Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

“What People Really Mean…”

Sometimes what people in churches say – isn’t – exactly – well —– true… things such as…

(WARNING…you will probably only like this post if you are a pastor or a staff member of a church!)

What They Say:  “I’m looking for a church that preaches the Word!”

What They Mean: “I’m looking for a church that preaches MY view of the Word.  I think the BLANK translation should be used…I think BLANK should be talked about a lot while BLANK should be ignored.  And if you ever stop preaching my view of the Word I will leave and tell others that you don’t preach the Word!”

What They Say:  “Lot’s of people have been coming to me and saying they don’t like is…”

What They Mean: “I basically only have three friends… and all of them think exactly like me.  The other night we were enjoying a time of self righteousness because, after all, we are right about everything… and were also gossiping about & slandering you (in the form of prayer requests) and thought it would be wise to approach you with our pet peeve.  We’ve actually talked to no one else about this but said “lots” because we wanted to validate our dysfunction.”

What They Say: “I’m leaving the church.”

What They Mean: “Beg me to stay.  If you will just ask me I will share with you several ways you can compromise God’s vision that He’s given you, thus becoming nothing more than a people pleasing pastor who is more interested in popularity than obedience.  If you don’t bow to my demands I will remind you that I tithe and that the church needs my money, reducing you to a mere preaching whore… one who is paid for a service for the pleasure of another person.”

What They Say: “I want a church that is more focused on discipleship.”

What They Mean: “I want a church where everyone knows me and how important I am!  I don’t want to reach people who are different from me, be it economic class or race or even musical preference.  I already know WAY more than they do… and I somehow equate spirituality with knowledge rather than application and I rather enjoy feeling intellectually superior to those who don’t know as much as me.”

What They Say: “Don’t take this personally…but…”

What They Mean: “I am about to lower the BOOM on you… but you can’t get angry because I told you not to take it personally.  Even though you have dedicated your life to this and pretty much invested every ounce of energy you have to this cause… and I think about it once or twice a week… you need to receive my attacks, even when they are personal… and you cannot retaliate because, remember, it’s not personal.”

OKAY, that was fun! Being a church like God has called us to be – I (and our church) get bashed quite a bit from other churches in our area & that’s okay! Seriously! Right or wrong – I have grown to expect it & pretty much view it as a badge of honor. “If you’re ticking off religious people – you’re probably making Jesus smile!”

The one that gets to me sometimes is when people inside the church do the bashing. Sometimes it is legitimately because God has called them elsewhere – but they handle the exit badly. Sometimes they liked the church at a certain size but now God moving, getting loose, & doing His thing has caused it to grow beyond what they’re “comfortable” with. (BTW: I think “comfortable” is a word that makes Jesus gag!) Sometimes people are so focused on their agenda that they can’t imagine that God has an agenda different from theirs. For whatever reason – they’re not happy & they want to make sure that they are not the only one.

BTW: Seriously – there was no great incident that caused me to go on this tirade today. I deal with this on a regular basis. However, I was counseling a young pastor friend of mine today who had a rude awakening to the fact that sometimes there are piranhas in the spiritual hot tub also known as church.

Have an awesome week & I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

* Parts borrowed from Perry Noble

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4 responses

  1. Natalie Lagace

    Well said! I like that you speak your mind. Brandon and I love the church and tell everyone about it. Keep up the great work!

    October 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm

  2. Veronica Clark

    that was hysterical. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    October 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

  3. Charlie Rickman

    God is Blessing a whole lot of People ( me and my family are right in the mix of the Blessed) with the priviledge he provides us with to be a part of Eagle Pointe Church.

    Your lessions, that are always supported by scripture, certainly make it a “Go God” day for us each time we have the opportunity to listen.

    I tell my collegues and associates that My God is an awesome God and that my Pastor works directly for God and teaches God’s WORD.

    We love you Pastor Howard and appreciate you.

    Charlie, Brandie, Samuel and Sarah

    October 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  4. Scott

    Bring it on , I say.

    Go God and Go Howard for sharing others distorted perception of Church. This just reinforces my faith in God and will hopefully renew someone’s faith who is missing the (His)BIG picture.

    Scott

    October 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

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