I am going to ask a question that may ruffle your feathers, frankly, this question has ruffled mine: “why have some very gifted pastors in the past couple of years transitioned out of healthy churches into church planting? Why have they chosen not to transition into another established church?”
To be clear, these pastors did not leave their churches grumbling or complaining about their experiences. They have not (in my presence anyway) thrown up their arms and said, “I’m done, I want nothing more to do with an established church!” Each has described a “call” or sense from God that they are to do something new. I love new – the Psalmist sings of God’s nature that generates a new song every day. I also love and respect each of these pastors for stepping into this new adventure. Still I can’t help but wonder if this is something local established churches need to prayerfully consider.
Can “doing something new” not happen in an established church?
For pastors to fully use their creative gifts, and develop a ministry plan that captures their sanctified imaginations, and stimulates all their ministry muscles, do they have avoid an established church? What would concern a pastor about an established church? Baggage, current church culture, worship wars, sacred cows like the painting of a white Jesus hanging in the hallway that everyone is afraid to take down because it was donated many years ago?
The best case scenario for the FMCIC involves healthy established churches AND new church plants! We have been inviting established churches into important initiatives (PRAYER, “accepting responsibility for their community”, Regional Coaching, 3 Year Ministry Plan building through Life Plan, etc). A new thing can happen in established churches. A new thing also has to happen in communities across Canada where there aren’t established churches available to respond to certain demographics. Enter church plants. Praise God for courageous, creative, entrepreneur-type leaders who are listening to the Spirit and to their local established church about “something new”.