Planetshakers Insider

Musings on Life, the Christian Journey and being a part of Planetshakers City Church

Planetshakers Should Constantly Improve In All Areas

with 7 comments

Let me share this comment left by another Planetshakers member who dropped by today, as much of it reflects how I feel about Planetshakers too:

I also attend Planetshakers, and have to say that I fundamentally agree with the premise of this blog. Provided that you are not “gossiping” or “slandering” or solely providing “negative feedback”, I think that this blog has the potential to provide a much needed feedback loop to the leadership of the church — a barometer for the church that it did not have before this blog was created.

My views of Planetshakers church and culture are overwhelmingly positive, but I do see some areas of the church culture that could be improved — especially as regards to the church’s willingness to be self-reflective, receive constructive feedback/comments, and grow/improve/better itself over time over time. I’m not talking about the growth/improvement/bettering of the services and events, but rather that the culture of the church should not be static, and should be open to refinement and improvement.

I think that feedback and comments (when given out of the Spirit and love for Jesus and a desire to improve the part of His body that is Planetshakers) should be welcomed rather than dismissed as “divisive” or “negative” or “driven by the enemy”. More than once I have heard senior leaders say (along the lines of) “if you don’t like the way we do things here, maybe you should find another church”. That kind of approach to accountability and culture is not conducive to openness and intelligent discussions about any issues, problems, or other matters being faced by the church.

I also find it difficult when (a) the messages preached press us to dig into the word, follow Jesus not men, and “not be about religion/religiosity, but about a personal relationship with Jesus”, but (b) we are told not to debate/discuss/question any of the church’s religion, culture and policies. I think also that (at least in part), the term “church culture” is really a synonym for “the way we do things here, which are not to be questioned or debated” and in some cases “our religious practices, which are also not to be questioned or debated”.

I love Planetshakers and everyone in the church, but not as much as I love Christ. We follow Jesus (who is perfect), not man (who is imperfect). Planetshakers is not a perfect church, its leadership is not perfect, and its culture is not perfect — but He is perfect, and He is why the church exists.

My desire is for Planetshakers to be filled with intelligent, bible-reading, close-to-Jesus, spirit-filled believers who want the best for His church and who aren’t agraid to suggest new ideas or give constructive feedback. I hope that, over time, Planetshakers will become a place that encourages and fosters such an approach, and is open to receiving feedback and improving its “culture”.

I am very positive about Planetshakers, and am equally positive about the benefits that this blog could provide to the church.

(I’ve added the emphasis on a couple of points that I feel are key/core to the issue.)

Overall the commentary on this blog has been very positive, with 48 encouraging, thoughtful, positive or engaging comments left on this blog to date. I am concerned with the 3 negative commenters who have posted as I feel that they have misread the message and intention of the blog – but hopefully this post will help to clarify the message of this blog.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 24, 2008 at 2:19 pm

7 Responses

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  1. I think this post will provide the clarity that you desired.

    However I have a few questions,,,

    is this going to change things?
    are you going to refer members of the church to this blog?
    or is this just an outlet (which would be alright too)

    I just would be interested to hear how you plan on using this to stimulate change.

    Keep up the good work!

    IB

    August 24, 2008 at 2:27 pm

  2. Hey legend,

    Firstly, finally a read that is more than an angry, bitter church goer!

    Secondly, I must disagree with the comment that we should never question the leadership in church. I, on many occasions, have sat down with a member of senior leadership of the church and expressed my opinion and thoughts. And a lot of the changes you see happening in leadership and church function is because people have taken the time to sit with a leader and chat.

    Some time ago, Ps Russel Evans preached that the number one problem people have which leads to them leaving is that they are offended or feel that there voice isn’t being heard… but the best way to avoid that is to simply approach that person/ the preacher and clarify the situation. Kind of makes sense that to be heard you got to actually say something.

    If that has taught me anything, it’s that some ideas are implemented and others only considered… after all we’re not dealing with a church of ‘leaders’ but a large body of people who live and grow together as an a single entity. So you see, although you may find some things imperfect (not that we’re perfect) it’s all just a matter of voicing your thoughts in the right way.

    I suggest your friend, or anyone with thoughts to organise a ‘catch-up’ with a leader and leave the rest in God’s hands… if that makes sense?

    peace

    esky

    August 24, 2008 at 11:03 pm

  3. Esky, its nice that u had such a great and receptive experience with conversing with the leadership; but pls understand that is not a common experience for most, and considering the size of the church, probably will never be.

