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PLI is devoted to empowering leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their ministries. Learn more about our vision and process here.


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Leaders mostly miss that when a congregation navigates any type of change, people in their congregations experience a sense of loss. Loss of…

  • The familiar
  • What to Expect
  • “I know how to navigate this world.”

OR…AND—this is true for many of us as leaders today in our mission field culture—loss of a sense of…

  • Power
  • Position
  • Title

As a result, people grieve. We grieve.

Or, more frequently, people resist. Fight the change. Refuse to adapt. Content themselves with larger and larger amounts of antiquation and ineffectiveness.

Most leaders—this one included—are slow to realize that good leadership creates space for people to grieve what is lost.

So as a leader, what are you refusing to face, unwilling to do, for the sake of the mission…because of your own sense of Loss? And the uncomfortable grief that tags along.

So as a leader, what are you doing to create space for your people to grieve when the change that’s being navigated creates loss?

We had lots of funerals in our congregation. 25+ most every year for 25 years. Over the years, more and more of them became people that we grieved when they died. Our congregation had significant rituals and routines almost every time someone died…

  • People gathered
  • Food was served
  • Cards, flowers, tangible expressions
  • Worship!
  • Prayers for comfort and reassurance of the resurrection because Jesus rose on Easter
  • Bearers of the casket
  • A funeral Pall
  • More ritual at the cemetery… Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope ….again… of the resurrection
  • Sometimes flags (for veterans) and salutes and guns
  • More food … together

Every time someone died, and there was loss, in our congregation, there was significant space to grieve and demonstrate love and care.

So, leader, let’s be honest!

  • Where are you compromising? Pausing to go as a leader? Because of the loss you or your congregation risks?
  • Do you give space to grieve? Acknowledge the loss? Oftentimes the loss people experience is a bigger issue for them than an unwillingness to invest in the vision that God has for your congregation.

If our congregations are going to have wider influence in our dramatically secularized culture, leaders need to skillfully help people navigate change well. And grieve loss.

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