In yesterday’s post, I told you about a conversation I had with a friend who was having a hard time finding a good Small Church in the city he’s moved to. When I got to the part about what we, as Small Church leaders can do to help people like my friend, I told you “I love you. But this is gonna sting.”
I was right.
Yesterday’s post resulted in several comments and emails from church leaders who were upset about it. If you haven’t read the post yet, click here to read “Big and Impersonal, Or Small and Pathetic: Are Those My Only Church Options?”, then come back here.
I’m not without fault, so I’ve re-read the post to see if I blew it. (It’s happened before). But I stand by this one.
I intended the post to be strong and direct, even blunt. But not hurtful or offensive. So, today’s post – which began as a response in the comment section, but grew too big for that – is an explanation that might help clarify a few possible misunderstandings.
First, the “dumpy buildings” line which, along with our use of the word “pathetic”, seems to have caused the most distress, was my summary of a much longer conversation. My friend talked with me about several churches whose facilities were so filthy and unkempt that it was obviously more about not caring, than a lack of money or passion. More on that in a moment.
Second, my friend lives on the edge of a large city in the south, where many buildings are older and the parking lots, if they have one, are often gravel or grass, not just in churches, but in a lot of local businesses. That’s just the way things are there, so that’s not his issue. He and I both get that smaller churches won’t have new, perfectly manicured facilities – if they even have a building of their own, that is. I would never criticize hard-working, underpaid pastors for not having a pristine church property. And neither would my friend. Continue reading