I want to come at this topic again and suggest a solution that may be helpful. I did hear from Catalyst via Twitter, which was kind and may show some interest in knowing and understanding the gap that is often represented between sharing the wisdom of mega-church and the wisdom of small church leaders.
Thank you Catalyst
for asking this question on Twitter, @CatalystLeader
“Thanks Keith, I agree!
but I have no power to fix this. Solution ideas?”
As I have plunged into this church planting journey and am coming up on our one year anniversary as Epic Life Church
here in North Seattle, I am starting to see and understand things in a new light. One thing I have come to understand is that wisdom must be sought after from many different perspectives. The “how to” of ministry hasn’t been perfected by one church, denomination, pastor, leader, or group. I can’t just listen to the wisdom of All White Mega-Church America to understand how to minister on Aurora Avenue to a multi-ethnic, social, economic, and age demographic. I can learn a lot from them but their model, strategy and leadership style isn’t going to work here.
What I need is to learn from someone who has been in my shoes. Someone who is living what I am experiencing. Of course all churches/ministries are different and require more personal touches and less corporate structure but the guys who are walking in a similar journey would better speak into “success” here.
Catalyst is suppose to be big and exciting and something that encourages and pushes us forward with great teaching on leadership and church growth and seeing the multitudes come to Christ. I am not against these things. They are great and Acts
talks about mega churches all the time. But…
What if the big conferences like Catalyst invited pastors of small churches, those who have served faithfully for years in small communities or rough neighborhoods, who can share the wisdom God has taught them about perseverance and hope and faith, etc. (Of course these would have to be selected well, some small church pastors haven’t seen growth for years because they suck as pastors and are lazy and unfaithful). What if these leaders stood along side the mega-church leaders and held just as much respect, or even better what if the mega-church pastor visibly gave them respect? Wow, how powerful would it be if Andy, Craig, Mark, Bill, Rick, (put in your house hold named pastor), would stand up and edify a church planter who is carving out a ministry on the streets of a city where the mega-church suburbanites only dare to send a youth mission team once a year for a “cross-cultural” experience. That would be something to sit up and take notes on!
(Just so everyone knows, I respect these men I mentioned above. They are doing great things for the Kingdom and to advance the Gospel in the way God has called them. Please don’t miss quote me.)
Again I think it is very dangerous to our church culture to only hear from the Mega-Church pastors. It begins to set a “success” standard that frankly isn’t necessarily success. Sadly a conference on “How to do Small Church Successfully” wouldn’t be attended, or woefully so. But in conjunction with a Catalyst-ish conference with big worship and thousands in attendance, that could be so sweet and my brothers on the streets who are pastors and beating the streets with feet down would be stoked that someone is noticing them and the importance of their work, and the success of their ministry.
And, it would encourage them to continue and continue well. Their churches would send them to conferences like this because they would come back with things they can actually use. Sorry, but not all principles for mega-churches work for small churches, many do, but many don’t.
Oh, don’t miss this last point. There is so much, more than they may think, that my pastor colleagues Andy, Craig, Mark, Bill, Rick, etc. can learn from the church planter or small church pastor.