Doing Church

Op-Ed Columnist – Wall Street’s Socialist Jet-Setters –

I don’t always (read hardly ever) agree with Maureen Dowd, but this column struck a chord with me.  The one line from John Thain, the former head of Merrill Lynch and most notably the man who authorized a $4billion bonus pool be paid out last December after the people who received the bonus had run Mother Merrill into the ground, that I want to lift out is this:

“If you don’t pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise” and they’ll go elsewhere, Thain said.

Put that comment from Thain in contrast with Ed Stetzer’s comment from this morning’s Innovation Conference (paraphrased):

The future will see smaller church budgets, few staff persons, and more people in the pews/seats.

What a difference in opinion!  Thain maintains that pay is the only driving force.  The more the resource base equals the bigger and better the organization you can build.  Stetzer seems to be stating that is not necessary for the organization known as the church.  People are more likely to be drawn to a movement that needs their giftedness rather than an institution to belong to.  

How does the church continue to grow disciples and become more dynamic (ie. Kingdom building) while using fewer human and monetary resources?  Let’s call it a “greening” of the church shall we? Here is one person’s opinion:  

1)  By clergy fully accept their role within the congregation to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.” (EPHESIANS 4)  Many times, we the clergy put a lid on the potential for growth within our congregations because they simply revolve around us alone.  The problem is with us many times is our “needing to be needed” personalities.  Of which I am an offender.  I need/want/like/get energized from being that “go to” person.  Each time I am the “go to” I am taking an opportunity away from someone else.  The quicker that we/I clergy give up some of our need to be needed and give more and more control of the church to people (who may in many cases be more qualified and called), the quicker we remove a lid from spiritual and numeric growth within our church.

 2)  By building teams of lay people to do vital ministry inside and outside the church walls.  Not getting people to do stuff until we burn them out, but empowering people to live out their God-given passion within their everyday role of mother, employee, friend, mentor, etc.

3)  By not trying to be all things to all people, rather focusing upon a few things that the church is called to do and do them well.

4)  By enjoying one another and caring deeply for one another.  No place can truly be effective long-term unless it is a place that you LOVE to come to…not just like or suffer through, BUT LOVE TO COME TO.  In my mind, this is accomplished as friendships develop and concern for one another emanates.

More to come…really I mean it!