Roll Your Own

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133 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Wow. It could take me a month to write a response to this…

  2. Alex says:

    No Moses Model.

    Open transparent finances.

    Membership. Membership nominates and elects the Elders. Board is made up of the Elders.

    Pastor serves under the Board and Elders and is one of the Board and Elders and accountable to the Board and Elders and by proxy (nomination and vote of Membership who elect the Elders) also the Membership.

    Clearly articulated and practiced Child Protections in place including mandatory background checks of all youth workers/leaders/volunteers etc. Same goes for Pastors and Elders. If there is a Child Abuse issue, a felony, a misdemeanor domestic violence, no go. If you can’t pass an FBI NICS background check to own a gun legally, you shouldn’t be able to be in a Position of Trust, I don’t care how “Saved” you think you now are. There are other places for you in the Body of Christ. May I suggest scrubbing the toilets or going into street evangelism, or something away from children.

    A venue and structure for Members to air a grievance and have their day in Church Court per 1 Corinthians. If it is a Child Abuse or criminal issue, go to the cops first and go to the church right after. If it’s a Spiritual Abuse type situation, go to the church and report the issue and invoke the provision that provides for some sort of hearing to air the grievance Matthew eighteen style. The propounding party would have to agree in writing to the decision of the Panel or Mediator as would the other party, assuming both are Members of that Church Group.

    If the Panel or Mediator rules in favor of the propounding party and there is no confession and repentance of the offender, then the Scripture is clear: Rebuke them publicly and then turn them over to satan (or basically cancel their membership or position at the church since they didn’t stick to their agreement and went against the consensus of the panel or mediator).

    If the propounding party is found in error, then they are held to the same standard and same consequence if they don’t let it go.

    In my case with Chuck Smith, he agreed to get back to me in 2 weeks and broke the agreement and I had been Stone Walled many times up to that point. I was very clear about the terms of the deal and reminded his attorney about the deadline. Chuck simply didn’t care. Who was I? Who were the peons in Visalia to demand he do something? His attitude was terrible. His excuse was worse. Then he blasts me from the pulpit and then he says I’m worse than BG. What a terrible “leader” Chuck Smith is.

    The fact that there was a Group of CC pastors ready to go deal with Bob Grenier (led by a PhxP Pastor) is telling. It shows me that there is some good there, but at the end of the day, if Chuck Smith says “jump”…even the good guys say “how high?”

    Chuck Smith’s pride got in the way of some proper biblical justice and accountability in the BG situation. God is still using it, however, as the doors it has opened are tremendous. I eventually see major lawsuits and major pushes for legislation that will change the way churches (and especially Mega-churches) conduct their Businesses.

  3. Xenia says:

    Simple answer: Eastern Orthodox, and all that entails. I have a personal preference for ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) but any would do. Within the Orthodox parameters there are a few choices to choose from and these would be my preferences:

    1. No pews
    2. No organ (Some parishes have a little electric organ in the corner to keep everyone on tune.)
    3.. Beard and long hair for clergy
    4. Deacon with basso profundo
    5. Headcoverings and long skirts for women, no jeans for men
    6. Men stand on the right, women on the left
    7 No food festival
    8. Some English
    9. Nice, friendly congregation of all ages
    10. All ethnic groups welcome
    11. Confession a requirement for Communion
    12. Strict observance of fasts, esp. Lent
    13. An outreach to the community
    14. Good bookstore
    15. Within walking distance

    (My own parish has almost all of these “preferences” and is therefore just about perfect in my eyes.)

    If some of this sounds superficial, it is because the heavy-duty stuff (like theology) is included in “Eastern Orthodox and all that entails” which would include non-negotiables like Liturgical services, non-instrumental chant, extremely closely guarded chalice, one liturgy per Sunday with All Night Vigil (2 hrs) the night before (or Vespers) plus services for every feast and major Saint’s day and a plethora of special services during Lent; no tongues (but yes on healing and prophecies), a very strong doctrine of Free Will, finances are very simple and open to all, Bishop-rule (and theres a Patriarch, too), we have a priest who serves the liturgy w/ the deacon and altar servers, all in vestments. The priest is accountable to the bishop in San Francisco who visits our parish at least once a year.

    I include veneration of the Saints, the sign of the Cross, prostrations, icons, candles, prayers for the dead, infant baptism, and many other non-negotiables.

  4. Reuben says:

    Doctrinally?

    Well, since it is my dream church, Reformed-Charismatic.

    Leadership…congregational, senior pastor, elder led, other?

    Congregational. The church would be an official membership church, open to any to attend, but members are made as such by Catechism. I would be very partial to the Anglican Catechism. Two pastors for obvious reasons, it would not be efficient to have a traditional service and an extended charismatic service led by the same guy. The Liturgical service would be based on the church calendar. The contemporary service would follow relatively the same format.

    Liturgical or not?

    Both. Which would carry on to another question. I think the early risers would have an early morning Liturgical service. Second service would be a little more… chaotic? There are things about Vineyard that I truly miss. They had such an emphasis on powerful worship. I miss the days of David Ruis, Kevin Prosch, Jude Del-Hiro. It got whacky, in that it was all they did. The worship was worshiped. The teaching was less Biblical, and more “prophetic”… but there were elements I would love to incorporate into worship.

    Musical worship style?

    Liturgical, followed by a second service of more modern worship, sans the Jesus is my boyfriend crap. See above.

    Missions…home, abroad, or both or neither?

    Home first, if the church votes to support missions abroad, I would be all for it. But the primary emphasis is the local community.

    Lords Table?

    Every service, in the method of the Anglican church, making clear that the Lord’s Table is the Lord’s, and open to anyone who believes. This would be a Liturgy that would be incorporated into both services. Period.

    Saturday night, Wednesday night…or God forbid, two services on Sunday?

    Obviously two services on Sunday, Liturgical followed by “contemporary”. Mid-week prayer service is a must. Mid-week worship service would be nice.

    Gifts of the Spirit in use?

    Absolutely. Obviously the Liturgical service would not be leaving much room for this. I think that is ok too.

    Financials…tithe teaching or not, open books or not?

    I do not believe that the new testament church is bound to tithing in the old testament sense. I refuse to teach on it. Agape box, or whatever people like to call it, is left at the foyer. I don’t even want the notion in the worship services. There is no plate in my dream church. The books are always open. Monthly reports e-mailed to the congregation.

    Church boards…who is on them and who chooses them?

    Boards are elected by the congregation. I would be one hell of a lot more motivated to teach on this than tithing.

    What are the primary roles of the pastors and elders and who are they accountable to?

    …for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ…

    The pastors and elders are accountable in the pragmatic sense to the congregation. First and foremost to Christ, who is the head of the church.

    The bylaws and constitutions are written by the elected elders, and amended/ratified by church vote. Any grievance is floored at the church meetings. All involved will be allowed to have their say. Resolution is determined by majority vote of the congregation. Elders and pastors have one vote.

    There is no way this church would work. It would flop in a few years. But dreams are fun! I keep editing this, hope thats ok…

  5. nomansapologist says:

    I would be filled with the spirit at both Dreads and Xenias congregations.
    Happy pope picking =)
    Be blessed today, beautiful PP saints!

  6. Alex says:

    Another biggie for me: No central Man-prophet/Idol figure. No centralized Guru that people revere too much, other than Jesus Christ.

