Posts Tagged ‘pastor’

Why Do We Go To Church, Daddy?

January 3, 2010

Usher: Hey Deak,

My buddy Short Beak stopped by my branch the other day and asked me how to answer his kid’s question – “Why do we go to church, Daddy? I thought Jesus was fun and cool, but church really sucks! I can’t stay awake for longer than 5 minutes through those windy sermons and Sunday School is full of Geritol and brown-nosers.”

Deacon: So what did you tell him?

Usher:  I told him it was his problem.  After all, he’s fallen for it all his life, and now he’s at the point of no return.  No matter what he tells his kid, his kid will see him as a hypocrite because he still goes and doesn’t feel he can change as it’s too late in life and after all, the fellowship hour has really good desserts!

Deacon:  Usher, you’re so so lame!

Divide & Conquer

April 20, 2009

Usher:  Deak, I been told that the church is supposed to be separated from state and I don’t have a problem with that.  But how come all them humans run the church like a business?

Deacon: They are raised and taught in a “command and conquer” society where rigid guidelines and hierarchy are the norm.  (Unlike how the church was actually established around a decentralized model with not titles, no bosses and no hierarchy.)

Usher: So that’s why the pastor is the CEO, the assistant is the aggressive VP with the pedigree pursuing the career path and the sheep are mere afterthoughts?

Deacon: You go it!  They simply see church as a vocation and nothing more.  Once they find a place where they can attain control, they must build up their congregation so they can store away their retirements and 401Ks and all that crap.  The sheep are the ones who fund it all, but nothing more.

Usher: So where is God in all this?  Don’t they know that the “command and conquer” model is subject to strife, infighting and easily overthrown or divided?

Deacon:  That doesn’t really matter to them.  In fact, it plays right into their hand.  It’s because they are in it mostly for the money.  (If you took away their money, they’d leave.) When things get rough, they simply pacify the sheep with programs (crumbs) and they use the sheep money to fund it all.  Kind of interesting, eh?  In the days of the Apache, the government couldn’t tame the Apache because they were decentralized.  Killing them was actually making them multiply.  They had no chiefs and no hierarchy, they operated in circles of influence.  Destroy one circle, and two more would crop up. They were a nemesis even into the 20th century after most of the other tribes had been conquered.

Usher: How did the government finally conquer them?

Deacon: Funny you should ask.  They gave the spiritual leaders (who operated just like al qaeda cell group leaders), the Nant’ans – cattle.  With this brought prestige and a pecking order and voila!  In just a few years, the Apaches were tamed and living out their lives in reservations with cows and booze!

Usher: Kind of like dumb Christians going to church every Sunday and doing just what the pastor wants in exchange for babysitting, donuts and coffee?  And all at the expense of the sheep?

Deacon: Most people would say your depiction is a little harsh, but you get the picture….

Usher: Wow, don’t the sheep know that if they simply stop going, all of the corruption will stop? They don’t need these greedy blokes to pacify them and lull them into a false sense of security.  And if they sat and did the math and realized that all that “tithe” is just funding the 401K and paying for the home of some money-grubbing pastor, why won’t they walk away?

Deacon: The oldest and largest companies in the world are insurance companies.  They sell peace-of-mind and nothing more.  Sheep are dumb and they will pay anything for someone to tell them everything is “gonna be all right”.

Buzzard Vacation – We’re back – where’s the roadkill?

April 15, 2009

Deacon: Usher, so you didn’t tell anyone we were taking 6 weeks off?

Usher:  Nope.  Not my job.   Pastor don’t check in with me when he goes on vacation, he just invites the missionaries in to take my money!

Deacon:  You’re hopeless.  With that kind of attitude, you won’t keep many friends.

Usher: Who needs friends?  Then I’d just have to share the roadkill.

Is Christianity a “credence good”?

February 13, 2009

Usher: Deak, I was studying how the humans do church and credence good came up in my Wiki search…

Deacon: That’s pushing the envelope just a little, don’t you think?

Usher: I don’t think so – after all, people take the advice every week on what they should do, then they trust the guy giving the advice, pay him huge amounts of money (as he instructs them) and according to the definition, they have no way of knowing if what they do has any affect…

Isn’t it sweet when you can provide a “service” to people who have no way to measure it’s effectiveness?

Deacon: But people don’t consider church a service, do they?

