It's supposed to really excite you when you see a sign like that outside a hotel or a restaurant that had previously offered dirty sheets, bad food and/or all-around crappy service. How would you feel if a sign like that were hanging in the front of your church next Sunday?
Ok, that's funny. Maybe it needs to happen some places, though.
Grant you, this blog post is really old, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. It makes sense, I guess, to make sure your pastor or worship leader won't jump ship and take your valuable paying members with him. You know, the ones with jobs who actually tithe.
Friends, since I earn zero wages and have nothing to tithe UPON because my husband doesn't go to church, that would NOT be me. I'd be one of those bad risks that would be discouraged from becoming a "client" of said business. Just imagine. Very little money coming in. An autistic kid in the youth group. One in the elementary school group. One in the nursery. I think we can be honest and state for the record that that's a liability. People like that suck up church resources and give very little, so you're net negative with families like mine. Thankfully no one has said that, but I'm sure if I've thought of it, that I can't be the only one. I have to wonder sometimes if our last church had been hinting for a while that we weren't wanted. I'm not sure. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but I also know from bitter past experience that I am slow to take "hints."
So in any event, I'd be the family that the "church" looking only at its bottom line would want to drop. The one *good* thing about that is that you know when people are kind to you, they probably really mean it. One dear mom of a child who has never spoken or walked has told me that true love, real love... you know you have that for a child who will never pay that back to you with a hug or kiss or smile. True love is pouring out when there's no hope of getting back.
But maybe your family is one the competing "church" up the road wants to cultivate as a new member. It's called "church pirates" when they do that.
The Assemblies of God pastor where I used to attend wasn't called a pirate, though. He was called the "trash collector" because he took in all the "trash" from the other churches around. I'll tell you, this church grew so fast you wouldn't believe it. Is it because these are people who were dis-satisfied with their current church and hopped on over? It wasn't all new salvations, you know. What does that say about the people who called our pastor that?
We had a lot of "white trash" attenders, it's true. Their children were some of THE most precious people on earth, and I learned so much from them. And Pastor Ed was absolutely right when he looked out upon the folks in the sanctuary and said, "One man's trash is another man's treasure. And I'm looking at a whole roomful of treasure right now."
The strange thing about the "church pirate" post (if you watch the video) is the pastor is lamenting the "lack of loyalty" to the church. Odd, but I am thinking that we should be glad people are going somewhere rather than watching TV on Sunday morning. Isn't it just like changing car brands, but still driving a car? I don't know.
I'm also thinking that what with my having all these kiddos with special needs, there are some times you have to change churches to have those needs met. We left one place (I think I detailed this) because G kept getting stuck in with the babies, we were considered not as Christian because we didn't homeschool, and the other kids his age got to be with the bigger children. Maybe that's petty. (And looking back, I'd say, yep, homeschooling is better than public school. But when your child is ALREADY behind, things like this are particularly hurtful. Mind you, Patrick could kick the homeschoolers' butts academically, but he wasn't the one excluded from the parties and the big-kid class.)
Did I hurt feelings when I left? Oh, I'm sure I did. My children missed their friends. I can't say I'm sorry for it, though. I look back and wish I had left earlier. I think it would have been easier on everyone.
If you're looking at "the church" as the body of Christ, should it matter if people go elsewhere to get their needs met? I notice when people are gone. I can't say that I'm very sad about it, though. Then again, this could be my outlook on everything and everybody. We moved around a LOT when I was a little kid. Eventually, you figure out that you'll be moving on soon anyway, and not to get too heavily invested in relationships. That's probably the Christian way to be, being pilgrims and all. Sure, have friends. Love one another. But don't get too comfortable thinking it's going to last. You are one fallout, one misunderstanding, one job change away from losing it all.