Undermining Morale

JB

I’ve seen a lot of this type of post recently wherein a fundy (or fundy-lite) pastor bemoans that church just isn’t like it used to be because people just aren’t showing up, helping out, and showering him with compliments.

The real issue with these types of posts is that the underlying assumption for each accusation of shortcoming is “and you’re not doing enough because you suck” — which is a pretty disheartening place to start if you’re trying to motivate people.

Hershey famously said “give them quality; that’s the best advertising in the world.” And weirdly enough nobody has to be guilted into eating a Hershey’s bar or doing anything else they enjoy. Maybe instead of yelling for more participation it’s time to figure out why people just aren’t enjoying your church anymore.

How about this, fundy pastors…

Maybe if people aren’t following you consider that you’re leading them in the wrong direction?

Maybe if people aren’t volunteering it’s because the jobs you’ve got open are pointless and thankless?

Maybe if people aren’t excited about your outreach programs it’s because the programs are horrible, antiquated, and ineffective?

Maybe if people aren’t showing up at church it’s because you’ve created a place they’d rather not be?

And if they’re not complimenting your sermons? Well….I’ll leave that up to your imagination to figure out why.

Perhaps a few more pastors NEED to get discouraged. Encouraging them to continue the same failed system isn’t really helping.

223 thoughts on “Undermining Morale”

  1. Now, with that out of the way, no fundy pastor I have ever known will consider any change because it would be compromise. They’ll stick to “the old paths” because it was good enough for Paul, or Jesus, so it’s good enough for us. If people aren’t showing up, it’s because they can’t take hard preaching. If people aren’t participating, it’s because they aren’t right with God.

    1. Blankenship is part of a new and interesting rebrand of the IFB. Within the blogosphere it seems to be spearheaded by guys like Josh Teis, Josh Irmler, Jake Potter, Josh Cox, Matt Cretzman, etc… They seem to be gaining some influence from their more “conservative” counterparts; rebranding ideas from Searcy, Rainer, and Maxwell.

      This provides more insight.
      https://themillennialblog.wordpress.com/

      1. Thanks Josh. I had a look at a few of the articles, and skimmed through some pages. Nothing there makes me think IFB at all. Maybe they think they are rebranding IFB, but in my opinion is more of the modern church. I don’t know if that is emergent, or something else, but it is the kind of thing a fundy pastor would preach against at the drop of a hat, and he’d probably even drop the hat. I’m not against those guys, and if possible, I might even give one of the churches a try, but I will never visit another church that has independent, fundamental, or baptist as part of its name.

        1. Well there are some progressive Catholic groups that call themselves Independent Catholics. They usually ordain women and openly lgbtq people.

        2. Even tho the most recent article is Dec 2012, that things every church leader should do just screamed IFB to me.

          Not all fundamentalists are IFB, but they are equally as evil.

        3. StuartB, you’re probably right, perhaps I’m still in denial. Or maybe I can’t read it with the appropriate amount of yelling bouncing through my head…

      2. All those guys named Josh?

        You’re joshin,’ right?

        By the way, some years ago “News of the Weird” noticed that a disproportionate number of murderers had Wayne as their first or middle names.

      3. It is lipstick on a pig. A lot of these are good guys (Josh Teis, for one), but the IFB doctrines and practice are slavery. It is also strange to me to see doctrinal dogmatism on ideas that are often less than a hundred years old and almost certainly less then 500 years old and limited geographically to small slices of the West. Christianity is so much older and richer. I don’t mind historically heterodox positions (I’m really not a dogmatist), but I do mind IFB because it is damaging.

      4. Funny you mentioned Josh Irmler. Even though his footprint in the Neo-Fundy blogosphere is substantial, in Fresno hardly anyone has heard of him. That’s probably a good thing.

        1. Hardly anyone outside Fundystan heard of Hyles/Schaap, unless they were a local news story.

    2. LOL! They love throwing around those little phrases….”he/she ain’t right” & “so & so’s outta God’s Will”. Did these sanctimonious IFB’ers every consider that NO ONE is (fully) in “God’s Will” (as we all sin & fall short of His glory)? They love to assign such ‘labels’ when folks don’t conform to IFB’er “standards” & traditions.

    3. So much ignorance wrapped up in this type of thinking. So much arrogance. If they were literally shepherds, they would be ranting at the sheep for running away instead of wondering whether the sheep not wanting to be around them might indicate that they had screwed up. But then, the Managawd is never ever ever ever ever ever ever wrong…

        1. Read it, read the comments. Ugh! “Breaking the Lamb’s Leg” comes slithering forth once more.

          It’s worth repeating over and over until it’s the first thing anybody says when someone tries to preach on this parable. There is no, as in not one, as in NOT ANY, record of “Breaking the Lamb’s Leg” until A.D. 1957. Until then, pictures of Jesus as the Good Shepherd carrying a lamb were described as the Gentle Pastor picking up a tired lamb and letting it rest on His shoulders for a while. Until, a couple millennia later, Brother Branham set us all straight.

          The first recorded instance of “Breaking the Lamb’s Leg” was in a sermon by a preacher named William Branham, who also claimed to be either Elijah or another prophet just like Elijah–it gets convoluted. He also taught that all “educated” (apparently meaning “degree-holding”) people were the literal spawn of Satan, that women were not God’s creation but a mere physical byproduct of Adam, and that all women were sumps of evil, temptation, and societal moral decline. Oh and as usual with these types of ranting blowhard apostolic wannabes, he predicted the end of the world. 1977, apparently.

          If anyone wants to dirty up their brain with his actual words, here’s a transcription of the original “Breaking the Lamb’s Leg.”

          https://greenegem.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/myth-busting-8-breaking-a-lambs-leg/

          Most people who tell this poisonous little story have no idea that anybody named William Branham even existed, although he was a big noise in his day. “Breaking the Lamb’s Leg” is, apparently, the only lasting piece of his legacy. It needs to be named for the lie it was and scraped out of Christianity like the infection it is.

  2. While the “beatings will continue until morale improves” approach is most commonly used in fundystan, your suggestions would be wisely applied by pastors in churches beyond the IFB realm. Pointless tasks, antiquated programs, and an unwelcoming environment are common enough in other parts of Christendom as well…

    1. It’s true that all that BS can be found other camps as well. I’ve been a member of both IFB and southern baptist churches. I’ve attended non-denominational churches as well. The biggest difference I feel is that the IFB churches always make you feel guilty – like less of a Christian for not participating.

      1. The difference between my old IFB church and my current Baptist church is that the pastor of the IFB church would try to make you feel guilty, while the pastor of the Baptist church will just joke about making you feel guilty, while not actually doing it (he used to be IFB, and is now somewhat recovered, thankfully, though IMHO it still shows through at times).

      2. Re: Guilty – quite true (thus my moniker).

        While you CAN get people to do things through guilt, that is not Christianity; Christianity is transformation by the Holy Spirit to live, act, and work as God would have us live, act, and work.

        Very much appreciate being in an unusual IFB church that doesn’t use guilt to manipulate members!

        1. That was how it was in Locust Grove Baptist Church, a small church outside of Huntsville that my sister Michel went to when she was there. Not only did they do nothing to make me feel guilty about anything, but they were not KJV-only, which I thought was unusual at the time for a church of that type. I had a NASB with me, and they never uttered a peep about it. Had they been what I expected, I would not have wanted to go back.

