Church growth conference helps pastors feel like miserable failures

From Lark News:

PEORIA, Ill. — The "Bigger Church, Bigger Impact" conference wrapped on Friday, leaving participants feeling drained and dejected.

"I came here thinking my church was doing all right. Now I see we're so dinky and dumb, it's not even funny," says pastor Steve Irvine of Reno, Nev., who went to his hotel room and cried after each session.

Skating the thin edge between satire and reality! I still remember the Sunday a decade ago that I returned from a megachurch conference to my small church.

More church laughs (including a Baptist one) here.

Seven years

It struck me as I was eating dinner at Costco tonight that I've been at Richview for seven years now (as of July 2). This is a milestone for me in some ways because it is now officially my longest tenure. Sometime in the past month, I passed the time that I spent at Park Lawn.

You could divide my time at Richview so far into two chapters. In the first chapter, things were pretty turbulent but we also had some good momentum. In the second chapter, we rethought some of our approach and lost some momentum. It hit our numbers this past year. Recently, I had to ask myself if I was in for another chapter or not, and I sensed it wasn't time to quit just yet.

There are a whole bunch of us who have moved past the deconstruction stage and are ready to move on to a whole new chapter. I'm already spending a lot of time getting ready for what's coming next, and discovering others on a similar track, at Richview and elsewhere.

I'm also looking in the mirror a lot. I took the Enneagram test recently and it nailed me, good and bad. Ouch.

I heard of a pastor recently who moved on because for the first time, he couldn't think of where to lead the church next. I can relate. It's also exciting to go through that struggle and finally get a sense of what's next and to see God in that.

Lots of challenges ahead, lots of change, and some regrets - and yet I'm ready.

Thanks to those who have been part of the journey with me so far.