Discussing
Should I Stay or Go?

Chris Salzman

Isaiah
June 18, 2008

I'm not a pastor, but I'm pretty sure these problems give a lot of anxiety to one. If I were a person I would stay loyal to the community and try to get some real spiritual ministry going.

Aesthetic Elevator
June 18, 2008

I can feel 'im.<br><br>A similar post of mine (<a href="http://theaestheticelevator.com/2008/05/30/church-is-good-for-sketching/)" rel="nofollow">http://theaestheticelevator.co...</a> a couple weeks ago made similar laments, at least in my mind they are similar. Seems to me it might be wise for leadership to take note of OpenSource's observations and reconsider structure, strategy and so on . . . <br><br>It's worth noting, I think, that my generation (I'm either X or Y, depending on who you ask; I fall on the line) is generally averse to institutions. There are some good reasons for this, but getting rid of them isn't a very good answer as far as I can tell.<br><br>But the house church IS appealing . . .

Arshield
June 18, 2008

I agree with much of the list. I also agree with the sentiment about perfection (or excellence as it is often termed at my church). While I agree that we should do things well, the difference between well and incredibly well requires a cost. It is like the difference in a web server being up 99% of the time verse the web server being up 99.99999% of the time. The cost to make that changes of less than 1% is usually about 10 times higher than the difference between an up-time of 80 and 99%. What it means in the church is that the emphasis on excellence means that somehow we value the large church that has the resources to let one person (or a small team) do nothing except the video introduction to the sermon. Yes it is catchy, but does it really add that much to the sermon. Do you remember it more than the sermon? Do you remember it several days later? There are times that I just wish there were more opportunities to actually serve and work and less to participate. Even the men's prayer group that I occasionally attend, spend 80 percent of the time listening to someone talk, not actually praying. <br><br>Summary, I feel the frustration. But at the same time I don't want to minimize the good that large churches are doing.

Mark
June 18, 2008

My number one reason for not being in the church is simple.<br><br>In churches today the entire focus has become the building and all it's various programs. There is no concern for anything that happens outside the four walls of most church buildings.

Eric
June 18, 2008

I can sense his frustration. I'm on my 4th church in 18 years.<br><br>OT: HDR (the method used by Stuck In Custom and created through either Photomatix or Photoshop) is the bomb!! If you like photography and want your pics to jump...check out the site, download the trial and have at it!<br><br>Eric

Maureen
June 18, 2008

After nearly 30 years in a church in which 5, 3 &amp; 1 on the above list were true along with judgmentalism, a closed and clubby atmosphere and a dwindling congregation which was desperately clinging to the first half of the 20th century, we left our church. We found a congregation that is other centered, where everyone who wants to contribute gifts and talents are welcome, where it's about the seekers and people in need. We never realized how disfunctional the church we attended was until we found one where it's about Christ: building relationships with him and one another and revealing him to those who do not yet know him.

Matt Barker
June 19, 2008

To me, there are really a couple of issues discussed here:<br><br>1. Not knowing everybody in the church.<br>2. Pastor seeming to want to hold onto control<br><br>For the first part, that is the whole reason for the small group inside of big churches. I believe that small groups are the pillars that hold the church up. They are where relationships are built, and in my opinion, should be the main outreach of the church since in that small group you can accomplish quite a bit.<br><br>As for the second part, there are 2 sides to this. Sometimes pastors do try to take on too much and their own lives suffer because of that; including their relationships with their family, friends, etc. They do need to learn to lean on others that God has placed in their path to provide assistance.<br>On the flip side of that, the pastor is responsible for the flock God has installed them as the shepherd of. I have seen first hand where a pastor has a person seemingly on fire for Christ lead up a ministry only to cause major problems and dissension within the body. That falls back on the pastor and causes more work and more stress. I can imagine how that would be multiplied by having over 1000 congregants in a church and trying to figure out how to best handle each situation.<br><br>The bottom line is, church is not there to suit our needs; it is a place that we go to honor, worship, and glorify Christ. I don't need a pastor to lead something in the church for me to go out and share God's love with others outside the church. But I do know that our pastors need a heck of a lot more support than most of us are willing to give. There is no perfect church, so quit looking, and help out right where you are. Commit yourself to the body you find yourself in.

