Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: Evangelism, new church plant, SBC, worship style
This is an invite! Open armed, no right answers. It is a way for me to get advice or check myself. I propse a situation and ask you,”What would you do?” . You know WWYD? [and I do not mean Yeshua!] You can ask yourself ‘what would Jesus do?’, but then tell me based on that if that is how you do it, What would you do? Here we go, and this happened to me.
Some one hands you the keys to a church. It comes with piano, organ , nice enough building with great parking, moveable pews, total seating for 100, and about 8 new Christians, one couple from a fundementalist/legalist background and a couple seekers. All the officers quit and leave with costs of$750.00 per month and a balance of $7000.00 available to you. The downside, the basement has been flooded twice in 3 years and there is no leadership, none. The church was started by the SBC in the 70’s and went down hill ever since. There is no lock to stay with SBC, if you do you are one of 20 SBC churches in a 17 county area of 1.7 million people, fully half of those people are RC. There are no rules, no existing culture, no one will get mad at your ideas, do what you want.
So here are the keys, you’re up! What do you do? What worship style, what bible, what meetings, what vision? I can’t wait to read the comments!
Filed under: Uncategorized
Not long ago and not far away, my Pastor, Tom was running out of church every other week, to go preach at Wyoming Valley Baptist. God had put it on his heart not to let the doors shut. As a bi-vocational pastor, he does something at a Nuke plant, the flock would want to visit with him after services, but he would fly on a twenty minute ride to preach to the “faithful few” ,all three of them, at WVB. The weeks he was not there Walt, a very good bible preacher was.
The solution was to send me. When I started preaching there my girls’ idea was to just to invite all three of them up for breakfast and preach over desert. [Baptists have desert even at breakfast, it is a hobbity thing] It was not a bad idea, I am a great breakfast cook and only a fair preacher, but that is just not How Things Are Done, so preach away! My wife is a very good piano player so they could have had the traditional 2 for 1, but the remnant had there own talent pool. Now I did not marry my wife for her piano playing. I married her because she was, and to me still is, the hottest woman in the world. Any way I was now a preacher. The remnant liked that. I don’t think they liked pastors.. Pastors have some authority. Preachers were fine, you see them on Sunday they educate/entertain and move on. And do not forget the altar call, visitors or not, it is not church without 1. Alter call, 2.Doxology, 3.Prayer request/Testimony, 4.Plate passing, 5.Traditional hymns, 6.Message, 7.Cupcakes.
The 7 essentials were fine with me as I was just the preacher, and hey, they gave me $50.00. So I preached and they were happy. Some people returned to the church some new folk showed up. My family my and I were miserable. We were disconnected from two churches, as every other week left us out of the loop. Also there were control issues. The three remnants were 1 family. Husband, wife, husband’s mom. He was the Deacon, she was the Boss. This went on until the church grew enough to call a real pastor. The same people using the same methods that had failed so many times before went on a pastor hunt.
As happened many times before, they loved this guy, …at first. As the honey moon turned to civil war the pastor got me to join. I then was involved in a painful process that saw another pastor down the road and the church reduced to about 10 people. ” Could you come preach for us? ” AgAIN? but now I was a member. read, ” What kind of place is this”, Part 3 The Great Flood[s]
Filed under: History, roots of Willohroots | Tags: church, dayspring, pastor, preacher, SBC
Dayspring Bible Chapel does not readily fit in to any of the accepted categories. By that I mean, we’re not really an existing work as we have all new people, new name, we’re creating our own new traditions, but then again, we’re not a new start either. The branch that is Dayspring grew from the stump of something called the Wyoming Valley Baptist Church. Let me give you a quick history. In the seventies the SBC looked at a map and decided that Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, really needed a southern baptist work. Now the area had quite a few American Baptist churches and Independent Baptist churches, but was predominantly Roman Catholic with Methodist and Presbyterian presence. What church a person attended was by and large based upon his or her ancestry. Later european immigrants were RC, earlier English and German immigrants were not.
A tent revival was held and I’m told two hundred people walked the aisle. A church was needed to house these people so Wyoming Valley Baptist Church was formed. When the church’s temporary headquarters was leveled to put in a bypass a new building was sought for a permanent home. A fellow named Pacey ran a bar/shoe store on River Road in Plains. I find that an odd combination. Pacey was being charged by the stool (barstool) for his sewer hookup. He told the town fathers that he didn’t like that and for spite would sell his building to a religious organization that would not have to pay taxes just to teach them a lesson. He actually threatened to sell to a black religious organization but there were none in the market for a bar/shoe store at the time. The building was purchased and the SBC went to work.
I love how SBC churches work together when they have a mission, and the mission of destroying a bar, it seems, brought them great glee. They built a really nice meeting hall for approximately 100 people. They gave some donated bibles and hymnals from a church in Flordia that had upgraded, helped them call a pastor, prayed for them with loving hearts and turned them loose. While this was all done with the best of intentions, it didn’t work out. I can safely say that it didn’t work out because they went through twenty two pastors in twenty five years. What really had been built was a meat grinder for pastors, their families, and the believers who loved them. Put the latter into the mix, wait a little while, and watch the bleeding mangled mess that comes out the other side.
Now as all good southern baptists know, right next to the soverignty of God is the autonomy of the local church, so that when some mess like this exists the cure can only come from within. I admire the courage of the men who accepted the call to this work. I am forced to admire their courage else I would have to doubt their sanity. Through all of this a core group of “deacons” and key leaders hung in there. They prayed fervently that God would finally have mercy on them and send them a decent pastor instead of all the fellows they had put up with to date. That’s the origin.
Did you hear the one about the guy who tried to start a church? Some times I feel like a punchline. I am setting up this blog to find kindred spirits or at least kind read spirits with whom to share the joys and woes of working for God. It would be nice to get advice and encouragement from afar. Or aclose. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Here’s the sit rep.
God called me into the ministry in 1977. Being the fool sinner I am, I told Him No way. This was not my brightest moment. The Creator of all communicated with me in a real way and I got in a fight with Him. I told Him I did not like churches, could not stand preachers, thought church members were hypocrites and lame brains. There I was at Wilkes College down by the river bank, watching the Susquehanna go by, yelling at God. I am not even Pentecostal. Yep I won that fight, Showed Him who the captain of this ship is. I’ll sing for you, I’ll preach here and there, but shepherd that flock of yours? No way. Did I say I am a pastor? I still find fault with churches, in fact they rally tick me off [mine included]. I get along with a couple of preachers, but the line up on TBN mostly bring out the worst of my thoughts. I still think churches are full of hypocrites and lame brains but now that they have made me head lame brain I feel better. We are working on the whole hypocrisy thing. We are full of them, but have room for a few more.
The bigest difference between then and now is that i love these people. So varied, so diverse in age, race, back ground, education, at various levels with their walk with God, I love these people.
So here I am. That’s me, next post is the church.