Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why Pastor's are Leaving the Local Church

Hey all,
I was given this in an email just today and it was really interesting. Now I'm not a big one for naming / boxing stuff like 'last days church' etc that you will find in the article but in essence there is some considerable truth to it and it's worth a read.
I'm interested to know your thoughts also,


An article written by Terry Sommerville. http://www.totalchange.org/

Over the past year or so, I've been contacted by a number of friends, telling me they are no longer pastors of local churches. What's interesting is, their stories all have recurring themes.

1. Not one of them has fallen away from the faith. Some have various stages of "church burnout", but they are increasingly passionate for Jesus. Some noted a "divine discontent" about local church ministry that wasn't there ten years ago.

2. They were all growing steadily frustrated trying to fulfil the great commission in their local church. Even though they were the pastors, they kept hitting some sort of barrier to bringing about change.

3.They are all experiencing powerful moves of God in various "mini-movements" outside of the local church.

4. They grew increasingly convinced that the front line of Kingdom ministry was no longer inside the walls of their churches, but in the marketplace. (Not just businesses, but the sphere of influence Christians have in every aspect of the community)

5. Even though they encouraged their churches or denominations to embrace what God was doing, there came a point where faithfulness to God meant they had to leave the local church ministry to continue.

6. They don't know what to do right now, except some sort of work to pay the bills. But there is a great sense that something new is emerging and they don't want to miss out.

7. They continue as leaders and five fold ministers set in the body of Christ. Christians continue to seek them out for ministry!

A few years ago my wife, Karen, had a startling vision. She was standing at the edge of a great green land stretched out before her. In her arms was a bundle of rolled up maps. The Lord said to her "You might as well throw away the maps, you are going into a new land and no one has been here before."

According to revival researcher Alistair Petrie, this trend is a world wide phenomena. We are coming through an amazing transition into the last days church. There are no maps for this, only for our relationship to the Lord and each other. We are seeing some indicators of whats coming in the end times church. Let me share a few things I see developing.

1. Christianity is shifting from the head to the heart. Being "in love with Jesus" is replacing doctrinal statements as the distinctive trait of Christians in the end times church.

2. The Body Of Christ is becoming based on relationships rather than organization. Friendship is more important than membership.

3. True spiritual leadership will operate through honour rather than control.

4. God's love anointing (His presence and power in us) will replace the spiritual performance mentality (my ability in the spirit) as the source of Christian life and ministry.

5. The Great Commission is replacing the denominational "mission statement" as the believers goal. We are realizing God is not obligated to our mission statements, but always backs up His!

6. Christians are finding their individual ministries in spiritual "mini movements". These movements have become the front line for advancing the Kingdom of God. This is the beginning of the "nameless, faceless revival' prophesied so many times.

7. Local churches that facilitate mini-movements will be blessed and flourish. The vision will be "taking the Kingdom out" to change the world, rather than "bringing the people in" to grow the church.

8. The end times church will "use buildings and organizations and have events", but will never serve these idols again. Only Jesus Christ is Lord.

9. Christians again understand "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand" and communicate it with relevance everywhere.

Source: Open Heaven.com

July 2006


Nickers said...

I've tried to post before but it didnt seem to work. Will see how we go.

Interesting reading, definately makes you think.
I love the church, and i've always loved having a building to be based at and a place to run stuff.
However i was sitting there friday night as some young people rocked up (yeah it was awesome to have young non-christians enter the church) but it hit me hard that this isn't where it's gonna happen, not even for simple programs that we run.
We need to be going out into the community, the high schools, not just to meet people, but to continue those relationships as well.
What i am saying is that church is moving TOTALLY away from the building for me...wow.
Monday night basketball (church) has just started up. A chance to hang with Christians and non-christians, play some sport and share in each others lives. That is church!
The change within me is scary and exciting, i look forward to seeing where God will continue to take me, and all of us!
God bless

Toby said...

I think it's a pretty exciting thing to be a part of! Also seeing that it is not just a local phenomenon, but something that is happening through lots of different followers. I initially had a reaction to the concept of being less specific in terms of a 'mission statement', because I have seen that a lack of clear vision has been a stumbling block for many Christians. But with this new kind of church, the bigger entity doesn't have to focus on anything more than the Great Commission, because it's all those mini-ministries that flow out of the church that are being obedient to God's specific goals in a community.
I was also pleased to see that this does not abandon things like our church buildings, which COULD become very useful community spaces. Rather it implies that these things will no longer be the focus of our church bodies. Very exciting.