      1. An irritant of mine — pastors that think the Moses model is how they should conduct their church. Look, you claim to be a New Testament church; stop using an Old Testament model.

        1. Good point.

          Betcha they wear mixed fibers while they eat lobster after a sermon on tithing and the grace of giving. Oy.

      1. I don’t believe in the Devil any more. The MoG frequently fills that position as the “Accuser of the Brethren,” and a masquerader as an Angel of Light or Minister of Righteousness.

        People are evil enough of themselves. I don’t need a Devil to tempt me. I can do wrong all by myself. I am no puppet in the hands of Cosmic Forces.

  3. This is a very interesting read, I don’t know Pastor Blankenship personally, but from what I’ve known of him he seems genuine. (I know I’ll get a lot of flack from the commentators here on that statement; but I digress 🙂

    Just a quick analysis of these points all seem to connect to one very American word. “Growth”

    1. When your seat is empty the church is not growing

    2. When there are lack of volunteers, the church cannot grow

    3. When he has to do your job, he cannot focus on growing the church

    4. When you don’t take your ministry seriously, your ministry cannot grow

    5. When you are apathetic about your relationship with God, your are not growing

    6. When you don’t support the church financially, it cannot grow

    7.When you lack excitement about reaching others, the church cannot grow.

    8. When you ignore guest families in our service, they will not come back and the church cannot grow.

    9. When there is no feedback regarding the sermons, I cannot grow.

    Church growth is a concept I have struggled with so much, and with the wealth of writing on the subject it can about drive you insane trying to wrap your head around it all.

    I just have one very difficult problem. I cannot find it in the historical record of the early church; namely the Acts of the Apostles. Apart from Jesus final command to his disciples of “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel (good news)”; it seems to be very silent throughout the rest of the book.

    Yet, thousands of people are recorded and added to the church as converts of Jesus Christ all throughout the NT, and they ministered to each other “daily” as the second chapter of Acts records for us.

    How did that happen? I don’t know; but I dare say there isn’t a church growth program in the world that’s going to substitute for whatever they had.

    1. Dear Josh:

      About 6-8 weeks ago, Missiologist George Hunsberger published a title, ‘The Story that Chooses Us.’ He speaks of ‘the American mystique of growthism’ and states that in mission, in offering aid and recruitment, the church depends largely on the same values by which we design our Capitalist economy, evaluate national progress [whatever that means], and wage war.

      I hear that as nothing less than a rather astonishing declaration of apostasy. I’ll be discussing Hunsberger’s latest with some cohorts next month. I’m looking forward to hearing my take on that.

      When preachers bemoan the advance of sin and Satan’s hordes, they admit their dislocation from the role of the social chaplain of culture and society [more of Hunsberger’s language]. But they’ve not one clue what it means to announce and represent to the world the reign of God. In short, they can’t preach the Good News because they don’t know it.

      Preachers and their churches remain largely untouched by the Gospel, and are in a pre-converted condition.

      Christian Socialist

    2. As a street preacher, and exactly the sort of person that gets lampooned/blasted here at SFL, I have always taken the position that church growth is God’s business, and obedience to the word of God is our business.

  4. It is far easier to accuse people of being lazy or of having “itching ear” than it is to improve what you are doing. And of course, you have to stick to them “old paths” where nothing changes so you don’t have to actually do any thinking or planning.

    1. RTG this goes along the lines of what you’re saying. You might enjoy the read

      “Old Fashioned Church? (IBTR #64)
      APRIL 21, 2015 / 9 COMMENTS
      A battle rages on today that will last until Jesus comes–the battle between traditional church and something newer or contemporary. I fall in a more conservative line than many, yet do not get as worked up about some of the newer stuff as some do. In the Independent Baptist world the battle is even more intense than in other circles. There is not, to my mind, some simple answer that is beyond dispute. In either case the argument will go better if there is no one in the room from the other side.

      Still, there is an unusual phenomenon in these days. Some advertise themselves as being one of the few that still do “old fashioned church”. Again, if someone says they are traditional or conservative, those terms at least make sense. We have some idea what that means and it seems at least fair advertising.

      While there is not one uniform model of the churches that call themselves old-fashioned, some of them carry a few similar traits. We should, too, specify that calling ourselves old fashioned when we feel the whole world is running ahead of us is a fair and common usage of the word. To use it, though, as many do now should have a more accurate time element to it–it should be at least a little ancient.

      In my unscientific observation, I have noticed many of these churches will have conservative music, though it may have some get-up-and-go to it. Others may prefer a great deal of shouting. Others a very specific order of service. I have nothing negative to say about any of it. Phrases like “have it your way” come to mind; or as they said where I grew up, “More power to you.”

      The funny thing is how did those specific things become the standard bearer of being old fashioned? Right or wrong, how far back can you really trace them? If you carried one of these old fashioned services back just 100 years, how do you think it would have been perceived? Or how about going on back to the frontier in colonial days? Do you think you would have been thought some sort of modern usurper of the godly way of doing church? I think you likely would have. I think we have no evidence that our “old fashioned ways” look anything like what a service led by the Apostle Paul would have.

      A lively, yet very conservative, piano piece would not have been accepted in the not-so-recent past. I have read of the scandal the first organ playing brought to church services in the Middle Ages.

      It is a fair discussion to try to figure out what is appropriate for our churches, or more importantly, what would please Christ. Whether we all arrive at the same answer, we should all seek the Lord till we think we are where He would want us to be. On the other hand, I don’t see how we are going to make much progress on the discussion between ourselves until we learn to choose our words more carefully. I am not sure “old fashioned” as often used is very accurate.”

      For the rest of the articles on the subject, here is the link. http://thereaganreview.com/2013/11/05/its-time-for-an-independent-baptist-truth-revolution/

  5. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    You know, I find it amazing how persistent some of these men are at doing the same thing over and over and over and over again expecting something different to happen somewhere along the line, “God willing.”

    Eventually, these men will go mad. Some of them go man and yet stay in control of their little kingdoms. Their frustration is evident in their sermonizing.

    The anger, the blame, the yelling.

    Another well-known historical figure once said, “You’re a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.”

    B.R.1

  6. I remember visiting a church in a place near my Dad’s. Fundy and half-full. I went back to visit a few years later, and it was still fundy, still the same and almost empty. By then, I had lost most of my connections with fundamentalism, but I still wanted to attend church on Sunday morning.

    Fast forward another decade: the building of the fundy church had been bought by a different, evangelical congregation. It’s quite busy on Sunday. It wasn’t that the people didn’t want to be supportive; they needed something they could support.

    1. It reminds me of a church I was in quite often growing up in a small Wisconsin town. I lived 100 miles away, but had many friends there.

      It was a typical IFB church, with an aging pastor and small congregation. At one point a few years went by when I hadn’t been there, although I heard from friends that they had a new pastor and were building a larger building. When I did return one Sunday, it was shocking. They were no longer IFB and the place was huge, and full. They had grown from maybe 50 attendees on a Sunday morning to several hundred, and were easily the most-attended church in the area.

