There is an undeniable relationship between pastoral tenure and church growth. While most growing churches have long-term pastorates, and some non-growing churches have long-term pastorates, it is almost unheard of to find a growing church with many short-term pastorates. Frequent change of pastors seems to negate all the other complicated ingredients that go into a church’s growth mix.I’ve heard that it takes a pastor about 6-7 years before real change starts to really happen at a quicker pace. What has been your experience? Read Charles’ entire post here. Todd
- Evaluate objectively. Go back over the dialogue that lead up to the conflict and determine if you are responsible. Get another (objective) person’s opinion.
- Cool off before clicking. Rather than firing off a response, chill out and log off. Depending on the level of emotion, this may require a few hours or even a few days as a “cooling off” period. Read Romans 12:2.
- Ask forgiveness if needed. If you realize that you mispoke, relayed incorrect information, or responded inappropriately—you need to own it. Ask the person (if digitally possible) if they will forgive the offense.
- Maintain a “real” perspective. Match the worry to the relationship. Were you close to the person or were they a stranger prone to spar with anyone? Go read their feed/wall/blog to get a full picture. Cyberspace is huge and words are dangerous. If you angst over every person who disagrees with you, you won’t last long. Pray and determine if the issue is worthy to pursue, if not, let it go and move on. Read 2 Timothy 2:23-25.
- Don’t take it personally. Communicating online leaves a lot to be desired. If humans who talk face-to-face have conflict, you can bet that people writing brief posts will run into collassal confusion over written “intent.” It’s rarely about you and often about the deficit in the medium.
Then you become self-righteous and you become judgmental and youâ€™re gonna leave the preacher for his wreck when you done had more wrecksâ€¦ That preacherâ€™s still anointed to do what he was called to do. He just had a wreck. The blood will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours.This has caused Lerone Marti, a professor at Eden Theological Seminary to write an open letter to Creflo Dollar that I found quite interesting. Marti says:
Longâ€™s move from adamant public denial to private settlement left no way for onlookers and members alike to obtain an account of what exactly happened.Â They have been left in the dark as to whether their shepherd indeed has an ongoing problem… Would you send YOUR kids back to a summer camp where one of the key officials was shrouded in the â€œwreckageâ€ of sexual abuse? Would you send YOUR kids back to a mentoring program where the leading mentor privately settled his sexual abuse â€œwreckâ€ out of court â€¦ Would YOU continue to unquestionably financially and otherwise support a non-profit organization where the power structure was clouded in a questionable history of inappropriate sexual contact with children? Or would you seek to place your familyâ€™s treasures, time, and talents elsewhere?I think Marti makes a great point. Â When someone settles out of court without explaining what happened, without admitting guilt but paying thousands (some estimate millions) of dollars, it does leave a congregation lacking. When the money is paid, everything goes away. Including in this case, many people from Long’s church… they’ve just gone… who knows where… to other churches… or to no church at all. This really is a problem in many churches, I believe. Â When there is moral failure of any kind (sexual, integrity issues, financial issues), the leadership of the church does everything it can to control the flow of information rather than just telling the truth. Whenever church leadership decides not to tell the truth to the people, there will be problems. Always. Backpeddling never looks good on a church leader or board. Now, I realize that these situations get difficult and complicated very quickly. In Long’s case, maybe he was completely innocent. Â But paying huge sums of money to make the problem go away and acting like nothing ever happened will usually not work. Â In Long’s case, it appears it hasn’t. Â Attendance is way down from what has been reported. Maybe it was a better financial move to just pay off the accusers than to fight the accusations in court. Â If that was the rationale, say that that was the rationale. But if you just pay money, you look guilty as sin, and you’ll have to suffer the consequences of having a reputation that is forever scarred. How long do you stay in a church mired by scandal? When do you decide it’s time to leave? At what point do you lose confidence in your leader/leadership in situations like these? And at what time is the reputation of the leader/church so scarred that it will realistically not be able to be effective any longer in reaching people for Jesus? I’d love to hear your thoughts… Todd More here.
Officially, henotheism is a sort of tribal worship. The â€œOxford English Dictionaryâ€ defines it as the belief in a single deity belonging to an individual, a family, a tribe or a nation. Henotheism does not assert that there is only one god, just that this particular person or family or tribe or nation worships this particular god.Jinkins continues: A generation ago H. Richard Niebuhr argued, â€œThe chief rival to monotheism . . . is henotheism or that social faith which makes a finite society, whether cultural or religious, the object of trust as well as of loyalty and which tends to subvert even officially monotheistic institutions, such as the churches.â€ In other words, the culture itself (that invisible continuum in which we swim like fish in a water tank) becomes the object of adoration, veneration and worship. If Niebuhr is right, the chief competitor of the church in our times does not challenge the church directly. It does not need to challenge the church head on, but is insinuated into the lives and loyalties of our membership through seemingly benign sources — the many good things which should receive our relative loyalty and that only become bad things when they claim our absolute or ultimate allegiance. Henotheism isnâ€™t a common word, but it may just be the most common faith of many Christians, a faith which converts not its adherents to strange or foreign gods, but that subtly replaces the worship of Jesus Christ with a lesser deity, while retaining all the trappings of Christian worship. The lesser deity is a threat because it is familiar, even homemade. One can find henotheism on the right and on the left, whether in the form of an â€œAmerica firstâ€ mentality that gives narrow national interests the veto power over the radical claims of the gospel; or in the form of a civil religion enshrining certain assumptions of the Enlightenment that seek to ban altogether the vocabulary of faith from the public realm. Household gods tug at the coattails of Christians, demanding â€œyou may go just that far with Jesus of Nazareth, but no farther.â€ What do you think?Â What is the biggest competition for ‘church’ today?Â And where do people actually go when churches officially shut their doors.Â I’d love to hear your thoughts! Todd You can read more here