All pastors have had people leave the church they are serving because of personal dislike or animosity. But it still hurts, even when you know it happens to everyone (It even happens to Adam Hamilton, who has had at least one person leave and write a letter to the bishop complaining that he was “ineffective”).
One of my colleagues is a wordsmith who has come up with an apt metaphor for people stop coming to worship and start attending worship somewhere else, while at the same time holding on to their positions on committees or remaining active in other parts of the church’s life. The metaphor is a marital one. Such members, he says, need to either divorce the church or reconcile, but either way they need to stop carrying on an open, public affair.
This metaphor has helped me understand why this behavior pains me so. I stand ready to seek reconciliation with anyone and everyone.