John Finkelde
June 19, 2008

Your points of frustration are valid - heres' some thoughts<br><br>5. What did he say when you asked him about this?<br><br>4. Busyness is often projected onto us as pastors - sometimes wrongly (yes I am a pastor!)<br><br>3. Agreed - one man bands are unhealthy but you can have both large churches &amp; new plants <br><br>2. Fact of life - your point is?<br><br>1. This is bad news - move to Australia &amp; we will get you busy doing ministry in our church!! I'm more frustrated by gifted people who won't take up ministry opportunities!<br><br>Thought provoking post - thank you

Jesse
June 19, 2008

I think he raises some valid concerns! I agree with what he's saying and thinking.<br><br>1. WE ARE THE BODY! we need to all do ministry!!!! not just a single professional, it's RIDICULOUS! we need to work together, but this one man show model is not that !!! !! ! ! !<br><br>2. Can't grow close with a large group like that. This is not what Jesus intended! We need community - to grow, to love each other - amen, I agree.<br><br>3. yes<br><br>4. aren't all leaders workaholics. But I agree, the body is there for a reason, to distribute the work.<br><br>5. we all need to be reaching out to non-Christians. I agree.

Christiane Li
June 19, 2008

Top 5 reasons for staying:<br><br>5. The Holy Bible's is authoritative - for my church's members, in services to others &amp; in ministry to the lost. <br>4. My pastors are gracious, with vision for our church's direction &amp; how to get there. <br>3. Humor, cultural icons (TV shows, movies, songs, gizmos, etc) are used as touchstones of commonality instead of tokens of condemnation.<br>2. Both legalism &amp; liberalism are abhorred here.<br>1. The Lord Jesus Christ is uplifted, and His love is palpable at our church.

LaMo
June 19, 2008

I wonder if the root of the problems that the Church has comes down to a refusal of people to be authentic. We are all guilty of this, Christian or not. The natural byproduct is that we separate ourselves from one another and enter in to the individualistic mindset. But I think this all the more reason to stay- the Church is the Bride of Christ, and although we have created an institution that looks nothing like that Bride, to turn our backs and run away doesn't quite seem responsible. We've messed it up, so lets use the gifts God has given each of us to bring it back to where it is meant to be. I guess the question remains, what does that look like! The debate goes on.

Giuoco
June 19, 2008

He’s got an interesting spin here. His list has sort of defined his expectations of what his church should provide him. I would think that each of us has our own “top 5 list” and each week we probably experience something during our weekend service that tickles our “top 5 list”. Do you suppose this is why Paul wrote in Philippians 2 about like-mindedness? So that we would avoid letting our top 5 list ruin our communion with God?<br><br>I wonder if opensourcetheology recorded his top 5 list for joining this church. How would it compare today?<br>

Dons
June 19, 2008

That's a rather blanket statement, Mark. Are you saying all local churches are guilty of this charge? Many, yes, amen! But all? I don't think so.<br><br>My church isn't perfect, but we are trying to avoid the sins listed above. We've adopted a "multi-site" church planting strategy and the elders are sharing the load so it's not all about "one man."<br><br>Speaking the truth in love, I get frustrated when people totally give up on the church (at least the local church). Because of this (at least in part), what's left are people who perpetuate the problem...

