Monday, July 27, 2009

Dangerous Admiration

My Monday morning routine is to sample a lot of web sites of pastors and church leaders, reading their reflections and insights about Worship, Church and Culture. Some are tame and predictable and others a dangerously bold. A young pastor and pastor's son named Matt writes a blog from Kansas City, painfully describing the death of the church his dad planted and he helped lead. Clearly there is hurt, but there is also insight into 3 of 10 factors he attributed to the death of his church.
Because of my years in ministry with many different church staffs I've been privileged to work with, I would never write so harshly (or clearly) because the wrong person would apply it to him/herself and the right person would not be reading my blog anyway. What particularly struck a chord in me reading Matt's blog was his clarity about musicians who are prima donnas versus those who love people. That observation would apply to pastors as well; those who get impressed with their own press releases and pulpiteering ability and those who just love folk.
The other 2 (or 3) church killers were the building itself and the amount of energy buildings consume and new recruits who come in with high expectations and demands. I'd like to talk with Matt more about the pros and cons of buildings (given the fact that all 29 years of my ministry has been building-based). I know they take work and money, but I also know the advantages of place and stewardship of good use in a neighborhood. And new recruits (interesting word) begs the question of the welcoming in process. How much time did the pastor take visiting with new members and talking about that church's uniqueness and defining beliefs? I've lost a lot of "recruits" over the years in Inquirers' Classes where they and I learned that this was not the church for them and their agendas.
I look forward to Matt's next posting as he shares about more "church killers" but with a little apprehension.


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