A Lot Less Churches

churchesThis morning at the “Y” I overheard a couple of guys talking about their churches. One was saying that his church recently got about thirty new people because another church in the neighborhood had gone through its “umpteenth split”. The details were real gory; yet I had to chuckle.  Not because it was funny, but wondering what the newly unemployed preacher had been thinking when he took the job in the first placed. Stepping into that dysfunctional mess was like marrying someone who had said “I do” zillion times previously.

In 1993 my wife and I, along with a couple of our best friends, started what we all thought was the first “split proof”  church in the history of the world. We succeeded —- for twelve years almost to the day! Then the bottom fell out! I came to understand through that 12 year experience, most of which was positive, that even in a “split proof church”, there is still one flaw – people. In our case, there was no one cause. It was more of a matter of me mishandling several different issues that alone were not that significant, but taken together effectively transferred the power to one family. One day I looked up and was holding the very short end of the stick. Now, the former best friends do not speak to each other and the “split proof church” has joined the ranks of nearly every other church. That is a shame. We are a sorry witness to the Gospel we proclaim.  The Supreme Court recently ruled that corporations “are like people”. I’m not sure about that, but I know that is true of churches.

I still think that it is theoretically possible to have a split proof church. Here is how: At the very first hint of a strain in a relationship, everybody must follow this commandment or be shot: Matthew 5:23-24 CEV So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.  Pebbles unaddressed become boulders very quickly. If more of us lived that verse, the world would be a better place and there would be a lot less churches.

Special Announcement:

Miracles Still Happen

Crossroad Community Church will have a final service on December 18.  After Christmas, we will launch the “CCC Miracles Still Happen Grant Program”.  God has blessed us financially, so we want to pass His blessing on to other churches / 501c3 ministries.  These grants are not intended for operational expenses but rather for very specific projects. In phase one (now) we invite pastors / ministry leaders to email johngouldener@gmail.com with a short description of your church and its need. If our grant committee selects you for phase two, we will email an application packet to gather more information which will include financial statements, board members, corporate charter, 501c3 acceptance, etc. We expect that all the grants will be awarded in the first quarter of 2017.  With God miracles still happen! God Bless.

 

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