Tim
June 19, 2008

You have to be kidding! These reasons are just laughable. Sounds like it comes from someone who's always attended a church and never really worked in one. It's easy to throw stones from the Crystal Cathedral of our own opinions!<br><br>A brief answer to each:<br>5. How do you know your pastor hasn't had a relationship with a non-believer? Are you with him everyday? Maybe he wisely keeps his personal "good works" to himself as commanded by the Lord in Matthew 6.<br><br>4. Could you not say Paul the Apostle was a workaholic? And while he had no family it's not a stretch to think Peter worked just as hard and he did have a family. And what if his family is fine with the hours he puts in? What if they consider it their ministry to let them work so hard for the church. Aren't we all called to work in the fields of God's harvest? <br><br>3. Are you sure it's not just your own personal desire to be "the one in charge". Like Miriam and Aaron, we think we should be running the show and we voice it by complaining about others being the leader. I would suggest starting your own church and giving it a try - it's much harder, lonelier, and heavier than you may find. Why are you waiting for your Pastor to raise you up? Doesn't God do that? Maybe you need to realize you've already been raised up with Christ and your workplace is the perfect spot to start being the man with the plan (of salvation).<br><br>2. There were 5000 men (not counting women and children) around Christ, but He only gave the bread to the 12. They gave it to the groups of 50 and 100. It is a model for ministry and life. You will only be able to have so many close friendships - make them count instead of making excuses to leave your church because there's too many people who like going there! (GIVE ME A BREAK!) You cannot expect to know everyone. Be realistic. Do you work for a company with more than 20 people? Do you know everyone? Is it that important to you? <br><br>1. So ministry only happens when someone hands you their job in the church? Peter and John healed the lame man on the way TO CHURCH. I would make this suggestion - on your way to that huge awful, power-hungry, mega-church that you have to endure next Sunday - stop by the hospital - pray for some sick people, bring a homeless man a meal, or mow your neighbors lawn . . . MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES abound everywhere . . . we just tend to like the ones with a Microphone and a platform.<br><br>Sorry, i had to be blunt. <br>Peace to all.

SiarlysJenkins
June 19, 2008

Maybe instead of great ministries, thrilling experiences, annointed leadership, we should go back to churches being modest buildings where we meet for worship and fellowship on Sundays, have occasional other programs during the week when and as there is a clear purpose for them, and perhaps other program or outreach when someone is really committed to doing them and they do not conflict with the church's mission. It wouldn't be gripping, it wouldn't make for intensely pious conversation all week long, but it would be the church.

Llawhsoj
June 20, 2008

I'm surprised by the responses here to be honest and by some of the negative comments by pastors that have been thrown on this post (including some flat out condescending responses). Obviously the person doesn't work in a church, why should we expect them to know how the church works? How many people in full time ministry knew much about it till we got into it?<br><br>Also why does it seem to matter? If opensourcetheology wants to leave their church for a house church because of the issues the perceive above, let them. Most of his/her issues are related to church structure and it sounds like they really want a small set up where they can know everyone, where their leader, if they have one, is more accessible. <br>So why does his desire to leave his church structure for a different one matter to some people so much?<br><br>Let me also add that I think any issues he has with his church are primarily within themself. If there is no real place to do ministry (whatever that means) the they should take the lead and make some space. Same with #4, if they don't know people they should go find some folks. Honestly, they sound a little tired and a little jaded to me. But, let them leave if they need to.

RoHair2
June 20, 2008

The commentary raises important considerations for all of us who want to help our church be the Scripturally vibrant community we admire from Acts. Said another way, the writer would encourage church leaders to 5. engage the non-Christian community, 4. model their faith in their relationships with family and others, 3. practice discipleship, 2. build a sense of community, 1. empower and release people for ministry. These all seem to be things most Christians agree on. <br><br>I'd ask the writer to consider having this talk with his pastor before making a decision. It's better to be sent away with the blessing of your covering than to run away.

