Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 151: My Response (with permission)

With the permission of one of my Facebook friends, I am posting my response to a question this person had regarding changing churches.

Hello! I read this thread this morning and was deciding how to address it but I see it got much longer lol...awesome! I grew up in a great church back in Milwaukee. It was the church my mom and dad grew up in. The older I got in the church until my early twenties the more I was getting involved, the quicker people were accepting me. The weird thing is I did not have many friends. I had my church buddies/acquaintances but as far as "go hang out" kind of friends it was non-existent. I suppose some of it could have been my fault and it could be there's as well. I felt like the one to always initiate get togethers.

I ended up visiting my old youth pastor's church in New Berlin for a week and instantly connected. There were people that enjoyed Christian rock (easy now) and video games. What do you want? I was single. Anyway, I connected with them instantly and began to do many things outside of the church with them. We went to many concerts and had a great time. Eventually I was learning that when I would attend church at one place and hang out with others at another place, it did not benefit me. After about a year and a half I pulled up roots and went to the other place and loved it. It was too bad that shortly after that a church came knocking on my door to be their youth pastor which caused me to leave that church.

The point being is, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing stuff with both churches. I honestly believe that. What made me switch in the end was the church I began attending was like walking onto the "Cheers" set except instead of "NORM" it was "BOB!" Being in church together and the almost weekly going out for lunch afterward really made that group of believers my true friends. Did the new church have imperfections? Sure. The majority of the time however it was spot on and the fellowship was great as we could discuss what we heard while hanging out.

After experiencing the many forms of what a pastor should look like, I got sick of it. The pastor I served under in Milwaukee would not leave his office/backroom until it was time for him to go on stage. This is how it was every Sunday morning. I attended the conferences and sat through teachings on how a pastor should act/look. Believe it or not many pastors in some denominations are actually taught in our "pastor classes" that "you are not to be friends with your flock but a pastor." What the? This doesn't register with me. A couple of my will be the first to tell you that I love hanging out with people. It thrills me when someone calls and invites my family over for a visit. We love opening our house to friends as well (which really is everyone at church). I grew up being taught by my parents that it was a VERY special thing to go to the pastor’s house. SCREW THAT! It should not be a special thing but rather a normal thing. Relationship is what a church is all about.

To be completely honest with you I try to be the pastor of a church that people think would be the ideal. I will be honest and say at times I fail miserably. However, I would like to believe that people are getting it...
- One hour/one time partnership class (I hate the word membership and what it represents. Partnership means we are on the same level).

- A church that focuses less on helping missionaries and more on helping our own church people with financial and physical needs.

- I like the idea that no one sits "under" my teaching but rather "with" so it can be a continuing conversation.

- Finally where it can be a place where people just say "Bob" instead of "Pastor Bob" so we can be friends. People already know that I am the pastor and they get it. I have friends in the church that are almost like family but when they need "Pastor Bob" they know I can jump into that mode any time.

I hope that helps...perhaps it was the longest facebook response I have ever done. If it seems hodge-podge it's because it is. I am just speaking from my own life experience and I hope that helps. Your family is awesome and I understand what you might be going through with your thoughts. What I like about Radiant? It is okay not to talk about sports on a Sunday afternoon because there are many nerds that attend that would rather talk about the fact Star Wars is coming out in 3D soon! lol.

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