Sometimes pastors leave churches unexpectedly. When that happens churches can go into decline, both in zeal and in attendance. Here's what you do. | #Christianity #Culture #Theology #Ecclesiology

Sometimes pastors leave churches unexpectedly. When that happens churches can go into decline, both in zeal and in attendance. Here’s what you do. 

How to handle big changes in your church

School has started, summer is fading, and fall is in the air.  It won’t be long before churches begin selecting Christmas music!

As we wait for the change of seasons from summer to fall, it occurs to me that my little country church is also beginning a new season. Sometimes new seasons bring with turmoil with them. 

New seasons in small churches bring big changes.   Click To Tweet

Help your church navigate the new season

My little country church of 90 members where I serve as the worship leader is tiny compared to some of the mega-churches out there.

(Carrie here: my church is about 5,000 members)

So when a change happens, it can be a big deal. And when big deals happen, people don’t always know how to handle them.

Our big deal that just happened a couple of weeks ago is that our pastor of 5 years left our church unexpectedly.

In a mega-church of 5,000, this kind of change may not affect that church as much as it would a tiny church where literally everybody knows everybody. And if we forget to maintain a proper perspective, this can cause big problems for churches.

Seasons are opportunitites

Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, in the due course of life. This time of change in a church does not have to mean turmoil, or the death of the church. It all depends on how we react to the circumstance. 

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 

Think of this season in your church as an opportunity. Remind each other what the purpose of the church is.

for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ 

Ephesians 4:12

So look for ways to lovingly minister to those in need.

  • Be faithful in attendance
  • Pray for one another
  • Reach out to the sick

Seasons change. Jesus does not.

Seasons indicate change and my beloved little church has embarked upon a new season. However, we must remain faithful, because the One whom we serve and worship remains steadfast.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 


Hebrews 13:8

If our focus is fixed on Christ, we will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. Nothing and no one can destroy us.


A new season is full of the unknown, but it is also an opportunity. It is our job as followers of Jesus (not a pastor) to embrace the new seasons. 

Recommended Reading:

The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives by Peter Scazzero and Warren Bird

The Emotionally Healthy Church  takes six principles for cultivating spiritual and emotional health in your church and also adds a seventh principle to show you as a church leader how to slow down to lead with integrity.

What Do You Think?

Have you encountered a change that rocked your church? How did your church handle it?