Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crisis in Copperopolis

I know it sounds like the name of some town in a Dr. Suess book, but it really is the name of a fine little town in Northern California.

When we are planning on departing from Sacramento, I threw my hat into the ring for a Church that needed a new Pastor in this town.

Things were going along wellas they described some of the challenges they were having and I told them about myself and my family. They found that my resume and my experience was just what they were looking for at their Church.I sent them some cd's of some of my recent sermon's and they absolutely loved them. One of the guys told me that he felt like he already knew us.

But, he didn't know me well enough.

The Church had recently had a split and it revolved around something very silly. You see, a few years ago they had bought into a plan to be a "Purpose Driven Church". The P.D.C. was a Rick Warren book that he wrote several years before the Purpose Driven Life. In it, he described how a church should focus on five basic biblical purposes. It is a great book with great principles the Warren and Saddleback Church to grow huge and affect thousands of lives.

The Church in Copperopolis had used the principles in this book to anger half their crowd and drive people away. From what they described to me, it was easy to see that this was an ongoing problem. The people that remained were convinced that they had to do all in the book right now, or they weren't fulfilling their purpose a s a Church.

When I had my first phone call with the group of them, I told them that they were going to continue to go down the tubes as long as they were adamant that the most important thing was to dance to the tune they had been dancing to all along.

Once I explained this to them, it pretty much ended the conversation. I think they immediately lumped me in with all the critics that had already left their Church. I could feel the tension palpably when I spoke the words.

So, I never went to Copperopolis. It did have kind of a cool name.


Nathan said...

Integrity is never easy. You did well to illuminate that the purpose driven church must first follow Christ, the head, to achieve its true destiny. Wasn't it the church at Ephasis that had lost it's first love?!

James said...

Hey Nate
thanks for your note.
Plenty of people lose their first love, but yeah. I had to look it up. I had them confused with the lukewarm Church that gets spit out.