This came from a friend. I find that I disagree with the premise of Mr. Anderson. Grief is not killing the church--our fear of grieving is killing the church. My colleague Bernie Lyon and I will publish a book in April, 2012 "How to Lead in Church Conflict: Healing Ungrieved Loss" (Abingdon) and in that book we define grieving as "learning to live again in the absence of someone or something significant." Conflict over the future is grounded in our fear of what we will lose in the future. Our assumption is that grieving well is the way to move forward toward the world that God is creating. Churches who embrace the future are ones that are able to name their losses and pain, express their anger over the loss of their identity, remember well enough that the past is memorialized and human, confess their guilt and shame and embrace the forgiving grace of God that frees them to move forward. Then grateful hearts are freed to imagine and play with new possibilities and the church can not only vision a new future but can access the energy to move toward it. The future is grounded in the soil of the past and grieving is the way churches discover the germinating seeds that will become their future. Our advice is therefore that congregations grieve their losses as a way of welcoming the future.
How do you think grief effects the vitality of church growth?