I have been a pastor for nearly 12 years now. In those 12 years, I have worked in a suburb of San Francisco, Tacoma, Washington and now here in Kirkland Washington. There are certain things I know to be true about being a pastor…
I will always have to accept the challenges and hurts that come with the job.
I have an ego (as EVERY pastor does) that needs to be in check at all times.
I have insecurities as a leader that I must be honest about.
Recently, I came across a video of Pastor Ed Young Jr. in Dallas, Texas. Young has a massive church along with a huge television ministry. No doubt there are thousands who attend his church each week with millions of dollars flowing thought their ministry. I have heard Young speak on several occasions and actually like his creativity and humor. But, after hearing what he has to say about church planters, or as he likes to call them…”church pirates”, I have to say I’m very frustrated.
The video was recorded at a recent staff meeting. He is obviously warning his employees to not even think about leaving and starting a church in their city. He continually compares the church to corporate America and gives blanket statements about his thoughts on church planters.
I have seen this sort of thing in staff meetings before when a couple pastors in my former church decided to plant in the tacoma area. They both have gone on to have very successful churches reaching many unchurched families. But it came at a price. They were never given approval and for years I listened to the “warnings” of not to even think of doing what they did. Looking back on those days I realize that many people were hurt in this mess. The church was not a movement of grace and love, but of selfishness, insecurity and a greedy corporate apporach to reaching people.
If someone in our little church decided to leave and start a new church here in Kirkland, I will be the first to admit that my insecurity of losing families would be very real. But, I hope that my love for and belief in the church would support this new work, and I would in no way look at this as church pirating. I realize this is all much easier said then done, but afterall, the church always has been about a movement of grace and restoration through people…not senior pastors.
I wish more pastors would get out of their own way…stop leading the church like fortune 500 companies…take their damn names of their buildings…and quit treating their congregations like they are some kind of property! I know this sounds harsh, but I just can’t see how Young’s or any other pastor who thinks this way is honoring the gospel. Competing for the gospel will never be a part of the Kingdom, and will surely lead more and more away from the church.
What are your thoughts about this? Should there be rules about how close a church should be planted? Is Ed Young Jr. right to say what he says, or is his ego just getting in the way?