Our association had its monthly pastor’s meeting this morning. I’m not real crazy about these meetings. In fact, I haven’t been to one here in Monroe County since I’ve moved back and LifePointe launched. It’s not that I don’t like pastors, I do. There’s a great group of pastors in this area. I guess it’s just my general dislike of meetings. And, now since I’m the new kid on the block and, on top of that, I’m the pastor of a very non-traditional type church, I really feel out of place at these meetings. But, despite all this, I decided to give it a shot today.
Everything went smoothly. There was free food (thanks, Bro. Jim!) and that’s always a way to get my attention. There was a guy from the State present and he gave us some good information. There were prayer concerns, general chatter, etc. I was making it OK. And then it happened.
Some guy sitting right beside me joined in the conversation with a statement something like this “We’ve got a problem with these churches and their contemporary music.” He wasn’t addressing LifePointe specifically (he didn’t even know there was a LifePointe) but another church in his area. I tried not to flinch. I tried not to turn red in the face. I tried not to have my heart jump out on the table, which I was barely able to do. I did do some speed-praying. It’s hard to recall my prayer exactly, but I think it was “Lord, I told you this would happen. Please don’t let me say anything and please don’t let me pass out or have a heart attack or slap the back of his head.”
The thing the guy said that stuck out the most in my mind was this: “They are taking my people.” Wow. I wanted to answer that but I was too busy praying to open my mouth, which is a good thing. I knew that my reaction could really turn the rest of the guys off to me, and to LifePointe, so I just sat there. And then, another pastor points to me and says, “Rob’s church has contemporary music.” Thanks! (you know who you are). I mumbled a two word sentence and prepared for the beating to begin. That’s not how it went though.
Pastors around the table started responding, and in my defense. Of course, they really weren’t doing it in my defense, but they were primarily positive. These guys are really struggling with the issue and most seemed much more concerned about people than music. Most have a Kingdom perspective (big K) instead of a kingdom (little k) perspective. There was some truly good dialog and conversation about not just music, but about effectively reaching people for Jesus. My heart rate dropped back below 100 and I actually enjoyed the time. I even got to hang around with a few pastors afterwards and these guys are serious about change for the sake of the lost. Good stuff.
After the meeting broke up, the guy who started the conversation smiled and shook my hand. I smiled and shook back. That’s it. I kept my mouth shut. But his statement “They are taking my people” still stands out. This is what I really wanted to say in response, had God not intervened and I had been physically able to talk. “They’re not taking your people. Your people left.”