    The Cult-of-personality is toxic, IMO, in all the Church Systems where I see some sort of Central Figure that everyone gets all jello-legged over like teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

  7. Scott Barber says:

    Eucharistic worship is the ultimate celebrity pastor killer – where the pulpit is not longer at center stage; where the worship band is no longer the “high-point” in the service; where you don’t come to church to be fed only with one man’s rant, another man’s vision, or yet another’s scientific exegisis; where the pastor becomes just one more facless priest faithfully speaking the words of Christ over the elements; where you come to kneel; where you come to worship Christ and to be united with him.

  8. I like Scott Barber’s thinking. Thanks

  9. Lutheran says:

    ‘Eucharistic worship is the ultimate celebrity pastor killer’

    I believe at least in theory, that’s true — up to a point.

    But church is more than the service. There’s also the fellowship of the saints. And no matter how anonymous the pastor/priest is during the Service, he or she also rubs shoulders with the saints — indeed, he/she is nothing more or less than sinner/saint, too. If the personality of the pastor doesn’t matter, then why not just put a robot in the pulpit?

    So practically speaking, the church’s ‘atmosphere’ plays a major role in a church, beyond the digitizing of style points posted at the top of this thread.

    Does the leadership share power? Does everyone get a vote? Is the atmosphere open, or is there a lot of back room, secretive stuff going on?

    If those things are true from the start, then the church plant has a lot better chances of success, IMHO. This is irrespective of whether it’s liturgical, nonliturgical, etc., etc.

  10. Chile says:

    Alex named most on my list. His list is what I see as most crucial.

    Reuben and Barber’s take on liturgical speaks to where I’m at now. But my preference for liturgical is what I know of that can create an experience of focusing on repentance, God’s greatness, the Lord’s Supper, the OT & NT readings, and then a disciplined homily.

    But whether or not it’s liturgical, I’m fine. It’s all in the pale. I just don’t want cult of personality and a service of just absorbing and as Reuben put it, singing about Jesus being my boyfriend.

  11. Chile says:

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2009/03/lessons-in-dealing-with-disgruntled.html

    This is not something that can be structured or quantified, but Wade Burleson describes an attitude that a church leader should have towards disgruntled members.

    I think this is an absolute essential in church leadership, an example that must be lived out for others to learn to

    This is seriously worth a quick read. Frankly, this made me and my entire family weep. Please read.

  12. The church isn’t about me and what I want. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
    But since people don’t think that way these days.There are all kinds of churches out there with differing styles. Instead of fussing about what is wrong with a church go find one that trips your trigger. Too many people out there trying to plant church after church

  13. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m completely happy at my church. If I had to make a couple of utopia general requirements for a church it would be:

    Little structure. Programs, offices, hierarchy. As little of that stuff as possible.
    Lots of interaction among the body. People meeting the needs of others and asking nothing in return. Paying rent, fixing cars, helping with medical bills…you name it. What’s mine is yours, no questions asked.

  14. Anne says:

    #11 – Wow. Such wisdom and grace. Perfect timing for me as an example/ application for also interacting with individuals. I am preparing for an extended visit behind the Orange Curtain. May I have grace to be wise,compassionate and kind to those who were not always so to me.

  15. Chile says:

    Isn’t it powerful, Anne? So compelling …

  16. Reuben says:

    I agree that personality driven fellowships desecrate the Church.

    I also think that the more Liturgy, the less Man. You see a shift in the dynamic of how the Body of Christ functions. The priest is the servant of the Body of Christ, not the head of it.

  17. j2theperson says:

    I’m quite happy at the Episcopal church I attend. The Diocese of Fon Du Lac is a little more conservative that some other parts of the Episcopal church, so I don’t know that I would be comfortable elsewhere. But I like it here. I like the liturgy, the fact that we have female deacons, the role the congregation plays in church government, the fact our pastor doesn’t pontificate on politics, and that everyone is welcoming and friendly.

  18. j2theperson says:

    And I also like that children are welcome in the service, and nobody cares if I have to breastfeed Cal.

  19. Fly on a Wall says:

    Oh… this is fun! Kinda like Sim Church!

    All joking aside, the answer is easy, LOVE. A church without love is a miserable, horrible, dank place, one not easily forgotten or removed from the soul.

    Love for Jesus AND love for others.

    All the other details fall under this basic rule.

    I’ll answer the other questions in detail later. This is too fun.

  20. Lutheran says:

    j2p

    I’m really glad you and your family have found a good Episcopal church!

    I remember being in a CC and breastfeeding during the service was a very big, hairy deal. God forbid it should exist in the same sanctuary where the pastor’s precious verse-by-verse sacramentalism was going on. LOL.

    We’ve also found in the Lutheran church, a very welcoming presence for children. They aren’t just nuisances to be shuttered away so the adults can do the important stuff.

  21. Alex says:

    Ya, when Jesus said, “let the little children come to me”…He CLEARLY meant after the Service and after the Specially Anointed Prophet was done with his “important” word he got directly from the Lord for the faithful to hear that morning from prophet’s pulpit… (sarc alert).

    Can’t have kids and babies interrupting God’s anointed…his every word is so important and all. Plus, it interferes with the radio show editing, big nuisance.

  22. j2theperson says:

    I will say, the CC I grew up in (which was a horrible CC and I don’t recommend it to anybody), had a couple nursing rooms right off the sanctuary. They had big glass windows so you could watch what was going on and they had nice speakers so you could hear. I don’t have a problem with a set up like that, and I could see that actually being more welcoming to some women–ones who aren’t comfortable whipping their boobs out in public or nursing in front of strangers. And, sometimes it’s appropriate to take your child out of the service. Cal is pretty good, but every once in a while she’ll get too squawky, so I’ll just take her off to the chapel next to the sanctuary so I can hear everything but she can move around more. Then I just come back in for the Eucharist.

  23. Fly on a Wall says:

    I don’t think there’s one big, ecumenical church that will please everyone. The closest to that is Rick Warren’s church, whic/h tries to please everyone but hits 80% of the people at 80%. LOL. (I’m making fun of the 80/20 rule).

    I believe if God has called you to start a church, do so as God leads you. Then the people will follow. But people are secondary to God. For example, if God leads you to the yuppies in Irvine (the hardest ministry, imho) then set up a church in Irvine, have lots of social events and outreaches, and PLENTY of family/marriage counseling, because that is what will meet their needs. (honestly, bleeech. Thank God for the ones who have been called and not me).

    But if you’re called to the victims of sex-trafficking in Mexico, then you need to build a humble church, one that isn’t intimidating. You’ll need outside financial backers, because your congregation will not be able to support you. You’ll need families/staff who are passionate about the victims as you are, and be ready to take them into a safe haven, then counsel to them. That will meet their needs.

    You CANNOT have both churches co-exist at the same place.

    But both churches are doing the will of God, neither is better/worse than the other. It is what God has called you to do and he has equipped you to do it.

  24. Fly on a Wall says:

    All the other things we cry about, is the result of the flesh and absence of spirit. We can spend weeks trying to pinpoint every detail such as financial accountability, spiritual accountability, atonement, etc… Or we can say LOVE the Lord your God, and LOVE your neighbors as yourself.

    You wouldn’t ignore yourself if you’re being abused, right? Just as you wouldn’t steal from yourself.

    TBH: the Moses’ model (bleeech) is the most efficient. You can probably get the most done with this model. But with great power comes great responsibility… and I never trust a human with power, I give it grudgingly. As CC has proven, this world cannot handle the Moses’ model, so I don’t recommend it. But maybe a revised version would work.

