Wrong Fit?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by ServingHim, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. ServingHim

    ServingHim
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    Need some Godly advice...

    Have you ever took a church and felt like after a few months it may be the wrong fit?

    I'm a younger guy who was a youth pastor for years, and God led me to the pastorate. I took a church in Oklahoma, feeling that it was where God was leading me. It's a small church of about 70 in a small community of about 1,000, pretty traditional. I'm a conservative guy, but open and willing to think outside the box. When I interviewed with the search team, they seemed to want a younger pastor with new, fresh ideas. They said the church was open to change.
    I've felt led to make a few untraditional changes, such as, doing small groups on Sunday Night in place of an Evening Service, and adding modern worship songs with hymns to our song service. Everyone seemed fine with the new ideas, until it was time to implement. Now I'm getting a lot of complaints. There is also an uncomfortable feeling with a few of the older folks being led by such a young pastor (They've told me this) I am 28.
    I feel that maybe they would do better with an older more traditional pastor. I'm also kind of "city folk" and this is a country church.
    Ever felt like this? Am I way off base?
     
    #1 ServingHim, Jun 8, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2008
  2. exscentric

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    First thought was your comment about God leading you. Either He did or He didn't, know that and you have your answer. Change normally is a no no for a good time, maybe consider backing away on part of your changes????

    Pray lots.
     
  3. Cutter

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    Yes, I would also consider backing away from some of what you want to do and let the Lord lead you and the congregation together. If you still want to try something different, consider trying only one thing at a time and give that plenty of time to see if it works before you try something else.
     
  4. ServingHim

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    That's the thing...
    I brought the changes before the leadership. They said, "Great". I asked them to pray about it, they said to go ahead and do it if I felt God leading me to, and they said they were excited about the changes. After about a month, I brought the changes before the church and opened it up for discussion and questions. The only comment I got was "Let's do it". Now People are complaining (including the leadership). I was led to believe that everything was a go, and the church felt God moving as I did. I just can't understand what happened.
     
  5. Cutter

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    I'm sorry you are having difficulty. You are young and you are going to gather alot of experience from this and other things that will happen among "church folk." Keep your chin up and keep in prayer about it. If the people really aren't ready, the Lord will tell you when they will be, if ever. Praying for you, Brother! :praying:
     
  6. SaggyWoman

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    Uh, yeah. Once, rednecked SaggyWoman was stuck at Well to Do Hollister type community. Who are we all kidding.
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    I have seen many churches go through much the same. Change is never easy. Nobody likes change (except maybe Democrats <<<zing>>>).

    Make one change at a time and ride it out. Some folks are going to leave no matter what you do.

    OTOH, you will shake up the comfortable and hopefully get them to work.
     
  8. go2church

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    Every pastor feels this the first couple of months after the newness of being there wears off. I wouldn't change anything for at least a year. And the changes you have made I would "un-change" and go back to what they were doing before. Change in rural areas is something that you carry in your pocket, not something you do at church. They are "traditional" people and expect the church to be traditional looking. They expect you to get to know them before everything starts being different. Once you have put a bit in the bank, earned the right to change things, they will go along with you fine. But you are looking at about a three year process.

    Nowadays the attitude is that they expect you to be gone in a couple of years anyway, they aren't planning on going anywhere, why should be change everything that has worked for someone that is going to be gone in a few years?

    I have intentionally spent my pastorate in rural communities and have loved it! I too grew up in the city, but have found great joy in being a pastor in a small community. Get involved with what they are doing. They will never think what you are doing is important if you don't think what they are doing is important. Read the crop prices, watch the weather and buy a chicken or two. Anything you do to relate will help you in ways you can't imagine.

    Here is a link you might find helpful
    http://chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/hello-world/
     
  9. bobbyd

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    For some search committees saying "ok" to change means nothing more than getting new bulletin paper or starting a new Sunday School class...while for you "change" means just that, change. It's tough when you fill like a square peg in a round hole, especially when you know that God called you there.
    Hang on to that fact, God called you there. And consider making a 1 year, 2 year, 5 year and even a 10 year plan where you can "eat the elephant" one bite at a time.

    I'm also a "city boy" in a small rural town and i'm feeling a lot like i'm a fish out of water, but i'm reminding myself that God has me here for a reason and i try to hang on to the hope i have in Him alone.

    Keep the faith and feel free to email me if you need a sympathetic ear.
     
  10. David Lamb

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    I don't know your church. Are there no others in leadership posistions (elders, deacons and so on) apart from yourself as pastor? If there are, I hope you would discuss any proposed changes with them before introducing them. If not, and you are the only "leader" in the church, and have to make decisions about such changes unilaterally, that must be an enormous strain on you. Perhaps that is something that needs to be changed before coming to such things as music styles, and small groups versus whole church services.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Excellent advice from go2church!

    Small town? Church of 70? Oklahoma? IMO they won't want change until:

    1) They know you'll stick it out.
    2) They know you really love them and want to know them.
    3) They know you understand the reasons for the old ways.
    4) They see real blessings from your ministry.

    Hang in there! Don't doubt the call when frustrated.
     
    #11 John of Japan, Jun 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2008
  12. Rubato 1

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    Moses was the greatest leader of history (according to some). But his method of leadership was--oddly edough--meekness.

