Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There Will Be (Bad) Blood

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.


Bill Kinnon said...

I think, Ed, the Creative Pastor, desperately needs to get over himself. As you so rightly said, Jared, perhaps if he'd been busy planting sustainable churches - rather than satellite churches, this wouldn't be an issue.

Unfortunately, it would seem Ed's about the size of Ed's audience. The Gospel may well be secondary.

Benjamin said...

In the clip, Young appears to me to be overly fixated on the "business" of doing church. He appears to be concerned about market share and money rather than the demonstration of the gospel and individual life-change. I agree that we are called to avoid dividing and creating conflict in the broader church. The purpose of the church is glorify God through relationships, worship, and teaching... none of which should be considered a "competition." The man with the biggest church or the biggest following DOES NOT win in heaven.

I personally subscribe to guidance from the Acts 29 leadership that I heard in a recent podcast where Driscoll, et al suggest than any church not investing fully in equipping their members and staff to start new churches are failing to create an environment which stretches and challenges the congregation to grow deeper in their dependence on Christ. As they step up to lead, this is where God grows these "pirates" as well as people around them... and hopefully into a position where they meet a few (or a lot of) people's needs in a way that grows Christ's church - either through evangelism or discipleship.

Bill said...

His thing about "this couldn't happen in the corporate world" - proves that he doesn't know anything about the corporate world.

It happens all the time. Where I work, an executive left in 2006 and immediately a bunch of people began resigning to join her new company. And when she came to our company in the first place she brought a lot of people from her last company.

No one gets sued for that. That's silly. It happens all the time. People are free to quit a company and start a new company. Other people are free to later quit and go join them.

I'm not defending "church pirates", because I am sure there's some truth to what he's saying. But acting like they would "be in jail" if they did that in the business world (meaning, it's even worse than we think!!!) is untrue. Unless I'm missing something here.

Which speaks to one of my pet peeves - Pastors who have never worked a day in the corporate world acting like they understand the corporate world :-)

brad brisco said...

Man it doesn’t get much more ridiculous than this. In the beginning of the video I thought it had to be a joke, but no! Young most certainly sees church as a business; otherwise you would not come up with this crap. Instead you would realize that different church communities connect/reach different people and PRAISE GOD for it. BTW great reflections on the clip.

Micah said...

I don't think that I could add anything more to Bill's last line, so I'll repost it:

"Which speaks to one of my pet peeves - Pastors who have never worked a day in the corporate world acting like they understand the corporate world :-)"

Having read "Good to Great" doesn't make you qualified to speak about business.

I am really glad I wasn't the only one left with a bad taste in my mouth after watching this.


Anonymous said...

OK, I didn't watch the video, but I'll comment on the post.

It seems that if you look at those leaving as pirates, you're more concerned with your power and influence than the mission. I would think, if one of your pastors has an idea that he thinks will better serve the congregation, the community and further the gospel, you ought to be all ears. Even if it means he's going to split away and 'do his own thing'.

That's how it ought to work. The other pastors in your big church are in tune with the pulse of their individual groups. You want them to come tell you things the larger church can do to help them with their ministry. A sister congregation that better meets those needs shouldn't be off the table.

Of course, as has been said, if you make it all about your power, don't be surprised when they make a power grab of their own and take a chunk of your congregation in doing so.

Jared, it seems that the departure of Element from BCC is a good example. You felt that the folks in Element would be better served in a separate organization. You approached the BCC leadership and they agreed. (At least that's my understanding, correct me if I'm, wrong.) Element is thriving, BCC is fine and the gospel advances.

Rev Scottie said...

If Ed had limited his rant to those who join as a staff member with the intent of eventually taking people with them I wouldn't have a problem but he takes it further than that. He talks about "boutique" churches; I see that as a perfect description of Fellowship's video venues. Ed's comparisons to the corporate world are absolutely laughable. He obviously has never been part of the software/technical industry where splits are an almost daily happening.

Mike Gastin said...

Ed is about Ed. How can I tell? Well, if he were a real leader he would be all about developing others. He has these young pastors who need to spread their wings, but Ed keeps their wings clipped. you see, they need to be loyal to Ed.

So, the guys with any pioneering DNA eventually move on and Ed does not get it. He thinks they are disloyal to him - forget about being loyal to God and the kingdom. They hurt Ed and so, in his mind, they can't be right, because this is all about Ed. Just listen to that discourse. I never heard a thing about what Jesus wants.

He is just another wounded pastor who believes his own pub. It is distasteful and he should know better.