A Non-Compete Clause

We don’t have non-compete clauses among pastors, but perhaps we should in our own heads because there ain’t no way I’m competing with this Missouri Synod church.

I didn’t go looking for River Pointe Church.  I went looking to find out who Adam Countryman was.  He is listed as the worship leader for the March 2014 Texas Church Extension Fund conference.  He works for River Pointe Church, Richmond, Texas.  Although he is not an ordained clergyman of the LCMS or any other church body, his being the designated worship leader at this year’s conference is a step up from last year.  Last year it was the district president’s wife. By the by, she isn’t ordained either.

As I said, I didn’t go looking for River Pointe Church (Isn’t it amazing how putting an ‘e’ on Point or Court or just about any other word doodads it up.  It’s like tail fins on a car.).  But I found it and what I can’t compete against. I quote from their website.  “The way someone becomes a member at River Pointe is to attend a Meet and Greet, as well as turning in a membership card.  River Pointe’s Meet and Greet is an opportunity to meet the staff, hear about the history and mission of the church, and process your commitment to become a member.  There is no pressure to join if you are just trying to find information about the church.  The next Meet and Greet will be held on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 at 6:30pm. Come enjoy a complimentary dinner! Childcare is provided” (Emphasis original, www.riverpointe.org/richmond/membership accessed 12-9-2013).

Attend a meet and greet, eat a free dinner, and turn in a card and you’re a member!  There’s no way I can compete with that. How do they preach or teach Law and Gospel?  Is the Law using your salad fork for the main course?  Is the Gospel ice cream with your pie?

I’m being too harsh.  I have no idea the points River Pointe is making.  I just don’t believe the points that must be made can be done over a dinner one evening.  The first constitution of the Missouri Synod said, “’Where possible, a hundred hours should be used to instruct confirmands’” (Walther, Pastoral Theology, 188).  I have that much for kids but for adults I barely make 25 hours.  Would adults sit still for more?  Not for 75 more hours but perhaps for more than one free dinner.

So, why don’t we amend our present constitution to say something like what the first one said?  Because we’re busying changing circuit counselors to circuit visitors which is about as significant as changing point to pointe.  One cannot compete with form that offers no substance.  Everyone knows the Blob is unstoppable. Watch the 1958 movie.


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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