Now that the dust has settled on the announcement of a new Board, what will you do? Now that you know that the interim Board decided to disregard the wise counsel of approximately 20 churches and over 60+ pastors represented among them… now what?
What’s a regular member to do? Is this the last straw? Is this the proof that those in power at SGM-land are not interested in reform or positive change? Well, as frustrated as many of you may be, I’d like to encourage you to take a deep breath and consider the possibility that staying and seeking real lasting change is better than bailing at this crucial moment.
In short, I’d like to lay out the case for staying and fighting for reform – for members staying in their churches and for churches to stay in SGM…. at least for now. Here’s why I think individuals and churches alike should not leave –
First, start with this idea – the SGM Board does not own SGM. They may have the legal right to govern SGM but fellow members, hear this – they do not have a right to SGM in a moral or ethical sense – truth is, they don’t even know what SGM is (more on that in a future post). Of course, ultimately God owns SGM but humanly speaking, I see no reason to cede SGM to those who seek to perpetuate the status quo of narrow mindedness, flaky legalistic practices, top down management ethic and poor leadership. They may have a legal right to govern but they don’t have the moral warrant to direct SGM like their own personal country club. The members of each SGM church collectively have the right and responsibility to voice their opinion on SGM – what it is, what it should be and where it should go. Don’t cede your right to them but stay in the game – all day, everyday until they change. They may kick you out but don’t give up the fight prematurely
Second, you can’t call for change if you have one foot out the door. Some have questioned why the response letter from SGC Fairfax (at this point, affirmed by 18 churches) asserted that as a church they were not intending to leave – seeking reform,, not separation. Let me say unequivocally- that is absolutely the right tone and emphasis for anyone seeking change. If you want a better future – you have to be around to help make it happen.
Third, things might actually change…. or not…. but at least, you tried and exhausted all possibilities. It may be that the SGM Board will play hardball and close ranks against the “dissenting” churches but if they do so, they are in more trouble than they know. On the other hand, perhaps the new Board will act courageously and competently – acknowledging the need to hear different views, slowing down, collaboratively working with churches….and maybe something good will happen. As long as God is on the throne, good outcomes are always on the agenda.
Now, to be clear – staying in the game doesn’t mean just acquiescing. No, in fact, I think it means being very deliberate and consistent in calling for change and modeling change. It also means not feeding the machine until the machine gets fixed. Frankly, I believe that churches who do not agree with where things are going should stop giving to SGM. As an individual, if you happen to be in a church that is pro-SGM status quo, by all means, please talk to your pastor about reducing/stopping the money flow. Churches that wish to continue giving to SGM should at least afford church members the opportunity to opt out of indirect SGM giving (i.e. via the church).
Let’s also remember that these men who blindly support SGM/CJ are still brothers in Christ, they mean well even if they are poorly motivated and execute terribly. For the good of the many in the “family of churches”, they need to be served by hard medicine of truth, humble confrontation and intelligent debate – and that’s what I suggest every member delivers. Here’s the bottom line – for their good and yours, stay in the fight for a better SGM until they make you leave.