A Unique Perspective on “Sheep Stealing”
Date
June 19, 2024
Author
Jeff Miller, Pastor

“It bothers me that they left our group and went to that other group.”

This small group leader was lamenting losing a couple from his small group who had decided to attend a different group in our church. This other group was closer to their house and had people in it who had befriended them. If there were other reasons for the switch, I didn’t know about them.

What I did know was that the group leader who was lamenting was seeing things wrong. Didn’t he understand that it was a win if that new couple went to any group? As the pastor, I didn’t care which group they went to, I just wanted them to enjoy the benefit of community and encouragement they would receive in a group.

But this group leader was clearly feeling jealous and competitive. He even felt bad about it. I understood, because he cared about reaching more people with his small slice of ministry, and this was a setback. He may have had a goal to develop them as future group leaders so they could multiply the group, a worthy goal for any small group leader. I understood, but I still wanted him to think differently.

The fact is, different groups grow or don’t grow in different seasons for different reasons.

This got me thinking…

As a pastor and church planter, I don’t care which small group people attend. But I feel the very same way when a person leaves the church to go to another good church in town. Maybe that church is closer to their home and has people who have befriended them.

God probably looks at the worldwide body of believers the same way we local pastors look at our churches. He doesn’t care which church they go to, as long as they go to one and grow. Will I, as the pastor, allow God to do what He wants? Will I take God’s viewpoint and bless people to go to another faithful church if they will grow there? If I won’t, I’m being possessive and in this for the wrong reasons.

Do I have hopes to see Godspeed grow? Of course I do. But I am determined to love the whole body of Christ and champion other churches in our community. If you want to “steal our sheep”, go right ahead, because I don’t have a problem with it.

And I don’t think any local church should have a problem with it. If Godspeed is in a season of not growing, but there are other churches making disciples and growing, then it’s a win. We all go through seasons and God blesses each church in different ways at different times. He’s always working.

We currently meet Sundays in various homes of our members in this prelaunch stage of church planting. If you'd like to attend a Sunday morning gathering or talk to the pastor about being part of the new church, feel free to connect on the form. We'd love to meet you!
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