I wish I had known that God sends people along to help you out for a period of time and then sometimes removes them. Ministry in any church goes through a number of stages. And there are people brought along by the Lord to help you out in each stage. If you stay in any church long enough, you’ll have very few people who were with you for the whole journey. And that’s okay. It’s easy to take it very personally when good people leave the church for various reasons. Sometimes they just disappear. In retrospect you can see that in many cases they were sent by God for a particular season–perhaps to inspire you or to challenge you to even to be burr in your side or to impart new vision or to help you start a new ministry. As a new pastor, enjoy your people, get to know them, but hold them lightly in your hand. They won’t be in the church forever. Neither will you.