Usher: I don’t know what to call it other than a service.  They bring their kids in for “servicing” in nursery and Sunday School, they call the weekly meeting a “service”, and then they call their members to “serve” for free….What a cool racket…I think we should have a service every time we find roadkill and then we could charge admission to have access to what is actually free….We could get rich and everyone would simply keep coming back and paying us for a good that is “assumed” as opposed to being real…

Mommy, can we go to Sunday School?

January 27, 2009

Usher: Deak, in reference to an earlier post   Blind Faith     take a look at these:

A 44-year-old married father of six who teaches Sunday school at a Corona church is facing criminal charges for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old girl in 2003.

Prosecutors say John Calvin Savage taught the girl in Sunday school at Grace Baptist Church, and touched her inappropriately when she visited his Ontario home to perform chores.  read more…

Sunday school teacher accused of molesting children pleads guilty

August 21st, 2008, 7:58 pm · 3 Comments · posted by Eddi Trevizo

A Sunday school teacher who sexually molested two young girls at a Chandler church, pled guilty to several charges against him Thursday.  read more…

Terrell teacher accused of abusing additional students

 12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, June 19, 2008

 By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News
sthompson@dallasnews.com

 TERRELL – A popular third-grade teacher at J.W. Long Elementary School has been accused of sexually assaulting three of his students, and police say they have reason to believe he has assaulted others.

Salvador Mata, 51, was arrested Sunday on one count of sexual assault of a child and held in the Kaufman County Jail. Officials announced two more counts Wednesday, setting his bail at $750,000.

“We have information that leads us to believe there are additional victims, possibly from other years,” said Terrell police Chief Todd A. Miller, asking parents with any suspicions to step forward. “This investigation is by no means over.”

Mr. Mata was teaching English as a second language at the school and has worked at the district since 2000, school officials say. He has also taught Sunday school at First Baptist Church of Terrell.  read more…

Deacon: Why is it so widespread?  Do people really not get it? What are pastors thinking?

Usher: Pastors are often lack in these areas.  After all, priority is not Sunday School.  Sunday School is a program to attract new members, and babysit kids while they collect the tithe from the naive.

Deacon: Don’t these people know that the Sunday School is one of the most powerful tools in that nearly 66% of all choose Christ before they’re teenagers?  See statistics here…

Usher: You’d think they’d have figured that out by now…But then again, pastors are more concerned with appeasing the adults in exchange for their livelihood than they are in winning souls….if this isn’t proof, then I don’t know what is!

Institutional Church or “Intensive Care”

January 14, 2009

Usher: So Deak, I’ve come to the conclusion that IC has another meaning.

Deacon: What’s that?

Usher: “Intensive Care”

Deacon: Explain

Usher: Patient (laypeople) in bed, watching the show on tv (worship, preaching), being waited on hand and foot by the nurses (program directors).  The doctor (pastor) comes in once in awhile and briefly looks at the patient and prescribes more rest, more programs and more explanation as to what the patient is to do.  There’s only one slight difference….

Deacon: What’s that?

Usher: Instead of the hospital owning the beds, the doctor owns the hospital and the more beds he fills, the richer he gets.  There is no reason for the patient to leave.  No rehab (that would take the duties away from the pastor and he might have to share the money).  God forbid the patient get well, get up out of bed and go build his own hospital and go into competition!

Deacon: Sounds more like “Invalid Care” to me…..

Jesusbucks!

January 9, 2009

Usher: Deak, are Western Christians just more “stupid” than the average human?

Deacon: To what are you referring to now?

Usher: Their “church planting” practices.  They simply just don’t get it. 

Deacon: How so?

Usher: Well, they take the idea of  “franchising”, they call it “church planting” and then they forget about the most important parts!

Deacon: What do you mean?

Usher: Well, they simply go half way.  They hire these young dudes fresh out of the seminary, make ‘em assistants and youth pastors and then they just leave them up to their own devices!  Then they end up with 35,000 denominations and a watered-down brand.  They never close the deal!

Deacon: What should they do?

Usher: Everyone knows that the key to succes is franchising.  Recruit the franchisee (pastors) into a long term commitment, make them swear their allegiance to to the mother ship and then use every legal vehicle and disclosure document to either confuse them, trap them or keep them silent.  Add to this a proprietary system (sole source providers [denomination], proprietary software [doctrine/brand/protocol], indigent service folk [board], micro-managing regional watchdogs [management/Vatican], lazy in-house counsel [lawyers], super PR department [press control/propaganda], senator on the hill [political insurance]) and you’re on your way to absolute prosperity.

