What To Do When Your Best Friend Leaves The Church?

How to handle the awkwardness and pain when your friend leaves the Church

I have a best friend. That alone is a shocker statement, as a lot of people I’ve come in contact with have fickle or fake “friends” that they maybe talk to once every two weeks. But my best friend and I talk to each other almost every day and see each other at least once a week. If we know that plans are going to change and we won’t see each other when we normally do, we try to plan a different day to hang out just so that we won’t have a week without physically seeing each other. Texting is great, but I wanna see her reaction every time I say something stupid that I think is funny.

Both of us had gone to the same church, and that’s actually where I met her. We both served in the Youth Group, and we both attended Bible study together. But one Friday night, we were out shopping for our Easter dresses when she broke the news to me; she and her family would be leaving the church. Three more Sunday’s and she wouldn’t be the first person who greeted me at the door. Three more Sundays and we would no longer serve in ministry together. Three more Sundays before I had to wonder, “is church just going to be super lonely now that pretty much the only one I talk to isn’t going to be here anymore?” Obviously, that’s not what the church is about, but for that entire time before the final Sunday I was missing her, and she hadn’t even left yet.

She and her family are starting a new church, and so entering a new season means leaving the old one behind. I understood that, and of course, I wanted her to do what God called her to do, but that didn’t mean my heart wasn’t broken. Eventually, the day came when neither she nor her family was there to give me a hug just before service. Honestly, walking through the doors knowing that things would be different was gut-wrenching. I didn’t want to talk to new people, I didn’t want to pretend that I could just move on so easily, but somehow I got through that first Sunday and sure enough, I and her went out to celebrate her bother’s birthday right after the Pastor concluded. It’s not like she’s moving away, this is just a new season and she’s doing great things for the Kingdom.

If something like this has happened to you, I’d encourage you to read the book of Acts. This book has a lot of instances where Paul had to leave people that he loved and considered family in order for him to go where God was calling him to go. It’s okay to mourn the changes ahead, but just as God’s Word says, “In your anger do not sin,” in your sadness, do not sin. This is a difficult time for your friend too. He or she does not want to leave you, but obeying God’s call for their life is first and foremost. Encourage them, talk to them just as much as you normally would. Especially in an era of Facetime and social media, there’s no reason why you still can’t be best friends.

Be grateful to God for the new opportunities; for you and for them. Change is hard, but in time, things will settle into place. It’s okay to make new friends at church, and you never have to stop being someone’s best friend just because God took them in a different direction. God works all things together for good.

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