Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Meeting An Unreach Committee...

Today I had a lunch with a guy who is a student pastor in a near-by town. He's a nice guy who puts interesting messages in his IM status-line. From his status-line I discovered that he's having a bit of a difficult time with the church's "outreach committee." Let's summarize:
  • His church has a summer VBS that the entire town attends. There were over 100 kids there this year.
  • Looking at the registration cards he noticed that 20 of those kids have no "Church home."
  • He figured that, as these folks have already started a bit of a relationship with the congregation, it woudl be a good thing for outreach committee to call these families and personally invite them to attend worship some Sunday (preferably for a "special" worship like Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve).
  • When he suggested this to the "outreach committee" one person in-particular grew really flustered and started stammering about it being "the pastor's job."
  • Sigh.
It's a story a pastor in just about any congregation has faced. People get so ingrained in a system of dependence on "the specialist" making sure that the work of ministry gets done that they resist being empowered to do the work of the Kingdom themselves. It's a system that depends on unaccountability, the cold shoulder, and intimidation to survive - a fact that was reinforced to me when my conversation with my new friend was briefly put on pause.

See, as we chatted a woman came up to our table, stood right next to me, and proceeded to have a conversation with my friend that went something like this,

"Hi, I was waving at you from the door, my husband is ordering for me so I came over to say hi. See you later."

As I had been ignored in this exchange I stuck out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Wes."
[Looking startled] "Oh, Hi Les."
"Actually, it's Wes."
"Oh Wes, Les, close enough."
"Well, Les worked at WKRP and Wesley founded a religious movement - as I'm a pastor I'll stick with Wes."
[turning away and addressing my friend] "another pastor?" [walks away without looking at me].

I was chuckling to myself when my friend said, "That's the person from the Outreach Committee."


Welcome to the wonderful world of unreach.

4 comments:

CoderForChrist said...

Wow...that's just...well...weird. I guess it's not so weird to you, but...wow.

wezlo said...

Well, I would say that it's not unusual for me to encounter something like this (particularly in a Church where no one's been led by the Spirit to establish some deep change). It's still weird, sad, and pathetic to me though...

Melanie said...

Ugg...people can be so rude....

Such interchanges are almost comical in a sad ironic way....

wezlo said...

sadly comical, yet that's a good way of putting it...