Deacon: Usher, you’ve described nothing more than a feudal system of control, deceit and sleight-of-hand!

Usher: Exactly!  They simply need to all get on the same page and build the brand!  They can call it Jesusbucks! If they’d just trade in the denomination for a universal brand, they’d be recognized around the world!  There’d be no confusion.  Everyone would make money!  A Jesusbucks on every corner!  Has a nice ring, don’t you think?

Deacon: Usher, you’ve gone off the top branch!

Usher: It would go something like this:  

“Sir, how would you like your religion?  Protestant blend? Light on the conscience? Lukewarm? and would you like some non-convicting rationalization with that? Please make yourself comfortable in our worship center while we fix you right up!

“Next please” – Non-denominational blend? Extra heavy on the condemnation? Hell fire hot and NO GRACE!  Sir, your order will be right up.  Have a seat against the elder’s wall and we’ll be right with you.

“Can I help the next Christian in line?”  Catholic blend? on ice?  Mass rush and hold the pergatory (that will require a 15% gratuity, sir)!  Coming right up sir, please step to the front of the line!  We like tippers!

Saddleback One Card!

December 22, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, did you get your new Saddleback One Card?

Deacon: What on earth are you talking about?

Usher: It’s a new promotion by Warren’s church.  You can now get points based on how much you tithe, how many sermons you buy from their store and for regular attendance!

Deacon: You can’t be serious.  What on earth would you use points in church for?

Usher: Are you kidding me Deak?  I can get free schmultsy Christian CDs based on how much tithe I give.  No one will ever know.  I just swipe my card at those cool ATM (automatic tithing machines) in the foyer and it’ll secretly record my points and send me a statement.  Grand prize is box seats right up front so I can see Rick and his team, possibly get his autograph and if I can accrue 10,000 bonus points, I can have lunch with him!

Deacon: You’ve got to be off your perch there Usher.

Usher:  I’m opting for a picture of Rick on my card, during his invocation with Barack Obama…..I fell blessed.

Organic or Steroids – What does your church sell?

December 12, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, brilliant post here – couldn’t help but tout it! Since we had such a good conversation because of it:

http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/disciples-or-converts/

and Mark’s post shows it affected him with a slight twist (of lemon) hehe

http://mark-bymaswell.blogspot.com/2008/12/would-you-like-some-cracked-pepper-sir.html

Conversation that ensued after reading these:

Usher: Hey Deak, I’m not sure I take issue or not regarding the comment on “birds and imprinting”, but no bother.  I just wanted to bring out the point of how foreign “organic” mindsets are in today’s human western culture.  Is it any wonder that the church is so much a reflection of the supermarket?

 

Deacon: Go on, I’m listening.

 

Usher: There’s no place for “ugly carrots” in the produce section of today’s markets.  God forbid an ugly apple, pear, banana, mango, off color head of broccoli or anything else for that matter.  The first inclination to choose is that which is pretty and uniform and without blemish.  Taste, longevity and danger are all secondary.

 

Deacon: What brought all this on?

 

Usher: Most likely TV and the press I guess.  Ugly people don’t make it onto TV so the world strives to be thin and pretty and perfect, just like the stars and their air-brushed magazine covers.

 

Deacon: Your point?

 

Usher:  Churches have followed suit.  They’re full of “gifted” orators, professional musicians, accomplished businessmen on the committees and so on.  Entertainment and accommodation are the criteria the humans migrate to.  In the meantime, the “leaders” have to have ways to measure.  They migrate to numbers.  Numbers can be substantiated and boasted about.  The laypeople want pretty programs, shows and great music along with gifted sermonettes.  The pastors want accolades, money to add staff to share in the work and build job security as well as grow their careers.

 

Deacon: So where is discipleship in all that?

 

Usher: My  point exactly! 

 

Deacon: Can discipleship function in today’s church in the midst of all the other stuff?

 

Usher: Not if leaders are bent on measuring their success.  This is where the problem starts.  If you take away the programs (you lose the crowds).  Take away the great orators (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the crowds and the buildings).  Take away the professional musicians (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the career-oriented staff) and voila!  Now you haven’t the distractions, nor the expectations, nor the crowds. 

 

Deacon: So you’re saying that crowds = success?

 

Usher That’s kind of what it all boils down to.  Ask the televangelists.  Crowds equal numbers, numbers equals money, money equals success and thus, God must be in it.

