A Dialog between a "Consumer Focused" Pastor vs "Christ Centered" Pastor

This is a real conversation that is taking place between a pastor who is focused on growing his church and a pastor who is focused on trying to teach his church to be more like Jesus.

Jesus Focused pastor (aka Chris) wrote:

Dear Pastor Connor, (Consumer Focused),

I wanted to take a minute out of my day and congratulate you on all of the growth that you are seeing at your church. I drove by your facility yesterday and I saw all of the construction that was taking place; it looks amazing. The word around town is that God is really doing something in your church. I hear that you are seeing more and more people every Sunday attend. That's awesome. You have only been established for 3 years and already have probably 10 times the amount of attendees that we have on a given Sunday and your charasima, so I hear, is extremely motivating. My daughter went to visit your church while visiting from college and said that your Worship was out of this world. Everything was perfectly put together and the sound was awesome, she said.

I just wanted to hear from you, how you are seeing all of your success. I am an older guy who has been in ministry for 20 years and have never seen the success that you are seeing. Whats your secret? How are you drawing so many people? How are you leading such a monster?

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you.

Bless you in Christ,
Pastor Chris, (Christ Centered)

To see the remainder of the conversation, look under the comments section.

6 comments:

Pastor Connor said...

Dear Pastor Chris,
Well…let me start by saying thank you so much! I am indeed flattered by your interest in our growing endeavors for Glory.

Having said that, I must give all the Glory to God. Oh, and a great marketing plan, relevant worship, awesome child care, a gym, a swimming pool (for the elderly), and a congregation absolutely committed to service and giving to their church home). We plan the work and then work the plan! I am smiling broadly as I say this because I am so blessed to be in his provision. The fruits of our labors are truly becoming evident.

I really do believe that when you focus on current trends to give church shoppers the things they are looking for, they will respond. Todays church goer requires the little extras that really make it worth the effort when they load up and make the drive to the facility on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings (or whatever days work best for your people!). Provide what they’re asking for and they will as they say come to the mountain. Speaking of mountains, did I mention our new climbing wall for the youth? Again, I laugh. We will do whatever it takes to get them here, and that’s no secret!

Oh, and as a final note (in jest of course). The only Monster in our church is the energy drink we offer in the foyer and coffee for those of us needing something a bit tamer!

I hope this helps pastor. I must run, I have a service to tend to tonight, and four more in the morning. People just seem to come in droves to hear the Good News in a great environment like we have here at Mount Christian. Great to Blog with you. Stay current!

Blessings!

Pastor Connor

Pastor Chris said...

Pastor Connor,

Wow, it seems like you are doing some really different things at your church. A Rock wall? I have never heard of such a thing. I guess your right, whatever it takes to get them there. I bet your youth really love it. And a gym, when do your guys play hoops? If they don't play on MWF mornings I got a great idea for them. MWF I play ball at the local YMCA, there are a ton of lost guys out there and I love being able to connect with them outside of the church; I can already see God moving. It’s amazing how comfortable people are when you meet them on their terms. What do you do for personal outreach?

You mentioned current trends, that’s interesting to me. What type of trends are you talking about? I tend to focus on the bible; I know I'm old school, I hear it all the time. People tell me all the time to stop talking about that old book and just share something more relevant. That's hard for me though, I like staying true to scripture; they can call me whatever they want! So what's your preaching like? Surely people just don’t come for the facility and Monster energy drink; or do they?

Anyway, I don't tend to jump into people's business, but for the heck of it I will share something that I noticed from your e-mail. You mentioned a lot about Monster, Rock walls, a swimming pool, and your facility; but you never mentioned Jesus. Maybe I'm being over-observant, just a thought. Can you tell me how your people are growing in Christ at your church? One thing I will say about our group, there may not be many of us, but we are running hard after God. Some days it is overwhelming.

So, our church is doing this awesome thing next week with the homeless; about 5 of our guys are going to get up early on Saturday to go to the homeless shelter off of Eagle St and cook for the homeless; if you have any people in your church that would like to help out, I can use about 3 more volunteers. Let me know what you think?

So, I guessed I’ve posed a few questions. I look forward to your response.

Pastor Chris.

Amber Shomo said...

Are these real people Matt?! Pastor Chris sounds a lot like you (speech wise, not necessarily what he wrote). Then I got to looking and the name Connor (sounds like consumer) and Chris (sounds like Christ). Hmmm. Of course, if they ARE real people, wow - I'm a skeptic!