  25. mrtundraman says:

    Folks, it’s trick question. If it’s a church plant there’s already a parent church or denomination doing the planting and all of those things are already predetermined by the group that did the plant. You’ve already been tested at their church planting facility to test your conformance to their doctrines and practices. You wouldn’t have agreed to be part of the plant if you didn’t already agree with the organization.

  26. jlo says:

    Funny thing about children/babies in service… this past Sunday we had a baby in service, and of course it started to cry just as the Pastor was making a point, he didn’t skip a beat. He just remarked that, even the baby understood and moved through his point.

  27. Macbobke says:

    As a ‘Jesus People’ Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa convert ( the fall of 1970 ) I am saddened by CCCM’s shortcomings, but not too surprised.

    I quit my job and went to their first ‘Bible College’ at Twin Peaks in the mid 1970’s… thinking I was called to ‘the Ministry’, what a mess that ‘College’ was. I was very discouraged by the parade of CC ‘ministers’ who had a good rap, but later during lunch break were not so holy. That behavior convinced me to go back to work & witness in the World. At least in the World I was on guard for that kind of stuff. Besides only Romaine liked me & I wasn’t ever on anyone’s ‘A list’.

    To CCCM’s credit, their simple go thru the Bible from Genesis to Rev format planted a hunger to study the Word within me. The simple Worship choruses lead by Pastor Chuck – without a ‘worship team’ – were great.

    Today I am a happy pilgrim, but Please don’t give me that ‘Last Days’ marketing hype. Boy did I get in trouble in 1976 when I asked about why we were not Raptured yet, why was the church buying all this property ? I didn’t notice that the staff had homes, a wife & the kids
    were going to college.

    No one is immune to the effects of too much money & power, especially when it’s a dictatorship with only ‘yes men’ around. Friends working at CCCM today call the ‘Logos building’ the Vatican & Chuck’s golf cart the Popemobile, kind of says it all to me.
    I am kind of looking for that white smoke some day.

    Signed,
    One CCCM burnout still in love with Jesus.

  28. mrtundraman says:

    The problem with infants in church isn’t the infant crying and it’s rarely really all that bothersome to the pastor who has to preach past people sleeping, reading text messages, etc. It’s more that the mother or father gets dirty looks from the people sitting around them when their child cries.

    I was at a church which insisted on having all ages in the sanctuary and it would have worked out OK if they were really welcomed, noise and all. Unfortunately, visitors with children were made to feel uncomfortable if their children weren’t perfect.

    If a church is going to have babies in the service, the adults at the church need to be trained to not turn around and glare. And it’s much hard to teach adults to behave than children. Especially adults who have corrupt hearts about what constitutes worship thinking true worship excludes noisy babies.

  29. Te great thing about the Lutheran church is that the young people have the kifd and don’t mind and us older folks can;t hear anymore, so we don’t mind. 🙂

    But seriously, in our church, the babies / kids are a baptized members, just like us – not a visitor or a hindrance. The liturgy speaks clearly to them.

  30. Ixtlan says:

    If I planted a church it would be like the church I am currently attending. Independent, elder led. Small and simple. Modern worship, frequent communion, giving to the poor and in-depth small group Bible study during the week. A place were the views of some of the early Fathers, George Eldon Ladd, N.T. Wright, Eugene Peterson would homogenize well with Wiersbe and Lewis Johnson.

  31. Macbobke,
    In the words of Gorge Takai,
    “ohhhh myyyyy!”

    Welcome to PhxP, glad you’re here!!!

  32. Lutheran says:

    Itxlan,

    Your church sounds pretty neat!

  33. Bryan says:

    Woke up with this on my mind. Not to over simplify but I like this. Jesus promised his presence in our fellowship. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.” A lot of these networked throughout a community would be a goal. Let the Word be central, and follow Hebrews 12:1-3 with honest intent. There certainly is more to it but I trust God to hold and disciple his own, and he will build his Church. And each small fellowship will take on a character all its own.

  34. Bryan says:

    I like Jesus’ Church Model. He is the most profound person I know, yet he is able to make statements so succint and clear. In his Great ReCommission in Matthew 28, he says to his eleven disciples, go and make disciples, and baptize them. He assures the doubtful in the group that all authority has been given to him and he will never desert them in their mission to make disciples in all nations. Jesus builds the Church through the making of disciples, not through the gathering of faithless membership. When you ask what a healthy church should look like, look to the fellowship Jesus lead and modeled while here on Earth. Don’t add a thing beyond what he commanded. Keep it simple. By that I mean, in the most profound earthly task a person can be called to, make disciples by teaching them to observe and practice all that Jesus said was primary. And baptize them. Then continue the process in the power and wisdom of God where ever men need to be reconciled to God. Jesus never intended this process to be institutionalized. It’s fluid, nimble, risky, mysterious, and uncertain within the details. The grand picture is that no one will thwart Jesus’ mission to reach all peoples before he returns for his Bride. It’s happening now, and it will happen tomorrow whether we get blinded by secondary issues for the rest of this century. Praise be to God for using eleven timid and uncertain men to bring the good news to us by making disciples rather than building a mega complex in Jerusalem.

  35. “When you ask what a healthy church should look like, look to the fellowship Jesus lead and modeled while here on Earth.”

    Well, if I take a good look, Jesus was probably the worst church builder of all time.
    1.) at best,in 3 years work he built his church to 120 – but in the end most of his church members weren’t very loyal.
    2.) everytime He tried to drive a point home, he lost church members.in great numbers.
    3.) in the end He had to send in a replacement to do it right.

  36. Bryan says:

    What? Jesus made disciples. Frail, impetuous, doubting men empowered and used to start a movement that traces to our day. That is the irony of it all. The Church exists, and is widespread, and growing exponentially, not because of able bodied men but because Jesus is faithful to his word, and able to accomplish what he set out to do. Jesus needs no A-team “to do it right”.

  37. We can plant and water, but only God can make it grow.

  38. Bryan,
    I was being a bit light hearted with my response, but you had emphasized “while here on earth”.

    The church of Jesus was powerless and a total failure while Jesus was on earth. It did not become powerful and effective until Jesus left the earth and sent the Holy Spirit (the replacement I spoke of)

  39. Bryan says:

    With you brother. This is a two dimensional medium. Takes a lot of words to explain.
    I will not give my loyalties to the Church Fathers, Luther, Calvin, Billy Graham, Chuck Smith, or the tooth fairy. But I will stand with Jesus.

    I’m increasingly less interested in supporting a bloated, bible rich North American Church when our brothers and sisters in the Global South need discipleship.

  40. Bryan,
    The largest Lutheran Churches in the world are in Africa – 6 million alone in Kenya.

    My support of my “bloated” church helped develop those African Christian Churches.

  41. filbertz says:

    The shopping cart is a good symbol for it fits the typical church shopper who wants the ‘ideal’ church instead of becoming the ‘ideal’ churchman. I didn’t attend ‘church’ for quite some time because none ‘fit.’ Turns out, I was the misshapen piece. No church is perfect, but no person is either. These two imperfect components need each other. I’m quietly back in a fellowship which has lots of needs and shortcomings…so I’m a good match.

  42. Papias says:

    “I’m completely happy at my church.” – Josh

    Serious questiojn Josh. I am pretty happy with my SBC as well, except for the teaching of tithing. Assuming that your SBC teaches tithing, I assume that you are in agreement with it?

