Amendment…Ouch.

After going back & reading over my last post, “A Bad Thing…?” and having several close friends (including my wife) point out that some things said may have been a bit harsh, out of line, or taken the wrong way I realized the need for action. My pride screamed out, but then I remembered that these people truly care about me, are kingdom minded, and have no hidden agenda…

My first response was to retaliate to their comments or emails defensively…which I did in some cases (sorry=). After some discussion with friends, and wrestling with the Holy Spirit I realized I needed to do something much different.

My second thought was to DELETE the blog post, which would be the easy thing to do. I then realized that I truly wanted my wrestle to be SEEN, or READ by anyone who reads my blog. I wanted it to be evident how easy it is for us (me in this case) to slip into challenging and questioning the motives of others, which can be very dangerous.

I wrote the last post rather quickly, and with little pre-post revisions. I did not run it by anyone first, and had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth based upon the experiences I mentioned in the post itself. (By no means an attempt to justify)

So, I wanted to “go on the record” with an amendment to my last entry. Again, I do not want to remove the post, but paint a full picture. May these two entries be a lesson learned the hard way, with hopes that others can avoid falling into such traps.

In the post I challenged the motives, and reasons behind why many pastors plant churches. What I unintentionally did was generalize, and group all pastors into that category. That is not fair. I made the attack that they only plant churches if it benefits them in some way, etc. I did not realize how harshly this came across, and want to retract that statement. I realize now that it was completely unnecessary at getting across the point I was making in the first place. Silly Aaron.

I am embarrased by the fact that I accidentally allowed myself to make a very general statement that lumped a lot of really great guys into a category that they did not belong. I felt terrible as I realized that our BIGGEST financial supporter could have been lumped into that category based upon my EXTREME, and unnecesary comment. (They would be the FARTHEST thing from my description in the last post)

My wife gently pointed out to me that by making such an accusation I was doing the very thing to these wrongly accused pastors that SOME others have done to us in the past. We, and many other like-minded individiuals have been lumped into the category of “rebellious”, “house-church”, “wound-lickers”, etc. Morgan challenged me with something that many of us in the “simple church” world are constantly wrestling with: “Be careful, lest you become what you hate”. In other words, I was upset that some pastors had delegitimized some of our student church planters, & grouped them in with some angry, upper-middle class, baby-boomer, “house church” people. It led me to retaliate by doing the same thing to them that I was upset at them for doing to me. Silly Aaron.

My whole point in the previous post was that young people who are passionate/apostolic need some good ol’ spiritual fathers to encourage, release, and affirm them. (I could have fit that into a 140 character twitter update!) But NO, I just had to bring out some unneeded, below-the-belt jabs; for these I apologize, especially if you accidentally got generalized.

I would, however, encourage every “church planter” or pastor of a church that plants churches to always check your motives. In our organization we try to check ours on a regular basis. About a year into things we realized that we had fallen back into a numbers trap by trying to start a bunch of churches “in our network” (Duh, so we could take credit for them, and show everyone how much God was using us…) Praise Christ that He revealed that evil in our…MY heart, and led us to make proper changes.

Sometimes the enemy sneaks in to pervert the most good-intentioned things, making them evil at the core, but pretty on the outside.

To sum it all up: OMIT the entire first four paragraphs of the previous post. =)

Thank you all for your grace.

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4 thoughts on “Amendment…Ouch.

  1. Aaron, Thank you for modeling real humility in this. I so admire your response to the comments and concerns raised by your wife and other friends.

    I would like to comment about the broad view problem raised in the first post on the issue, but hopefully through gracescope. I feel like it is important for us to not judge the motives of the hearts of other leaders, but at the same time we must nurture and protect those who we have been given a responsibility to help lead. Unfortunately, there is a strong response from many in the church towards “simple church” in general and student-led “simple churches” specifically. It is such a challenge to explain to excited disciples why they are getting so much opposition from other believers for preaching the gospel, praying for the sick and planting churches.
    I believe that you correctly assessed the need for spiritual dads and moms to help with this. This should become a major part of both our prayer focus and “going” strategy. I also am praying that God will lead us into proactive conversations with pastors and campus ministers that will allow us to short circuit the attempts of the enemy to stir up frustration and contention within God’s people.

    • Thanks Brad. I completely agree with your response as well, and have learned some more effective communication skills from reading it! =) Let’s believe for the Lord to raise up some students to change the world! (I hope that today’s Christian leaders will affirm them)

  2. Blessings on you Aaron, And thank you for leaving your wrestle public.

    I would just note that there can be a tension between a desire for spiritual moms and dads and the willingness to work with a move that is truly grassroots. Don’t get me wrong, mentors and models are very good things. But if some of the great Christian exemplars of history had waited for spiritual moms and dads to give them the go ahead on their new initiatives the history of the Church and the ministry of the Gospel would have been drastically impoverished.

    Also, I want to affirm some of what you said in “A Bad Thing.” It is a fact worth being prepared for that established structures will often relate to new initiatives in the way you describe. T’was ever thus.

    It is good to be ready to receive the kind of defensiveness, skepticism and competitive attitude you describe. As long as we see our unity as being through Christ, and are willing to look focus one another on the needs of the many beyond all our strutures and networks there is no need for Christian workers to relate competitively.

    Yes; in this area we can hope and work for the best. Yes; we should not retalliate when we get the worst and should be diligent to be gracious in return. But with the perspective of 2000 years’ worth of church-planting exemplars to learn from, we should not be unprepared for frequent challenges of the kind you quite accurately described in your previous post.

    And just to sow a further seed, didn’t Jesus and the Apostles use hyperbole too?! I think they did!

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