    Make sure that the positions you take are right, and that you have scriptural authority for the changes you suggest, then let the people decide if they want to follow your suggestion (ie God's direction) or choose their own way. Moses let the people plum decide to miss out on what they had come our of Egypt for!

    If you are right, tell them what you belive should be done, but let them decide whether or not to do it, whether music, Bible studies, etc.

    I know several young men who took churches right out of Bible college; each one felt some resistance from the 'established' at his age, yet a welcoming feeling that a young man would be interested in establishing a life with them. Now, their church members would probably die for them because they love them so much after seeing them grow and after being led through the process of growth. Stick around; you'll be suprised what you learn from them.

    IMO,

    R1
     
  13. Major B

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    You need to read "Seven Churches NOT in the Book of Revelation." It is a very practical guide to dealing with situations like where you are. If God led you there, don't leave early. The church I attend was, at one time, one of the worst churches in the county. They fired or ran off every good man who'd been there. Then they got a young fireball of a preacher, and he stuck it out, and now, 37 years later, that little congretation is a "megachurch" with over 1500 members, with that same fireball of a pastor. If they don't want you to leave, and even if a minority do, hang in there and make a fight for it.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    Mzjor B why do you think most pastors will leave a church rather than stay and fight?

    In some cases, is it that they don't believe it's useless to fight unless you can win?

    Is it possible that they believe the cost of winning is too high? (Scarred, bloodied, family suffers, etc)

    How do you handle a situation where your opposition is small in number but with influence out of proporition to their numbers? How do you handle those who decide to play dirty?. I know you've dealt with that before.
     
  15. sag38

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    As a pastor God has given me some great pass plays that moved the church forward. I can count them on one hand over the past twelve years. But, I'll have to admit there have been a lot more times (I don't have enough fingers or toes) that I had to punt and start over again. Punt brother and try again. Don't give up and move on too quickly. For the same problems that you run from now will be found at the next church and in the next one they may be worse.
     
  16. Major B

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    I really was not given a choice in any of the several situations I've been involved in. However, based on other situations I've known about, here are some observations.

    1. The cost is high emotionally. Your reputation gets trashed, your wife and kids are scarred, and most of your friends will avoid publicly defending you at all cost. Except for my home church, I cannot see me ever again even being asked to supply preach anywhere. Preachers won't call upon a guy who has been labeled as a troublemaker, whether there is any justification at all. My wife has been scarred five times now, so that is it--game over for her. I would have been better off this last time if I would have left sooner rather than later. There is nothing to salvage--she is done with me preaching.

    2. Even a small minority has an advantage, because they are FROM the the place.

    3. There is nothing you can do about those who play dirty, because they usually operate from behind the scenes. The ring leader in the most recent situation is a funeral home owner, so there have been lots of opportunities to bury me professionally. Men who have never heard me preach and who could not pick me out of a lineup have settled and negative opinions about me. One of my best friends, a man you would know well, was told he ought to quit fooling with me. A young preacher friend of mine told me that one of his leading deacons told him that if I was invited to fill the pulpit, he would make a motion to vacate the pulpit and fire my friend.

    4. Your most loyal members will encourage you, and swear that they are going to go to another church, they aren't going to put up with it, and they will be the first to conveniently forget you when you are gone, out of relief--until the same thing happens to the next guy.

    And all I did was come and preach the Truth three times a week. God honored His Word. People's lives were transformed, marriages were saved, folks were opening up their Bibles and taking notes--but my personality was seen by a very small number of people to be too assertive. I hope the next guy they get (he is preaching in view of a call on June 21) makes it, but I would not hold my breath just yet.

    I have seen it work in other places, and here are the things that must pertain:

    1. You have to have at least one (and preferably more than one) strong and well-discipled layman who will stand up for the pastor, serve as body guard, and who refuses to let the man be run off. (I actually, in my younger days, was blessed to be that guy--but never was blessed to have one like that.) My pastor, many years ago, had several like that--which is a major reason he survived and you see the result.

    2. It really helps if the church has no debt--it is easier to see the reprobate with money leave in those cases.

    3. You have to have a large number of people who will back up the lay leader(s) and the pastor all the way, and who also won't take "no" for an answer.

    4. The people have got to be willing to see negative growth (back door revival) knowing that if they are faithful to the Truth, things will change.
     
    #16 Major B, Jun 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2008
  17. Mexdeaf

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    MajorB, Sir,

    I did a web search on the above-referenced article/book and came up empty. I occurred to me that you might be speaking TIC- but if not I would appreciate a referral to where I might obtain this resource.

    Thanks and may God bless you.
     
  18. Major B

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    The Seven Churches Not Found in the Book of Revelation
    By: Gene Mims
    B & H Publishing Group / 2001 / Paperback

    Left out a word or two.
     
  19. Major B

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    Meekness is NEVER weakness. Jesus was "meek and lowly in heart" but he cleaned out the temple and fried the Pharisees on numerous occasions (Jn 8, Mat 23). Paul was hardly a shrinking violet, and how about John in 1 John?

    Meekness is Power Under Control of God's Spirit.
     
  20. Mexdeaf

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    Thanks for that speedy reply! It will be on order from Amazon as soon as I can shake a few shekels loose.
     

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