Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thoughts about last night

Last night, about 100 people from our church gathered to hear and ask questions about the state of our building, the dispute with our former builder, and where we go from here. I got feedback from several folks last night and throughout the day today. Everyone I heard from expressed passionate support for our leadership, for our church, our mission, and specifically for me, Chauncey, and Dennis. I am so grateful. I know you are praying and am grateful for your support and care. There are a couple of highlights that were very special that I thought would be good to share for those who weren't there.

There was a point when we were well into the meeting...I was taking questions and hands were going up all over the place. It was a great, productive conversation. I started to specifically look for folks who hadn't gotten to ask a question yet and saw this one guy towards the back who I didn't recognize. He hadn't yet asked any questions, so I called on him. His name was Mark and he said something like this, 'I was at PCC for the first time last Sunday. I heard about this meeting and thought I'd come tonight and check it out. I am really amazed by the unity that you all show about your church...' That's not an exact quote, but it's as good as I can remember. He was smiling, clearly impressed. We had made a positive impression, even in the midst of a difficult situation. I honestly had to fight to hold back the tears. It was such a great moment...a God moment.

And Mark helped to remind us all again that we are a reflection on Christ - no matter what setting we're in. How we live matters. People don't care what our faith proves. They care what kind of people our faith produces. Last night, God reminded us all that unity is key to the kind of message we send to those on the outside. Jesus prayed it like this:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:20-21, NIV)

The greatest risk to our future is ourselves. If we were to begin to devour each other from the inside, it's the only way our church can fall. We must maintain the spirit of unity that we displayed last night, because it will speak volumes to our community. I've often said to the Steering Team something like this: 'We can get a bunch of decisions wrong, but if we have unity our church will be strong. On the other hand, we can get make every decision right, but if we are divided our church will fall apart.' Nobody wants to be a part of a divided church. I came from an environment like that. Going through that kind of conflict as a church is no fun for anybody, and growing a church in conflict is nearly impossible. New people avoid it like the plague.

Unity does not mean that we don't have honest debate and honest disagreement. We're never going to agree on everything. Two people who have been married for half a century don't agree on everything, how can we expect a thousand to do so? That's why we structured our church the way we did, with team empowerment, the Steering Team, the staff - each with their roles and authority. It helps to ensure that we have healthy debate while limiting unhealthy conflict.

Unity is not uniformity. Unity is not consensus. Unity is rallying behind a central vision that drives us into the future together. Our mission is about reaching people who are far from God and outside of other churches. It's never been about those who are already Christ followers. Jesus calls us to give up ourselves to serve others. Somebody always gets upset when I say it, but, frankly, it always gets me jazzed up. So, I'll say it again: If you are a Christ follower, it's not about you. That's the essence of our church. Selfishness has no place here. Unity behind our mission does.

So, keep that spirit of unity the positive, driving force at PCC. When someone is complaining, gossiping, rumoring, etc., put a stop to it. Unity - the kind of Unity that Jesus prayed for for us is absolutely key to our future. It impressed Mark and it will impress the thousands in our community who don't go to church.

Thanks again for those who came last night. Your support and encouragement was overwhelming. It was an evening I will never forget.


Pat Knab said...

I wasn't able to make the meeting last night, but my husband Bill was there. I just want you to know, Brian, that we are 100% behind you and the steering committee. As a previous business owner, we understand that you can never please all the people - all the time. We felt that we sometimes just had to do what we thought was the best for everyone. You have a great vision for our church and we all need to trust you & the committee to see it through. We also appreciate your consideration by bringing everyone together and giving them whatever information they needed.

We just want to reassure you that you all are and always will be in our thoughts & prayers.

Cindy Broughman said...

Lance and I were there at the meeting and we too want everyone to know that that is on the Steering committee, Building committee, Leadership positions, all staff that we are 100% behind the decisions that you have to engage. As much as I would like everything in this world to be black and white it is just not that way. It is our ( your congregation's ) responsibility to entrust the Leaders and representatives in the church to make decisions’ in the best interest of his kingdom. There are times we need to step back, learn from what we have done - perhaps lose that battle - to ultimately win the WAR for Christ! Thank you for your perseverance!~The Broughman's

JulieS said...

I've said it before and I will say it again, Brian, and all the Pastors, Staff, Steering Committee, we are behind you. We are proud to be members of PCC even during these hard times. Keep trusting God, we will keep trusting Him and you!

Kelley said...

you are easy to support...(sorry I couldn't be there because I had the "children's ministry flu" from the conference) :O)