always. You can talk to thousands of people who used to volunteer or lead at a church who will tell you they no longer attend. Or maybe they attend, but it’s just ‘not the same’.
That’s a great question.
I want to offer up some reasons I think pastors and church leaders struggle to attend a local church once they’ve led in ministry.
In many ways, this is a follow up post to my last post, 10 Thoughts on Exiting the Local Church—My Response to Donald Miller.
The common issue? Current and former church leaders who struggle with attending a local church.
Many of Us Have Been There
If you attend church but aren’t involved, or if you’re serving right now and love it (which if you are, I’m glad!), you might not even understand why a post like this would be written.
But if you’ve ever served at a local church as a dedicated volunteer or a paid staff member, you likely have an idea of what I’m talking about.
Not attending church after you’ve led in a church is actually quite a widespread phenomenon. Just browse the comments on this blog and it won’t take you more than 5 minutes to hear from someone who used to lead in a church and now isn’t engaged at all anymore.
How does this trend of non-attending former leaders show up?
Pastors who used to lead a church who now just sleep in on Sundays and have given up on all forms of the local church.
People who only attend when they’re ‘on’ the music team, the greeting team, serving in student ministry, or speaking.
People who stop attending the moment they stop serving.
Every time I hear of it, my heart breaks a little more.
Please understand, I know the local church is not perfect. But I honestly do believe the promise of the local church is greater than the problems of the local church. And I realize the Church (as Christ sees it) is bigger than any local church. But to pretend the local church in all its forms around the world isn’t a part of the Church is, well, just not accurate.
And a little disclosure here. Everything I’m writing about in this post, I have felt. Sometimes just a twinge, but I’ve gone there in my mind.
For the record, I intend to be part of the local church as long as I live, whether I’m paid to lead or not. But when I’m on vacation or out of town, I often slip into a local church for a service (or sometimes even the one I lead) and it’s…different. I wonder:
Could I attend here?
Why do I feel so different?
What’s going on?
Once you’ve been involved, it’s just different.
So I’m just wondering if maybe some of the things that go on inside of me might the same as what’s going on inside you or someone you know and care about.
If not, just give thanks. (Seriously.)
9 Reasons It’s Hard to Attend a Church Once You’ve Been Involved in Leading One
If you’ve struggled with this feeling before, ask yourself whether any of these 9 reasons might be part of your struggle: