Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vulcan Logic

My pastor made a statement during service recently regarding his vision for our church in the next five years. He referred to the growth trend that our church has experienced in its first year of existence and that he expected that trend to continue. What he didn't say but was apparent is that he eagerly looks forward to the day when the average weekly attendance is double or triple the current numbers. At this thought, I had a flashback to my previous church that caused me some consternation.

When I joined my last church, the average weekly attendance was about 500 or 600, spread out over two services at the local YMCA. Due to skyrocketing attendance growth numbers, they decided to start an evening service at a small local playhouse. This was the one that I attended. The number of folks who were part of this meeting numbered about 50 to 80. It was intimate and personal and I found a place that allowed me to be comfortable. I never felt overwhelmed in a vast sea of people. However, after a few years, the church was able to construct a new building of their own and moved all services to their new campus. However, before the first year was out, they had reached capacity. The lead pastor then began to actively share his vision of how to handle the rapid growth, by expanding to multiple campuses with services linked through live sermon feeds. Thus he would preach at one location and folks elsewhere would watch on a projection screen. Initially this notion was met with much negativity. He then strongly stated that anyone who did not support this vision to open the doors to more and more folks was basically telling the unchurched that they can go to hell. He then channeled a bit of Mr. Spock from Star Trek:

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one."

I tried to give things a chance, but after a couple of services of watching my church service on "T.V." I knew that it was a stumbling block to my relationship with God. The teaching became mass market. It became impersonal. I felt more of a spectator than an active participant. It was a lifeless experience that impacted me to my detriment. But as I thought about my pastor chiding me that if I grumbled or voiced my displeasure with his new church service paradigm that I was somehow getting in God's way, I knew he was wrong. His paradigm seemed much more to me to be strongly ego-driven. His logic was faulty. The needs of the many don't outweigh the needs of the one, when that one is Jesus.