    I can overlook that subject when its taught, but I am kind of wondering if the church looks at it as a litmus test of faithfulness? You know, when it gets right down the basics, you have to “pay to play” or serve in the church.

    If you don’t want to answer the question, thats OK.

    Starting to think that chruches care about is money.

  43. Alex says:

    Bryan, it’s good to have your voice here.

  44. @ 43 – My church does not stress tithing, though I’m sure my pastor believes in tithing.
    I would simply disagree with my pastor on that point. I don’t think it is a crucial point, and it isn’t stressed at all. Our church is very poor. Not much money grabbing going on.

  45. Andrew says:

    Doctrinally? Conservative, historical Christian doctrine built on foundation of the apostles with Jesus Christ as chief cornerstone.

    Leadership…congregational, senior pastor, elder led, other? Complete repudiation of the American made Chuck Smith invention of the CEO Moses Model.

    Liturgical or not? Not sure.

    Musical worship style? Should not to be rock star centered but rather Christ centered. No secular AC/DC songs like “High Way to Hell” being played.

    Missions…home, abroad, or both or neither. Missions minded but balanced.

    Lords Table? Should give the charge to examine yourself and make right with your brother before you take of the elements. This means Chuck Smith should examine his heart with how he treated Alex and get back to him with apology for the Fatwa from pulpit before the next time he takes elements at the Lord’s table.

    Saturday night, Wednesday night…or God forbid, two services on Sunday? I do like midweek but not at the sake of sacrificing family at the alter.

    Gifts of the Spirit in use? If you claim to speak in tongues as many Calvary Chapel pastors do, then please have an interpreter of someone of a known language that can truly vouch for your so called gift of being able to speak in tongues otherwise it is meaningless to tell us you even have the gift of tongues.

    Financials…tithe teaching or not, open books or not? Completely open books for all to see. Tithing to the church cannot be found in the new testament. Only concept of generous giving should be taught.

    Church boards…who is on them and who chooses them? Church Board should be elder board and should be completely known to the church members with their approval. No outside influence.

    What are the primary roles of the pastors and elders and who are they accountable to? Pastors and elders are the same and should care for the flock and not be Moses Model dictatorial CEO vision casting arrogant touch not God’s anointed specially appointed presidents.

  46. Filbertz @ #42
    I am glad, for your sake and the sake of the church you are attending, that you are back in fellowship. I know how difficult a decision that was for you and Mrs. Fiblertz. The reasoning that went into your decision shows a depth of maturity and skill.

  47. Right on, for Filbertz. That’s a good example for all of us!

  48. PP Vet says:

    “back in fellowship” = attends Sunday, gives a little, shakes hands in the foyer.

    “not part of the Body” = ministering to family, extended family and neighbors, meeting with friends, praying, fasting, ministering to coworkers, etc. But the organized church gestapo disapproves.

  49. and i still say that whole church fellowship problem could be resolved by eliminating the parking lots – zone them out – illegal – well some handicap slots, mebbe – simply force each neighborhood’s true Believers to walk to church to fellowship together … now that’s the EARLY CHURCH model

  50. fme2 says:

    In short, Poiema Fellowship with a heaping helping of New Life City. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that 🙂

  51. Alex says:

    Personally, I don’t expect a “perfect” Church…I expect people to be sinners.

    I do, however, expect a church to do some basic things that even the unwashed heathens would do like: Protect kids, teach and practice against Child Abuse, hold their Leadership accountable, not be Corrupt liars and be transparent with the finances etc and give a dang when folks express grievances.

  52. Alex says:

    …if a church wants to preach on tithing, pick Rapture dates every month, dance on their heads and speak in gibberish, think their leaders are “specially anointed”, take communion 10 times every service, sing hymns or “christian” rock music, and have a Starbuck’s in their church, I can mostly give a rat’s arse.

    If a “church” can’t get some basic things right in terms of Right and Wrong, then I don’t trust them and I won’t support them.

  53. Andrew says:

    Christian rock and Starbuck’s is no real biggie for me. When it comes to “specially anointed”, I begin to smell the Moses Model stench that leads to a culture of corruption and abuse. Although I expect sinners in church I also expect there to be love for the saints that surpasses the kind of love that even the heathen have for each other. What I can say with absolute certainty is that this love is not one of child abuse and suing that Chuck Smith seems to tolerate and actually encourage with his rhetoric or lack of it.. Shameful!

  54. Bob (not Alex's) says:

    An often used term which is subtle, but with HUGE overtones is, “to serve.”

    Every CC person I know uses this term and uses it in a way to bring condemnation down on those who don’t “serve” enough. I also have heard it use by Mars Hill (Mark D’s) people in the very same manner.

    The problem is the way “serve” is used here is in the context of “serving” within the church and not outside. Basically a person could run a homeless shelter 24/7 and yet not “serve” because their pastor received no benefit from them (and we all know “the pastor speaks for god”).

  55. Andrew says:

    Good point Bob. Also where did the idea that we are to have just one pastor at one church come from? I listen to a bunch of different pastors from different churches. Who says church is supposed to be like a corporation where the organizational structure is that we report to one boss our pastor? We should all report directly to Jesus and after that have various counselors to help us along our journey. Pastors that want you to serve them are themselves not being servant leaders. This is the way I see it.

  56. Andrew,
    That sounds pretty man centered – or perhaps self centered. Whoever said church was to go listen to a pastor as the main event.

    So your take is “I hear Mr. Big will be in this town next week – let’s go follow him. And then I will call Stub Hub and find out who else is coming to town and we will go listen to him.”

  57. mrtundraman says:

    The new Pope is the first Jesuit Pope? I can only imagine what the ODMs will do next…

  58. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Little structure. Programs, offices, hierarchy. As little of that stuff as possible.
    Lots of interaction among the body. People meeting the needs of others and asking nothing in return. Paying rent, fixing cars, helping with medical bills…you name it. What’s mine is yours, no questions asked.”

    This^^^^^^^

  59. Fly on a Wall says:

    Bob says: “Every CC person I know uses this term and uses it in a way to bring condemnation down on those who don’t “serve” enough. I also have heard it use by Mars Hill (Mark D’s) people in the very same manner”

    This.

    This is such a big turn off. It’s not just CC, every Every Even-Jelly-filled I’ve attended use this tactic to get people to serve.

    There were times I was downright nasty at my old Jelly-filled, where everyone was running around serving (it was an Asian church, must have something to do with being submissive), yet when I would complain that people working in the Children’s ministry were not being served, their needs were not being met, I would get this exact comment.

    “You’re called to serve, not to be served.” Followed with various stories about Jesus and some missionaries in China, who never had a convert, just served poor Chinese children all day. Weep.

    That’s why I was so nasty in my Yelp review about how we (the home church) were expected to give so much to foster these oversees churches in China, Thailand, India, Mars, Jupiter, etc… yet there was so little serving to the people that attended the home church.

    It’s a conundrum. I don’t have an answer. I don’t completely disregard the need to serve our foreign brothers and sisters, especially if their church is doing great things but their congregation does not have the means to sustain themselves.

    Yet, when it comes to “serving” we need to serve the people who enter our house, and have entrusted us to lead them spiritually. These people need to be served too, or given a break from serving.

    I could get nasty and start giving reasons why churches do this… but I promise not to be snarky. 🙂

  60. filbertz says:

    Hopkins,
    your church is still our ‘home church’ but the drive is a killer. 😉

  61. Reuben says:

    Just curious…

    How many people were talked into an unpaid position in the church with the promise of “working yourself” into a full time paid job?