Anyway, I'm not sure what kind of response you were looking for from this but I will say this: I think Pastor Chris asks good questions, but I also think Pastor Connor has a good heart. He is focusing on "loving" his people in a relevent way and it sounds like they are responding positively. Hopefully with that positive response is deeper relationships with Christ and others. It will be interesting to see how Pastor Connor response.

Matt Chewning said...

Amber,
hahaha. Good observation. I can't tattle though. We'll just have to see how it plays out.

I am excited to here Pastor Connor's response as well. FYI...I'm not Pastor Connor; promise.

Pastor Connor said...

Chris,

I've been wrong...very wrong. My heart has always been for bringing people to God. I have pursued that mindset with goals and achievements and I am afraid that I have succeeded famously. The problem is that I now I think I have a church full of "Christians" who have more inclination towards taking from God than giving to him.

In Ezekiel of course we know that the sins of our Sister of Sodom were that she was "arrogant, overfed, unconcerned, and she didn't care for the poor and needy." Arrogant....overfed...I just can't get past those words. Have I been pursuing the poor and needy or the rich and spoiled? Have I catered to consumerism in my own church. The answer, I'm afraid is...yes, I have. I repent.

But is repentance enough? I mean, I know in the grace of God there is love that covers sin. The true repentance however, is in acting on these convictions. If we are to truly love with all our heart soul, strength and mind we must give up this church model that caters to the fickle church customer who will bolt immediately if unsatisfied or challenged. Instead we must begin to create a church culture, a people who's soul intent is to love and serve the Lord, and others. It's simple stuff. I am amazed how lost in the woods we've become...I've become.

Sunday I intend to speak about these simple truths in front of our congregation. I just can't concern myself with numbers or
feel good about "getting people in the doors" any longer. If people don't want to commit to active, authentic pursuit of God, then I must say I don't want them in my midst.

Ultimately, because I am a teacher and in a leadership role I will be judged accordingly. If I am going to hear the "well done" it will be because the people I pastored loved and lived for him and not themselves.

The legacy of faith is ours to pass on. Let's make an informed decision to do so.


Grace and peace,

Pastor Connor

Pastor Chris said...

Dear Pastor Connor,
Wow, I most definitely did not expect to read that in your latest post. But I can see that God is moving in your life. I can sense from your words that your heart is right and you want to see people grow in Christ. As a pastor, it is hard to judge our success. I think that to many churches are judging it by numbers these days rather than fruit. I have learned over the years that it is not all that difficult to draw a crowd; what is difficult is leading people into a selfless walk with Christ.

One thing to think of: Crowds are not bad. Jesus drew very large crowds, however the thing we have to be careful of is what we do with those crowds. If we do not challenge our crowds to lose their lives like Jesus did, than we are giving our congregations false hope. Try not to get so down on yourself, you sounded kind of suicidal in that post. Of course God will forgive of this if you repent; that is the Gospel at work. As a matter of fact, this seems like it would be a great time to really challenge your group. You have a ton of resources, a great facility, and a large amount of people. God really has set you up for this transition. I believe that your church will see your authentic spirit and want to follow you.

Pertaining to this statement; (If we are to truly love with all our heart soul, strength and mind we must give up this church model that caters to the fickle church customer who will bolt immediately if unsatisfied or challenged.) I want to encourage you to not worry about people leaving your church. God is sovereign over your church. Remember that you are leading his people, not your people. Jesus told us that if "His people hear His voice they will listen and follow." Your job is to bring His voice to His people. God will take care of the rest.

One thing that I have been pushing myself to do is to personally live out this selfless life. I know that I cannot lead people where I am not going, so in order to lead them, I must first lead myself. I would encourage you to personally feed the hungry, serve people around you, be faithful with your personal finances and giving, get in your Word, and walk closer to the Lord than ever before. By doing this, it will be natural for you to lead God 's people in the same direction.

Connor, you are an extremely gifted young man. God has a great work for you to do for him. I am confident that you will begin heading in a very biblical direction and see much fruit. Pertaining to people; if you desire to reach many people; do it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to reach a lot of people. Actually, if you do not want to reach a lot of people, that would be considered sin. However, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."
I am here to serve you in any way possible. Let me know how I can be of help.

Until all heave heard,
Pastor Chris