Anonymous said...

I currently am a part of a church headng towards an AGM where at this AGM the Elders are putting forth to the churches members that the current Minister's contract not be extended. As yet there has been no reason provided as to this step by the Elders.

Trusting in this Local Church and its structure of being governed by an Eldership, knowing that the Elder is to make these sorts of decisions, based on deep thoughts and prayer to God for his direction and plans for the Church. I would trust in that Eldership decision.

Though I am left thoughts of ponder.

An Eldership would put deep thought and prayer into selecting the Minister that God wants for his Church. Also put lots of thoughts and prayer into deciding to reach the point where it is time to let go a Minister from the Church.

This Church has I would say a history of going though its share of Ministers. I do not believe that God would want his Church do have rapid change in Ministers as history demostrates. Thus I am pondering, has the Church been listening correctly to God in the decision of choosing the Minister, or has the Church been listening wrongly when it lets a Minister go.

I have my own thoughts about letting the Minister go or not. Though regardless in which way it goes, I believe there are hard challenges to be prayed through within the Eldership.

I have read your article about why are Pastor's leaving. And I have found some of the points put forth enlightening.

In the great game of Aussie Rules Football. When a potential top side is doing poorly. Who within the club/organisation gets the finger pointed at, who generally gets the blame. It is traditionally the Coach, though could it also be the players...the administrative personel...or perhaps all three.

Final words. Go the Crows this weekend for the Showdown!!

Glenn Munyard said...

Well Anonymous, sorry to disappoint you but the Power rule! You must be very nervous heading into finals the words under-achievers and chokers start to come to mind :) Hey, I've gotta get something out of it, lets face it Port suck this year! anyway . . . .
Hey I wonder what church that is? Sounds serious though!
I think some of those questions were probably answered on the weekend?? Maybe, maybe not. I need to say that the whole confidential / discretion issue is a big player in this situation and full credit to those who could have pointed the finger back but did not, which I believe shows true honesty, love and character, despite difficult circumstances.
Yep the church has been through it's share of pastors 'senior' and not so senior (one of my little beefs) and discontinuty can sure rattle a church who needs sustainability. However, I believe we put too much on our pastors and as a matter of fact I think we should not have pastors in a paid role at all. One Pastor who was present for 13 years (not 17, I know I was around the place slightly when he was in position, a really good man)had a very large impact on the church, as did many pastors around that same era. Not all in a positive way. They were the type of pastors that did a lot and carried the people. Good in one sense, not in another. What the churches needed was equippers, teachers and senders to build the body and then get out of there and let the people be. Check out the apostles. What happens when a pastor does most of the work is that the church become reliant on them to do everthing and be everything and the church becomes fat, happy and content to let it happen. This issue I believe is not the pastor's or elder's it's the players that back off from wanting to play a hard game and get dirty. It's also the leaders for taking on too much and not equipping the people. You know who cops it when that happens on a team, still the coach and leadership and now and then a few players. In this situation no players will get dropped, no players will probably even get a reprimand, just blame upwards, a lose lose. Lets pray that the players grow and rebuild and think carefully about what goals they aim at in the coming years.
As far as this current leader goes the question is, is he an equipper, teacher, sender and is he willing to let go?

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how far afield this Sommervillian character will travel as his "fruits" become known locally.

This jerk got tossed from his "pastoral" role after abusing his members and then lying about it.

He was just to wrapped up in himself to see it coming.

BTW - in the eyes of the Reverend Terry, if you are gainfully employed, his vision concerning you is - source of income - HIS.

Glenn Globber said...

Don't really follow the guy, just grabbed this and didn't want to not say who it was written by. After re-reading what I've pasted, I don't disagree with what is said, I guess that is sometimes the grace of God that even though the character of a person may lead to sin that what they have said or done in the past may be extremely Godly.
As I think about that even further there are some pretty noble characters in scripture that did some very amazing things lead by God only to sin themselves into trouble - take Noah for example.