I haven't seen Bob lately. Do you know what has happened, Pastor?
"No, I'm not sure. He hasn't said anything to me.
With those words, I tried to guard the truth I had long suspected but not confirmed: Bob and his family had decided to leave the church. There were no good-byes, no words given to anyone. They just stopped coming. It was as though their years of fellowship in the church never happened
Through the years, a few people have been up front concerning their decision to leave. Some foreshadowed their departure by hinting about an area of dissatisfaction. But most left without notice. When I have had the opportunity to ask them, "Why didn't you say something?" their number one reason was, "We didn't want to cause a problem, so we left quietly.
In a congregation of eighty, the disappearance of a family of four is anything but quiet
Whatever the reasons for their leaving, the pattern is disturbing: the vast majority who leave don't try to resolve the problem. By the time I get wind ...1