 

Deacon: So if there are no crowds, then there is no money, how does the church grow?

 

Usher: Christ had only 12 disciples.  He didn’t say things to the crowds to attract them or their money, in fact the largest crowds he attracted, he fed.  And then he said tough things to the crowds and the crowds left and he went about his discipling.  Scriptures say he wasn’t a “special” or “beautiful” person.  Maybe this was because he knew if he came to earth a beautiful being, then we would all feel insecure because we are all imperfect when we compare ourselves to “beautiful” people.  (Even beautiful people have proven this is true.) He discipled imperfect people and the church survived all these years without “perfect” people.

 

Deacon: So this is why the church seems to be portraying itself to be the “perfect” or “blessed” one?

 

Usher: A discipler works with the ground that he’s on, with the people God gives him.  He sees everyone a precious gift from God.  He is challenged to bring out God in these people no matter their lot in life.  Every member has a place in God’s kingdom, but not in man’s.  Today’s church seems to “market to the people who want to be like us” creating sects and divisions and exclusivity.  Thus the 35,000 denominations.  In an environment like this, everyone strives to become like the leader, the perfect carrot if you will.  Except they don’t know he is just like them if you take away the steroids, the pesticides, the pretty packaging and the artificial coloring.  In essence, the church normalizes and cripples the body and discipleship empowers the body.  If pastors didn’t care about credit and measurement and they truly wanted the kingdom to prevail, they’d do all within their ability to empower the kingdom.  This would eliminate the focus of one pastor to many and bring on the every man a minister.  The church would then become the all-powerful organic vehicle it was in the first century.  A true discipler as mentioned in comments above operates under the radar.  They seek no glory.  They thrive on seeing the kingdom multiply itself.  They rarely take titles, they urge their disciples to follow in their footsteps and become disciplers. They are often unrecognizable in a crowd.

Blind Faith or Faithful Blindness?

December 10, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, do the people really  know who is teaching their children in Sunday School?

Deacon:  They assume a devoted christian I’m sure.

Usher: How can they be so sure Deak?  No inquiries?  No checking the curriculum?  Rarely do they even talk to the teacher.  They simply pick up their kids and thank the teacher for whatever they did, good or bad. 

Deacon: They’re sure the pastor has it all under control.

Usher:  A case of blind faith or faithful blindness?

“It’s Just Church”

November 20, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, I think I’ve got the perfect out for pastors!

Deack: Why do pastors need an out?

Usher: Because they all use different biblical excuses to back their choices, cover up their real motives and snow the church goers.  They need to be just like the CEOs of our great capitalistic country and tell everyone the same thing in response to any decision that the congregation might disagree with.

Deacon: And what’s that?

Usher: See below…

Layperson: Pastor, how come you built a bigger building and more classrooms instead of giving more money to the mission field?

Pastor:  You have to understand that this is what the people demand of us.  They wanted more programs and better facilities for their privileged children, after all “It’s just church”

Layperson: Pastor, I understand you’re stopping the homeless ministry in light of increasing the choir budget and adding a new addition onto the chapel. 

Pastor: We really don’t have the resources to help the homeless.  There are much more qualified services that are offered by the state.  It’s really not our calling.  We are not the answer to today’s social demise, after all, “we’re only a church”.

Layperson: Pastor, can we sponsor the orphanage infrastructure project so they can have clean drinking water and a working septic system?  If we forego the mission trip ($1500/kid x 30 kids) and simply give the money directly to the orphanage, they can hire local companies to do the work that has been needed for 5 years.

Pastor: We’ve already committed to the mission trip.  I’m afraid this type of change would be too disruptive to the plans everyone has made for the trip.  Maybe next year.  After all, we can’t fix the world, “we’re only one church”.

Dissention – Good or Bad?

November 8, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak – I read a really cool quote today on dissent

Deacon: Yeah, share it with me….

Usher: It’s from another blogging soul….goes like this…

“Dissent is a gift to the church. It is the imagination of the prophets that continually calls us back to our identity as the peculiar people of God. – Shaine Claiborne – the simpleway.org

Usher: When did the institutional do anything but condemn dissent?  What if we could actually question the modern church?

Deacon: Aren’t you asking for a lot of trouble?

Usher: From who?  If one considers its own works, its reputation, its pride and its worth as nothing, then what’s the risk?  Is trouble being disparaged or condemned by those who have little or no understanding actually a threat?  I can hear the dialogue go kind of like this…..