  62. Scott says:

    Doctrinally? I’m all for Corrie Ten Boom style.

    Leadership…congregational, senior pastor, elder led, other? Elder led, pastor being one of the elders but doesn’t run the show.

    Liturgical or not?

    Musical worship style? Praise music of any kind with Jesus at the center, not us. No rock, no fusion, no jazz.

    Missions…home, abroad, or both or neither? Mission to immediate area and community first, then outward.

    Lords Table? Once a month

    Saturday night, Wednesday night…or God forbid, two services on Sunday? At least one meeting a week for prayer.

    Gifts of the Spirit in use? Yes!

    Financials…tithe teaching or not, open books or not? Yes, open books. No tithes, cheerful giving like in the NT. No expensive church buildings. Stay in small groups. Break into small groups when it grows.

    Church boards…who is on them and who chooses them? Nah.

    What are the primary roles of the pastors and elders and who are they accountable to? Teach the word, take care of the widows and orphans.

    If I left out a category of particular importance to you, feel free to mention it. Teach the full counsel or God, not just NT. Teach the deeper things of God, not just the same old stuff over and over.

    Fill your cart and proceed to build your own vision of what the church should look like.
    Small, community, elders (old folks in the Lord) have a place to share wisdom, people are discipled.

  63. PP Vet says:

    If I Ran The Zoo …. If I started a church it would be a place for the Holy Spirit to have His way.

  64. “Lords Table? Once a month”

    Once a month???? Geez, cut the preaching to once a month if time is so tight. Much more is given in the supper than the message.

  65. Scott says:

    Martin Luther’s Disciple: to each his own.

  66. Alex says:

    New Pope selected…Martin Luther rolls over in his grave 🙂

  67. Align with a healthy traditional denomination and let there be a level of leadership outside the local church overseeing the process

  68. PP Vet says:

    Churches sometimes model the culture, and that is not necessarily always wrong.

    Most commerce now is over the Internet or in a megastore, and so it is with religion as well.

    The small brick-and-mortar local church no longer has the place it once had. It is an inefficient medium for much of what it it trying to accomplish.

  69. PPV,
    Right – to have a church where no one knows the pastor and the pastor knows no one – that’s the more efficient way.

    Look, you get brainwashed by Super Bowl commercials, so it does not surprise me that you are bedazzled by mega church hype.

    But as Scott said above – to each his own.

  70. j2theperson says:

    ***The small brick-and-mortar local church no longer has the place it once had. It is an inefficient medium for much of what it it trying to accomplish.***

    What is the brick and mortar small local church trying to accomplish?

  71. 1 thing they are trying to accomplish is getting two humans together in the same room.

  72. j2theperson says:

    I’m curious what PP Vet thinks, though. I look at my church and I don’t see how it could accomplish what it is trying to accomplish if it wasn’t set up the way it was. But PP Vet claimed that small brick-and-mortar local churches are trying to accomplish things that would be better suited for a different medium, so I’m curious what those things are they are he sees them trying to accomplish and why the way they go about it is inefficient.

  73. Yeah, I agree with you J2.

  74. PP Vet says:

    Well, for one thing, there has to be a better way than supporting a building that is usually empty.

    In my experience local churches churn through staggering amounts of money, and deliver in return a very limited amount of effective outreach and genuine forward spiritual movement in people. To what extent it provides God pleasure is of course hard to measure.

    People in the same room is better than Skype. But a whole lot more expensive.

    What is a pastor? I pastor somewhere between five and 20 people, depending on how you define that, with a lot more personal pastoring and intercession and guidance than most pastors provide to anyone who shows up on Sunday.

  75. Papias says:

    Perhaps PPV sees (some) churches as a one-way only communication of the gospel with no feedback needed after the service? If thats ones idea of church, then I do pity them, cause thats not what church is supposed to be.

    Although I have had plenty of experience of having that feeling – that you aren’t really needed to do anything but show up and place your money in the plate when it comes by. If thats all thats needed, why not just have a podcast and take credit card donations?

  76. Papias says:

    I knew it was taking me awhile to type my 76, distracted by work and all, but I didn’t see PPV’s 75 until after I posted…. (embarrased smiley) :$

  77. PP Vet says:

    I would be happy to sign the Mormons-are-all-reprobate-heretics-on-the-way-to-hell pledge

    – but –

    there is a lovely simple building a mile from my house that meets the needs of three separate LDS congregations – none of which have paid clergy! That is a more efficient approach IMHO.

  78. j2theperson says:

    My impression is that smaller churches use their buildings more than larger churches do–at least the smaller churches I know of. Our church hosts a lot of different stuff through-out a week or a month. The building isn’t used 24/7, but it’s used a lot more than just once or twice a week and it is helpful that it’s available as a meeting place. For example, through-out a month, there are four different la leche league meetings held there. It would be difficult to find a large enough space for those groups if the church wasn’t available.

  79. Xenia says:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dianejp/6929007725/

    Our small church. (I am not the “Diane” who took this photo.)

  80. Xenia says:

    Josh, that looks like the Baptist church my family in North Carolina attends, quite lovely!

  81. Wow! What part of North Carolina?

  82. Fly on a Wall says:

    PP Vet says: “I would be happy to sign the Mormons-are-all-reprobate-heretics-on-the-way-to-hell pledge ”

    I was going to wait till Open Blogging, but since PP Vet mentioned them.

    My thoughts on Mormon good works: when Brian was sick with cancer, no one helped us out except family and MORMONS (yeah really folks, Christians suck). So I have a special place in my heart for Mormons. There’s a Mormon family that have taken a liking to Brian and they are wealthy and they’ve more than helped out his family and asked nothing in return. Their charitable concern really makes me do a double-take and a wowzer. It is unbelievable how generous they are.

    But as much as I owe the Mormons, I have this to say: could their “good” nature stem from a religion based upon works? Are they really “good” people or is fear driving them to do these (amazing) things? Fear is a good motivator and very efficient. But as much as grace as made Christians lazy and self serving, I’d rather have a religion of love and grace, where I know my salvation is secure.

  83. Fly on a Wall says:

    Wow, I like that post so much, I might post again for Open Blogging.

    Am I being George Constanza by double posting?

  84. Lutheran says:

    Chaplain Mike nailed the whole thing @68.

    Chaplain Mike,

    I’m a big fan of IM. So great to see you here!

    I’m not worthy.

    🙂

  85. Lutheran says:

    What I found in CC and to a similar degree with other low-church Prots. is that they have no to very little knowledge about established denoms. To me, they’re a treasure. They can keep believers from spinning in a spiritual rut and eventually, reinventing the wheel.

  86. Chile says:

    Re: @84

    The Mormons in my neighborhood were very helpful until it was clear that you would never be a convert, then they wouldn’t talk to you. Just my limited experience.

    The CC in the neighborhood wouldn’t visit, not a single time, when I was extremely ill for a year (didn’t know if I was going to make it.) We begged for the leader of my small group, the assistant pastor, anyone in the group, others in the neighborhood to please visit. Their reply, “We’re too busy in the ministry to visit the sick.”

    One old couple from the Pentecostal persuasion visited and were very kind.

