Monday, June 14, 2010

Around Whom Do You Revolve?

A new pastor took over the reigns of our fairly large church a little over a year ago. He had the full endorsement of the search committee and he quickly won over the church family. He garnered 98% of the member vote.

And now? Well, he’s lost a few supporters.

Change is met with opposition 100% of the time. But, the change that’s taking place now has turned into a disturbing trend. Most all of the outreach ministries have been seriously limited, or cut all together. Unless it directly revolves around the Sunday sermon, it will no longer be allowed at our church.

To begin with, any ministry that reached a specific group has been cut. There is no longer a “Men’s Ministry”, or a “Women’s Ministry”. All meetings, retreats, and celebrations specific to one gender or the other have been cancelled.

Gone are the monthly M.O.P.S. (Mother Of Pre-Schoolers) meetings, and all weekly Bible studies. The AWANA kids have been relegated to tiny broken down classrooms so the gym can be remodeled into a second sanctuary.

Small home groups—numbering no more than eight people—have replaced Bible study groups. They are all required to study the same material—material that is based on the pastor’s weekly sermons. The Women’s Ministries leader has been reassigned. She now writes the pastor’s sermon-based studies.

The church gym was originally built to accommodate the huge number of kids and youth who filled the campus several times during the week. It’s going to be remodeled so it can accommodate the many services now held every Sunday.

The latest casualty of the new regime is a longtime favorite—“Gospel Music” night. One Sunday evening a month a favorite singing group was brought in to share God through song and old-fashioned fun. The church is always full on Gospel Music night and is a particular favorite among the 50 and older crowd. Those are gone now too.

The new pastor isn’t getting rid of the much-loved music altogether, he’s just rolling it into a new Sunday morning service. If you want to hear the old-fashioned Gospel music, you’ll now have to sit through the pastor’s sermon as well.

Each of the now six services on Sunday mornings will feature a different style of music. The Pastor’s sermon will then be preached live, or will be shown via DVD.

Bible studies, concerts, programs…anything that happens on the church campus must revolve around the pastor’s sermon. Does this strike anyone else as odd—maybe even scary?

Our new pastor has completely cut off most of the other body parts. He clearly sees no use for the many gifts and talents of the family. He acts as if he doesn’t believe God can speak to the congregation through anyone that isn’t him.

God speaks to His kids in many and varied ways. God’s love and truth can be shared during a basketball game, a musical event, or a **gasp** guest speaker.

Is your church pastor-focused or God-focused?

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) Have we set our pastor up for a fall?

Come on people, get off the pew and take a hard look at the direction the church is moving. Get off the pew!

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