      Of course, any fundy worth their salt would say it’s because they were now compromisers and preached a “feel good” message so they appealed to more people. Because growth is only ok if you do it their way…

  7. Deacon’s Son April 15th comment about Sam Davison

    I would like to address you personally but I do not know you or where you are from. If you have a way to give me your info I would like to speak with you in regards to the things you have said about me that are untrue.
    I would also like to address the comments made about my mother and her name.
    I believe you have connections in the Edmond area but I’m not sure.
    I will defend your right to say what you will but when false statements are made on a personal level and even further about my mother then that changes the situation.

    If there is more to you then a screen name and your not afraid to own up to your comments then lets be men and talk.
    -Samuel Davison.

    1. Sammy – I hate to break it to you but Deacon’s Son is nothing more than a screen name. He is a computer server located in Kirkland, WA that randomly posts comments on various blogs.

      Yours truly,

      HAL 9000

    2. Mr. Davison,

      I appreciate your reaching out to me. I never intend to say something that is not true, including on this site. However, since you have stated that my comment about you was untrue, I have asked the moderator to remove my comment that mentions you.

      I apologize for poking fun at your mother’s name. It was not my intention to be offensive. Indeed, my own mother has a humorous nickname based on her name. But it is understandable why you are upset about this and I am sorry for my words.

      I once heard your father share the story of his close relationship with his own father. It is clear that the family tradition of loyalty and respect has been passed down to you. While I disagree significantly with various doctrines and practices of your father and his church/college, I do wish your family well.

      Sincerely,
      Deacon’s Son

      1. Now see, this is how an apology should be made.

        Trolls, if you wish to be taken seriously here, this is how you go about it.

        I’m still waiting for that fundy dude who called me innately ignorant to apologize. I don’t expect it, but he still owes me an apology. My experience is that they seldom apologize. The empty words “I’m sorry” are usually coupled with a blaming attitude and more insults.

        1. Fundies who hurt people don’t think they have done anything wrong. Bob Jones University, case in point.

          If they apologize, it is so laced with disclaimers and wiggle text that it makes the apology worse than worthless.

          I would have appreciated an apology or two from the MoGs who hurt me. They would never give it. They would think that my wish for an apology was a sign of unrepentant bitterness. I would be looked at as not being submissive to God’s will. And even if I suffered wrongly, I should just see that as God’s will as well.

          Many Fundies in Authority can hurt so many so quickly and so often that IF they were to be held to account they could easily spend the rest of their lives in apology.

  8. Did any one besides Josh actually read the blog the blog, or are y’all going to take Darrell’s word for it like the pastor of a church hopes his people won’t question him on what he says from the pulpit?

    1. Okay, just wondering if anybody actually read the blog the blog 😉 in question before attacking it. Considering how many people try to post “first!” before reading, I wouldn’t have been surprised if no one read the actual blog the actual blog before jumping on it. Especially since we consider it to be a fault when the parishioners take the pastors word for it without any critical thinking.

        1. Responding to myself makes me feel like at least one person understands what I am trying to say. Did I not reply to the correct thread? I want to make sure I follow of your implied yet not written down rules for commenting 😉

        2. Hey, you don’t even understand how inappropriate you are. That the rest of us try to ignore you until you come to some sort of self-revelation is a mercy.

          But like a Pest, you keep buzzing. “Shoo. Go away, boy! You bother me.”

          It wouldn’t hurt you to learn a thing or two before trying to assert your spiritual superiority. I have little time to teach you.

        3. Wow rtgmath, nothing like exerting spiritual superiority over someone by telling them they are inappropriate and exerting spiritually superior to everyone else. Why don’t you explain how I am the one being inappropriate here, because I asked you to clarify your comment about responding to myself. I honestly have no idea what you meant. If it was a joke, I wanted to understand the punch line. I can laugh at myself like that. If it was a legitimate correction of my commenting protocol, I wanted to learn how to make it right for next time. The joke about following the unwritten rules of the comments section was a back handed joke towards all the unwritten rules that exist in the Fundy-land and that we all hate so much because of their pettiness. So please, you tell me how I was being inappropriate?

        4. Are you so dense you need it spelled out for you?

          Sigh. Very well, little one. I will try to be patient. And if this comes across as a little condescending, I will confess to the fault.

          You posted a criticism of the playful “firsts” that are done on the group — an inane thing to criticize. In particular, you were questioning whether or not we had just criticism of the blog because you thought we hadn’t read it before commenting. Yet you obviously have not read us well enough to know what you are criticizing.

          And having not received an answer, you reposted the criticism/request. I then teased you for it — probably an unworthy act — but had you been more aware, you would have noted the blog had been read! It was obvious from the discussion.

          We didn’t go to his blog to disrupt it. You came here to disrupt this. At least, that is how it appears. Inappropriate? Yes, because you seem guilty of the very thing you are making accusations of.

          And if this seems to you like I am acting “superior,” well I suppose I am. I am not perfect. But Jesus didn’t say you had to be perfect to judge actions or words.

          Is this sufficient? Do you understand that you made yourself the joke? Now, if you want to play nice, you will be welcome. If not, shoo!

      1. “Attacking” it? That reminds me of another trait fundamentalists exhibit that I find annoying. It seems like moderate language is not in their vocabulary. Everything is an extreme, or binary. How about “disagreeing”. Outside of fundystan, we are allowed to do that 😉

        1. Geez, fine, whatever you want to call it. Persecution syndrome much? I’m sorry for not using your approved language.

        2. Words mean things occasionally, JPJ, so, no, it’s not “whatever” we want to call it. Just like I doubt there’s anyone here who thinks you’re persecuting him, so there is no complex, either.

      1. Yes – I agree. As evidence of your observation, did anyone notice which point he wrote the most on? Yes, you guessed it – point #9 “WHEN THERE IS NO FEEDBACK REGARDING THE SERMONS”.

      2. That’s pretty much what I got out of it. Believe it or not, some people have more important things going on in their lives besides going to church and stroking the pastor’s ego. I must have missed the commandment that said, “Thou shalt go to church every time the doors openeth in order to kisseth the buttocks of the pastor,” Guess there wasn’t enough room on the tablet for that one.
        Maybe instead of pissing and moaning about why he is discouraged, and what everyone else can do to make him feel better, he should come down off his pedestal and find out what HE can do in order to be an encouragement to the congregation.

    2. Correct us some more John Paul. I love to be talked to like I’m a 5th grader. Want to yell at me for being a “clock watcher”? That’s what I was called by my 5th grade teacher.

      And to answer your question, I did not read the article. Because I do not care what upsets a pastor. Rather than writing an article on what pisses off a pastor, how about actually helping people in need?

    3. I read it. I can imagine that all those things would be discouraging to a pastor. However, this guy is placing the onus on the congregation to improve the pastor’s experience of his calling. He doesn’t say a word about examining himself to see if the problem might be within. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, what is it when a pastor does the same thing week in and week out and blames lack of growth and engagement on everyone else?

      In my job, I am reviewed on a yearly basis. I can go into my review with a list of how everyone else has failed to live up to my expectations, but it doesn’t get me any closer to meeting the goals my VP and I set for my performance. If I consistently fail to meet my goals, I either need to examine my goals or my ability to perform. This guy puts the responsibility on his congregation to meet the goals he wants to reach. That’s not how it works.

