Confession Time

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Uncategorized

This is the first of a series of posts in which I confess something that many readers may not know about me, with the hope of generating some discussion on the topics. In short, read…then respond. It really is that simple.

The first confession is this: I am a former youth pastor. I very rarely bring it up anymore, because not only has it been a while, but it’s not something that I choose to be defined by. I’ve also found that it sometimes generates a morbid curiosity, assuming there was something scandalous involved. And in some ways, that’s true.

But not like you are likely thinking, so I’ll explain. The church was a small congregation, and it was my first official position after having spent many years helping other pastors in another much larger church. Perhaps I was naive, or too idealistic, but soon discovered many things about the church that really did not seem to fit at all:

  1. The church board had many members that were splitting their time between this church and another one (oddly enough, the one I’d spent all those years with prior).
  2. There was an amazing amount of politics going on, despite the size of the church. Some of it I did not find out until I received a call after I left from the previous youth pastor. Some bizarre stuff.
  3. There was a growing dichotomy between what I was being told in private by the senior pastor and what was being said from the pulpit (from the pulpit, full support…in private, not so much).
  4. The senior pastor had said more than once that he did not feel he had a “calling” to ministry. His father was a pastor, though. (So apparently it was just a job).
  5. After I gave notice, there was a meeting in which things were discussed–the kids were not allowed, but I had several parents and others that went, and told me about it afterward…let’s just say truth was not in abundance.

It was a difficult time…despite our short time there, I’d grown to really love the kids. Though it took a while, I realized I was there for that very reason–to bring light to the issues. And I am at peace with it now.

So here’s the discussion: without naming names, what things have you seen in churches that simply do not belong? And more importantly, and without nice little Christian-ese platitudes, how do we fix?

3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Joe says:

    Your story is all too familiar, Scott. So why do people who profess high ideals and firm beliefs behave in ways that would make anyone blush?My opinion is that many people who believe they are following the Lord's ways feel themselves exempt from common norms of behavior that govern — and restrain — the ordinary decent person: speak only the truth, be honest, no back-stabbing, give the other person the benefit of the doubt.With these decent, human norms of behavior cast aside for a "higher calling," they do unrestrained wrongs —bring politics into churches, backstab and undercut others, engage in vicious character assassination.That's just my obvseration.Following whatever God we believe in does NOT exempt us from norms of decent, human behavior that should govern all our lives, whether religious believers or not.My two-cents worth.

  2. Sean says:

    I agree with Joe that people believe that doing this for a higher calling makes it acceptable – even though it's not.Mostly from what I've seen it comes down to people believing they're more important than they actually are and lacking any idea of the big picture. Myopia never leads to anything good.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Scott,My experience over the past five years has been pretty scarring. I have heard and/or personally experienced gossip (malicious) by my "friends" in the church. We've also experienced the issue of exclusivity–on the wrong sinde.On the flipside, my non-Christian friends, have welcomed our family with open arms, avoided gossip, been entirely encouraging to me & all other moms in our group…and cared about others in a way you would expect to see in Christ's community.I've learned a lot from my non-Christian friends, it's pretty sad that I can't attribute that education to my Christian friends. On another note: I think the church has too long taken on pet projects and forgotten to take care of others in need (widows & orphans). There are a lot of people out there that should be getting their help & care from the church, not the government. But wait, that's another topic altogether.–Tiffany