    A group from a church an hour away in the Assemblies of God brought lots of food, visited, prayed, checked on me, showed back up when my basement flooded and I couldn’t do a thing about it, plus much much more. Even their pastor and his wife visited and followed up all on their own. They knew our whole family was not being tended to by our church and they took it upon themselves to go way out of their way to “love their neighbor.”

    I don’t care who you are, what you believe, what church you go to … if you love your neighbor, God shines through you!

  87. Xenia says:

    Josh, they live in Hobgood!

  88. Nonnie says:

    Chile, your testimony of the asst. pastor and home group being “too busy” to visit you….I’m stunned and saddened. That is tragic! Absolutely shocking. I’m sorry you had to suffer that.

  89. PP Vet says:

    The Mormon situation is in fact very nuanced.

    I just “pledged” because I did not want to see the conversation diverted into me being accused of being a Mormon-lover, since I was about to say something nice about Mormons.

    So I stuck the pledge out there pre-emptively.

    I do not really believe that.

  90. Chile says:

    Thanks, Nonnie! It was a sad realization for us as a family. We had been involved at the church for years, belonged to the AP’s home fellowship in the neighborhood, but when I was too ill to attend church for the better part of a year, I was “out of sight, out of mind.”

    I even reduced myself to begging a few times when I managed to get a communication to the AP (which was difficult on it’s own) to please visit as my faith was being affected. Still, no one from the church would visit. Others said they assumed the AP and his wife would look out for me since they lived right by us.

    I’ve never been one to have expectations of a pastor of any sort, but I do have expectations that as Christians we will make some sort of effort at some point when a person boldly asks for help. After a year of the illness and the following of recovery, as well as my repeated requests for a visit, I did expect something.

    In the end, they sent some money. Little did they know that I would have paid them to visit me … just once, just to see them treat me like I had any value as a human being at all. Their money meant nothing to me other than their need to appease their conscience.

    But of all the things that happened, this part of my story was the least of my issues. It was, however, a story that affected the neighbors. One by one, over the following few years, they all asked me privately if the AP ever visited me while I was sick, even though I’d never told them anything about it. They just knew the character of him and his wife, which is why they swore they’d never go to that church.

    Reason number 9870975456787557 why we should love our neighbors!

  91. Nonnie says:

    Chile, I cannot imagine a church like you described. What could that AP have been doing that was more important than ministering to the people of that church? Unbelievable! (not to imply I don’t believe you. 🙂 Is he still in ministry? Is that church thriving? Honestly, I have never heard of a church like that. I hope you have found a loving church now!

  92. Chile says:

    That AP was complicit with the pastor in his many spiritual abuses, but when the pastor got caught with financial and moral failings (the least of his issues,) the AP painted himself as a victim … though he was guilty of the worst of the spiritual abuse with the pastor.

    When the other area CC pastors forced our CC pastor out (Apparently they can do this when they want to,) the AP was praised and elevated. He’s still there, thriving. He’s still part of the machine and never communicated repentance or remorse of any kind to those of us he had a part in removing from the church without cause. He and his wife are the reason many left even after they got a new pastor.

    This kind of stuff went on in my other two CC’s, they just didn’t touch me directly and I turned a blind eye to others in their suffering. I think I was wanting it to not be true and I also think I was selfishly self-protecting. I’ve repented of that. I was wrong.

    We were able to move to a decent church. Plenty in the structure that keeps things between the ditches. It’s not perfect … but it’s not in blatant sin, or designed to empower a few and disempower the rest. They have a long history of working things out in the open when bad stuff has happened, even stories of the leaders apologizing -backed up with actions- when they handled things poorly. Lot’s of things I wish I could do differently, but they are not essentials and it’s healthy enough.

  93. Filbertz
    OK…but make sure your tithes and offerings go to CC Salem ( for the record…And because I am a CC pastor, I was just kidding in my comment to Phil. Also for the record we don’t teach tithing and people are’t limited to 10%–they can give as much as they want!)

  94. Chile says:

    Hopkins said, “… for the record we don’t teach tithing and people are’t limited to 10%–they can give as much as they want!)”

    Good! Hilarious giving as you are able is NT biblical!

  95. Ixtlan says:

    @94
    aaahhh… It seems that Social Justice ministry of the church needs to be rethought. Ministry always begins at home and then extends outward. To not do so is contraditory at best and hypocritical at worst.

  96. j2theperson says:

    ***Chile, I cannot imagine a church like you described. What could that AP have been doing that was more important than ministering to the people of that church? ***

    Not a CC, but…I went to a church for about a year that was a shepherding church. I had some problems with my discipler and really needed them dealt with. When I tried to talk to the pastor I had the most interaction with I was told they couldn’t meet with me because they were busy that week raising ministry support. It’s pretty surreal to be told someone can’t minister to you because they’re raising ministry support.

  97. Fly on a Wall says:

    Chile: I’m very sorry and I’m glad to hear you recovered, both physically and spiritually.

    If it makes you feel any better, I felt the same shunning, the bewilderment, and the disgust. People may wonder what we can benefit from blogging criticism? Yet until they’re involved in an unhealthy church, they’ll never understand.

    I know this isn’t church, but let me know if you have future needs/prayers. I’ve healed so much just by reading other people’s struggles and their patience with me as I work through the junk church has put in my heart.

    Peace.

  98. Ixtlan says:

    “Yet until they’re involved in an unhealthy church, they’ll never understand. ”

    Not to nitpick. Until they understand that they are involved in an unhealthy church, they’ll continue to crticize those who speak out. It was much easier to write Alex off as nut and drink more kool-aid than it is to consider that he just might be telling the truth.

    Rollin’ my own 😉

  99. Chile says:

    The issue I describe here was the least of the list I could name. It’s just very descriptive with little effort.

    It was painful to go through, even more painful to have people say it was “gossip” the few times we had a chance to try and bring attention to the need to teach staff and people to care for the sick. We didn’t respond with anger -though indeed I was angry- rather with patience and tried to reason and address the real need of education of what is priority and clear in Scripture about “serving” the Body. It was lost on them.

    I really think the leaders were all novices and just didn’t grasp the point of what the Scripture teach. But in their indoctrination for their jobs, they picked up a hardened attitude towards anyone asking for something … unless it made them look good to tell others they did it. The CC pastors who trained my CC pastor had this attitude too. It passed on to the people he trained.

    I do not tell this story to indict CC, though I’ve heard others with similar stories, but as a reminder to us all to check the areas where we are not living what we say we believe … best seen in how we treat others. May God help us all.

  100. Chile says:

    I hear ya, J2theperson.

  101. Chile says:

    So true, Ixtian!

  102. DMW says:

    I started to put in my two cents and realized that I don’t even have one cent of an idea.

    I must say that I might have somewhat to say, except that the building materials don’t exist in this age.

  103. Chile says:

    Thanks, Fly! I am so glad for the chance to really work through some of the larger issues that took place. I needed to not breeze through it and not underestimate the damage, rather really learn from this, so I took my time. The really bad stuff happened to other people … at the time I did not know how to respond. I clung to the excuse of the “confusion” instead of what I could know that should have moved me to action much sooner. I had to work through that guilt, too.

    The larger picture, well beyond CCLand, is very helpful for me to grasp, especially as it relates to organizational issues of any sort. I’ve been able to apply the learned principles too many times. It’s just normal life if there’s too much power in one place and a lack of meaningful accountability, sin will grow and thrive. Businesses get this and call it common sense.

    The physical healing has been slow, but my schedule allows for stretches of more and then less activity as need be, which has been an immense help.