  9. Just posted a comment on his site and it was promptly taken down. I suppose I should have stroked his ego like the rest of those who posted.
    Basically I said that he is supporting a broken system which leads to his discouragement.
    I guess he has “no friends which challenge his point of view.”

  10. Too long; didn’t read version:

    Things You May Not Know That Discourage Your Pastor:

    1. You not doing all the things that I keep preaching about.

  11. Interesting. I was always told, ”Discouragement is of the devil.” Maybe someone should mention that to Mr. Blankenship. If I am discouraged and honourable, I think I have two choices. The first choice is to ask for help and the second to bear up under it. I do not think blaming other people is an honourable choice. Is it just me or does that blog post have a whiff of the passive/aggressive about it?

    1. I thought all serious fundies were passive aggressive. I just loved it when I would get called on doing something “wrong”, and I had no idea what they were talking about. However, there would be the twittering, giggling, pointing…all the things that told me I was “wrong.”

  12. I served on the pastoral staff of a fundy church for almost three years. I can no longer identify with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Blankenship. At one time in my fundy life I felt the same way he did. I feel very differently now.

    His blog post should be titled “Things You May Not Know That Discourage Your Pastor (even though they shouldn’t).”

  13. This is shocking! In the good old days of Fundyland, the pastor would go on vacation and the guest speaker would blame the congregation for not treating the MOG right. The MOG would never initiate this topic for himself. How low can U go.

  14. #1 I think Blankenship is taking subtweeting to a whole new level. Think perhaps he has 9 or so particular people in mind?
    #2 In general, I do think it’s true that our current generation is less committed to church regardless of denomination. And I don’t think it’s just the pastor’s or church’s fault.

  15. I’m not a pastor, but it ain’t rocket science. Acts 2 …

    The Fellowship of Believers
    …44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,…

    If I was a pastor, I would just do what they did. I would forget about the building program, and I would try to have daily meals for the hungry. I would try to pay an MD to come by once a week, and put the word out to the poor, maybe help the local kids sports teams with their equipment costs.

    I’m pretty sure word would spread pretty fast, and the community would start coming around.

    1. Dear After Glow and SFL Reader:

      Others have had the courage to express their doubts. Should I be exempt from this?

      I sometimes find myself thinking that a socialist platform has more redemptive potential than church. Far and away, we Christians were at Acts 2 first. But what since then?

      Have you ever heard a preacher speak against an Acts 2:44ff agenda? Have you ever heard a socialist speak against an Acts 2:44ff agenda? Why IS that?

      Christian Socialist

      1. I hear socialists refer to Acts 2:44 sometimes. What they fail to remember is that the Christians’ participation was voluntary; socialism coerces through the power of government. It’s comparing apples to oranges. In Acts 5, Paul’s words seem to clarify that people weren’t obligated to give everything.

        Having said that, I do agree Christians should be examples of excessive generosity. Starting with me.

        1. My pastor is fond of referring to the “God loves a cheerful giver” passage and talking about how “cheerful” is better translated “hilaris,” which is where we get the word “hilarious.”

          In other words, God loves hilarious, or possibly what seems to be foolish, giving.

        2. Yeah, yeah. The Pastor laughs if he can get you to give more. And he wants his cut first.

          If I had a dollar for every time I heard this trotted out …

        3. Well, the argument fails when you consider Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. And in Paul’s command to obey government.

          Too many people who call themselves Christians view God’s concern for the poor as voluntary. They don’t want the poor to be taken care of because they want their capriciousness to be the standard for help.

          At least governments meet more of the need than private giving does. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. I am glad to pay them.

        4. Dear Incawgneato:

          As I see it, this misunderstands the text, socialism, and the nature of God’s work in the world. But first, a case to put flesh on this.

          Detroit officials are readying to shut of water to as many as 73,000 households. This attack will cause misery and death. Michigan’s Republican governor and Detroit’s Democratic mayor unite behind this. For the ‘deserving poor,’ they offer a charity fund totaling $4.5 million, of the $42 million the water department means to collect.

          Water shutoffs will accelerate the vacating of whole neighborhoods at a time when vast sums are pumped into the city center to make it a mecca for the affluent, and to boost the fortunes of billionaire real estate developers, who are about to receive virtually free land for any supporting luxury lifestyle projects the affluent want.

          Impending before are immeasurable suffering, loss of homes, physical dislocation and death. Whole neighborhoods stand to be laid waste as the four horsemen bestride Detroit’s streets. No one represents the families to be affected. But do you see any ‘coercion’ in any of this? No. We allow the impersonal instrumentality of market ‘imperatives’ to do the dirty work from which Detroit billionaires and speculators profit, thereby absolving ourselves of iniquity.

          Luke in Acts 2 doesn’t speak for the comparatively recent social innovation of voluntarism. The function of the text in the canon is to show believers as an alternative, contrast-community by their signifying and representing God’s reign.

          Every tree – and presumably the water they need for survival – was for Adam/Eve’s use. If so, laying the forbidden tree prohibition on creation’s resources [water, food, timber for homes, etc.] seems to constitute massive social theft. As I see it, socialists are merely the latest to say that the resources of the earth are for the people of the earth.

          Christian Socialist

          PS: As an aside, the $42 million owed to the Detroit water department is about one quarter of the $160 million spend on each and every F-35 sent to bomb Iraq.

        5. Incawgneato (great name!), I accept this argument if and only if the person making it also argues against leveraging the power of the state to enforce Christian morality in every other case. IOW, if it’s coercive to obligate people to support the poor because Jesus prefers voluntary giving, it’s equally coercive for the state to, say, obligate people to pay for abstinence-only education in their schools or to dictate what gynecologists may or may not say to their patients.

          If you’re one of those people who are consistent in your belief that the government has no right to legislate policies that endorse sectarian morality, then I’m pleased to hear it. Many, many others are not.

  16. The problem with the IFB is they are trying so hard to be “separate” from all the people, while the NT church “HAD FAVOR” with all the people. NT Church approached people about their PHYSICAL and FINANCIAL needs first, showing them LOVE, and God took care of the rest.

  17. “When you don’t meet the expectations of your pastor, your pastor gets discouraged…..”
    That is pretty much what this entire post is saying. To me this post shouts–narcissistic control freak trying to guilt people to stroke his ego.

      1. exactly. But I think that is the IFB’s danger–since there is no overseeing denomination who vets the ordained candidates you get these narcissists. As much as they want to rail against the denominations, when you have psychological exams and background checks and interviews that go beyond just doctrine and dogma–you are able to set up protections–not perfect ones but still you can protect churches and pastors a little bit more than just having a congregation ask questions about beliefs and what the Bible says.

        1. This is yet another thing that led me toward a hierarchical church. I saw too many pastors come in and decimate a church, then run off to the next nest of victims. We have two very talented destroyers in my own family, actually. There’s no accountability, and far too much awe at a candidate’s connections to big IFB names and institutions.

