5 Reasons I would claim to leave the church
Thursday, June 19, 2008
One of our pastors read this post by Roger Mugs over at Opensource Theology and passed it on to all of us.
5 Reasons I would claim to leave the church
5. My pastor hasn’t had a relationship with a non-believer in over 10 years
4. The leaders of my church are workaholics and I find it hard to believe they have a healthy relationship with the Lord when they don’t have the time for their family
3. I’m sick of it being about one man. Be that the pastor, or the musician or whatever, I want to see them raising up other people and sending them out, content to have many small churches instead of one mega church
2. There are 1,000 people who attend my church. I know 50 and only care about 20 of them. I attend a small group to go deeper with those I care about, but I have no reason to remember the name of the guy whose hand I shake between worship and the sermon
1. There is no place to really do ministry, the leaders will not let go of control. I want to pray for people, bless people, watch out for people, be there for people. I want to be invited to do what the Lord has called me to do.
The sentiments in this post are worth reflection. They speak to concerns we’ve had at Life on the Vine. Not that we’re a big church or anything. These are just things we have had to think about and resist. I see #3-#5 as problems inherent in the professionalization that is necessitated at a mega church. I see #1-#2 evaporating once the church orients herself to incarnational presense and mission. So in relation to each of the 5 reasons here’s my 5 comments – in 3 sentences or less. What are yours?
5.) At the Vine, we intentionally ask our pastors to be bi-occupational having a job in the marketplace, often part-time. We are therefore forced to get to know people in whatever marketplace we are in. In this way we model mission. This is harder for me now since my “other” job became a full time seminary professor three years ago. I must find other ways.
4.) The professionalization of the church organization creates an ethos among staff where “the onus is on us” to produce. Thus pastors get busy, performance oriented. Disbursed multiple leadership assumes we are only responding to what God is already doing, our task is to merely be faithful in all the things God brings to us each day. We are not paid/hired to produce goals, we are paid an amount that enables/frees us to do more of what God is already doing. This keeps church as well as family in perspective
3.) At the Vine, we deliberately mute the one man syndrome. For it gravitates everyone towards this one man’s leadership (senior pastor roles are rarely given to women), charisma and vision. It saps all power into the center instead of dispersing it and multiplying it among the people and into the neighborhoods. In this way the one man senior leader position kills all missionalness. At the Vine, we have multiple pastors. The musicians set up off to the side. We gather on Sundays in a circle around the alter – and the cross – not focused upon a pastor.
2.) I’d say that twenty people is the maximum number of people you can really know and journey life together with. The task is to get to know them and make commitments together and inhabit a context together for ministry. It’s hard enough for smaller churches to guide people toward this. I don’t know how mega structures could do this.
1.) We try different things to empower people into leadership among our community. We have a college of preachers/lirturgists that trains these kind of leaders in our midst. But most of the focus should be on channeling ministry out among the neighborhoods with people that one comes in contact with. Of course, you learn this, as a way of life, through leadrship, discipleship and smaller missional order type relationships. We’re struggling to get this moving at our church.
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