One of the things that can really tick me off is “double-speak” or when people will tell me one thing and then turn and tell other people the opposite. It’s surprising to me how much it happens just in the area of commitment.
At Discovery, we ask people to go through a PARTnership class and sign a PARTnership covenant. In other words, we ask people to commit and we let them know the level of commitment that we ask of them. So what gets me is when people go through the class, ask questions, hear how we deal with difference and how we’re open to conversation and don’t mind disagreements and then they have a “problem” and decide they don’t want to be committed anymore. They learn how they should go directly to the person or group that causes them problems (rather than talk about it with everyone but those responsible) and know that in the essentials we require unity, in non-essential…liberty, and in all things…charity, but because something non-essential changes, it’s uncomfortable or they don’t like it, they decide they’re not bound by their commitment any longer. Is it any wonder the divorce rate is so high? That’s not commitment, that’s confusion.
Now, I’m not saying that there are never legitimate reasons for people to go to another church, because there are. But I am saying that if you’ve made the commitment to one, then it’d be best to fulfill it. Here at Discovery, we give people an out every 12 months when we ask them to re-sign their PARTnership covenant form. So when you commit, you commit to a year. We’ve had people go through the class, sign the form (after already being here for 8 months or more) and then decide within a month that they’re “called” to go somewhere else. Don’t lie to yourself or me, you’re not “called”, you’re a coward. You’re not “called”, you’re simply uncomfortable. You’re not “called”, you would just rather find a Burger King church where you can ‘have it your way’ than to follow through on your commitment.
I remember having a conversation with multiple different individuals or families, who would tell me to my face (unsolicited at that) that “I/We are committed to you and Discovery and I/We will do whatever it takes to help you guys” only to have them disappear completely within weeks without so much as a follow up conversation. I’d run into them out in the community, mention that they must be busy since I hadn’t seen them in a couple weeks and they’d say, “Oh….well….we….ummm….we decided to look for a different church. [insert lame excuse here]” I’m sarcastically thinking that I sure am glad I wasted my time to listen to them tell me how committed they were to us.
I’ve got more to say on this so I think I’ll save it for another post and give some suggestions and ideas on how to deal with people like this, and how to avoid being a person like this. Until next time…