Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And Now, For The Letting Go Part

Letting go of a student is a hard thing. Letting go is a partnership. Plenting of kids leave our groups or quit coming under bad or awkward circumstances. Letting go is more of a mutual agreement. I have felt disheartened when a student, especially a talented one leaves for various reasons. Sometimes it a church change, sometimes just busyness leads them away.

If you have the opportunity to let go it's a good thing. I recently had a student tell me that they felt led to another church/youth group. They had recently moved farther away from the church but I was still crushed. We had history, trips, camps, etc. After we spoke (to make sure there were no personal issues) my wife and I prayed with them and then allowed them to share the reasons why they were leaving. I did this for several reasons:

1. It's the right way to do things.

I can't count the number of times I've seen students or families just drop out of church without any reason later to find out they are going somewhere else. Or worse, they leave and you never notice they are gone. Partnering with the student whose leaving makes sure that things are done the right way.

2. It squelches rumors.

It doesn't matter what really happens truth becomes what is spread around. If you and the student partner to make a good exit it will set the record straight.

3. It give a chance to celebrate and mourn.

Closure is big with me. Maybe it's because so many Houdini pastors made me disappear with out warning. This is especially important if the student has been in the church along time. The Bible says we should rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. The church is all about relationships. It's our job to keep them as healthy as possible and closure facilitates that. Students get to say goodbye and we get to say thank you to those students for their years of service.

Jesus had to let go. He even gave Judas the out, "Go and do what you must do quickly". Jesus let him go. No argument, no complaining, no "please come, back we need you". Later on Judas' spot had been filled by Justus. We must be willing to let them go and let God take them to where they believe they are suppose to go. We cannot stand in their way to protect the youth group or the program, that would be selfish. Thank God for the blessing of letting go. You can sow a seed or you can squash the growth you had tried to hard to cultivate. The choice is yours.

Let the sparks fly!


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