Pastor: While we take communion, consider your sins against your brother and don’t come to the table = Because of this, among you many are weak and sickly, and many sleep…

Dissenter: But pastor, wasn’t the Lord’s supper to celebrate, to fellowship and to revel in Christ’s sacrifice for our freedom from sin?

Pastor: Young man, on what authority do you speak? 

Dissenter: The same authority as you claim – Christ!  Or is it on the authority granted to you by your Harvard degree?

Pastor: Young man, do you not have reverence for the Lord’s house?

Dissenter: Is this the Lord’s house?  Or is it the church across the street, or the one across town – or one of the other 33,000 denominational “houses of worship”?  I’m confused?

Pastor: Young man you are disrupting the Lord’s supper!

Dissenter: But Pastor, where is your proof that Christ truly asked for us to remember him by drinking a thimble full of Welch’s and a matsa crumb while sitting in defeat and condemnation for our shortcomings?

Pastor: Son, I’m going to have to ask you to leave, your comments are inappropriate!

Dissenter: Pastor, you haven’t answered my question – by what authority do you declare the Lord’s supper a time of regret, condemnation and pagan ritual?

Deacon: Wow, God help the pastor who is faced with such a dissenter!

Ultimate Job Security

November 4, 2008

Usher: Deak, I need a job that has a great future

Deacon: So, go to school and get a degree, a pedigree if you will and you’ll have that…

Usher: Yeah, but what kind of pedigree has the greatest amount of security, benefits, longevity and you know – kind of perfect for the long haul

Deacon: It’s not that easy to predict because usually once the industry takes off and proves itself, it’s old hat in the market but new in academia.  If you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re the tail wagging the dog.

Usher: Kind of like IT in the 80s, Internet & Telecom in the 90′s and investment banking today?

Deacon: You got it.  Nothing is secure.  Everything is fluid and all vocations seem to have a very short shelf life.  And in this society, it’s getting shorter and shorter what with the boomers retiring and all.  I’m beginning to think that geriatrics will be the next up and coming hot vocation!

Usher: I beg your pardon – I think I know the perfect vocation that has none of what you describe.

Deacon: What on earth are you talking about?

Usher: Well, you don’t need funding or a business plan.  You do need an education, but it doesn’t have to be from a Harvard or a Yale or an MIT. 

Deacon: Go on, I’m intrigued..

Usher: You get your own staff and budgets typically grow every year. 

Deacon: Sounds fairly interesting…

Usher: Best of all, you determine your own work schedule, your free time, when you vacation and for the most part, you work a 40 hour week.  Benefits are included and if they’re not sufficient, you simply apply for better.  You have full authority with autonomy!

Deacon: With a job like that, there must a high barrier to entry major job requirements?

Usher: Not really.  You see you can write your own bylaws and if they don’t work, you simply change them from time to time. “Everything in context” they say.

Deacon: What about accountability?

Usher: You’re almost always in a satellite capacity if you’re part of a larger organization, but if it’s your own, then you’re pretty much your own boss.  Not a lot of accountability as your customers are usually distracted with other issues like paying mortgages, borrowing for tuition and planning their vacations.

Deacon: Tell me more about the customers?

Usher: Well it’s a great vocation as most customers are repeat customers and there are multiple revenue streams.  If things get tight, one simply raises more funds from the same customer base!  They’re always willing to bring more because they’re afraid if they don’t, they might suffer. 

Deacon: What’s the product or service?

Usher: A bunch of intangibles is how I’d describe it.  Kind of like insurance, but not really.  A little like education, but not really.  A lot like politics in that the onus is really on the customer, except at election time when all the promises are made.  After election, the customer assumes all of the risk and let’s you off the hook.  They never had a choice!  All one must do is get elected.

Deacon: So let me get this straight.  There is little or no accountability, a ton of security, no tangible products or services and little to no risk?  You technically only have to be elected once and you’re in for the duration.  With all those benefits, there must be limited openings with fierce competition?

Usher: Not really.  In fact, it’s one of the easiest vocations to acquire.  I have yet to meet a single person who flunked out of university pursuing this type of career.  Some choose another major but never have I heard of someone seeking out this vocation and failing.  It’s subjective in nature and not really black and white.  Kind of like a politically correct soccer league where everyone plays and everyone gets a trophy at year’s end.

Deacon: OK, I’m baffled.  What on earth could be so grand?

