Fairview “the story” – “the CHANGE”
Fairview – the Story
If you follow this blog, you will know that there have been major changes with our church situation in Fairview, but you won’t know “what or why” – this blog address’s both of those questions.
Faith based organisations rarely admit to weakness or things that might appear to be failures, it’s seen as almost “anti faith”. Faith has to always present “up”, increasing figures, increased attendances, it’s all positive, anything that might sound “negative” is often seen as very contrary to effective faith, thus faith based organisations can tend to “cover up anything negative” with faith based speech (or perhaps “fake based speech”), to make it all seem like it is good. I am not interested doing that, the stuff that happens, happens, and the good and the bad of it should be shared. Faith is like life, there are ups and downs, but the whole time God is in control and if I need to “fall or fail” to learn some thing, then bring it on…I will get up and we will move forward. Failure is rarely fatal or final.
So what happened in Fairview – EPIC FAILURE….MINE.
Myself and the two main leaders were kicked out of the building, by what I see as immature leaders, who own most of the building, even though we contributed 100,000p towards the current structure. We did not resist this move in anyway at all, as it really is a huge blessing us, let me explain…
Some History – Fairview started 7 years ago, with us doing a massive relief operation after a huge typhoon went through the area. We spent nearly 7 million pesos re-establishing 100+ families devastated by a huge flood. We had no intention of starting a church. We gave away a lot of goods, rice and money over a six week period, we also preached the gospel and gave out bibles. People got saved, but we were never interested in starting a church in this area, so we gave out our stuff, gave the gospel and went our own way.
Weeks later we had a person from the area start asking us to come and start a church, we politely said “no thanks”. That should have been the end of it. But the person persisted and over time we said “YES” – right there, right then, that was “my mistake”. We had listened to the voice of man and not the voice of God. 100% my fault, I knew better.
From this point church started, but it started with a flawed foundation, and from the beginning people were more in control of the church than God. It all went seemingly well for a while, then we hit some huge problems with the same person who wanted the church and who owned the building, we worked through the issue, or at least I thought we did and church continued. We grew to over 100 people. But in a couple of years we hit that same issue again with the same person and within a month the church went from over 100 to less than 10. I was not a happy camper and wanted to just walk away and forget this whole thing. I gave the existing leadership a black and white ultimatum, which mostly they accepted, we removed the leader who was the issue from leadership and the church began to limp back to life, although it was never really the same. We got up to 40+ people, but it was really hard work. It was hard work because we had this leader in the background, who owned the building, who was just like a weight and anchor, pulling the whole thing down. We were just constantly fighting this under current of really immature, but unfortunately, very influential, yet informal leadership. Not fun. Hard, hard work. It all settled at around 25 or so people.
A few weeks back this leader demanded they be put back into leadership. No obvious gifting, no calling, very little leadership and very little maturity, so I was just not going to do it. This is not how leadership gets appointed, they don’t “demand appointment”, it’s all about gifting, calling and character, and these three things were in very short supply. From my perspective, it’s a total waste of time. Chatted with the other leaders and they were willing to give it another go, so I said “OK’, but this will be a 100% last chance, if this fails, NEVER AGAIN – I walk away from the whole thing.
Then this leader calls me in for a chat, and to be honest I really, really don’t want to do this again for the third time, same person, same issues, just completely pointless – zero change, zero understanding of either basic leadership principles or biblical concepts, still very immature and controlled by emotions not the Spirit of God, I really did not want to do this again…but as it turns out, I didn’t have to. God had another plan.
I get sat down and I am told that God has spoken and they are kicking me out of the church, I was so relieved, it was like a huge weight lifted off from my shoulders. I wasn’t being consulted, I was being told, but I was so happy to just nod and say “Yes, ok, if that’s what you want” and it’s effective from today, “Ok, great, if that’s what you want”. Then I was informed that the only two “legitimate leaders” were being kicked out with me – oh happy day, we get to start again and we have all been kicked out together. We totally got the best part of the deal. The team is still together and the problem is now gone.
They thought they were kicking us out of the church, but really we just lost the building. The church is people and numbers of the remaining people have already come with us. What they really did was kick “the church out of their building”. Now they think they run the church, but all they have is a building, not a church. They have appointed themselves as Pastors and they think it is all led by God. God help the people.
All we lost was the number one problem in the whole ministry. We got “kicked to freedom”. A problem that I could not solve and that I did actually cause many years ago, got solved by God, by Him separating us from the problem. Lesson learnt. Listen only to God, or to Godly people, but never to “man”.
So now we get the opportunity to “deliberately build a new fellowship” with really, really good people. We get to be Spirit led.
We just had our first meeting, not really a service, more of a family get together where we discussed how we are going to grow this family of ours. We have no real interest in having “services”, we are going to focus on “Promoting and Connecting” with new people. Today we had 15 people, with two of them being new, that’s more than 10% growth with no announcement or effort. Watch this space, this fellowship will launch now that we are not walking with this huge weight holding us back.
This is an historic photo, the very first “service”, but by the end of this year, this will be a very different photo. Today we met in one of the leaders homes. Bible studies, visitation and evangelism will start next week. We will keep our eyes out for a building or a space to rent or buy, but this is not the focus – JESUS & PEOPLE ARE THE FOCUS, we will get a building if and when we need one, just like we did in Baseco and Don Bosco – People First.
How crazy is that though, I got kicked out of “MY” church, or at least the building, by a leader that I never appointed, and I actually went out incredibly happy, knowing that this was really the plan of God and the absolute best thing that could ever happen to us. I am telling you – “watch this space, God is about to do some thing great”.
The carnal me would love to spit out more details and name names, but I really don’t have to, time will speak for us…just because you have a building does not mean you have a church. We don’t have a building, but we already have a great church.
Of course everything written in this blog is simply “my opinion”, which I am very welcome to and which might be wrong or right, or have elements of either. If others wrote this blog, they would most definitely write it from other angles and with other views, which might be just as subjective as mine could be…but it is what it is.
To Ella, Leo and the people who turned up for this first historic photo – I can assure you – THE BEST IS YET TO COME…everyone is important and everyone is welcome – TOGETHER we will build this fellowship.
God is so good – Mark Pedder.