The story is told of the fox who happened upon a tree that played host to a grape vine. The vine held a cluster of large, perfect, juicy-looking grapes. After several tries, the fox found that the grapes were just out of reach. The fox, frustrated at being unable to reach the grapes, walked away angrily saying, “They must be sour, anyway.”

Why is this story worth repeating? You’ve all heard it before, and the outcome was not new to you. But if you stuck with me through the story perhaps you’ll understand why I posted this a few days ago. I recently read an excellent post by David Fitch dealing with the difference between a “small” church plant and a mega-church. (When you click the link, be sure to check out the comments as well.)

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little world that we neglect to see the good in another venue. While I agree with what Fitch puts forth and it blesses me to understand that my +/- 100 active church members are not a bad thing, I also see some benefit in the larger church model. We also find ourselves enamored of the “other guy’s” situation that we reach and we reach and we reach, but we just can’t get the prize.

Difficulty can be found when one “kind” of church is show-cased as right over another. The buzz-word “missional” (which I’m still learning) is being presented as the most appropriate of church types. It goes beyond the “mission-minded” setting which required only thought-focus on mission and leads church members into mission activity (in local as well as global proportions). One writer coins the idea of “purpose-driven” and it becomes the end all and beat all in church development. Another discovers the concept of keeping it “simple” and a new focus arises. Then all of these ideologies, and their champions fall under attack. Why? Because it’s not the way I would do it, it’s not the way we’ve ever done it, I’m not able to do it like that. Sour Grapes.

What concerns me most is two-fold:

Ø      Pastors, having become convinced that this or that is the right way, become dissatisfied with where they are and move on . . . and move on . . . and move on. It’s not happening the way I want so I’ll leave.

Ø      Pastors decide that each church is a rung on which to climb the ladder of what they deem is success and they move on . . . and move “up” . . . and move on.

 

Anyone can climb a corporate ladder. Anyone can throw stones. Anyone can cry “Sour Grapes,” and move on. What are we shopping for at church? What are we selling? What are we staying for?

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