Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SBC Udate # 5

So my blog has received some unusually high traffic because of a comment I made about Mac Brunson. Apparently there are some people who really do not like him. I don’t know him, and honestly, the other 51 weeks of the year, don’t really care all that much about him, or others who take prominent roles at the SBC. What you should know about me is that I have a wry sense of humor, and I blog about an eclectic mix of things that pop into my mind. I don’t have an agenda, except getting the excess verbiage out of my head to make room for more important matters. But this one week a year, my blog turns denominational for a bit.

I am a small church pastor, and I have tremendous respect for those whom God has called to pastor churches, big or small. My one, overarching problem with the structure of the SBC, and remember, the SBC only exists for two days a year, is that the large church pastors either a) have a disdain for those called to pastor small churches, or b) they have forgotten from whence they came. I resent being “schooled” by them on church growth strategy. For instance, I lived in Roswell, GA in ’07 & ’08. I drove past Woodstock First more times than I can count. It is in a high density population area. There are more people at Woodstock First on Sunday than the entire population of Cassatt, SC.

Now, before you get all spiritual on me…I know that if God wanted, Beaverdam would be full of people driving in from Columbia, no matter how remote we are. But He doesn’t. Not all churches are called to be Mega. And just because you are not large does not mean you are not in God’s will. There are some people who would never walk into a church so large, just like some would not walk into a church so small. So black. So country. So urban. So postmodern. So _________. Fill in the blank.

God, in His wisdom, made us diverse, because He made people diverse. So, stop schooling me on what I am doing wrong. I will promise you that I may not baptize in a year what you do in a month, but a year from now, my twelve will all still be in church. Will your 400 all be there? In our small church we disciple, mentor, and love new converts through those first months of testing and persecution. We, WE, pastor them. We do not hand them off to staff or laity and hope for the best.

We are, speaking for Beaverdam, a rural church. Drive a mile in any direction and you’ll see nothing but farmland. The closest is a home of a sweet widow, age 90. I buried her husband a few months ago. She is at church every Sunday. Next is her grandson, an SBC pastor who drives 25 miles one way to his church. We are disperse and distant from one another geographically. Yet in a five mile radius are two other SBC churches and one Pentecostal, all vying for the same people.

And then there are the lectures about sacrifice. Sacrifice until it hurts. Sacrifice for the poor lost souls in Africa and Asia. Amen. We should care. We should sacrifice, and more than our dollars, we should sacrifice our tears, our prayers, and our comfort. Yet I wonder what true sacrifices the large church pastors have made. And I don’t mean your child giving up their church snack for missions! When is the last time you had to choose between writing a check to pay the church’s light bill or your salary, and you chose the light bill? When is the last time your checking account was running perilously low, yet you gave $50 to the church’s ministry that feeds undernourished school kids on the weekends? When is the last time your child had to do without more than Goldfish, and they didn’t complain because they knew that God is bigger than stuff? My three children understand sacrifice! And when was the last time you went to the doctor, holding your breath in lieu of a diagnosis because your church can’t afford to pay insurance? Don’t you dare stand upon the stage of my Southern Baptist Convention and lecture me about sacrifice.

And so, when this week rolls around every year, and every year the muckity mucks stand up and bather on about the latest and greatest buzz trend going around, my blog turns decisively more pointed. They write a new book defining missional instead of mission- minded, as if there really was a difference. And when I see what I consider blatant, shameful acts, I write it from my perspective. With my wry sense of humor thrown in for good effect. (That was wry, wasn’t it.) (Of course, so was the parenthetical statement, sooooo)

Now, if you’re even still reading, I said all of that to say this. Yes, I believe that Mac Brunson was playing a game of emotionalism. Having everyone get on their knees, not letting the Holy Spirit drive them there, is playing on emotions. Am I wrong? I have tons of respect for most of the people that spoke at the PC. But I paid money that I didn’t have to spare to come to that conference. I came because it is supposed to be, for me, a chance to get refreshed, renewed, and recharged. Not to be given campaign speeches. Now the preaching was wonderful. I especially enjoyed Andy Stanley and David Platt. It was the GCR ads that bother me. Don’t cheapen the fact that that’s what they were by telling me, it was about the Great Commission. No, it was about a vote that those in charge wanted approved. That irks me. And it really doesn’t matter. The GCR passed, and I’m fine with the fact it did. May God use Southern Baptist to do the work of the Great Commission for another 150 years, or until His Son returns.

Listen, the sun still came up this morning and I still have people who love me. All’s good. God is great. And I’m back to being a writer of eclectic musings. Even if I’m the only one amused!

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