Monday, August 10, 2009

Church Business


Change is inevitable, growth is intentional. ~Unknown

Last night we had a meeting at my little church to list what qualities we would like to see in a pastor, as we are now looking for one. The meeting went well and some answers were expected. Of course, we all want someone who is perfect, yet we all know that is not going to happen.

I wish my husband had been there, but he has been training in Israel and will not be back until Friday morning. I really miss his perspective when things like this are occurring.

I was rather curious about a few things said and those not said. One of the greatest surprises came out of my own mouth. I said it was not a high priority, but I would like to have a pastor who has been out in the mission field, even if just one that they went for a few days to do a project. I think it gives a person a completely different perspective on the Kingdom of God. No, I have not been on a mission myself, not yet, at least. I am, however, drawn to missionaries, always have been. I just think they are the most interesting and spirit-filled people. I had never really thought about it until last night, but I truly wish that every church leader had the opportunity to do missionary work in some capacity. Missionary work ignites a spark in the spiritual heart of a person that never goes out.

About some of the things that needed to be discussed, I found that I was of two minds. It seems that everyone wants our church to grow. To most, church growth means a new building, more people, more money, and more activities to offer, but even though that is the reality in nearly any church, it sounds so business-like, so devoid of my Lord.

My idea of church growth is not the same, I suppose. I need to say that I know these people. I know they have a heart for God. The conflict I feel about this may simply be an internal one for me. Something not fixable and not even in need of fixing, just my feelings in a jumble, perhaps. However, it is rather perplexing to me that while we currently have a very small building, it is not in use much timewise, and that may have something to do with its size, but I have some doubts in that. What would cause us to use it more if we have a bigger building? Are we going to devote more time to using the building in service to the Lord, each other, or the community because we have more space with its added expenses?

The meeting also reminded me that there are a few things that make me uncomfortable when it comes to religious organizations, two in particular.

One is that religious organizations have policies about how they go about doing things instead of leaving it to the individual churches. Now I know my Lord can work within and around the limitations men set up and that some structure is necessary, but still I have a rebellious nature that just wants to shout out, "My Lord is not an organization." One such quirk, if we have too few voting members, the Church of the Nazarene has a policy that the district can assign a pastor to us. That can work well because my Lord is greater than the plans of man, but it does not set well with most people not to have a say in such a decision as who will be the church leader.

The second thing is related, I suppose, and about which I feel even more strongly: church business. Actually, I think business and church should be not be affiliated with each other, but it is inevitable that when money is involved there is "business" that needs to be conducted. Still, a large part of me just feels like fashioning a scourge of cords and driving the business out of church, perhaps sitting in prayer until there is agreement with what my Lord would have us do instead. I just would like to see all churches manage their finances as an example and be debt free. What I would not do to have us all worshiping my Lord back in the Garden of Eden!

While everyone had an idea about what they wanted the new pastor to be to the church and to them personally, I was a bit saddened by one particular thing that was not said. Perhaps, it was just a given, but no one mentioned wanting someone who was highly devoted to his own family, children, and spouse. Someone who would be a living example of how we also should devote ourselves to our families. Maybe it is because I am a homeschooling parent that this so keenly on my mind. Perhaps it is because I have seen the families of pastors suffer when pastors are more involved with the church than their families. I would love the pastor to have a homeschooling family, but that would not be a priority for the church in general, so I did not even mention it last night.

After writing all this, I am reminded that I really rather not have any expectation at all and just let my Lord provide who He wills.

~ So be it, my Lord. Let not the business of running a church be our business. ~

2 comments:

  1. Yikes! Like to hit any more of my nails on the head?

    We are like minded. Growth for growth's sake is counter~productive. Grown by & for the Lord is another matter entirely.

    Money & the church should be separated. Not sure how you do this but I almost think the admin matters should be farmed out to secular people. Not sure but God & money in the same breath makes me squirm.

    And family. Seriously we parted company with our last church because the bottom line was they cared more about an adult in blatant sin than the young believers of a long standing family. I was preaching & didn't feel comfortable to be seen supporting at any level something I saw as fundamentally so wrong & discussion with the leadership was going nowhere so we pulled out. Messy & yuk & so not a good example for our kids. However we are the ones being called *evil*. Interesting take on the matter.

    Sadly I now would totally opposse a missionary in a leadership capacity. It limits their vision in important ways & ours, who farmed their kids out rather than having them with them on the mission field, have no understanding of close~knit family. My view only. Exceptions always but I would be far more cautious now.

    Praying this pans out God's way & that His people actually listen to His leading!

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  2. Ganeida: Sadly I now would totally opposse a missionary in a leadership capacity.

    Good point and I agree on that, but nearly all the real missionaries I personally know had their children right there with them. Now, for some, it caused problems with their children, about the same type of problems that a pastor's children can have if the pastor is too church-minded and not as family-minded. I do know of one family that put their children in a boarding school and that did not work out well for them at all, lots of resentment even into adulthood, but back then homeschooling was not heard of. I do believe there can be a balance.

    Typically, a pastor's gift is not missionary work, but I think at least one experience in missions is good and I am not opposed to leaving a child for a short term with a relative when called by my Lord to do something like that.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.