Usher: Why, pastoring a church of course!  Where is your head Deak?  It’s the perfect vocation.  You never have to be right, you can always find a scriptural reference to your point of view that cannot be challenged and you can throw anyone out who doesn’t agree.  There are tons of churches begging for a pastor to lead them and they pay you, listen to you every Sunday (only for an hour tops though) and whatever you tell them, they believe.  As long as you fill it full of rhetoric, idealisms, nothing absolute, they will rationalize it into their own set of circumstances and even if they question you, the Bible isn’t black and white and thus, there are no definitives.  All you have to give them is programs for their kids (and they do all the work) and they come back week after week after week.  You can always send them on their merry way if they disagree by either isolating them, ignoring them, disfellowshipping them, or best of all, condemn them for being disgruntled and dis’sing God’s church and people.  Accuse them of “sowing discord” or attack their character by telling them to study the Bible and repent from their dissenting ways.  That usually works quite well.  If none of those work, you simply have breakfast with them and suggest they find another place to hang their hat.  After all, no pastor deserves to be questioned or held accountable by a layperson, ‘eh Deak?

Denominational Reviews

November 2, 2008

Usher: Deak, what if people did reviews on the Internet after they “shopped” churches? 

Deacon: I don’t know – what would that do?

Usher: Well, first of all, you could find out what they were really like as the names don’t mean a thing to people today.

Deacon:  Sort of like churches would be actually described in the reviews by their true behavior – what would they really be called?

Usher: That’s really interesting.  I wrote a couple below that relate to churches I’ve been to or belonged to:

The church with the free bagels and coffee (during service in case the sermon sucks)

The Church of Bad Coffee (the urns must be from the 60′s)

The Church with the Wal Mart greeters – better yet how about Wal Mart West? (I belonged to a church where the town actually nicknamed the church Wal Mart because of all the stuff they had to do to get permitting to build it)

The Church of the insecure pastor – the sermons have 6 clarifying stories or scenarios for each point made

The Up & Down Church (from standing up and down so many times)

The Church of the old pews (where you’re afraid to sit down for fear they’ll break)

The Assisted Living Church (No one under 50 ever seemed to come)

The Church of the blue hairs (this one was about 30 people and they were living on an annuity – no reason to evangelize in today’s society because they had nothing to offer to families and there were no kids in the church)

The Church of the intinerant parking attendants (I swear they never step inside – this particular church was in the northeast and had two huge parking lots and about 20 attendants every Sunday)

The Church that wouldn’t change it’s sign out front (ever see a sign that has those replaceable letters but they’re too lazy to change it from week to week?)

The Church of my grandfather (and still is)

The Church of the pretty windows and empty seats (this is a problem worldwide where people are trying to preserve the buildings – to heck with the furthering of the gospel)

The Church with the smelly hymnals (because the one’s in the pews where we sat hadn’t been opened in years)

The Church of the Windy Pastor (sermons went on and on – everyone has been to or belonged to one of these if they’ve been a christian for any amount of time)

MCMass (church with masses every hour and drive-up confession)

The Weaker Seeker Church – you know the type – 40 minute services with 20 minutes of rock and roll worship

The Church of the Suburb Soccer Moms – where fellowship is about kid’s sports, decorating the homestead and braggin’ about the new SUV they just got!

The Church of the Pastor’s Friends – the church that has the perfect pastor and the perfect deacons (that no one knows except from the pastor’s sermons or their lengthy prayers) and no one knows where the pastor goes or what he does outside Sunday services.  Interestingly enough, they’re great at referrals and aloof when it comes to anyone outside their immediate circle.

Usher: Maybe some of our friends can share about the real impressions of the churches they’ve been to or belonged to…..

…if the Church recognized Missionaries

October 12, 2008

This is response from a comment by Vanity of Vanities….great question by the way!

Usher: Hey Deak, you got a response for Vanity of Vanities?

Deacon: Once again Usher, the overall understanding of missionaries is that they are weak, needy, dependent and obliged to come back to their church with their hat in hand begging for support.

Usher: Isn’t that what missionaries are to most churches?

Deacon: To most churches – that is exactly what the churches have made the missionaries out to be.  Because mission funds are just another program and the church simply does it because they’ve been told that that’s the right thing to do.  Missionaries are almost never a priority especially with the pastor.  If they were, the pastor would have to give up more of his money.  But today’s church has made them such a minority in the areas of finance, that they are supported separate from the church tithe with special offerings.  As you and I are not supporters of the 10% tithe, then one might ask, where would support dollars come from to support the missionaries?  From the congregation of course! 

