I've never been to a church before comprised solely of people that had never gone to church before. I'm sure they exist, just not where I've lived. So, in my (uneducated) opinion, most churches are the product of people leaving one church and going to another. Now, that's not to say all churches are ruthless splits. I do think there's a continuum that ranges from friendly to not friendly.
This video has been making the rounds on the Christian blogs recently. Everyone has an opinion on it. Either Ed is on to something, as evidence by the comments on his blog, or he needs to check himself.
Here's the video:
Here's some of the notable quotations transcribed for your convenience:
- "These staff members or leaders build these little followings and they get money and they talk to donors--see the layman believe these people--the laymen, they're always going to believe the victim. They're not going to believe the pastor."
- "I'm not into stealing sheep from other places."
- "Don't start churches especially around the church that built you and that gave you the platform and to help you into the person that you are."
- "You point out to me some of the great moves of God in churches and I'll show you three or four churches surrounding them that are churches of the blessed subtraction--or I call them boutique churches. They're churches that are so people specific that they can suck the people away from your church who want this super specific ministry."
- "I'm telling you, you are out of God's will and you're not doing God's work if you go and leverage the people that you've met through a church and go down the street and start one or you split some church or siphon a bunch of people. You know--that's weak. If you're that big and bad go out and do it yourself somewhere else."
- "The lack of loyalty, the lack of commitment, the level of betrayal in churches is mindboggling and that's the reason so many pastors are so aloof and don't have very many friends is because, you know, trust is both the friend and the foe of betrayal. The church is a place of betrayal when you put your heart out you're going to get it handed to you."
Unlike Ed, I want to hear your thoughts no matter where you lie in the church leadership structure, but if you've been involved in a church piracy situation, I'd especially like to hear from you.