    That being said, its quite narrow minded and arrogant to say ‘Kind of makes sense that to be heard you got to actually say something.’ when the problem outlined above exists, along with the leadership having a culture that blames the venerable.
    Its this very attitude that I find to be quite a problem, and I have and will continue to distance myself from it simply because it is unethical.

    Sometimes one size doesn’t fit all and rather than telling pple to like it or GTFO perhaps a balanced, holistic outlook and approach may be beneficial. Maybe.

    Mice

    August 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm

  4. IB:

    “is this going to change things?” – I don’t know. I’m an optimist, but deep down inside I don’t think Planetshakers has the capacity to change.

    Just as an example.. In a church of [how many?] thousands of people there are 3 pastoral care staff, and 1 pastor in charge of equipping [how many?] urban life groups to care for the deep personal and faith-related needs of so many new and old Christians… In this area, the church couldn’t be more under-staffed.

    If change is to be made, it will be like the titanic turning – it will take time.

    “are you going to refer members of the church to this blog?” – Not specifically.. However, I’ve noticed several church members are already regulars on this blog. In fact, it sounds like the other two commenters in this thread are Planetshakers too!

    “or is this just an outlet (which would be alright too)” – Part of it is that 😉 The Mike Guglielmucci scandal finally got me riled up to act on the failings of my church.

    ESKY:

    Thank-you for taking the time to comment.

    I’ve got to be honest – raising issues directly with church leaders hasn’t worked for me, and judging by the comments of others, it seems it hasn’t worked for others too.

    Yes, Ps Russell Evans has said that the number one problem people have which leads to them leaving is that they are offended or feel that there voice isn’t being heard…

    Having said that, he also preached that if people didn’t like the way things were done, God gave HIM the annointing, and if people didn’t like it they go somewhere else – even telling a story where he asked someone to do as much (as Mice poetically put it – “GTFO” 😉 – but obviously in different words).

    Sadly, my experience has been like this:

    Raise an issue, leader listens, and then responds along the lines of “that’s just the way it is here”.

    I’m glad this blog has found so many Planetshakers with similar experiences. For a long time, I thought I was the only one who had this experience.

    Planetshakers Insider

    August 25, 2008 at 10:16 pm

  5. Interesting blog and a good read. I’m not from Planetshakers, but in my time I’ve seen the same attitude from leadership of other big pente churches (you offer an opinion/suggestion and are seen as negative, divisive, etc, when that is definately not the case). Sad really as it drives many good people out the back door when their intention is to love and serve (but also express their own thoughts and not be a mindless follower).

    NV

    August 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm

  6. Hi there,

    I think Ps Russell also said that if anyone approached him with the right spirit which i think meant genuine honouring and spirit and really wants the church to improve, he will listen.

    Everyone has their own opinion, imagine every church member(which is now about 4000+?) approaches Ps Russell and tell him how things should be done then there will be meetings after meetings to disscuss all the comments and opinions of the members, the church will never march forward.

    Also all of us needs to earn the right to speak into the life of others, imagine 100 strangers that you don’t know if they really concern about you, gave opinion regarding how you should live you your life.Would you listen to all of them or would you rather listen to a few close wise friends that you know cares deeply for you and your wellbeing.

    Ofcourse the church should improve and Planetshakers is definitely improving in many areas. I think opinions should be heard but should be voiced from the right channel, maybe you can tell your Urban Life Leader and then your Urban Life leader can pass the comments up the hierarchy. Ultimately the leaders will have to follow God’s guidance not man’s opinion but ofcourse also open to the counsel of wise people, a particular decision might not be popular in the man’s eyes but maybe that’s the obedience God wants and if we are called to this church, we should commit to this church’s vision and leadership.

    If any of you really cares deeply for the church and not just opinion givers, serve the church and if God promotes you to the leadership team because you cares so much for the church then your opinion will be heard more effectively. because now youve earned your right to speak into the life of the church(not that regular members doesnt have the right, but a person involved in ministry will have more of an impact because your concern for the church is proven in your service for church)

    Bless ya!

    JC

    August 26, 2008 at 8:05 pm

  7. “If any of you really cares deeply for the church and not just opinion givers, serve the church and if God promotes you to the leadership team because you cares so much for the church then your opinion will be heard more effectively. because now youve earned your right to speak into the life of the church(not that regular members doesnt have the right, but a person involved in ministry will have more of an impact because your concern for the church is proven in your service for church)”

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever met someone who hasn’t kowtowed to leadership who has been promoted to the team (or who would necessarily want to).

    I know of a Church where the pastor says he doesn’t take too seriously criticism from most of the members, but he has a board of elders to whom he’s accountable- he takes their criticism very seriously.

    What do you all think of that model?

    Amanda

    August 26, 2008 at 11:34 pm


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