          My father used to be a deacon in his church and finally stepped down because of the complete lack of accountability and the pastor’s insistence that anyone who wasn’t on his side was “against God.” Dad was going over the bylaws at one point when I was home visiting (because the pastor was enthusiastically putting the church into debt again) and asked me if they looked legit. They were not legit, and probably not legal, either. Basically the pastor had all the power and the deacons, as legal board members of the 501(c)(3), were still on the hook for any asinine decision he made. To me, the documents looked like a copy and paste job but because the pastor had fired everyone who might have the historical documents, no one could tell if those bylaws were what the church was actually bound to operate under. I don’t know what happened in that situation, but if they were to be audited, they’d be screwed. Or persecuted by the evil IRS for their devotion to the Lord. Depending on your perspective, I suppose.

    1. Bingo! This ‘man’ focus/quasi-“worship” has been one of the most off-putting things in my IFB experience.

      It’s not just the “MOG” either, but the many ‘favorites’. My former “MOG” claims the church didn’t have cliques, Well, they may not have been overtly so, but there were (indeed) cliques none the less.

  18. Talk about man-worship! This is straight up self-worship. “Do this, this, and this… so the pastor isn’t discouraged.” What?! Blankenship’s words stand in strong contrast with Paul’s desire for the believers in Phillipi: “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:8-11

    My prayer is that all in fundamentalism will be awakened to the endless working for man’s approval. It’s joyless and – guess what – discouraging. May they all find true joy and encouragement through Christ and him alone.

  19. This could have been written by my pastor. He is the center of the universe. As much as the members do, it will NEVER be enough. His ego is insatiable.

    Just think how wonderful a church would be if the total focus were directed toward God, and God alone.

    1. Well, it IS all about him. After all, he published this instruction to his staff (excerpts):

      “We need to die to our own aspirations and adopt Pastor’s dreams as our own.”

      “Satisfaction with your calling in life – Jonathan’s armor bearer was satisfied in his position.”

      “Surrender of your personal will – “All that is in thine heart” whatever is in Pastor’s heart”

      “I am here to reflect Pastor – make sure I do it the way he would”

      “Service to the leader – (must be from your heart) we ought to want to do things Pastor’s way.”

      “Signifying your commitment continually
      Pastor should never have to question where my heart is. Don’t make him look back at me!
      Prove I’m with him.”

      “How do we add value to Pastor and the ministry?
      Loving the Pastor unto the death
      When Pastor’s vision has become our vision
      Our main goal is to help with the vision
      By representing Pastor well before others
      Transfer the loyalty of others to the Pastor
      Complement Pastor’s weaknesses
      Expand the Pastor’s ministry”

      All of the above is self-serving. All of it.
      This is not what a church or pastor should be.
      Shame on the IFBs who encourage such leaders in their churches and colleges!

      View staff document here:
      http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2014/07/how-to-be-a-sneaky-racist-for-fun-and-profit/

      1. Okay, now I’m honestly wondering if this guy is somehow connected to the former pastor of my dad’s old church. It’s pretty spot on with how he ran the place. My Master’s is in non-profit administration, so my dad frequently called me to ask if things he was doing in deacon/board meetings were legal. They weren’t. The biggest one I remember, and the one that my dad finally resigned over, was when he told the deacons they could either vote to take on a big new debt, or they could abstain from voting. No votes against the pastor’s plan would be recorded.

      1. @ JC
        We are working on this. The issue is, we have children on staff; therefore we are unwilling to be blacklisted. We wouldn’t want to put that stress on them (no being able to talk to us).
        Fortunately, they are smart and see things for themselves, and with opportunity, will probably leave of their own accord. Which is what we pray for.

        Moving away seems to be the better option.

        1. wannagetout,

          I have been praying for your family, and hope you get an opportunity to leave soon. Whether or not you move, you end up having to rebuild your entire social network from scratch – but it is totally worth it. So glad your family is seeing the truth about that wretched place. How horrible that they would be made to have their own parents blacklisted. What kind of church does that?
          A cult.
          A cult does that.

  20. It did come across a little “whiny”

    Maybe if people didn’t have to attend 4 services each week, along with Thursday visitation and Saturday bus routes they would have the energy and stamina to be “better Christians”.

    When we left IFB the pastor told us we should have been doing more. I guess usher, offering counter, piano player, nursery worker and master club teacher wasn’t enough. I didn’t go to Saturday door knocking because I didn’t want to invite people to a church I was miserable in.

    Really this is a reflection on his leadership skills

    1. “Maybe if people didn’t have to” says a lot. Preachers try to run the church like a business with volunteers who pay him for the privilege of working there, with hopes of big rewards in the hereafter for their service.

      They squeeze you dry then throw you away. If you are used up or worn out it is your fault. You should have “done more” to glorify him (the pastor).

      1. It’s almost always about glorifying the MOG. IFB pastors are soooo insecure about weekly productivity. Everything is about them and how it reflects on them.

        “Follow me as I follow the Lord” is a overused and over abused tactic that had me “not thinking for myself for years”

      2. “They squeeze you dry then throw you away”

        Yep, they’ll take everything you have to give and discard you when they’re finished; sort of like tossing a lemon peel after squeezing out the juice. This stands in real contrast to Christ, doesn’t it?

        “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench…”

      3. “They squeeze you dry then throw you away. If you are used up or worn out it is your fault. You should have “done more” to glorify him (the pastor).”

        And then they lie about you to keep the other peons in line.

      4. It’s also about rewards in the here and now. People look at the workers as being more spiritual than those who don’t. That’s a reward. The more work you do the more spiritual you are and the more you are looked up to. Also, the more you do the closer you get to the power source.

        1. Absolutely. In addition, they (mis)label ‘service’ to the church/”MOG” as “serving the Lord” which is NOT a 1-to-1 match!

  21. As a pastor, I can understand some of his frustration, but I would NEVER make a laundry list of “you” statements. Blaming the followers is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes leaders can make and it’s usually a sign that there are fundamental issues with the leadership.

    I think the bigger issue facing any church today is dealing with the consumerist mindset–I want to find a church that caters to my needs. And unfortunately churches of all stripes have contributed to this issue by tailoring their ministries to such specific groups or demographics.

    I realize that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work either. But ministers and parishioners alike seem to overlook that Jesus came not that he could be served rather that he might serve. It’s the mindset that JKF made so well in his inauguration speech: Ask not what my country can do for me. But what can I do for my country. Perhaps if more churches were truly houses of mercy, and a place where love and grace were the norm instead of programming or rules, more people might find church irresistible. That’s what I read in Acts 2:42-47.

    1. thlipsis said “I think the bigger issue facing any church today is dealing with the consumerist mindset–I want to find a church that caters to my needs. And unfortunately churches of all stripes have contributed to this issue by tailoring their ministries to such specific groups or demographics.”

      Paul said, “I have become all things to all men that by all means I might save some.” Arguing against people looking to have their needs met makes no sense. Christ came to meet our needs.

      Then, in meeting our needs we have strength to meet the needs of others.

      The early church had great needs, and organized to meet the needs of the widows and orphans. That became a model for church organization. Deacons were not about business meetings, but were overseeing the distribution of food and care along with godly wisdom.

      When the Ministers stop seeing the need to meet the needs of others, the Ministry is doomed.

      Now yes, Jesus said He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister to others. And He did. He ministered to His disciples, and taught them how to minister. He taught them to wash each others’ feet, but also to receive that washing themselves. If you do not receive grace, you cannot give grace. The Pastor and the workers and the church members are not Jesus and not God. They must receive. Their needs must be met. It must not all flow to the top of the Food Chain, the Pastor.

