The Good Ole' Days

The Good Ole' Days

Despite the 45-year age difference, two of the closest people in my life are my grandparents. Our relationship goes far beyond the occasional trips or calls. There is a genuine love for one another.

This type of grandchild-grandparent relationship is rare, especially as both parties get older. Growing up, I would spend most of my days with my grandparents as my mom worked multiple jobs a day to provide for us. The more time I spent with my grandparents, the more I interacted with their peers — or what I used to call them — “old people.”

I pulled pranks on my grandparent’s peers, and I lost my weekly allowance to their late night card games. I accompanied them as they went to nursing homes. They gave me money (…$1…) to negotiate at the local flea market for the sports item I inevitably wanted. I illegally sat and played Keno at the Coffee Shop. I even took up the hobby of reading the newspaper.

I was 12-years-old going on 65-years-old — and I loved every minute of it … for the most part.

The more I was around the older generation, the deeper the stories got. I’m fairly certain 90 percent of their stories were fabricated for story-sake. I can confirm 99 percent of my grandfather’s stories are. There are cousins in our family who think he was in the mob!

The stories eventually turned to conversations about old houses, food and automobiles.

“When I was your age, I could get a hamburger and a soda for 10 cents. Those were the good ole’ days.”

“A brand new car cost $2,000. Those were the good ole’ days.”

“My first house cost $10,000. Those were the good ole’ days.”

In the beginning, I nodded my head as I anxiously waited for the next topic of conversation. As I got older, it clicked, and I learned about inflation. So, I always made sure to interject this to their stories:

“But, didn’t you only make a few thousand of dollars a year? We make more today, so everything costs more.”

I knew once I said that the conversation would change!

The statement ‘the good ole’ days’ feels innocent by nature. It’s a fun conversation — especially with those older than 60-years-old.

The slippery slope of this statement and perspective comes in when we magnify it on to the Local Church. Through conversations with church leaders and personal experiences, the mentality of this statement often places immovable obstacles in a local church experiencing change.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, this statement usually coincides with style differences (music, dress, service, etc.), a pastoral change, or in regards to the vision of the church.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is an interesting one. The author, Solomon, paints a painful reality of life from his perspective. It’s a perspective of ups and downs — and about everything else in between. Here’s what he said:

The Church Down The Street

The Church Down The Street

It was a normal Friday evening youth service. We were playing games while eating cheap pizza in a room so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think.

As the regular students arrived, there was a rare sight for a Friday night. There was a new student. At a smaller church, this is one of the greatest sights in the world. As the new student entered he was immediately rushed by other students welcoming him, along with a few who recognized him for school.

I quickly made my way over to him. While engaged in small talk I discovered that he attended a church down the street. It wasn’t “a” church down the street, it was “the” church down the street. He attended the “big” church that I often watched from a distance.

Instead of getting to know this student, I became self-obsessed with finding out information about his church. Every statement he made was quickly followed by an arrogant hyper-spiritual answer:

Student: Our youth services are normally an hour and a half.

Me: WHAT! We have our three-hour services.

Student: Yeah, we have PS4’s and a coffee café in our lobby, which is fun!

Me: That’s crazy gimmicks. Those teenagers just need an encounter with Jesus.

Student: On Sunday, we have two services. Each service is a little over an hour.

Me: Psst. They obviously don’t let the Holy Spirit move.

What this student didn’t realize was this short conversation was some festered up ill-feelings I had toward his church down the street. In my three years at my church, I never stepped foot in his church or even talked with a leader. Instead, I developed a negative perspective of how they operated.

Pastor Confessions: I Hate People

Pastor Confessions: I Hate People

Door shut, blinds closed, headphones blaring, and no one should dare to disturb me.

I’m a 20-something millennial who doesn’t have time for your issues. I’m an efficient administrator who has tasks more important than our conversation. By the way, I’m openly introverted — you know it — so get the hint, I don’t want to talk to you.

When you find me outside of my office, I’m far too busy getting things ready for the upcoming event. When you glance over after services and see me talking to teenagers, let me be, because they get me more than you ever will.

After all, who needs relationships with people? You do your thing, and let me do my thing. Point blank.

Man, what a bad attitude for someone whose job exists for people, huh?