Church(es), Pastor(s) and You. Perhaps the Finale.

   Pastors are dying. Churches are killing them and so killing themselves. It is a murder-suicide; sudden, violent murder of the pastors and slow, excruciating suicide for the local congregations.

   You will have to change all that as you take more personal responsibility for your church and pastor. You, oh, you, oh, man will have to decide to stop the blood letting.

   I have suggested some ways to help your pastor with his mental/emotional health. Do not say I do not give specifics. I just do not give the specifics you want. Do what I ask first and then grow from there.

   You will have to make it work if your church is to survive. The shoppers are the first to go for whatever they do must make them happy, though they do not know what happy is like, they just know when they do not feel it at the moment. The spectators leave next, needful of something more interesting to watch. People will gather to watch a wreck but they do not hang around much during the cleanup and may only return if there is the promise of another collision.

   You cannot do much with shoppers. Spectators are like a zero in mathematics. They take up a space for you but bring no value of their own to that spot.

   Servants may leave last but leave they do and they often die a little inside first. This thing I know about church conflict; your friends get worn out, while the haters are energized by the conflict they bring. Sadly, some people just do not know how to express their spirituality in any but the most negative ways, which they may couch in religious terms for cover.

   Pastors are dying because churches are killing them. Churches are dying because, where they used to just shoot themselves in the foot, they now commit patricide routinely, firing directly into their own heads, proverbially blowing off their own nose in order to spite their face.

   You will have to change all that if your church is to survive. You must change the way things are done in our churches, in your church, in the selection and treatment of ministerial staff. What we do does not work any more. We need more professional vetting of ministerial candidates and we need more honest appraisal of church situations for the sake of candidate and congregation.

   No church ever approaches a candidate by saying, "You know, we are hoping, if we play our cards just right, we will be able to shut this puppy down in about five years. We have some old money to call on, it will keep us alive for awhile, but, if we work hard, we think we can be boarding up the front doors in less than a decade."

   No church ever says such a thing to a candidate. It is after the moving van pulls away that they begin to show their affinity for the church death movement.

   No candidate ever says, "You cannot trust me to work hard. I have a few half-baked ideas I got off a video put out by a mega-church pastor about how he caught lightning in a bottle. I am going to try those things and I must have absolute power to enact the steps I think I want, even though I have no real clue as to what the finished product should resemble."

   Even in the Free Church tradition, there must be some surrender of congregational authority so that there can be more professional vetting of candidates and transferal of expectations from church to candidate. Simply put, you don't know what you are doing and it shows.

   We have to change the way we recruit, train and track the progress of ministerial candidates and change the way they are placed. We cannot continue to flop around wildly and call it God's will. God is not this confused. We will have to be better. This will require courage. I don't see a large supply on hand but we have to start to try, and soon.


2 thoughts on “Church(es), Pastor(s) and You. Perhaps the Finale.”

  1. Rick,
    These are among your best writing. I learned many of these ideas a few years ago working with Bill Easum. He was demonized almost for his statements. The church as we’ve known it probably will not survive. Denominations are in even more precarious conditions. I do appreciate yours and David’s work on BGCT but could it be your words are more eulogy than prophecy? My hope is Brock will catch your words and heart.

  2. Rick,
    Just blogging in to say say thanks for your kind words and friendship. I’m not much of a blogger, but I regularly read your writings. You are a thinker and I always grow by ingesting your thoughts. Thanks for your honesty, vulnerability, and courage. I am glad to count you a friend and voice for truth. I don’t always agree with you, but I always appreciate your perspective. I believe that the BGCT can and must find a viable and bold way into the 21st century paradigm. Thanks for your bold insight. You are a blessing to me and others. Randles

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