Usher: I get it.  The congregation has no part in interacting with the missionaries, or getting their hands dirty. The pastor either hoards all the time with the missionary family or simply defaults to it because the congregation has no interest or simply doesn’t validate the role of the missionary other than coming back to the church to beg for money every so often!  Wow, if the pastors only knew that by not making the congregation aware of the true roles of the missionary, they end up simply throwing all of the onus back onto him!  And now he’s simply a jack-of-all-ministries and master-of-none!

Deacon: If one were to rebuild this thinking, they would simply do away with the tithe, spend time getting to know the missionaries in their body, work towards contributing to the cause of the missionary, send the pastor out to tent-making school and the church would once again flourish.  A church could actually further the kingdom by supporting missionaries who are out making disciples instead of lame marketing schemes carried out by the modern church that don’t have a chance other than to grow programs.

Usher: Ain’t gonna happen!  Man won’t change until God brings about disaster and takes away all the chocolates!  We need another Egypt or fall of Rome or something to wake the church up.  Till then, they’ll simply sit around and debate.

Deacon: Kind of like what we’re doing?

Usher: Hey, if one set of ears hears it and makes a true change in their way of thinking – we could have a revolution!  And missionaries would be seen as warriors instead of pitiful little beggars as we have made them out to be.

“Real” Reasons We Pay the Pastor…

October 6, 2008

Usher: Deak, I’m not much for payin’ pastors, but lots of today’s nuclear families are. 

Deacon: Most people think a pastor is worth his wage.  What’s your point?

Usher: Well, here are some of the real reasons we pay the pastor….

  • To buy the matzas for communion – because we don’t know which brand to buy
  • To put up with Margaret the secretary who’s there because the last pastor wrote her into the bylaws
  • Visiting “Vinny” in the hospital – we don’t know Vinny and going to the hospital smells!
  • To run the business meetings – what a waste of time – I’ll never go to one of those again!
  • To deal with Mikey the youth pastor who botched his college career and has no other way to make $$
  • To be the arbitrator between the “hymn lovers” and the “boomers” who prefer contemporary worship
  • To manage those A-personality girls who run the VBS every year – oh they are so annoying
  • To counsel Fred the “want-to-be elder” who cannot seem to ever pass up a request for prayer or a recommitment of his faith
  • To field the complaints of the blue-hairs on “what’s for Wednesday night dinner”
  • To attend the Wednesday night dinners
  • To hire all the “yes” men for the deacon board
  • To attend the leadership meetings and settle all the trivial arguments amongst the “yes” men
  • To have dinner with all the visiting missionaries - especially the translators – who can relate?
  • To counsel all the troubled wives – note we said wives – cause their husbands never come
  • To approve the worship list and settle the disputes between worship leaders
  • To read the announcements for the same 12 people who care about the announcements
  • Last but not least – to prepare the sermons I can never recall and to pray for the same 10 people who request it every week

Deacon: Your view is slightly cynical, Usher.

Usher: If you’re readin’ this, let us know what your pastor gets paid for?????

Pastors – Legitimate or Not?

September 23, 2008

Usher: Deak, what are your thoughts on Frank Viola’s book Pagan Christianity? as it relates to the role of the pastor?  If a pastor’s role is simply pagan, and the church continues to practice mostly pagan rituals (including tithing), how does one go about justifying giving their lives to the pastorate? How does one continue to operate as a pastor knowing that Christ does not recognize the pastor as head of the church?  See page 181…

A further peril of the paid pastorate is that it produces clergy who feel “stuck” in the pastorate because they believe they lack employable skills.  “I (Frank) personally know a good number of pastors who felt convicted to leave the minstry.  All of their schooling and training had been dedicated to studying and preaching the Bible.  While those skills are noteworthy, they are of limited appeal in the secular job market.  The major hurdle they now face is forging a new career to support their families.  A friend of mine, an ex-pastor himself, is writing a booklet on how pastors can find employment and enter new careers after leaving the clergy system.  His ideas are not based on theory. ….. Even so, it is exceedingly difficult for many contemporary pastors to acknowledge the lack of scriptural support for their office simply because they are financially dependent upon it.  As Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”  No wonder it takes a person of tremendous courage and faith to step out of the pastorate.  Unfortunately, most of us are deeply naiive about the overwhelming power of the religious system.  It is a faceless system that does not tire of chewing up and spitting out its own.” – Pagan Christianity?  Frank Viola & George Barna

Deacon: How would you feel if you actually were in those shoes?  What would you say to your wife and kids when you came home with that conviction?  Would you claim that your choice was naiive and based on your knowledge at that time?  What would you do with the rest of your life?  Would you be willing to sacrifice all that you had worked for in exchange for a clean set of convictions?  What if you were 40+ years old and had no resourceful ways in which to figure out another method of providing for your family?

