An entry that I wrote last week has caused quite a stir. The blog Monday Morning Insight picked it up and it's been quite a conversation piece over there. While I find the comments generally constructive, some commenters decided to render judgment on my ministry and my church in the process, which I found unfortunate. I don't deny that my attitude might need a tune-up, but some took liberties to fill in the blanks where they are simply unaware of what is happening beyond what I wrote before.
Here's what I wrote in response:
"Thank goodness for statcounter or I'd have no idea this conversation was happening.
First, thank you to all who have commented, especially for the generally constructive nature of such comments.
Now, while I cannot respond exhaustively at this time, a few points I want to present and then if the mood strikes me I'll add more later:
~What was written was written out of a passion felt at a specific moment yet, as acknowledged by both the title of the entry and in various tongue-in-cheek moments throughout the entry, I acknowledged that it may be misplaced passion. The original moment has passed and now the entry belongs to the ages.
~No, a movie on the side of a building is not a revolutionary idea. What I meant to explore is what sometimes can and does come across from megachurches is an implicit statement that 'anything you can do I can do better.' Again, I acknowledge that this whole ordeal was much more likely to be a coincidence than anything else.
~It is not, from my reckoning, the ministerial association's fault for the megachurch's lack of involvement. They have repeatedly invited the leaders of this church to participate in community functions and every time, even long before I began serving here (and this church is only a few years old to begin with), those invitations have been met with silence. This is a two-way street, as it usually is. While it may be easy to blame the megachurch for certain practices, from this thread it is apparent that it is also easy to blame the smaller church for being who they are as well.
~There is an assumption from some that maybe megachurches are doing the correct thing after all since they're so big. The assumption carries with it the corollary that the little church must be doing something wrong (as per leo's comment). And that, of course, all stems from measuring right practice by numbers however you want to slice it. How genuine and deep are the spiritual lives of the 500-1000 people who attend your church? How can you possibly tell? Use whatever techniques to bring them in, but there need to be a whole other set of techniques not to make sure that they stay interested but to see that they are recieving or seeking proper spiritual nourishment. These are two different things. In my setting, I am presently much more concerned with the spiritual nourishment of those already here, which I am not convinced has happened as well as it should over the years (at least for members under the age of 55). Still call me a 'crummy leader' for such a focus, but I pray that something is taking hold. And yet as I pray I realize that these people have schedules, jobs, and families that they have to juggle in addition to whatever time they can truly give to nurturing discipleship, so there is much more to deal with than canvassing the neighborhood.
That's all I have time for right now. Again, thank you for your comments and general concern."
There is more to say...a LOT more. But it will wait another day, hence this entry being labelled Part 1.