Well today has sure been interesting.
All of the sudden…. a lot of the core members of the church (remember how i just added a bunch of them this spring?) all started posting an invitation to a brand new church, starting this sunday, at a location to be secured and announced soon.
Saying it was by the names of all of the staff members.
Then I found it on the pages of some of the staff.
So I sent several staff members messages asking what was up, and why a move to a new church. Most didn’t answer… the one that did reply just said “new vision”… which really made no sense, given that the current church was already well headed towards the new vision and very supportive of the new pastor, and things have in general been going really well since the transition.
Well, I sent a couple more messages, found two more people as clueless as me, then eventually found someone with some answers… a friend of one of the associate pastors.
Turns out that last sunday night, apparently the staff was told by the former pastor who founded the church (who was still legally head of the board) that he has decided to sell the building to one of the large churches in town. (that already owns a bunch of buildings on the other side of town… who knows why they want one over here).
And so… the entire staff has decided to move on as a group… and rather than deal with pastor jerk anymore, they are starting from scratch as far as finances and such go.
even the new pastor is sticking with us!
sort of feel sorry for the guy… he’s already a really busy person as a college professor and with speaking engagements and writing books and radio interviews (so weird to turn on a widely known national radio show and hear someone from your church) even before he had agreed to take over… has been driving over an hour each way 3 days a week plus sundays from his home, and has had his son and wife taking on things too… was willing to walk into the mess and division that had been created by the founding pastor, including a bit of financial mess….
and so now he’s no longer got the old financial mess, but probably got himself a whole new one… suddenly going from taking over a church that’s been established for 25 years to essentially taking on a church plant (which he has actually done before in another state).. and starting again with a pack of “sheep“ following him that he’s only been in charge of shepherding for 4 1/2 months.
This could get really interesting!
Normally my response with severe church splits is that both are probably going to be really hurt for several years if not longer, and probably best to keep a distance from either…. but in this case, it doesnt appear to be so much a split as it is an outing of a former pastor who has the system set up so that he couldn’t be outed.
So I’m thinking we’re going where they go…. though i’m really tempted to go to the old church building this sunday to see if the old pastor even tries to do a meeting to explain whats going on or what happens with all of the people not in the facebook loop. on the church website, the staff page has been removed, along with all of the sermon archives that were posted from the past 4 or 5 years. everything new since the new pastor took over has been removed from the facebook page, even the new pictures.
But the thing that keeps going through my head is… How much of a jerk do you have to be to basically intentionally harm or even destroy the same flock that you have spent the last 25 years being in charge of, rather than wishing them well with the person you hand picked to take over and who seems to be doing really well in the new role? I mean, really?