Usher: Maybe I’d just continue to take advantage of the poor and naiive of the church simply out of fear?  Is it any different from inheriting a fortune from my father’s moonshine business and then go on to become president of the United States.  Does that make the money clean or justify the actions of my father and how he obtained the riches?

Deacon: Careful, you’re stepping on the toes of a lot of powerful people with that one, oh provocative buzzard.  I’m not sure I want to be on the same branch of your tree when certain people read this post.

Usher: It still doesn’t make it right.  I feel for people who make choices based on limited knowledge or incorrect knowledge, but God knows and he allowed it.  How much more valiant would it be for a person to come clean and confess such a conviction?  What if it became a movement?

Deacon: If pastors came to terms with this issue, it would destroy the modern church.  Debate would incur and those against it would rationalize it away for fear of losing everything they had worked for.  I would venture to say that in any kind of volume it would bring massive disruption and in the end, major revival to the body (not the modern church), but the body of Christ, the believers.  But man will not do it, it must be brought about via calamity, hardship or both.

Usher: How refreshing it would be to know that gathering to share in our lives with Christ would be something other than listening to one man’s current interpretation of his one-sided relationship.  When will people truly figure out that it’s not following man, it’s following Christ together?  It’s a corporate experience, not an oratory!

Deacon: Relax Usher, you don’t have to get so trumped up about it.  Man has followed man since the beginning of time and will continue to want a king on earth, a leader to tell him what to do and someone to think on his behalf.

Judge Rules against Virginia Beach Pastor & Wife

September 8, 2008

Usher: Deak, check out this ruling by a judge. This church is named “Praise Three Church.”  I’ve got a couple interpretations on that name.

Deacon: What are those?

Usher: “Me, Myself & I” or how about “Praise Me”

Ken Montgomery, former pastor of what was called Praise 3 Ministries church, was accused of misusing more than $130,000 in church funds.  Story Here

More of “Here’s Where Your Tithe Goes” (in the pastor’s pocket)

August 29, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, do you think a church with between 100 – 300 people is succesful?

Deacon: That’s a matter of opinion I would guess.  My opinion would be below average and the guy needs to do a lot more than he’s doing…

Usher:  Wrong again!  The average church size in America is 51 – 300 people.   How much does the average pastor make with a church of 101 – 300 people?  (Answer: According to this survey, churches that draw 101 to 300 people each week pay senior pastors $72,664 per year, including benefits)

Given the fact that only 5% of adults tithe according to the Barna Group study, here’s the brutal truth of tithing:

If 5% of the congregation of 300 people give and they average the median income of the United States of $48,200 US Census report  that means that 15 families of the church give 10% of their tithe.  Assuming they give on their gross incomes, 15 x $48,200 = $723,000. 

Summary:  15 families are supporting the pastor’s full salary and benefits!  With this said, do you think they know this?  Of course not!  They simply put the money in their cute little envelope, tolerate his (in most cases) poorly-prepared sermons and come back next week to do it again. 

Deacon: Do you think if they knew, they might expect more accountability?

Usher: Uh…..yeah!  You go to McDonald’s and 285 other families line up behind you and ask you to pay the bill!  I think I’d demand a little bit better explanation as to why the church isn’t doing more with my God’s money!

Deacon: So what’s with all the megachurches and what exactly are they doing with all the extra?

Usher: Stay tuned, I’ve got a little more research to do, I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Mr. Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle should be included in “Grassley’s 6″

August 27, 2008

BREAKING NEWS

Usher: Hey Deak, some interesting stuff in the comments with regards to the Brooklyn Tabernacle on our post below.

Deacon: It appears Mr. Cymbala has created some of his own miracles.  Interesting comment with regards to the homeless community “We’re not that KIND of church”….

Usher: And he’s got money for construction but not for a stipend for those who give to him and carry out ministries he writes about in his book…..

https://deaconandusher.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/another-top-10-megachurch-brooklyn-tabernacle-your-tithe/


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