“Blame the media” has always been a popular game for Christians to play. Not long ago, Christians had a legitimate claim that our reputation was bad because the media was against us. That’s not the case anymore. Oh sure, the media in general may still think negatively about Christians, if they think about us at all.
We all struggle with the age-old question, “Is God pleased with me and what I’m doing?” Because prayer is hard, many of us use cheap substitutes to answer that question.
Instead of wrestling with the difficult aspects of our relationship with Jesus, many pastors rely on the newest church leadership methods and systems to answer the “is God pleased with me?” question.
It’s quicker and easier to measure our success through numbers and metrics than it is to struggle with our insecurities through prayer. But quicker and easier aren’t better.
There are some bullies in the church growth movement. No, not most of them. And even those who are bullies probably don’t realize it. But they’re bullies, just the same.
It’s because I don’t think they intend to be bullies that I’m using such a strong term – to help them see the hurt they’ve been causing to their fellow Christians and church leaders.
Small Churches and their leaders have suffered under this problem for years. But no one has dared say it out loud. So I’m saying it today, because we can’t fix a problem until we acknowledge it.
Small Church pastors often feel bullied and insulted by the very church leaders we go to for help.
This problem is real. It’s hurtful. And it needs to stop.
Many pastors feel pushed to grow, but don’t the help they need when that growth fails to materialize.
I’ve been thinking and praying about this situation since receiving the messages asking for help from frustrated pastors. From that thought and prayer, as well as from the many conversations I’m having with fellow Small Church pastors, I’ve written a starter list for how church officials can help us. When it comes to helping Small Church pastors – which, by the way, is the vast majority of churches in every denomination, fellowship, movement, network and faith – these might be a good place to begin.
We’re often told that one of the reasons so many churches remain small is lack of faith. But I wonder… could it be that the reverse is true? Might our obsession with bigger and bigger churches be rooted in a greater lack of faith?
Have we been afraid that God might not do his part (building his church) if we’d simply be faithful to do our part (making disciples)? Is it possible that the glut of church growth books, seminars and classes in the last few decades been our attempt to help God out?