      The problem is that when things go out of balance we do not strive to reset the balance. We see the weight as bad, and we throw everything into the other direction. We are perpetually out of balance as a result.

      Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

    2. I realize that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work either.

      If the Bible says it, I believe it, and that’s final!

      Excuse me while I go spit…

  22. Really this is the whole problem in a nutshell, fundyism is about the pastor not God. You have to please the pastor to please God. What the pastor says to do God is telling you to do. If the pastor is discouraged then God is discouraged/angry/upset/etc. To please God you have to make the pastor happy.

    The identities of the pastor and God have become so interwoven they cannot be separated. Of course they deny this which just further strengthens their position in the minds of their parishioners.

    1. My old pastor’s son, who was also youth pastor, would often compare his father to Moses. Moses talked to God on behalf of his people and so does pastor! The times he would preach, he would always make a point to say that we should always consult the pastor on ANY decision in life. What job to take, who to marry, what car to buy etc. etc.

        1. Leanne – I am trying to decide between buying this nice looking, low-mileage 2012 Honda Accord and a 2011 Ford Escape? Please tell me what I should do.

        2. Hey Scorpio, that’s easy. Buy the cheaper one, but tithe off the difference in cost of the two. After all, you saved some money by not buying the more expensive one, so you had an increase.

        3. Excellent idea brother Wayne. And with a cheaper car, my insurance will be cheaper so I can tithe off of that increase too! Pastor will be so happy with me.

        4. I had an Accord until my daughter decided to see if an F-150 at highway speed would damage it.
          it did.
          I recommend the Honda, but don’t try demolition derby in it.

          By the way-she came out with only a small scratch. From the passenger door, and she was wearing her seatbelt and stayed in her seat. I figure the car’s protective engineering is suitable.

      1. I think the most shocking statement I ever heard made about a preacher was my sister saying that when he spoke it was like a conduit came down from God and out of this man’s mouth. That was the first time I allowed myself to think the word ”cult.”

      2. “My old pastor’s son, who was also youth pastor, would often compare his father to Moses. Moses talked to God on behalf of his people and so does pastor! The times he would preach, he would always make a point to say that we should always consult the pastor on ANY decision in life. What job to take, who to marry, what car to buy etc. etc.”

        Oy veh!

      3. Scorp, your choices are an Accord and an Escape? Obviously it’s the Honda because that’s biblical. An Escape is wrong because that would make you want to leave the cult.

        That said, in my book if you ain’t driving a full-size pickup (Ford or Chevy) you ain’t a real man.

        1. Lady Semp, the Honda is biblical? Is that the old joke, “They were all in one place and in one Accord”?

      4. Moses talked to God on behalf of his people and so does pastor!

        And then they turn around and complain that other churches don’t recognize the priesthood of believers. Lovely.

        1. Sorry, that was in reply to Scorpio, “My old pastor’s son, who was also youth pastor…”

    1. That is a fair question. But fundamentalism trains people to idolize the pastor. There may be some pastors that take less advantage of that than others, but all pretty much see themselves as the fountain of wisdom. They say they aren’t the source, but if you want to get it, you go to them.

      The brainwashing is severe, even with small churches. I recently communicated my struggles with faith to my wife, whereupon she informed me she couldn’t stay with a man who lost his faith. We patched the argument, but the wound remains. She is much more committed to fundamentalism than she is to me–and I know it. Not to complain overmuch. I’ve known it for years. But her loyalty to the group generally has severely undermined her loyalty to me. That despite what scripture actually says on the topic.

      I think fundamentalism does this to a lot of families. “Faith” is primary. Loyalty is to the pastor, not family or anything else. It is a throwback to tribalism.

      Mind you, the threat does not make me believe in God or His Goodness any better. Rather the reverse. But in her mind, God is so powerful that He can crush us at will, and so weak that He can’t stand any criticism. That amounts to a weak sort of “love” and promotes fear.

      I don’t blame her. I blame the system.

      1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Loyalty to the pastor is so strong that individuals will give up anything; spouses, children, parents, siblings, jobs, houses, etc to please the pastor.

        1. Case in point: After they had left one IFBC and joined another, some of my family had a friend tragically die in in an auto accident. The widow was from the church they left. She wanted them to be there for her but her pastor had put them on church discipline and they were informed by their new pastor that they weren’t wanted at the funeral or calling hours. Old pastor’s orders.

  23. I was raised under the preaching that if it wasn’t loud and long, it couldn’t possibly be true preaching of the Word…..
    and if people found church enjoyable and fun than it had to be “church lite” and surely no true preaching of the Word.

    Churches that advertised non-traditional (short, fun, music with drums or guitars) services were criticized in my churches.

    Many years ago, a church in my local area had tent services so that people could bring their dogs. They recognized that people were gone working all week and felt guilty leaving Fido alone at home on the weekend. Unusual? Yes. But people probably loved the fact that they could bring their dogs!

    1. IFB’ers always equate ‘hollarin’, shouting & pulpit theatrics as “good preachin'”…which is bunk. Quality preaching can be delivered in a variety of methods.

  24. Dear SFL Reader:

    Should self-serving corrupters fleece the flock, preach emptiness and yet not be called to account? Am I the only one for whom the blight of homiletical wretchedness is unbearable and demands public confrontation?

    The other day, I said [thinking ‘aloud’ — if that’s possible online] that I ought to start a blog and do sermon evaluations and post the results online. Someone said I should go for it.

    That strikes me as tacky, but I can’t shake the idea because there is so much lousy preaching. You just feel that someone ought to shout, ‘the Emperor has no clothes!’ This said, I did find a perfect graphic for such a blog, which [I thought] might be named ‘the UNwelcome Church Guest.’

    See if you can pick yours truly from the otherwise happy worshipers … http://tinyurl.com/ks4yso5

    Christian Socialist

        1. I listened to 10 minutes of the Sunday AM sermon, entitled If I Regard Iniquity and I was ticked off before he’d even started the sermon. The announcements were really maddening.

  25. I love how that by asking a simple question such as “Have you read the blog before dismissing it (okay I originally said attacking, but considering the vitriol with which some of you “dismiss” or “disagree” with the article, I think this is a battle of semantics) I get the same dismissals (“Shoo”) that many IFB pastors are known to use against their detractors who dare to question them, wherein we learn that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And apparently, according to Darrell’s post a couple days ago, many of you are still Fundamentalist in mentality. Anyways, WONDERFUL dialogue here guys. Really. It seems like everyone has come such a long way in their growth. Or is this that no longer an approved word on this blog, like “Attacking?”

    1. It’s the poorly disguised contempt that was in your question that people responded to.

      People will swat a mosquito, but not a butterfly.

      Respect and civility are wonderful things. Try that approach next time.

      1. It is interesting to note that dissenting posts are not removed from SFL as they are from many Pastor’s blogs. I personally think shooshing you away is more polite than just deleting your ass.

    2. If you don’t want to be dismissed like a pest (“shoo”), don’t be one.

      And your post shows you are a fundy pest, since you don’t (apparently) read the blog the responses to see whether we read the blog the blog. Criticizing the playful “first”s as if they had anything to do with the critique demonstrates an utter lack of comprehension.

