Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 82: Stealing Church People

Tonight at "Church at the Pub" I engaged in conversation with someone who I have seen at church and at the pub. He asked me my opinion regarding a matter at his church that is imploding in a neighboring city. He was wondering whether he should leave or not. Before I could respond he made it very clear, "don't give me the answer in which you try and steal me from my church." We engaged in good conversation while I shared with him past experiences I have had in the church. But this really got me thinking about something as the worship director from Radiant Fellowship brought it up as well while at the pub.

I personally do not believe that a pastor or church could ever be accused of stealing people from another church. I will say that if a church purposefully markets itself or sends congregants out to other churches for the sole purpose of getting people, I dare say that church is not even Godly but rather a group working on the same level of the Pharisees. However, if a church is doing its thing and people from other churches begin to take notice...there is not much one can do about that. As pastors of a church we deal with adults. If a person in the church wants to leave...can you really parent them into staying or leaving? To have someone leave a church and attend another and in return blame that pastor for stealing people is complete foolishness.

I think any church that has been growing, the pastor will tell you that he/she has received emails or phones calls being accused of stealing people. I know I have in Waupaca from others. Have I been sad to see some people leave Radiant Fellowship? Absolutely. Have I been happy to see some people leave Radiant Fellowship? Oh yeah! Do I blame the pastor of the church they now attend for stealing people from Radiant Fellowship? Nope. This is the life of church pastors we have to get used to is and quit blaming churches for stealing when the people switching are adults and make their own decisions.

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