size matters

Years ago when I was planting a church, I met another young, energetic pastor who was planting another one in the same town. I think our respective denominations must’ve read the report on cities and towns most receptive to the idea of new churches and sent us there at the same time. I started and proceeded organically, forming relationships with people and quietly letting it be known we were there.

But this guy… we met for coffee often… he had it all down to a science. Literally. He had it all figured out. And his denomination kept throwing money at him. I admit it irritated me. I believed it was important to put quality before quantity. He burned out and quit a year into it and that plant withered away. That was sad.

I left after two years, totally fried and disillusioned. But the church I planted is still going strong.

You see: I’m ashamed to admit that even with my lofty attitudes I was still competitive.

You can buy a $15 print (free shipping) of this cartoon. (Just email me.)

I published a book of cartoons that addresses issues like these. For just $9, order Nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward“, from amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.de.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Rich

    I guess the moral of the story is: It’s not the size that matters. Its how you use it. LOL

  • linda

    I appreciate what your trying to do here….reach people with the truth….its really creative and catchy…..so here’s the dilema im seeing. If the holy spirit draws people to the truth and your using the tactics of the world, whats the real Good news? The good news that the world is searching for is that they can be set free….but your tactics are saying you can be set free partialy…..you can still keep some of the world in you….and get rid of some of it! That doesnt seem like good news to me. I am saying all this with love and encouragment. You have a message and its the most profound message in the world “Jesus took our place and his sacrifice completly satified the heart of god….so now we are free and no longer slaves to the world….we are a delight to our father when we believe him and accept his gift” now that is good news….so dont water it down….you have god given gifts….use them in fullness!

  • http://www.afterthepulpit.com After the Pulpit

    It’s not the size of the god in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the god. ;)

  • Another Disillusioned Pastor

    I love your cartoons and commentary and re-post them regularly. Our world needs to come to grips with these issues and humor is an effective way to diffuse the emotions that get carried into the conversation. Keep ‘em coming …

  • http://theprodigalprophet.com Dylan Morrison Author

    The business ethic and competitive drive has invaded Western Christianity like an out of control virus. The mimetic rivalry is there for all to see. Even the ‘non believers’ can see it – no wonder they don’t want to become another growth marketing man’s statistic!

  • http://www.pilgrimswaymin.org Jon F. Dewey

    There was an article on TheOoze site that touched on some of this. What is the real definition of a church’s success? Is it numbers? or is it maturity of the people? It drove me nuts when I was a Baptist because of the emphasis on numbers. Success was number of decisions, number of baptisms, number in the pews. There were large numbers, but the church wasn’t very Christian-like to me!

    I highly recommend to everyone a book from the 70s “A Call to Discipleship” by Juan Carlos Ortiz. Not sure if you can even buy it anymore, but if you can find it, its worth reading. He was a pastor of a huge church in South America. What he realized one day was that he had a church full of baby believers who were not maturing. So he changed his tactics and started them on the road to maturity. One of his innovations is something we take for granted today: cell groups.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks another disillusioned pastor!

  • http://www.parishofquispamsis.com Chris Hayes

    I’m an anglican priest. That comes with a lot of trappings, mostly in seen so many people’s preconceptions of church that I met (whether the Anglican denomination or some other – it usually doesn’t matter to them). When I meet people, they ARE in this world, and it is things in this world that they are struggling with. While I can point them to bigger realities, a greater truth, and genuine love that will not leave them, I can not pull them out of this world into the next (not my job, either, for that matter). They are in this world; I am in this world, and I try my best to show them that Jesus, too, is in this world. I only pray that I don’t screw it all up as often as I fear I do! All anyone can do is point (à la John the Baptist), and let them and Jesus work it all out.

  • thebutler

    Ha! Marilyn Manson parafrased? ;)

  • Ant

    I so appreciate your honesty David we need more people like you who admit their humanity. So many Christians (and other faiths too) are too busy trying to forget our humanity – we often dont like what we see in this world or in us and we get lost in a rollercoaster ride of entertainment or spirituality (or both) and are so busy getting from A – B that we forget what it is to be human and what it is to simply be. Spirituality can be an escape. I think I’d probably be quite safe to say that I use both entertainment and spirituality as a means of escape and I have been in many churches that combine the two – its nothing new I suspect to you and your readers.

    I remember a part of a song which I think was sung by a Christian group called Fisherfolk from a Christian community of monks. Any way the verse goes like this:

    Let us open up ourselves to one another,
    Without fear of hurt or being turned away.
    For we need to confess our weaknesses,
    To be covered by our brothers love.
    To be real and learn our true identity.

    Now I dont think we need to confess its not a commandment or anything but it is good for the soul and its even better when we are able to do that with others who will keep your integrity in one piece and not abuse that situation. Thats what I am looking for in friends – connection and the chance to be real and accepted for who I really am and not what I think others want me to be. I am tired of all the entertainment – entertainment isnt wrong but it wears out its welcome if thats all you do. What I want is authentic relationships with people that are connection driven based on who we really are not what we’re supposed to be.

    I admire your honesty David you’ve chosen to be human and let us see who you really are and that is a precious gift imho – thank you.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks Ant. That’s a beautiful verse. I like it.

  • lisa

    ha! listen, our church is down to like 20 current members. our poor pastor doggedly drives almost 2 hours every sunday to preach to our little group. but the Lord said, “where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them”. G-d bless our pastor, and i sure do love the Lord for his faithfulness to us regardless of congregation size. The messages have been more powerful and moving than ever even tho our numbers have been lower than ever. thanks, david! (tears in my eyes as i type this, no joke)

  • http://rallyingcos.wordpress.com MLE

    @ Chris Hayes

    Well said, I concur.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    lisa: sounds like my kind of pastor. show him the cartoon!


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