‘To serve and not be served’

To the editor:
“To serve and not be served.” Figure of speech or meaningful words of LCMS and other churches?
Well, to some people they have meaning, but to the church member they may be a joke at best. As a member, try to get the leadership to answer a simple letter or a telephone call. Laughable because they just don’t have time or consider your thought important.
With thousands of churches closing every year, and many of these Lutheran churches, you would think there would be greater concern. For me the issue is Pastors who think they know everything. In addition, I believe leadership also seems to think it is OK for Pastors to:
1. Speak ill truths about members of the congregation and have the Pastor’s cronies demean them as well.
2. It’s OK for Pastors to hold secret meetings with one or two board members, unknown to the other members of the council and congregation, and enforce their thoughts.
3. It’s OK for Pastors to override a decision and say in an authoritative manner that this is the way it’s going to be done.
4. It’s OK for Pastors to absolutely shred the churches constitution and articles.
5. It’s OK when Pastors become bosses and order or delegate their own decisions rather than have them go through the normal process of council or congregational approval.
I believe these things happen in many churches and denominations.
I am deeply disappointed in Michigan District Leadership and their unwillingness to deal with certain situations. It seems things are only done their way with no consideration to any other option.
I am convinced that the leadership levels in the Michigan District do not like to deal with controversial situations and I understand that. No one does.
Organizations like their pie and ice cream. Sometimes the only thing on the menu is spinach and collard greens. Real leaders take on the spinach and collard greens, deal with it, get it off the menu and go on with spreading God’s word. They don’t bandy about and wait for it to go away on its own.
When it takes nearly 100 days to get a simple response from leadership, it tells me they don’t really want to deal with the issue. It would be my expectation that leadership respond within a reasonable period of time rather than taking well over three months to respond.
I see horrible gaps of communication between leadership, Pastors and membership. We should close these gaps.
To reiterate, what don’t we understand about the thousands of churches that close every year? Could lack of communication and dealing with controversial issues be some of the reason? When these issues are not addressed it often leads church members to become disillusioned and they may attend a different church or become un-churched altogether.
In closing, let me apologize and ask forgiveness if this letter offends anyone but I believe that this issue was something that needs to be addressed.
That’s my view. Thank you for allowing me to express it.
Ron Bohm
Centreville

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