      You exhibit the cluelessness and lack of grace I am grateful to have been leaving. And if I still have fundy traits, at least I am trying to get away from them. Unlike you, my pesty friend.

      Shoo!

    3. Your initial post chose not to engage in conversation. You made an accusatory question–are you even reading the post–which seems to assume that all the reactions here are not trying to engage the pastor’s blog but simply following Darrell’s thoughts. You dismissed the comments as being simply following Darrell and not as thought out comments on the pastor’s blog. You started the dismissing, now you are crying victim. How does that work?

    4. I didn’t see this gem from John Paul before I responded above. I agree that shoo was not an appropriate response. I am thinking something more along the lines of pound salt fits better. But that’s just me.

    5. Okay, I get it. No one wants to admit they have a problem. Still, my previous comments aside, I challenge every person to go back and read Darrell’s “Still a Fundamentalist” post from a couple days ago and truly see whether or not most of the reactions on this post fit into those categories.

        1. We are all bigots for calling each other bigots. Ok. But where do you go from here? I am sorry for talking condescendingly. Truly I am. It is just that these guys like JB, JP, JC, JI, JT (that certainly is a lot of J’s, but I get to one-up them by being JPJ. Kidding guys, it was just a joke, so take it easy) are legitimately trying to change the IFB movement. They see some of the problems that exist and want to do something about them. Granted, it may not look like it from a blog post like this, and this post implies that they do not understand ALL the problems that exist, but they are trying to change. But at the same, if calling someone a bigot makes you a bigot, how do you work through a substantive “disagreement?” I understand that this website is not necessarily about working through anything, because that implies an agreed upon end to be reached. This site is about therapy for those who have been hurt.

          I am legitimately sorry for talking condescendingly. I am sorry that my humor was inappropriate. I’m still not sure how it was inappropriate, since I just get written off as inappropriate without an explanation of why, but I am sorry none the less.

        2. JPJ How would you feel if one of us, survivors of the fundamentalist movement, were to walk into some meeting in your church and start to question whatever it was you were talking about. If we said things like, “Hey wait a minute, how many of you here have even read the document that this meeting is about because all I am hearing is a bunch of people talking about stuff that I don’t know anything about. Granted I am new here but I don’t like that you are making references to things I don’t get. How dare you talk about something that I don’t know the history of.”
          You are quite correct, this is a place for people who have been harmed by fundamentalists. Would you expect kindness and understanding if you made rape jokes to the survivor of rape? We have come through spiritual abuse, we have survived but we are fragile. We are also angry about it. When I said, “Shoo”, I was implying you were being annoying. In your consequent posts you became more persistent and others squashed you.
          You say, “I am legitimately sorry for talking condescendingly. I am sorry that my humor was inappropriate. I’m still not sure how it was inappropriate, since I just get written off as inappropriate without an explanation of why, but I am sorry none the less.” That is a passive aggressive apology, in other words not an apology at all. I am sorry, I am not sure what for, but I am sorry? Nope. We have all dealt with people like you before. We have the scars to prove it.

        3. JPJftOP, you are forgiven for being condescending. I apologize for being condescending in response.

          I am a professor, so when I do decide to take someone to task, I can do it all too easily, with big words. I can out-sarcasm the best if I put my mind to it.

          And that is not something I should be proud of.

          That said, welcome. We ask that you understand the spirit we discuss things in. We can criticize the IFB movement because we were in it and participated in its sins and felt its sting. When we criticize the pastor for his “it’s all about me” attitude, we are just because we have intimate knowledge of such attitudes with other pastors in fundamentalism.

          And we confess those sins freely. Read us and see.

        4. “It is just that these guys JB, JP, JC, JI, JT… are legitimately trying to change the IFB.”

          Kudos to them for their good intentions, but they’re trying to give mouth-to-mouth to a corpse.

        5. Rtg, I now understand your comment about commenting to myself. Honestly, I’m not sure how I missed that one, other than a pre-coffee stupor, which would honestly explain a lot things.

          As I am sure you know, a lot of things sound good sarcastically in the head, but then when put into type, you immediately regret your decision. I am bitterly sarcastic by nature (parents divorced when I was 10, and was the fat kid in school, so I got baggage), and most of the time, my sarcasm isn’t a helpful tool. Cynicism, however, has gotten me far in life. Go figure.

          I’m sorry for being mook. Everybody forgive me? Come on, Scorpio. You know you want in on this group hug therapy sesh.

          Also, how can y’all not think “John Paul Jonesin’ for the Old Paths” is funny? I think it’s hilarious.

        6. “Trying to give mouth-to-mouth to a corpse. ”

          And you know what happens when a corpse is left unburied…

        7. John Paul – I have seen you post here before and I always liked your name. Very creative. I’ll get in on the group hug so long as none of you guys grab my ass.

          We’ve learned about coffee today. 🙂

      1. Jonesing for the Old Paths–Most everyone commenting on that “still a fundamentalist” admitted to what they have problems with….it seems only you are unwilling to self reflect right now.
        Again, your initial comment was dismissive, you get called on that, you play victim. Don’t get ticked off when people call you on that.

    6. One big difference between Fundy pastors and this blog is your comments will not be erased here. As long as you remain somewhat civil, you can disagree with us everyday. You are bound to get some push back, but are free to speak your mind.

      If only such freedom existed in Fundystan.

  26. If I were on his church’s staff of like umm…5 people, I would be pissed about the snide remark about church staff screwing stuff up and the pastor having to redo it.

    1. If his staff isn’t performing, there’s likely a leadership problem. Why did he hire staff who can’t/won’t do their jobs? That shows a lack of discernment on his part. Is the morale bad because he’s expecting the impossible? That shows a lack of wisdom/grace on his part. Why is he going around completing/fixing their tasks? That shows a martyr complex. Also, if they have to finish or fix their own mistakes they will learn what they should do. All that they are learning from his behavior is that he will fix their mistakes, so why bother? Why is he criticizing his staff publicly? That will only contribute to declining morale and feed into the problems.

        1. No, Scorpio. You’re wrong.

          My problem is that I’m innately ignorant, as our friend whose name I forget was so kind to tell me in his passive-aggressive way.

    2. 4 out of the 6 listed as staff members are also family. Unless of course they coincidentally share the same last name…

      Was this point aimed at his wife? Is she not doing her job at church? At home? Must he do it himself?

  27. While I keep seeing contemporary churches concerned about the bigger issue of today’s church exodus, wherein articles titled “5 Reasons Why People are Leaving The Church” have been posted all over the place on all CC blogs, it’s pretty telling about the cult nature of Fundamentalism when they keep posting articles with titles such as “5 Reasons Why Your Pastor May Be Frustrated With You” and similar themes.

  28. This reminds me of my wife’s former “pastor”, who would preach grace, and how Christ isn’t demanding and neurotic, and then rail on his congregation because they weren’t singing loud enough to rev HIM up for the service.

    The church functioned as his therapy group – he had a captive audience. He should have stepped out of the pulpit a long time ago and sought rest and some professional therapy. A lot fewer people would have damaged lives right now.

