In which a church planter says to a former pastor, "I! Drink! Your! Milkshake!"
Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)
Seen this yet?
Some not so random thoughts:
1. Again, if you treat your church like a business, you will treat other churches like your competition.
Similarly, if you treat congregants like property, you'll think they're being stolen if they leave.
2. It's credibility straining to me that Young isn't acknowledging that the very system of doing church he's a proponent of and a part of is very largely responsible for the thing he's decrying.
3. If a large group of people left my church and all went to one place, it would seem to me it would be cause for reflection. Am I doing something wrong? Are they not being fed or led? Are they not growing here? If they aren't, I can't blame them or anybody else for their leaving. I should blame myself. If that's not the case, then their leaving is a good thing. Why would you want disgruntled, divisive people to stay?
4. This sort of problem is why many churches today insert non-compete clauses in departing pastors' contracts.
5. If your church is ginormous, why not plant some churches? Wouldn't that help curb the "pirate" problem? Then you're being pro-active and positive and a part of a new work, rather than fearful and reactionary and always trying to make sure nobody breaks rank.
6. I imagine that most of these alleged pirates are young guys with young families. Their wives have close friendships in the town, their children are invested in schools. That a well established pastor of a huge church would tell this guy he has to uproot his life and family and go sufficiently far away just so the big man won't feel threatened seems, at the least, not pastoral. Church planting is already a tough row to hoe and is a tremendous stress on families. I couldn't blame a guy for wanting to stay in a town he's already put roots down in.
Certainly leaving town would be a great courtesy, and planting in towns that need churches is good gospel strategy, but I don't think a planter has to leave town, especially if he'd only be doing so to make his former boss happy.
7. I don't doubt there are some ministers who fit the description of "pirates" being criticized here. Divisive. Derisive. Guys who really do split churches by sowing discord and disgruntlement. I just don't think most are like that. I think most church planters these days are either:
a) a part of the same machine the pastors upset with them are a part of (in which case, in my best Vanilla Ice voice I want to say, "Hate the game, not the playa"), or
b) pastors disillusioned with the machine and interested in starting a different sort of church.
8. I think it's curious that my former church's former pastor liked Young's statements so much, given that he didn't really move out of town to start his new church. (I'm referring to remarks he made on his blog, which I won't link to.) But maybe he thinks that's different because he didn't leave so much as was fired, so the rules don't apply. Don't know.
What do you think of this thing?
Do you think if a pastor wants to leave a church to plant a new church he has to leave town?
I tend to think that if a significant portion of a church would leave to follow him if he planted in town, they aren't really "there" to begin with. Unless you follow Young's logic that all the blame lay with the "pirate pastor" for sowing division.