Invite-Only Conferences, Big Churches, Small Pay Checks and Old Cranky Men

I’m tired of big monster churches, leaders and organizations not caring about the small and insignificant.

It’s everywhere. This conference has been going on in the States for the last few years. It’s called Q. It’s a play off the TED conferences, and generally I think it’s a good idea (we may or may not have something up our sleeve that is in similar taste). Except, I’m annoyed because it is invite only. I’m annoyed because from what I can tell it costs $625 to attend (Last year was $825 after early bird deadline). I’m annoyed because only the “remarkable leaders” will be there. There is so many things that annoy me about this type of idea that I want to get out of conference organizing all together.

When will we remember Jesus’ words that it’s the unremarkable that inherit the kingdom of God? Why are we so obsessed with these seemingly Christianity gurus who we have entrusted to “collaborate around the biggest questions facing the church today.” Give me a break. I hope they can save us and figure out what we are doing wrong.
Here is another reason I’m annoyed.

A few friends I know, who really truly care about the church, can barely pay the bills because they would rather be the church that they believe in than work for a church they sort of care about. To make matters worse. Big churches have no problem swooping in and preying on them while they make small steps with their communities to pluck them up into a more corporate, bigger expression. Why is it that those that actually care about being the church can’t afford to be and those that care more about their own livelihood end up hogging it all to themselves? Where are the folks that are blessed with good pay cheques to step up and give some of it away to those that need it? Where is the pastor who makes over $70k a year who is willing to give some of his salary to a struggling pastor of a smaller community in the same city?

For once I would love to see a big church that sacrifices itself for the small church. For once I’d love to see a powerful pastor sacrifice himself for a no-name one. For once I’d love to see a big church who is concerned with more than just spreading their brand.
I’m also annoyed because a man, easily over 70, told me to get off the fuckin sidewalk on Saturday when I was riding up on the sidewalk to park my e-bike. Him being annoyed at me, made me annoyed at him and we got in a little yelling match. I really didn’t do my part to break the cycle of being pissed off, I just got more pissed off at him and we had our words back and forth. Looks like I ruined his entire day because I used the sidewalk to get to my parking spot, and he ruined mine because I couldn’t be patient enough to not get pissed off at him. So I guess I’m more annoyed at myself. Dumb old cranky people.

I enjoyed this parable.

I’m done being annoyed now. I’m over it all. Just needed to get that out.

12 Comments

  • “For once I would love to see a big church that sacrifices itself for the small church. For once Id love to see a powerful pastor sacrifice himself for a no-name one.”

    It’s probably happening more than you know but the givers and the receivers in those situations just aren’t talking about it.

  • I hope so. Because around here…at least from what I see, I just see powerful pastors trying to beef up their own resumes and little kingdoms and drag away local pastors from their congregations and into theirs.

    Normally I’m more optimistic. So thanks for the reminder.

  • I loved this post. And I love you, Nathan (in a completely platonic, heterosexual way, of course…)

  • Invite only conferences? Fuck ’em. I genuinely hope some sort of good comes from that sort of thing. But with all of that money/hype/power flying around, forgive me if I’m a tad bit skeptical.

    As far as being the ‘little guy’ surrounded by big guys, as long as you’re doing good, keep it up. Praying for yall.

    Peace.

  • Maybe because it’s late when I read this post, I see it as being very petty and a bit ignorant. (yikes, I rarely use those words!) I think you’ve crossed a bit of a line, honestly. Pointing fingers at pastors of ‘big churches’ saying they’re mispending their money because they’re not doing what YOU believe is best for their salaries is lame. Perhaps a better approach would be to encourage people to support their pastors in their churches…and to TITHE! :) Congregations are responsible to support their pastors! You paint a very jaded picture of the big churches, and that’s unfortunate. A lot of them are trying to do the very same thing you are. To be salt and light in this world, in their spheres. Why are you knocking it? Be faithful with what you’re given. Stop making judgments on things you don’t KNOW. Pray for them instead! Stop being divisive and starting BEING the church, as you claim to be. Amazing things happen when unity happens.

    OK, my rant is over too. That does feel good ;)

  • I agree with JR.

  • The greatest amoung you are the least of all.

  • WOW! Such a sweeping statement of certainty on the pastors of “big churches”. God knows I have had my issues with pastors and church leadership over things over the years but when it comes down to it I have to put my faith in the fact that most pastors and leaders really do care about the smaller churches and the community around them.
    I think the bigger issue that should be ranted about if the need be is with those pew warmers in churches big and small that squeeze their wallets so tight at offering time that I am surprised they don’t have a stroke from the effort.
    In a small church how many attend? How many have an income? How many give at all let alone the minimum tithe? Emphasize minimum. How many think to bless the pastor and his family with money or food or whatever over and above a tithe ?
    A very wise man you know Nathan once said that if all the people in the church tithed there would be money to burn. Ask me about it I will tell you who.
    We all have bad days or years and need to rant but have some faith in the kingdom builders around you. You have no idea what they may be doing with their 70K a year.
    Maybe you need some good wings and some conversation. Let me know.

  • 1. I’m not ranting on all big churches. Just most of them. They can take it, they have the budgets and the man power to boost their self esteem to a point where they don’t have to listen to people like me.

    2. Instead of “congregations are responsible to support their pastors”, how about Christians are responsible to support each other. Not just their pastors. I’m pretty sure Paul was ragging on other communities to support the ones that couldn’t support themselves.

    3. I’m not talking about my church, and I’m not even talking about churches in Sarnia. Thanks for the encouragement though, I don’t feel to beat up by any means, but the rant was based on a few things I’ve seen over the last few months with friends in other churches.

    4. Rob you are right…I’d just like to see leaders lead by example, so I’ll keep yelling at them.

    5. Finally, I’m tired of being told I’m not a big supporter of unity. It makes no sense. Why would I support unity around ideas that are false and anti-kingdom? Give me something (like Jesus) to be unified around and I’m all about it, but it makes no sense to cry unity when what your asking me to unify around is a bad idea.

  • I’m with you, Nathan. I’ve always had doubts about Q. ;)

    Oh, and don’t be put off by wolves with sheep’s arguments.

  • I love your rants… seriously though you were a dick to that guy on your e-bike. The guy was so old, he was probably pissed looking at your bike on the side walk.

  • Nathan – I thought I’d stop in to see what was new and I read your article the same way that some others did – from the ‘petty’ view.

    However, I think it is right and necessary to be ‘petty’ in this sense.

    (I’ve made it no secret that I think, as a whole, religion is a terrible thing and that another church is almost the absolute last thing we need (I think “more lead in children’s toys” would be the last thing we need).)

    But, in saying that, I think you make extremely valid points – ones that would(should) be valid in any community group. It’s a shame that because religion is tied to it, you come across as ‘petty’. It wouldn’t be acceptable in any other community based organization and it shouldn’t be in this case (but religion gets a level of respect that it is far from entitled to). It is even more unacceptable when it is contrary to the way that many “christians” claim to live their lives.

    Oh well, it’s hard to be logical with people who believe in something that almost certainly does not exist (god).

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