When A Traditional Church Is Changed By A Non-Traditional Pastor.
Recently I asked a long time friend to give the gist of what is happening in the church she and her husband attend.The Pastor is using Rick Warren’s philosophy and the results are unfortunate.
We have a young pastor(38) and he’s been here 3 years now.In three years he has borrowed $300,000 to “remodel”the sanctuary and refurbish some other areas of the church,installed a pricey sound system,computer program that projects the songs and his sermon notes on the wall.That was reasonable.The church has supported him.He went to two Sunday services and we attended the early 8:30 service and then went to Sunday School.
I began to teach a class that went from 10 members and expanded to 38 in one year(the largest class in our church).Next he added a staff,a youth pastor and next a “ministry team”(huband and wife) for the song service.But of course he ditched the organ(brand new donated from the organist) and purchased key boards,wind instruments,drums,etc.to “modernize”the sound.When a few asked why we just chanted “praise”songs over and over and louder and louder,the Pastor advised us that the Baptist Hymnal had songs in it that were not”scriptural”!When asked specifically”what songs”,he mentioned”I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”He says this is not true,we are now saints!I can’t even find that song in the book and I am just a sinner saved by grace!
Now we have $280,000 still left on the debt and we’re in the 3rd year of his ministry. He announced in a Sunday School teachers meeting for the new year (this fall) that we were going to 3 services (8:30, 9:45 and 11:00). We were also “flipping” Sunday School to Sunday night at 6 and no worship service. But, changing the name of the service from Sunday School to “life empowerment”!
If a teacher, you can have the meeting in your home on any night your group chooses and teach whatever “feels good” for your group! Managing Finances, Worship, Bible Prophecy, etc. are just a few. The others can teach from the ole SS quarterly.
So far, the 8:30 and 9:45 services are gaining the most attendance (but neither is crowded). The 11 AM is very “thin”.
He wants the $280,000 debt paid off ASAP so he can begin “phase II” of the church. You guessed it, a newer, bigger sanctuary! From $2 to $5M is his “vision” from God! His major pitch is “we want to win more souls to Jesus!” But, most of the people coming in are just from other churches…
He has said, “It’s dangerous to disagree or be a stumbling block to “God’s vision” that he has, it could even cause your untimely death”. (sounds like a line from the Sopranos!).
I have resigned teaching my class as I can’t go along with his “vision”. We attend church but go on Sunday night when it’s convenient.
Attendance is off on Sunday Nights but he says, “that’s ok, if we lose some people,, we’ll just get some more “new” people!” So much for the 90 and 9 sheep theory!
Keep in mind, jour church is a rural area of a small county. We are not connected to ______or any other major “boom town”. The area is not building up because of lack of industry or jobs.
The shameful thing is the debt will kill the church(established in 1954).
He says in almost every service- “If you are not happy here and can’t support God’s plan, perhaps you need to find another church!”
Many of these people have been here at this church for many years with their family(kids,grandchildren,etc). and they don’t want to “move”, so they keep coming.
He has surrounded himself with “yes people who worship his every thought”. If you question or show your lack of support you are put on the “invisible list of non-supporters” and excluded from the visionaries”.
I’m on that list and I’m glad. I have a peace about my decision to not teach. It hurt, because I really love to teach and our class had grown so close. But, I too hear from my Jesus,and He has told ME that “obedience is better than asacrifice”. I’m called to be obedient and take the narrow road and keep my eyes on the true Shepherd.
Please pray for this church. I pray that the truth will come forth before it is too late and the enemy seals the door on another small church being gorged to death by it’s pastor’s desire for fame.