Phoned a contact at our former church today to borrow something for my kids. She noticed we had not been to church for a while, and I told her we are attending elsewhere. She didn’t ask why, so I didn’t offer much. She did say they had been mulling things over lately and were considering what to do. She did share that they had attended another church where the pastor preached the word. I did say we made sure before we left to inform the pastors of our concerns, and she said, “that’s something I wonder about [xyz church], people have left but they don’t speak up.” Yes, it may seem that way. However, I know we spoke up as best we could and my husband says we were “beat up.” We know of at least two other couples who have spoken up, one for a longer time, and another had an exit meeting. One man said he knew of 20 couples who had left in the last few years. So, it seems, another couple is considering making an exit. This couple, older than we are, is a fabulous couple. I knew them when I was in college, and they were solid then and still are today. Funny, I borrowed, “The Dangers of the Rainbow” from them. Little do they know just how much that book has helped us in this situation! I heard phrases from one of the pastors that were warned of in that old book, and it’s part of what broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Small world, small world.
I did warn her the church they are considering might be following the same path but are a few years behind. She said the church was simple, and the pastor seems to preach the word. I agree, it seems this way when we’ve checked this particular church out. They do use some of the same jargon type phrases for their church campaigns, and I recall they might be “Christ Followers” at times. They also had a speaker about I followed up on who lifted his sermon right from Ortberg’s book. Came home and read it, and was impressed at how pastors share materials for free like that…”boat potatoes” certainly is a phrase going around! Of course, I didn’t express all this to her. If she wants to know, I’ll let her know. However, sharing the whole basket is a bit much. Besides, I think they’ve already figured things out a bit on their own.
Since they are older than us, they have a concern about the comments made that our former church is reaching out to the youth. They think this is great, but that there is a whole spectrum of age that needs the church. I agree. Hurt yourself by narrowing to one small audience when your own church is intergenerational (and I thought the intergenerational church was a strength). Also, she mentioned the many programs…just too much going on all the time and too much changing all the time.
Wonder how many people will jump ship when they see the new campaign that’s asking for financial commitment above and beyond the normal tithe? They are starting some multimillion dollar building fund (and maybe missions oriented?). If they loose older adults, some of that money for the fund walks right out the door.