SGtoDC: The Grass is always Greener
Or at least it paints up nicely. Recently someone I am very close to was bitten by the grass is greener. They had a job that they loved. Like all jobs it had some problems but guess what, all in all it was a good place to be.
Then they had a phone call. The person on the end of the line told them they had an opportunity they thought they would be perfect for. An excellent fit with all of the perks of the last job but with more pay and a better location. They did a list of pros and cons and while their gut said don’t go their brain thought up all kinds of reasons why.
How could you go wrong right? Well they are now dealing with what happens when things don’t go right. The place they left has moved on, taken the next step in their journey. The place they went to wasn’t such a great fit after all.
So they are trying to figure out their next steps all because they saw a place they thought would allow them to do what they dreamed of doing. It bights ministers all the time. They see a place that seems to offer an opportunity to put all of those techniques, you know the ones gleaned from others who were really getting it done, into practice.
This is a place where the Sicilian lie really hits home. Ministers and Pastors jumping ship because the place they are at won’t allow them to do all of the wonderful terrific things that the books tell them they need to do to be just the right kind of church today. Some other church says sure we would love to try all of those neat and wonderful techniques that the books say will bring people to Jesus.
Except that the leaders doing the hiring and firing forgot to ask the members of the church if they were interested in doing all the neat things from the books that tell you just how to grow a church or reach the current culture or, well you get the point. No one checks to see if those great techniques are a cultural fit. There is a big difference between L.A. and Smalltown, America. Or the fact that those techniques may of had nothing to do with the success at the church writing the book and the results don’t add up and the people who hired you, well they may have become disillusioned.
How much church conflict comes from these false choices? How much division is because instead of ministering with what you have you try to minister with what someone recommended you really have to have? And I need to say it goes both ways. The people in the pews hear of some church across town or across the country who does something and it really works and we really should do that. The people in the pews can become just as frustrated by these false choices and the supposed green grass.
No, today it is short and sweet.
Sing it with me, you know you want to. The church in America is struggling. The numbers say we are in decline. Do we really need to pile on with dissatisfaction created by false hopes and misdirected attitudes?
Have we really learned nothing from the lives of people like Joseph, Elijah, Paul or Job? Are we really so short sighted and self absorbed that we think that since we Americans are into gimmicks and quick fixes that means God is too? Think about it. We live in a microwave America and expect a God that simple needs programmed, just push a button and three minutes later you have a bag of freshly buttered popcorn.
The next step in our Sicilian Guide to Doing Church are some things I think we need to do in the church today. You are welcome to ignore them, but they are on my heart to say.
So grab your lawn mower, preferable a push one, and lets mow what we have. Edging is optional.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:1-4