Friday, May 28, 2010

Take the Log Out of Your Eye

So I am upset and hurt. I'll be honest. What use is it having a blog when you can't be honest? So i will lay my heart open for others to see.

It is not easy being a church leader. You can be tough for only so long. These last couple of years have been hard. I know that anytime you have a pastor leave the church that you are going to have issues and people will leave, but I believe we have had more than our share go. I was prepared for people to leave, but after two years a person would think it would stop. I really thought we were over the hump on this.

This past week we have seen two more families leave for various reasons. It is quite sad to see peope divorce their church. I say it so strongly because that is exactly what it is. When Paul likened the church to something he likened it to a marriage. You can say he was talking about the Church and not specifically about a local body of believers. So can say that, but you would be wrong. Paul also uses the analogy of a body to describe the church. Every part is put there for a purpose. When people leave they essentially cripple the body. Again, it is quite sad to see people go. Quite sad and painful.

There is really only one reason a person should leave a church and that is when a church teaches heresy. There is no other reason just like there is only one reason allowed for divorce when a spouse is unfaithful. Some will argue with this. "What about my children? I want some place that they are going to want to go!" Thus says the "entertain me" generation. "I'm just not being fed here. I need more meat!" Says the "it's all about me" generation. "This church just doesn't appreciate or care for others" says the "log in my eye generation."

Say what? Log in my eye generation? What is that supposed to mean? It means that there are a lot of peope accusing the church of having a speck in its eye and trying to remove it on the way out all the while having a log in thier own. What would happen if a person who can't see clearly or not at all tries to remove an object from another person's eye? They would end up making things much worse. Well, that is usually what ends up happening when people leave the church. They are so blinded by themselves that when they attempt to remove (or reveal) a speck in the eye of the church it creates major problems. How can peope accuse the church of not caring and then turn around and do the same thing? Easy, they have a log in thier own eye.

What was Jesus' recommendation in such situations? Remove the log in your own eye.  He is not saying there is no actual speck in another person's eye, but he is saying that if you truly desire to help make sure you can see clearly to do so. When you can clearly see you can do it the right and loving way. A person whose major concern is themselves (it is usually disguised as concern for others) will end up crippling the body instead of helping it.

Before you leave a church you need to ask some questions. Do I feel like my church is teaching heresy? Have I really tried to address issues? Have I been hurt in some way that needs to be addressed? Have I tried to address this or other issues in a satisfactory manner or am I just bottling things up and/or gossiping about such perceived issues? Do I really know the heart of the leadership? Have I taken the time to really get to know their vision? Am I upset that I am not receiving recognition? Am I upset because I really don't understand the need for change? Have I really tried my hardest to understand the need for change? Am I truly concerned about the individuals in this body God has me in or am I more concerned about my personal preferences? Have I really ever served this body using the gifts and passions God has given me or have I served out of my own preferences? Am i really wiling to take the percieved easy way out and cause damage by my divorce? Am I really willing to cripple the body by my decision to leave? Am I really doing what God wants me to do or am I acting selfishly?

These are just a few of the many questions that need to be asked, and let me say this as well. I am not the body of Christ. No pastor is. WE are the body of Christ. I am not perfect. That would make me Jesus. I am imperfect and human. All leaders are. The leadership of the church will never make all the right decisions. God has called us to be a body each using gifts and passions given by him doing our individual parts so that we can have major impact on the kingdom. Take the log out of your eyes before you try to remove the speck as you leave the church. If you are guilty of doing this God is calling you to reconcile your relationship with the church just has he calls spouses to reconcile their rocky relationship. If you don't then you are sinning.


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Anonymous said...

Excellent thoughts, Brian. People will always leave a church...mostly for very poor reasons. The "secret" to growth is to make sure you are reaching more than you are losing. Focus on the mission, and continue to make disciples. You're doing a great job!