I still remember when I heard a preacher say that churches who see each other as the competition—pastors who fight with each other for members—is a bit like two ants fighting over an elephant.
Dangerous? Yes. That’s the ‘untold’ story.
We all get the first part. An elephant is way to large for just two ants to claim sovereignty over. It’s ridiculous. What are they gonna do? Freeze dry ninety-nine percent of it and put it in a hundred thousand zip lock bags for later? No, I’ll tell you what will end up happening. If this were a real scenario nearly all that elephant carcass would end up rotting and going to waste (except for what the vultures and hyenas end up getting—another post for another time.). But hey, at least the “competition” won’t get it and that’s all that matters, right?
You’d think so.
By watching the reactions and cold shoulders of some in the ministry you’d certainly get that impression at least.
I once read on Perry’s blog (perrynoble.com) that he’s about given up on trying to bring the local pastors together for the cause of Christ. They seem much more interested in fighting him as the enemy than they do about the people dying and going to hell all around them.
To be fair, he wasn’t specific at all (i.e. He didn’t mention ‘Anderson.’ but he did refer to a couple pastors and churches who really did have the right heart), but you could tell what he was alluding to and I have to concur. At Southbrook we have reached out time and time again locally for the cause of uniting together as one rather than all of us being an island.
And what normally happens?
See a trend? Apparently there are too many elephants to fight over to ever stop and consider whether we should be fighting each other in the first place.
“Get out of my way! I just saw another elephant and there’s already and ant on him!” Translation? Our community is really growing and I want to lock up all the schools before someone else discovers all these lost folks!
It’s sad. I’ve even heard people say they don’t want to do anything with Southbrook because they believe we are stealing people from other churches.
Newsflash: Churchy people don’t even like Southbrook. We tend to be a little too serious about this whole “Jesus” deal.
Honestly, I doubt there is a pastor within a hundred miles who regularly preaches the gypsy’s and nomad Christians out the door more than me. We don’t want to grow by transfer. Our heart is to reach the unreached and we’ve found that church hoppers and shoppers usually just gum up the works. You always have more consumers at a church than you need. And one never has to go looking for them. If we’re talking supply and demand—know this—the supply (of consumers) far outstrips the demand—trust me.
It’s servants that are rare.
So, at Southbrook we have a decision to make. Keep stopping to try and rally the fighting ants for the untied cause of Christ…
Rally on the run.
In other words, keep faithful to the mission and vision and make sure you aren’t going so fast that others with a servant’s heart and like-minded vision can’t run and hop on board.
If that’s you, know this. If you want to join hands with us you’ll have to run fast. We’ll reach out a hand for you to catch the train, but you better not dilly-dally or stop to put a stake in a dead elephant along the way.
If you do, we’ll be gone.