Sadly, I am seeing more and more "church takeovers" as I travel through the South.
I am NOT interested in pointing at one group and making accusations so let me give you a few careful examples.
One church was established in 1957 in Louisiana. It was set up by a denomination and while I can't say it flourished, it did well for a neighborhood church not on some main street.
The people worked like dogs and after some scandals (two of them and both were aimed at pastor, both proven to be wrong and the pastors involved were both innocent). A church fire destroyed it and the denomination stepped in abd built a new building
Couple years go by and this new guy comes along, runs the song leader and pianist out, runs out the old people including 4 living founding members, changes the doctrinal statement, and throws out the historic name of the church, breaks all affilations with denomination and local associations.
All done with "good intentions".
Church a few hours from me set up a mission church. They bought the land, sent 10 families out there and paid pastors salary to some extent. Church grew and then after the mission pastor died suddenly, a small group came together and convinced the people to accept this new guy. Same thing happened, they told the pianist "we won't be needing you anymore" and the songleader was told he would be replaces by several younger folks.
Naturally the doctrine changed as well..and all this was done for the good of the church, as they say.
Let me also add that in both cases, the buidlings were sold and all affiliations were cut. One of the former deacons in the first church said that church was the only church that denomination had within 80 miles of the metro area.
A small deaf group sprung up near the east coast. The founding church truly set them on their feet and eventually they moved to another building. The new leader cut all ties to the founding church and attempted to bring it to his denomination. PTL the denoimnation didn't feel right and the local assoc did not accept it.
Glad to see some sensible folks out there.
This is the "easy" way for a group to gain a building/assets without work. Looks like a scam.
I work with a lot of small churches as State Missionary. Some closing. Some down to just a few folks. One had some members, but only about 4 families attending. A couple of new families came in and soon joined. Then a couple more of their friends came and joined.
Everyone seemed happy. Then at a business meeting, these new families moved to change the church name and doctrinal statement! Thankfully the constitution required notification and special meeting and former members (who never attended, were in nursing home, etc) got called out of the woodwork to out vote the new group and then VOTE OUT these shysters.
Ethics mean little when buildings and bank accounts are on the line.
Does it matter if those doing the overtaking really think they are doing a good service?
Can anyone agree with the logic?
I do believe there is a trend where church-hunters go looking for a building they can wrest frm the existing members.
They all play nice and work in harmony until the chance arises for them to make their move.
Similar thing just happened to a church here in Mexico, oldest IFB church in our city. Difference was, the small group cheated the larger group out of the building and bank account. Fortunately the pastor and 95% of the members stayed together and they are moving on.
As to the deaf group, I think it would be great if some hearing congregations helped deaf congregations get out on their own. With the understanding, of course, that getting out on their own would be the goal in the first place.
Sadly, I see too few IFB churches with a burden to do so. The majority of churches that do so are SBC. And may I say... more power to them.
First, for the Deaf.. the SBC does better than anyone else does for the Deaf in the USA. They recognize the cultural and linguistic distinctives and send the deaf to a different building, and it works out fine.
The IFB churches mostly do not understand the cultural and linguistic differences and put the deaf under an interpreter in a hearing church. For anyone who knows anything about sign language, it isnt too well developed for theology. On the Baptist Board, that guy CH4Him...something like that he is a moderator, he is a good man and he can articulate to you what I am trying to say. The problem is there are no signs for many of the words used. Also, idioms are different. You tell a deaf person "cool your jets" and his visual-biased mind is going to think of a literal airplane motor or whatever is meant by the term.
Anyway, I fault the Deaf for this, the ones who let the hearing folks tell THEM how they should sign, how they should worship, etc. The newer generation like Ronnie Rice, Reggie Rempel, Fred Adams, these are deaf men who have had to blaze paths and show people that we Deaf folks have our own ID and we dont need one assigned to us by hearing folks. Another thread,.. another time.
As for church takeovers, I CANNOT understand how someone with the Holy Spirit living in them could possibly plot and scheme all these things and then when it is said and done, expect the glory of the Lord to fill their church services. I just cannot understand it.
I am going to lay this out as honest as I can. One group of people began a church long ago and the church continued until the early 90's. Another struggling congregation was given the building and it is a denominational thing as well.. so the struggling congregation took the building and honored the requests of the original group..to keep name and doctrine the same, etc.
Well with the passage of time, the congregation aged and has a few left, and a new group has come in. They havent done anything yet, but the last time I went out of state and saw one of the members, I was informed that there is going to be a name change as well as a complete doctrinal re-alignment.
I am on the verge of driving up there and going to see these people. The hardest thing for me to do..if these people go ahead with the takeover of the church, I am probably going to break fellowship with them. I have advised these people from way way back when I first began ministry and it is just sad to see all their hard work just go to a group of people who have gone there and plan to make it their own kind of church.
Since we're sharing....
In our town, an IBF church established 40 yrs ago got a new pastor. The new pastor vowed to remain true to F.B. doctrine, but within 6 months of taking the church he adopted charismatic/pentecostal practices: sign-gifts such as tongues, prophecy, healing, etc. In addition, the pastor's wife frequently preaches the main service, they have relaxed convictions on drinking, female deacons, men wearing speedos/ladies wearing bikinis to the beach, rock music in the services and rock-style dancing, and other things (in Brazil this movement is called the 'Restauracao' Movement = Restoration Movement).
Though the church is/was IBF, the land on which the building stands still belongs to the IBF mission. The conservatives left the church when they saw they could make no headway with the new pastor. The mission director has tried to persuade this new pastor to establish a new church somewhere else and leave this church the way it was since he had vowed he would never change doctrine once he took over. It's a mess and a lot of people are hurt - many who spent 10/15/20 years building the church with sacrifice, sweat, tears & even blood.
same here..same thing happens.. regardless of beliefs
No, it's not right, but it's what naturally flows from the single pastor "I provide the vision and leadership for the church" mentality. When I look around, I am astounded at just how little regard pastors have for their people's judgment.
FBC Daytona Beach just got rid of a guy who tried to radically alter everything in his first year: http://bpnews.org/bpnews.asp?ID=24835 . The former president there was Bobby Welch, last year's President of the SBC.
Last edited by Leaven in Fundamentalism; 01-25-2007 at 05:19 PM.