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Church Politics

I am blessed, Just my opinion, My life, Random Stuff

I attend a rather large church in my hometown.  It isn’t large in comparison to some of the “mega churches” in the bigger cities but for this area it is large with attendance usually around 1200 people.  When we moved to this town we searched for a church we could call “home.”  We entered several “traditional” churches and never felt a match.  I remember going in one and only talking to the secretary (as the preacher was gone).  Later that evening when we got home we had a message from the preacher saying he thought his church was a perfect fit for us and for us to call him back.  We chuckled since he had never even met us or talked to us.  I finally talked my husband into going to the “big church on the highway.”  He was afraid it was one of those “weird” churches where people lurch in the aisles and talk in tongues.  I kept assuring him that a church THAT big wouldn’t be “weird.”  It has to be somewhat mainstream in order to get that big of a congregation.  I was right in my assumption.  We walked in on a Wednesday and told them we were new in town and looking for a church.  The secretary introduced us to a man by the name of Alan.  He was wearing blue jeans and was completely laid back.  He gave us a tour of the church, explaining their goal to “reach lost people and guide them to a personal relationship with Christ.”  He also said that even if this church wasn’t a fit for us he wanted to help us find one in town that was.  That struck us so deep.  He was more worried that we find a church than stay in HIS church.  He spent almost an hour with us and listened to us.  We decided to give it a try that Sunday.  Much to our surprise Alan was the lead pastor and was giving the message that day.  We looked at each other in disbelief because we had no idea who this man was who was spending all that time with us.  We assumed he had SOMETHING to do with the church but we never would have thought it was the lead pastor – he was so normal, so real, and so unlike any other preacher we had every met or talked to.  Then to listen to this man’s sermons….wow.  He was really concerned with lost people and the congregation showed it.  It was an audience of misfits.  Divorced men and women, recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, and your regular lost person (like you and me).  We instantly felt we had found our church home.  The love for Christ, the focus on him, and helping everyone cultivate a PERSONAL relationship with Him was awesomely overwhelming at times.  The church grew and grew.  The vision of the pastor, Alan, was to reach 10% 30,000 lost people in our county (so 3000 people for all your mathematically challenged out there).

Before we reached that goal, Alan said he was feeling the calling to go out to Colorado to grow new churches.  The percentages of unchurched and lost people there were staggering.  So, he left.  It was a sad day but we all new Jesus Christ had not left the building so we would be fine.  Fast forward a year and a few months and we were still without a lead pastor.  The family and small groups pastors stepped in to give sermons as well as guest speakers but all the upheavel had made the attendance dwendal.  My family and I weathered the storm and kept attending.  There were rumors that they had pastors lined up to come in and do a “trial” sermon on which the congregation would vote wether they would become our head pastor or not.  Never did that happen….

The congregation grew so hungry for a leader, so willing to just do SOMETHING to create some normalcy to the state of things again, that when they did finally find someone to apply for the job the congregation (in my opinion) rushed to accept him.  He is a good man.  A good father.  A good friend.  But, a leader with a vision that he has the ability to follow through with?  I don’t think so.  I guess we weren’t the only ones that had this opinion.  The congregation numbers continued to drop and more people began to voice their concerns about the “spirit” of the church.  The elders made the decision to “move in a different direction” and asked him to step down from lead pastor to small groups.  He declined and left.

I am with the rest of the congregation who thinks the WAY the elders came to their decision did seem rash.  The congregation was so surprised with the news.  It was probably not the best way to do it but I also don’t know how else they could have done it.  Would it have been right to tell the congregation, “We are putting your pastor on probation and if he doesn’t shape up he’s gone?”  I’m sure he (the pastor) knew that the elders and (most of) the congregation weren’t happy with the state of things and he was notified as much.  It would have probably been unfair to let us know that.  He would have felt like he had a magnifying glass on him and worried about everything he said and did.  So, I just don’t know how else the elders could have done what they did.  It’s a rough situation for everyone.

So, once again we are sans leader.  Rumors are flying around this little town like wildfire that Alan is showing interest in coming back and has even had a couple of interviews with elders.  There are some totally seperate issues going on with him and why he left.  He has told me in emails that he knows now that him leaving was nothing short of the age old sin of pride.  He thought he had outgrown our little church and he should move on to bigger and better things.  He has had a rough few years learning this lesson.  I just pray that the congregation can accept him as the “prodical son” with open arms and forgive him for his humaness.  I am so impressed that he would admit this that I am ready to have him back and let him finish what he started here – to get that 10% of lost people in this county to find Christ.  Only time will tell if the elders and the church will have him back.  From the conversations I’ve had with other members, we are willing to forget and forgive and move on to growing the kingdom.  Now if only the politics don’t get in the way…..

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  • Why I Write this Stuff

    My children called me Bobby when they were toddlers due to not being able to prounounce "Mommy." They are now 7 and 8 years old and I am Mommy. But my real name is Mandy. I just do this so I can keep in touch with the REAL me. Being a Bobby is a dream I thought I may never realize and I do not take it for granted. I homeschool (more specifically unschool) my two children and it's easy to lose yourself in the tasts of the day. I just want to make sure that after 19 or so years have passed,and my kids have moved out, I'm not stuck looking in the mirror and squinting in hopes of seeing Mandy again.