    Thank you, Fly, for your concern and offers of help/prayer! That is kind of you!

    Is your story public? How were you shunned? (I thrown out, but my family was told it would be sin if they didn’t continue attending. Truth is stranger than fiction.)

  104. Chile says:

    What building materials are you referring to, DMW?

    (Btw, I prayed for you during the last few times you posted of your illness issues.)

  105. Fly on a Wall says:

    Is your story public? How were you shunned?

    The story is so petty, I’m embarrassed to tell it. First world problems really. You can read my Yelp reviews here

    http://www.yelp.com/user_details_reviews_self?userid=OJ7jwMphk6oTi8khHEtyjQ

    The details was my mother had been sick for a long time and I had just gotten laid off. I had stepped up my commitments to church because their Children’s ministry was in shambles, I had just gotten through telling the old Children’s ministry director I wasn’t happy with the ministry and how they were mistreating others. I said I wanted a break. But at the same time, everyone left the ministry. I felt really bad for the leaders, as I’ve known them a long time, and since I had been laid off and had tons of time, I stayed and even stepped up in my obligations.

    Fast forward a year, and my mother had died, and tbh, my life was a wreck. Still unemployed, my ex-boyfriend was running around behind my back, I was drinking daily,

    BUT I was still fulfilling my commitments to God! What an idiot I was. I should’ve told off the leaders in the church and tell them to shove their ministries up their arse. But I didn’t have the heart, the church was in shambles, our pastor had just resigned and our new pastor was clueless.

    I never got a phone call, an email, or a lunch date asking how I was doing. Nobody ever asked why I was acting out. But it wasn’t just me, there was three other girls that I had befriended in the ministry and they had been treated worse than I. I guess I got to stay because I was such a good, faithful tither! Oh boy!

    Anyways, fast forward another three years, STILL unemployed, I’ve since moved on to another town (because of cheap housing), met a wonderful guy, and he gets cancer. One of the girls from my small group emails me out of the blue. I replied back, and told her about my hardships and how I couldn’t have visitors because of Brian’s chemo treatments. She never emailed back!

    So I write two really nasty Yelp reviews. I get an email from the old Children’s minstry director asking why I wrote such “hurtful” reviews. I wrote two page long email telling her what jerks people have been, how little the church cared about me, and how I felt used. Then I told her I’m in an incredibly stressful position because the Brian need evasive surgery in California, he had just gotten fired, and I still didn’t have a job. She writes me a terse email saying that it’s a church full of imperfect people and she doesn’t feel comfortable communicating via email and if I was in town, we could meet!

    Yep friends, this is the modern-day church. Come right up, step right in, be amazed. Come as you are, it’s okay to not be okay, you’ve got a purpose for your life.

    complete baloney. there’s no church where there is no love. it’s just gonging in the ears.

    “But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

  106. @96
    Before going into ministry, I spent 11 years as a police officer. Some times people would get frustrated when I wrote them a traffic ticket. One guy asked “So officer Hopkins, does this help fill your quota”? My response was ” I don’t have a quota. I can write as many tickets as I want”.

  107. Alex says:

    I’ve got a couple of ex-cops who work for me at the pawn & gun stores. Cops are great for my biz, they know guns, are hard to con, good at security and I can be an a-hole and it doesn’t bother them, they’re thick skinned LOL.

    Always questioned whether a cop would make a good pastor, but Gene Pensiero of CC Hanford does it well and Hopkins seems to.

  108. Alex says:

    I guess I’d much rather have an ex-cop as pastor than an ex-drug dealer, ex-drug smuggler, ex-con etc.

  109. Alex says:

    Agreed on the tithing issue. It’s an OT/Law construct. Jesus counts it as part of the Law when he rebuked the Pharisees.

    “Giving”…different ballgame and the NT seems to be clear about giving to those who have need, helping the orphan and widow, being the Good Samaritan, etc.

    It does seem, though, that the bible did not teach to create a lot of overhead and have paid clergy etc…in fact Paul the Apostle seems to speak against it here:

    “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

    Seems there were “so many” that were making money of off teaching about God back in the NT days…just like today.

    Not sure when “ministry” became a career…still don’t see it in Scripture…though I’m sure Rolph would be quick to interjet the “double honor” passage, LOL.

  110. Alex,
    So why do you go to a church that has a paid pastor who peddles the word of God for profit and has a building with overhead?

    Why not just go downtown and sit on a park bench and listen to a street preacher?

    Thou hypocrite!

  111. Alex says:

    Good point, I’m wrestling with that one. Not sure why, I guess it’s b/c that’s what is societally expected in the current Christian Culture and my wife likes it.

  112. I want my pastor paid – I want him devoting his time to the ministry. But I guess one difference is that we called him to serve us – he didn’t just open a church and hang out the Now Open sign.

    We have 5 weekend services that need to be led – people need their sin forgiven, need to be fed the body and blood and need to hear God’s word.

    We have over 300 kids and teachers that go to our school who need pastoral care 5 days a week and people who cannot get out to church to be visited and have the supper served to them.

    We didn’t want someone who had to work as a butcher 60 hours a week and then fit us in during his free time – so we called someone. Our choice.

  113. Chile says:

    Sorry that happened, Fly. Volunteers need someone to check on them, see how the ministry is going and see how they are doing. A little check-up goes a long way. It should be the norm.

    When we can come as we are…as we really are, and when we as the Body can really accept others in process, it’s an amazing thing.

    I think it has to be taught and modeled. The problem often lies in the focus on promoting the church. That breeds image conscious people and often a hyper vigilance on any negative comments. In a nano second everything turns into being labeled “gossip”. The chilling effect stops honesty, being real and dealing with issues. It’s so subtle and has long tentacles of unintended consequences.

    Did Brian make it through chemo? Sorry if that’s too personal.

  114. Alex says:

    Ya, I get that MLD. I think the Luthers do a great job of de-emphasizing the Position and de-celebritizing de-CEO’ing the role, while allowing the guy to dedicate a full-time schedule to the office. Am I right in guessing that Lutheran pastors aren’t paid a lot?

    Is the Lutheran church filthy stinking rich like the Catholics?

  115. I told you before, it humbles them that we make them wear a dress and preach from the side of the platform (chancel but I didn’t want to sound too liturgical) instead of center stage. 🙂

  116. Ixtlan says:

    Fly ,
    You tell a sad, unfortunate story. For years now the loudest voice in church culture has been that of the mega church. To make my point, most conferences speakers are mega church pastors, and the rest of these dumb son a of b****s flock to go see them, hoping to hear the majic formula that is going to convert their church, their ministry into another mega church.

    I am at least hopeful that new voices with a new message of what really should matter are starting to get heard.

    I’m sorry you got crushed in the gears of the machine. The church can become so big that the lose sight of Jesus, they lose sight of the individual and the non-compliant are collateral damage.

  117. “the Luthers do a great job of de-emphasizing the Position and de-celebritizing de-CEO’ing the role,”

    Think about it for a moment – off the top of your head (no google) how many Lutheran pastors can you name?

    Now how many evangelical pastors can you name?

  118. Alex says:

    LOL, I think it’s a great thing. I think the Gospel front and center is great as well. I read Luther (not only his theology, but about his life) and there’s something authentic there that resonates deeply with me. I hope he was right. If he wasn’t I’m screwed.

  119. Alex says:

    I can name Fisk (b/c his videos rock) and I can name Luther, LOL. Great point.

