Looking at the return address, I knew this was one letter I did not want to open. The family had become increasingly critical of our church in recent months. Their body language in worship reflected their disappointment. Sure enough, their list of biting criticisms stung. Some of their points were valid, others completely off base. The letter ended with a request that we remove their names from our membership roll.
I work at not being defensive while reading such letters. I pray, "God help me to learn from these persons and to hear what you need me to hear." At times I have called to talk with the individuals about their concerns.
I have sat down with them in person, hoping that a face-to-face visit might be of value. Sometimes I respond with letters, offering information I hope will help, thanking them for sharing their comments, inviting them to reconsider their decision to leave, wishing them God's blessings as they go, and letting them know that the door is always open if they wish ...1