One of my small groups had to say our goodbyes to a friend and integral member yesterday. He’s a gracious, kind, intelligent, wise, and faithful friend to all of us. He’s deeply committed to following Jesus—that’s why he’s leaving our small group. God is calling him to a different ministry opportunity in a different location. So we were forced to say our goodbyes over a lunch meeting.
Was it hard? Absolutely! But we didn’t tighten our upper lips. We didn’t smack him on the back. We also didn’t get sappy. Instead, what we did was pray. We prayed for his transition. We prayed for his family. We prayed for his ministry. We prayed for God to provide a new community for him to be a part of in his new city.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but we were actually putting into practice something that Jesus advises his followers to do—pray.
In his book, Make Your Group Grow, Josh Hunt unpacks the wisdom of Jesus in Chapter 10 of Luke’s gospel.
“Jesus didn’t leave us in the dark as to how to do this,” Hunt writes. “The second half of Luke 10:2 tells us, ‘So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields’…Our friend is going. So we prayed.
In the next verse, Jesus said an interesting thing. ‘Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.’ Jesus told his disciples to pray, and then he told them to go. We should pray and go.”
How do you say goodbye?