    1. This is an interesting point. I have commented before regarding pastors being Narcissists and using their pulpit, authority, etc. to meet their need of feeling important.

      The church is their narcotic. When the narcotic doesn’t have the same effect, they have to increase their dosage (louder singing, whiny posts about discouragement to seek those who will kiss his @$$, revival meetings, bible conferences, etc). When this doesn’t work they change to a different narcotic (church) altogether and begin the whole process again.

    2. yes! In my process towards ordination, we talked a good deal about this—the congregation is not there to meet your needs. They are not your therapy session. They are not your self confidence booster. They are not your cheerleaders. They are not your minions to do your bidding.
      Unfortunately, the fundamentalist system creates a very unhealthy relationship between pastor and congregation. often times.

    3. You are right about this. It brings to mind some pet peeves of mine that seem to be regurgitated from every pulpit in the Midwest, regardless of the affiliation:

      “Good morning!…. Oh, that was TERRIBLE! GOOD MORNING!”

      “God wants us to be successful. Everybody say, ‘successful’…aw, come on, you can do better than that!”

      “Everybody turn to your neighbor and wish them a happy pastor appreciation Sunday!”

      “What is everybody doing in the back? Come on, everybody. Move up here to the front.”

      “I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited! Aren’t you excited? Lemme hear you say ‘amen!’ Amen?”

      And on and on it goes….

  29. Jonathan and I are friends. We have discussed at length his journey as a Christian and a pastor. I am thankful for guys like him that are seeing some light and moving towards a more balanced position within the independent Baptist movement. One thing I am fairly certain of, he would not hide behind a pseudonym to criticize another believer.

    1. But Jerry, you do. You hide every bit as much.

      You give your first name only. That is pretty anonymizing. It is not any really much different than my use of rtgmath. My name is Raymond, but if I hadn’t a link to a little-used blog of mine, how would you know who Raymond is?

      Your criticism is worthless here on that regard. And it does not make the critique of his post any less valid. His post focused on the me-me-me thema of the Pastor. It was not Christ-honoring.

      Now I am sure he was shocked to hear that people were criticising his post. And when a person tried to comment on it, he removed the critical comment. That is a sign of a weak person, one who only allows favorable comments instead of critical or insightful ones.

      And I am sure that, at least to his friends he is a nice person. Being nice means nothing theologically, of course. It doesn’t mean he has actually got the idea of ministry right. But he is in good company, since very few Independent Fundamentalist Baptists have the idea of ministry right.

      So Jerry-is-your-real-first-name-but-you-are-going-to-remain-anonymous-otherwise-but-criticize-anyway, I wish you well. But right now, you aren’t making any points. If you are going to criticize us, make it count. Point out some real unscriptural attitudes or positions or whatall. Don’t be a pansy complaining about the names people use.

      Because all you have done to this point is say you have none.

        1. Well and good. If you wish to know my last name, click on my icon and learn away.

          I am pleased to meet you. You may have some courage, after all. But people post here with different names for different reasons.

          Some post this way because they need an outlet, but have hypercritical family and friends it would be inconvenient to have discover the things said. My family knows the name I use, and I sometimes say too much personally, but it is a reflection of my open personality. They don’t want to read this blog, even though they have been invited to.

          Others have ministries that could be affected if certain people realized they were talking to “the enemy.”

          Some are just plain shy and unwilling to risk getting hurt again. Sharing your real name involves a certain amount of risk and intimacy, you know. Having been hurt myself, I can’t blame them.

          So thank you for following through and sharing your name, Jerry Boyce.

    2. Says the man who doesn’t use his last name. Do you know why we use pseudonyms? No, didn’t think so.

      Why did he take down a response that was critical? He should leave them up. His church isn’t all that and a bottle of Welch’s. Why is he publicly criticizing his congregation and staff? If he has an offense with them, he shouldn’t be airing it publicly.

        1. You mean you don’t know? You mean you didn’t even read your friend’s blog post? Or read our critiques of it?

          You just blow in here and criticize the names we use in this blog?

          Talk about unprepared! Jerry-is-your-real-first-name-but-you-are-going-to-remain-anonymous-otherwise-but-criticize-anyway, you are a real disappointment as a troll. But maybe, just maybe you have the opportunity to be a productive commenter.

          I would suggest you read the blog in question — note how he criticizes the work his staff is doing — and 4 of the six of them are relatives! If they were to read his blog, he would be in hot water at home. If they had read this blog, he’d probably have had to take it down by now.

          And read the whole blog here. You will find us imperfect, admittedly so. We don’t all agree. We have different perspectives. We fuss. We argue.

          And we are real. Our stories are worth learning. And maybe, just maybe, if you learn who we are and listen to our stories you will wind up a tad less judgmental. Can you say that God did not bring you here for such a work of grace in your own heart? Take advantage of it!

    1. You didn’t catch this?

      “➔ WHEN HE HAS TO DO YOUR JOB

      This is more related to church staff, but should be mentioned for those who serve in a church staff capacity. A pastor should never have to go behind paid staff to do what hasn’t been done or fix what has been neglected. The time that a pastor puts in to training and instructing staff is valuable. The expectations are much higher. Don’t discourage him by not doing your job.”

      There are six paid staff other than him. Four of them are family. This part publicly implies that his staff isn’t doing their job if it doesn’t directly say so. But as a reader, the innuendo is apparent.

      Certainly those who read the blog will be led to believe he has lazy staff because he didn’t take care in his writing to make sure the reader wouldn’t get that impression. He is writing about what discourages a Pastor, right? “I wouldn’t be completely honest with you if I told you I haven’t, myself, felt a little discouragement recently” he says. So these things apply to him, too!

      Since you read it, I have to assume you were in a hurry and just missed those parts. Once you read them, the inferences are pretty clear.

    2. “If he has an offense with them, he shouldn’t be airing it publicly.”
      The inference, I suspect is that she is airing something publicly while telling someone else not to air something publicly. Thing is, we aren’t airing offences. We are calling him a jerk, (amongst other things), for airing his offences publicly. As has been pointed out, on SFL you are allowed to have an opinion. On Pastor Whinypants blog, you are not.

      1. My sister went to a church exactly like this. Most Sundays she was criticized by her husband’s family for one reason or another.
        they eventually left and now attend a southern Baptist church. They love it. They have really good friends and their kids are very happy there.
        But, Even after 10 years of them going there, our fundy mom was still complaining about it to me ( and to my sister! ) saying” I wish they would go back to that other church. ” I finally had enough of that and called her on it. She doesn’t say anything to me anymore but I have no doubt she still feels that way.

    3. Sir, here’s the thing. He posted it publicly. He publicly aired a grievance about his employees, whose names are public. If he is willing to publicly criticize his employees — and some apparently are family — he needs to be willing to face the music.

      Do you think it’s okay to publicly criticize your family employees on a public blog that everyone and his brother can read? Is that fair? Is that — wait for it — “biblical”? Is it kind? Is it loving? Is it appropriate? Would you be okay with that same treatment? Are you looking the other way because he’s your friend?

      This is no different from someone writing an opinion piece for the local newspaper and the public responding to it. Maybe we are posting here because your buddy is deleting comments from anyone who isn’t singing the same song as his congregants. That, sir, is worse than using a pseudonym.

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