Observations on Life, Faith, Media & Technology

“Moving” Thoughts

CNN’s Roland Martin has a piece posted on the website yesterday that is not what you normally read on CNN.com:

Continue to pray and meditate on being in a place where you are constantly being fed and taught. And if it feels like you are going over the same lessons over and over, don’t fret and begin to badmouth the pastor and the deacons. That could simply be God’s way of saying that you have graduated, and it’s time to elevate yourself to the next spiritual level.

Rolandmartin_cnn Martin’s commentary is in response to a Pew Research study released last week showing 25% us had left the faith or denomination of our upbringing, and that non-denominational churches are growing rapidly.

Martin was raised Catholic but left the Catholic church in his late 20s and joined Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas.  When he moved to Houston, he joined Brookhollow Baptist, the “Church Without Walls.”  (See earlier post Christ Prays for a Unified Church for a great video of Dr. Joel Gregory Preaching on unity at Brookhollow.)  When Roland moved back to Dallas several years later, for some reason he no longer felt he belonged at Friendship West.

He came to the conclusion that this was something God was doing in his life and it had nothing to do with the quality of the church, the pastor, or the people.  His advice is if God is leading you somewhere else, go there, but don’t be bitter or speak ill of the place He is moving you from.

That is great advice.  So often when someone leaves a church and goes somewhere else, they trash the place they came from.  And the door swings both ways, too.  Often those left at the church trash the ones who leave.

The best perspective on this I’ve ever heard came from Dr. Jack Hayford.  Several years ago I had the pleasure of being in a small group of pastors who had lunch with Jack.  As we were talking around the table, he shared the story of a young couple at Church of the Way who he was very, very close to.  One day they came into his office and told him that God was leading them to another church, a smaller one where they could really make a difference.  Jack was devastated.  In his personal worship time the following morning, he said he poured his heart out to God – in essence whining to God – about the couple’s departure.  He said, “Lord, you know how much I love these folks.  You know what an encouragement they are to me.  You know how I need them.”

Jack said that as plainly as if it had been said audibly to him, God spoke to his heart and said, “Do you think you can be everybody’s pastor, Jack?”  Those words made a profound impact on Hayford’s heart, life and ministry from that day forward.  He realized that he can’t be everybody’s pastor, but he could love everyone, regardless of where they went to church.

Has someone left you recently to go serve, minister or attend somewhere else?  Rejoice that God is working in their lives and commit to pray that they will have a profound impact for the Kingdom where God is leading them.

Realize that you can’t be everybody’s pastor!

Read the Roland Martin commentary here.
Read about the Pew Research study here.

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