  120. Here is a goof Fisk for you. 🙂

  121. Fly on a Wall says:

    Chile, Ixtlan: thank you for your kind words. That was years ago, doing much better now.

    Yes, Brian’s cancer is in remission. He still had invasive surgery, it cost us a small fortune, but the doctor said the cancer is gone for now. His hearing is not 100%.

    AND he got a new job! We were evicted from our old place. He went back to his folks, I live in the student ghetto (not joking). BUT things are looking up for both of us financially.

    The saddest part is he’s 32 (yes, I’m older, shhhh…). I can’t imagine thinking at 32 that my days were numbered.

    But he’s the eternal optimist. I’m the eternal pessimist.

  122. Fly on a Wall says:

    Ixtlan; I agree, the megachurch culture is so damaging. I don’t know what to do about it.

    Not all are bad. I keep hearing great things about Saddleback. And G-man loves his church.

    I don’t have an answer. I wish there was fairy dust we could sprinkle and people could see inside of other people’s lives and connect with them.

  123. DMW says:

    building materials — there is no reverence in the land for anything. I guess this thread hit me like build your own church but the lumberyard is empty.

    The years I served no one stayed anywhere – no one had time . people liked to talk about their calling

    anyhow after all those years there was a who lot more talking than doing.

    People want want want want — but no one is willing to give give give – I half expect in the future a magazine that reviews local churches like they do restaurants now..

    I doubt that oner in a thousand got serious and asked God what church to go to, and asked him how they could server there.. now it’s just whats in it for me.

    To be honest I don/t know where to find good honest men who can be trusted in any leadership role..

    maybe I just need to give in and give up on the old lumber yard and go to Home Depot and give the people what they want.

    the things the church needs for a foundation just to start with would be
    Reverence

    Faithfulness

    Awareness people aware of and acting on their responsibilities

    Veracity — that’s more that just truth — Veracity the complete lack of all acting of all flase impressions

    Goodness

    Give me men filled with these things then the church would just fall into place.

    God uses individuals — not and if enough individuals filled with these virtues I do believe they could figure out really quick what kind of Church they would put together.

    But we live in a day of mists and mud and slime. People are founding churches on such silly things and the people love it. Any good gimmick and while it won’t last it will draw a crowd..

    So I will just go back and say I don’t have 2 cents to put here. I see a waste land with a bright light here and there, in each church there are a few, but so few they have no influence on all the big shots its just like

    Where are the men and women of Moral Courage who are willing to look to look themselves in their eyes and be willing to loose all to follow. Men and women of Moral Courage that will quit pretending everything is fine when everyone is getting divorced and remarried by the church… where are those with the courage to Stand on What the Bible actually says.. Just read the Word, then ask yourself what are you doing. My answer for myself is that I am a total failure. I hope and I know I will be saved by grace, but if I had it to do again,, ya see there’s the catch— then moments keep coming and going and we never get them back,, but if I could get them back I know I would love more deeply the Word of God and I would walk more softly and would have insisted on reverence in the House of Prayer – I would have walked away from many conversations so I could have spend more time with the people who were poor and lowly.. leaving behind no offense or blame

    2 Cor 6:1* ¶ We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
    2* (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
    3* Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
    4* But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
    5* In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
    6* By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
    7* By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
    8* By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
    9* As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
    10* As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
    11* ¶ O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
    12* Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
    13* Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
    14* Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    15* And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    16* And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    17* Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
    18* And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

    Just picture a church were half the things that Paul says were in practice, wouldn’t that be a church you would go to– what if the pastor and every single person who served in a church did it with pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;* As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

    And please notice how Paul said that his heart was open to them, he loved them and held nothing back.. in return The range of criticisms against him were that he was 1- worldly 2- a coward 3- he lack inner strength 4 theologically deviant 5-he was an impostor 6- corrupt 7- exploitive 8- not a true minister 9-that he was a fool 10- that he was insane 11-They even accused him of craftiness for refusing their support 12- That he lacked authority

    And that list has all been used on my at one time or another. When you pour out your heart, when you love people you give the power over you, they can hurt you.

    and it is 2am and I do think I am probably writing nonsense so good night to all

  124. Fly on a Wall says:

    DMV: you have the eternal battle between Pastors and congregants.

    Pastor: why aren’t you serving more?
    Congregants: why aren’t we being served more?

    I don’t have an answer. I just do/write as I hear in prayer.

    Okay, sometimes I write my own gibberish.

    But I do know this, God is not pleased with churches today. That much I can discern. AND his biggest punching bag seems to be Calvary Chapel. Which was a sad day it was for me to realize that. I have very fond memories of Calvary Chapel. But I only see the outside, God sees the heart.

    As for the Yelp reviews, yes, I’m guilty as charged. But I was led to write them. And I needed an audience. The only thing available was Yelp (btw: I hate Yelp and I would never endorse Yelp).

    As for the consumer mentality, well, that’s a natural outgrowth of the big church corporation. They are selling a product. We are buying it. Is this a stench in God’s eyes? Of course. The relationship is suppose to be more organic. We love because we were first loved. We serve because we were first served. Where does that happen in our megalomaniac society today?

    The closest thing would be HERE. This blog is about the most concerned I will find anywhere on this planet. Maybe because so many of us have been burned over, tossed around, lied to… we are just sick of it, and we want to find a community of real people.

    I go to ANY church today, the first thing someone wants me to do is join their ministry.

    I don’t have a solution. I just write. But maybe… just maybe… someone does have a solution.

  125. Ron says:

    Something I wrote in a fit of ‘orthopraxic utopianism’ a while back. My perfect church: http://ronclick.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/if-it-were-laid-upon-me/

  126. ( |o)====::: says:

    Fly on the Wall,

    Read your story, Yelp review, glad to hear Brian is doing better.
    More makes sense to me, especially your feelings about Newsong.

    Used up, spit out, ignored and belittled in a crisis with christianese and pithy little pat answers. Yep, totally tracking with you now. I read this and almost laughed out loud, except it would wake the household… “And G-man loves his church.”
    My “church” is not localized, I am not part of a single community, only the general community. You are the church I love, part of it, a fellow traveler, not having “arrived”, honest.

  127. Fly on a Wall says:

    G: thank you for your kind words.

    You have no idea how much your patience and kindness has helped me heal. You may think think you’re being your usual jovial self, but God is using you.

    Just a year ago, I was the most bitter, cynical, sarcastic, sour puss on the internet. I bet my distrust of churches could match Alex.

    But then I find a little blog, in the middle of cyber-nowhere, and I’m starting to trust in my fellow man again. I’m beginning to believe in “church” again.

  128. Fly on the Wall,
    Thanks.
    You are precious to me and each of us here.
    “Church”, will always have its risks because humans in groups are their collective worst. But I have great faith in individuals because they’re the ones God motivates to love uniquely and radically.

    Have an awesome weekend!

  129. Chile says:

    Thanks, DMW!

  130. too tired to build an “air” church, but here’s my best church example – very little that this man says from the pulpit that i can’t say amen to (there are some things that i won’t ‘amen’ – always are) 😐

    http://www.gty.org/video/Pulpit/V8290-452

  131. Tim says:

    I knew DMW and was taught by him at CCBC Twin Peaks. He is just plain real. Those words up there from him are wise. I will say God has used him in many lives in big ways. God uses broken vessels. There is a price to be paid to be used of God – it is death to self and suffering. God have mercy. I want to know him in the fellowship of his suffering.

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