Jake
June 21, 2008

I think this post is great for discussion. There are a lot of people in even the most active and missional churches that don't know where to begin in getting involved. Leadership can blame them for being lazy, not taking initiative, etc., but churches just are not set up for real discipleship for 'passing the torch'. The paid staff are there to minister to the unpaid. People are willing to accept the roles given to them. It is very difficult to go beyond.<br><br>Also, though i'm sure most house churches have many issues, the one i have been involved with in the past had men that knew there bibles more than most pastors even in the mega churches. does anyone know a megachurch or even a large church where it is the norm for men and women to spend much time in there bibles and in prayer? i only ask as i find it difficult for myself. no challenges, no expectations, etc.<br><br>i think the posts above also show an ignorance among pastors, seminary students, etc. the conclusion is quickly reached that such a person considering a 'house church' just needs to do more or try to 'fix' things in his/her own church. when in reality conclusions may be reached in after years of trying and continually desiring more, knows no other way to stop 'playing' church.<br><br>just a few thoughts as i'm on this journey as well. love my church, not going anywhere, but long for an environment where we are pushing each other and holding each other up rather than just catching up on each others week all the time.

Tim
June 21, 2008

Negative and condescending? <br><br>Two words I would use to describe the way he presents his five reasons for leaving the church. "I'm sick of it being about one man" . . . "I find it hard to believe (my church leaders) have a healthy relationship with the Lord" - i mean are those blanket statements from his perspective not in a sense a bit of both? Well said in that case. <br><br>Perhaps I shouldn't fight fire with fire. But I'm a big believer in personal accountability when it comes to serving the Lord faithfully where He plants me and doing my best there instead of finding fault with others because they don't do ministry or church in the manner that best fits my preference. (please understand my tone here to be as non-condescending as possible)<br><br>And i really fail to understand why attending a big church makes personal relationships with Christians so hard . . . please explain as throughout the Bible God's people were destined to be numerous and blessed. Is not the scene of heaven recorded in Revelation a number no man can number? How will we cope then? <br><br>thank you.<br>

SiarlysJenkins
June 21, 2008

llawhsoj has an excellent point. If opensource wants to change churches, let him. If Christiane appreciates the church she's in, let her. My church is my church. Your church is your church. They don't have to be alike. That is what the Protestant Reformation was all about. Why is my opinion about my church or your opinion about your church news? Why should we expect to find common patterns among uncommon churches?

Ron Kay
June 23, 2008

I saw this book on the <a href="http://Gospel.com" rel="nofollow">Gospel.com</a> site and got it and it answers all of these questions, I think every pastor and church leader should check it out:<br><br>The New Exodus<br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/New-Exodus-People-Church-Invite/dp/0595485332/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1209677256&amp;sr=1-2" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/New-Exod...</a> <br><br>Why People Leave the Church and How to Invite Them Back<br><br>Why People are Leaving the Church? What are the Real Reasons Behind It, and What Can We Do About It?<br><br>If we look to God ad not ourselves we will succeed as a church,<br><br>This is what krejcir’s book said:<br><br>We are called to a higher purpose. We are not called to ourselves. Ministry is a dangerous thing because we come before a Holy God. Yes we have grace, but we have responsibility too! <br><br>Remember, churches fail because we place our needs and desires over the Lord’s. It is His Church and we are His people. Let our focus be on the right target—that is, His and not ours! Do not be the person or church that is the goad that drives people away from His Church. Rather, be the one who is interested in God’s children and have a welcoming place for us. Be real and be inviting, be loving and filled with Fruit, so you can weave His precepts and love into you and your church. In this way, you can be the thread that entwines in others, allowing the Holy Spirit to connect you and your people to worship God and impact others, the Church. <br><br>Go with the power of the Holy Spirit and make the Church what you have been called to make it! <br>

Angel Waiting To Fall
November 20, 2009

im so tired of my family, They're not christian yet expect me to be perfect. And everything i do is never enough. My spiritual life is feeling; i feel like an empty shell. Why should i stay christian if only i come home to hatred. God is real, perfect and good, i know. But i just can't live up to his standards and my family doesn't give me support. Only lectures when I do something wrong.

Add your comment to join the discussion!