A Public Self-Reflection Of A Pastor

"What Wolf slowly realized was that the secret of Roseto wasn't diet or exercise or genes or the region where Roseto was situated. It had to be the Roseto itself. As Bruhn and Wolf walked around the town, they began to realize why. They looked at how the Rosetans visited each other, stopping to chat with each other in Italian on the street, or cooking for each other in their backyards. They learned about the extended family clans that underlay the town's social structure. They saw how many homes had three generations living under one roof, and how much respect grandparents commanded. They went to Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and saw the unifying and calming effect of the church. They counted twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just under 2000 people. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the town, that discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures."
From Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. The intro chapter that this quote comes from can be read here


My first few years as a pastor where I am at, I really strived to create a healthy community. People just weren't into it. We tried game nights every Friday. Few would show. We tried fellowship meals every week. The same three families came. So I gave up on trying to create community. Disappointed, discouraged, and saddened. 

Then I started reading this Outliers last night. And I realized once again how important community is. We were made for community.

But I tried to create an environment for health community to flourish and failed. 

So I just pray that we will have real community within our church. I can't create that which needs to be a byproduct of lives inhabited by the Holy Spirit. I fear that the American way of living prevents us from doing that. 

But Church is truly just us having relationships with each other and Jesus. If we don't have real community, we are just pretending church rather than being the church. 

Any ideas?


I wrote Church Differently way back in the beginning of my time serving at the church I have the privilege of pastoring at. It is weighing on my heart.

I dream of a different kind of church.

I want to gather together to worship God with friends, not strangers. 

I want to be able to be myself all the time. 

I want to drive by houses and not be able to resist the urge
to stop in and say hi to dear friends. 

I want to share meals together and learn together. 

I want to go on vacation together. 

I want to enjoy life fully, with friends in Christ. 

I want Christ to be in every part of my life, transforming me and those around me. 

I want to see Christ in my friends and let it transform me. 

I want to share my needs and know they will be met. 

I want to hear friends’ needs and for them to know they will be met. 

I want to be transparent and to be surrounded by others who are transparent. 

I want to share my beliefs and not be ostracized
or condemned because they might be different. 

I want to kick back and have a drink once and a while with friends in Christ
without feeling like someone will judge me. 

I want to be myself without being judged. 

I want to eat curly fries with friends in Christ, be messy on my face and hands
and not be afraid to kiss others and make them messy. 

I want to get together with my spiritual family, not strangers, every Sunday. 

I want the church I am part of to be so much more. 

I want us to be friends in Christ. Real, transparent friends reflecting Christ’s glory. 

I want to be part of Christ’s church.

Now it’s time to wake up from this dream and make it a reality. Let’s be the church rather than just continue pretending and doing “church”.


For further reading.

Church Differently: Pickled and Parsed.

The Disappearance Of The Fellowship Meal.