Kickin’ `em when they’re down

I get Monday Morning Insight’s (MMI) weekly pastor/leadership newsletter every (surprise!) Monday morning. The dudes there definitely have their biases – they heavily promote the Second Gen Mega Church church leaders. I don’t always agree with the MMI guys and their congregational cover boys, but the things they’re thinking about and doing affect us all, whether we want them to or not.

So it’s been interesting (like a car wreck is interesting) to follow the discussion that’s ensued at the site in the wake of a question about church hoppers vs. church “lifers”, which shifted in an instant to become a discussion about the problems with church hoppers versus the problems with screwed-up dysfunctional abusive church leadership. This is an old, tiring debate that never seems to change any minds or any practices. The MMI conversation in particular has left me feeling a little beat up, frankly. Both sides (because in this conversation, there really is a sense of “versus” that is fueling this round and venue of the old, tiring debate) mostly sound like Jets Vs. Sharks, not sheep and shepherds.

My good friends (scattered all over Chicago and WI) have been listening to me weep and grieve these last few months over the fact that we don’t have a church home. (If you want to hear the whole sad saga, e-mail me at mishvl@yahoo.com. An abbreviated version is also listed on the above MMI post.) We have been attending a place, but it is shockingly unhealthy, and we know at this point in our lives, we aren’t the stick of dynamite these sleepy people desperately need. I have grieved deeply, perhaps obsessively, that we’re back on the road again…again. And I have grieved the molasses-like stuck-ness that has left this middle-aged church shrinking, clubby and completely disconnected from the community around her.

So listen up, MMI guys: I don’t want to be looking for a new church. I don’t want to be a church hopper. Your conversation this week hurts right now. Not like conviction hurts – in order to bring change. No, it hurts like cliques and smug answers hurt.

I want to be the church – the bride!, live the mission, and love and be loved by Jesus.

About Michelle Van Loon
  • Lisa

    Isn’t it wonderful to think that in Heaven, we won’t have to deal with cliques or rivalries or any of the pettiness and nonsense that plague our churches? Instead we’ll finally be united in Christ and worship Him together–how amazing!

  • Michelle Van Loon

    100% agree, Lisa. We know the church is meant for so much more – and in the end, she will be a beuatiful gift for her Bridegroom.

    Every so often, I see a glimpse of that bride right here on earth. I can’t give up hoping to see more of her in the church and in myself!

  • SLW

    Michelle,
    Your feelings about church changes are clearly intense just now. Folk experience a lot of internal dissonance, guilt, anger, etc. over leaving a church. If it’s any help to you, I blogged here on the subject. Let me know if any of it was helpful to you, if it wasn’t, I probably don’t need to know. ;-)

  • Michelle Van Loon

    slw – helpful, and very kind, to boot. I’ll be re-reading those posts again.

    Yes, my emotions are right at the surface now. Even though it’s uncomfortable as all get-out to feel them, I need to remember them well after this transition is over.

    Thanks for exercising a bit of cyber-pastoral care. You blessed me today.

  • SLW

    Glad to be of assistance. Blessings.


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