Woes of a Small Group Leader

Our Bible study small group recently lost 2 girls.
Girl A left because she started going to a different church in King of Prussia, which is much closer to her house and she gets much more from the sermons on Sunday. She wanted to get involved in that church, which is great! Understandable for her move, I encouraged her to look up their SGs and ministries in that church.
Still, it made me sad and angry. It frustrates me, because I think, if only our pastor can do a better job in preaching, then we’d stop losing people…

Then, there’s Girl B, who is much younger in her spiritual walk than she had let on, and than I had caught on… until much later.
She’d been missing the last 2 months of our weekly small groups due to school work and stress with her social life.
But then came last Friday, when she finally showed up after a long hiatus. She had a mini breakdown, over an irrelevant topic of discussion.
She opens up and tells me she wants to go to a church where all she needs is to go to the Sunday sermons and be fed. She doesn’t want to have to go to fellowship large groups and Bible studies at small groups to get additionally fed… (yes, I know that is a very young mindset… and not the correct attitude, but anyhow…)
She emails me on Monday and says that she no longer wants to come to CCCnC or small group. She says she was mortified how she let down her guard and had let people see her cry.
I understand she feels vulnerable and transparent after letting out many of her emotions and hardships, mostly from school and social stuff at school.
But now she is closing herself off, and isolating herself….

Not really sure what else I can do right now, I say I respect her decision, I encourage her to continue seeking God and finding a church. I also tell her that our doors are always open for her, and we’ll miss her a lot. And whenever she’s ready, we’ll be here for her.
But still, in my heart, I feel dejected, I feel disappointed.
I start questioning myself. Am I a bad leader?
What am I unable to do? incapable of upholding?
I wish I were stronger. better. A leader that could help them transform, and have them stay and want to work on their spiritual walk. I understand that that is a decision they have to make. I can help them initially, curb their interest, show them testimonies, encourage their curiosity and desire~ but in the end, they have to make their own choice, daily, to continue to dig in deeper in God’s word or to leave, and go back into their old comfy but numb way of life.

I know I know… it’s not my fault. I know it’s out of my control. I’ve heard it all before.
But I can’t help but still feel responsible.
I feel helpless, as I watch them leave. Watching them turn away, looking at their backs as they walk away.
I want to cry. I want to chase after them.
But I can’t.

Is this how God feels when we leave?
Is this how leaders in ministries are destined to feel at times?
It’s such a stark contrast to the exuberant and intense joy and excitement you feel when you see your students/small group members step up, take leadership, get baptized, grow, serve, etc…

I know that God is in control. But it still hurts.

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One thought on “Woes of a Small Group Leader

  1. You never know how peopel will perceive you and get from you things that they appreciate later. All you can do is all that you can do with what you have. You are making a positive difference even if you don’t always see it.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

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