People come and go in our lives, but I notice that many of us don’t exit well.
The same goes for leaving companies and churches.
Aside from being a pastor, I also had the privilege of teaching in two fine schools – St. Stephen’s High School (www.sshs.edu.ph) for one year, 2013-14, and Messiah College Foundation (www.messiahcollege.ph) for ten years, starting in 2006.
I resigned from Messiah April of this year only, but since then, I had already been invited twice to speak at their events – their tenth Anniversary celebration and a more recent Missions Week.
Since I resigned from St. Stephen’s in 2014, I had already spoken more than five times for their various events and activities, the most recent being a solid seven-hour Teacher’s Retreat for all their English Department faculty and staff, numbering around 200.
I hope the reason why they invited me back is because they find me a good or decent public speaker and communicator. But more than that, what really honors me is I believe when I left their respective institutions, I did so on good terms.
I resigned both times for various reasons, but NONE of them was because I hated someone in the school, nor due to some disciplinary action or shameful behavior on my part. If it was, never in a thousand years will I be invited back to grace these schools.
Parting need not be a painful thing, and if there be any involved, make sure it is a “good kind of pain”, that people miss you because you brought such immeasurable joy to them while you were still around.
As a pastor, I do not forbid our members to leave or transfer to another church. All I ask is that they leave with grace and honor, in the same way we welcomed them. If they are no longer being fed or blessed by me or by our church, the last thing I want is to stunt their growth. Just leave respectfully. If they can’t tell me, then at least let your immediate cell leader know.
We can be friends without being churchmates, officemates or schoolmates. In the same way, those of us who are “left behind”, may we not become narrow-minded, making others feel guilty for leaving us.
For those who are leaving – leave no mess behind!
For those who are being left, don’t throw garbage at those who do!
Let us instead be thankful that our paths crossed, be it for a short time or longer, and hope that we became a blessing during our time together.