Margie Bryce

Your leadership coach
and self-care advocate

99: Rev. Alex Lang: Part 2: Why I Left the Church

The Crabby Pastor
The Crabby Pastor
99: Rev. Alex Lang: Part 2: Why I Left the Church

Have you ever witnessed the moment when a long-held belief is challenged and, like a seedling breaking through concrete, transforms into a new understanding? That’s the kind of metamorphosis we unpack in our latest episode of the Krabby Pastor podcast, where I, Margie Bryce, sit down with guests to discuss the power of a growth mindset, especially within the sacred walls of ministry leadership. Our stirring conversation reveals how real-world implications within a faith community, to open up nurturing compassion and open-mindedness.

We then shift gears to the personal transformation that occurs when faith leaders overcome their mental barriers, embodying the teachings they share with their congregations.  We also highlight the subtle indicators that help distinguish a growth-oriented mindset from a fixed one, offering a beacon for those navigating the waters of change within their communities.

In the final chapter of our conversation, we touch upon the delicate dance of honoring tradition while embracing progress within the church. I share my insights on the importance of evolving ministry models and reflect on the innovative, untraditional paths Jesus himself walked. Join us as we explore the balance between sanctuary and a platform for innovation in preaching the gospel, and how these strategies are fostering new models of community that resonate with true discipleship.Support the show

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Margie Bryce: 0:01

Hey there, Margie Bryce here bringing you the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I don’t think you’re going to be too surprised to know that it’s too easy today to become the Crabby Pastor. Our time together will give you food for thought to help you be the ministry leader, fully surrendered to God’s purposes and living into whatever it takes to get you there and keep you there. So we’re talking about sustainability in ministry. Maybe, we should jump into what a growth mindset is. Yeah, sure, I think that’s an interesting question.

Alex Lang: 0:43

So you know, a growth mindset is when a person is willing to take chances, they enjoy learning new things and they’re not afraid to fail. They’re not afraid to go out and to try to do something that might challenge their expectations. And you know, that was kind of I always assumed that was the entire purpose of church, was that we’re here to grow right. And you know there’s I have a good example of this, which I think is interesting.

Margie Bryce: 1:14

We’re here to grow numerically and financially.

Alex Lang: 1:18

Right, that’s usually the metric that’s used, yeah, but to actually have that growth mindset? And can I use an example? I think this is an interesting one. So, if you remember, back in 2016, when Trump got elected, directly following his election, there was that he put out that policy that anyone from predominantly Muslim countries were not allowed to immigrate to the United States any longer. And do you remember when that, like, they basically signed that?Margie Bryce: 1:47

That was kind of like a blanket policy.

Alex Lang: 1:49

It was eventually overturned as unconstitutional, but that was kind of the case, so I would say that, in my congregation, 60 to 70% of my congregation identifies as Republican, and I’m sure that probably many of those people voted for Donald Trump. Now, prior to Trump’s election, though, we our church have been part of a group of organizations who had come together to help a Syrian refugee family who have fled Syria during the civil war there, and what ended up happening was the family got separated. The father and sons had made it to the US, but the mother and daughter they became stranded in the UAE, and so, with that new protective order when it came down because the mother and daughter were Syrian and, if you remember, in that order is that anybody who is from that country, if you are a theory and dissent or whatever you know, based on the country they put you would never be allowed to the United States. So what that meant was that this family was going to be separated forever. Now, my congregation they knew the father and his son because they would come to our church all the time they actually came. We had a family night. They would be there, they would spend time with us. They’ve been there for months. Everybody knew these, knew this family, and so when this rule came down, I took to the pulpit and I put their pictures up on our monitors, the pictures of this family, and I said you know, I don’t usually talk about politics, but what has come down from the White House directly affects the family we all love and care for. So what happened was that there was no longer the simple theoretical idea where we’re keeping terrorists from coming into the country. This was a good family right who, if this rule stood, would never be reunited with their mother and sister. So I had introduced cognitive dissonance into their thinking right. On the one hand, they believed in what Trump was promoting. A lot of my people did. On the other hand, they saw it was negatively impacting family that they loved and cared for. So when I made that statement, many of the people who I expected to be angry at me, they chose love. In that instance, they actually said that they felt it was wrong to discriminate against an entire group of people and they felt the pain of this family. And that’s a growth mindset, it’s a. It’s a willingness to challenge your previous thinking and ask the question do my previous assumptions make sense and what’s? And I just tell you this at the end of that story is actually a happy one. A member of our congregation who’s very politically connected. He used back channels to get the, to get them visas, to get the mother and daughter visas with the State Department, and within six months the family was actually reunited and they all lived here in the United States. So I think that’s an example of a growth mindset that when you, when you chat, when you introduce that cognitive dissonance, which is the word you used earlier, the question is how are they going to deal with it? And I think the one thing that I did in that which I which was I credit myself for was that I didn’t, I wasn’t just coming out and saying this is wrong and theoretically it shouldn’t happen. What I did was I actually had an actual family. I can tell you and be like this is directly impacting this family and that’s where they had to do the struggle. Right, it wasn’t just oh, it’s somebody out there in the ether somewhere. This is a real family and that’s where the cognitive dissonance starts to break down.

Margie Bryce: 5:10

So how would you say then you can. That is possible because you gave an example here of shifting from a closed mindset to an open one as a leader. How would you go about that? Just inflict a little cognitive dissonance.

Alex Lang: 5:27

Yeah, well, so this is what you’re asking is actually quite complex because it all depends on the individual Like. What I have found is that people tend to be predisposed to one or the other. So for those who are predisposed to a fixed mindset, generally these are people who don’t like to have their worldview challenged and often these are people who struggle with the gray area of life. So they tend to be black and white thinkers. There’s a right and a wrong, a good way, a bad way, and they often think the way they think is the way others should think. And I want to be clear that fixed mindsets are not relegated to conservative thinking. Not at all. Actually, you see a lot of fixed mindsets among liberal thinkers as well. But in order for a person to adopt a growth mindset, there needs to be a spark within them where they are willing to learn new things.

Margie Bryce: 6:22

Now you’re saying this, and this is a worthwhile interjection that I’m going to make here.Alex Lang: 6:26

Yeah, please, please, yeah, go ahead.

Margie Bryce: 6:27

It’s a very worthwhile one. If your congregation says we don’t want to learn any new songs, this tells the leader something about their people, because one of the foundational definitions of disciple is learner.

Alex Lang: 6:48

Yes, absolutely, just saying Absolutely. Yeah Well, and it’s an intimate. You bring up the word disciple. Let’s use that for a second. We think of a disciple as like a student right and a student is. In traditional schooling systems, the teacher conveys knowledge and the student repeats it back. I have learned the knowledge that you have given me. In Christianity it’s different. The rabbi-disciple relationship is I don’t just want to teach you what I know, I want you to be able to do what I do, to live how I live. It’s not just a matter of intellectually saying I know what you know, it’s you want to literally become like that person, and that’s a very different way of being right, like to actually become a disciple.

Margie Bryce: 7:40

It’s not just learning those things.

Alex Lang: 7:42

It’s living it out.

Margie Bryce: 7:45

Sure, and an even more ancient definition then would be you would learn from a person and to be like them in such a way that when you went into the marketplace, people might even confuse you for the person that you learned from. And that, to me, has very powerful implications for Christianity, very powerful

.Alex Lang: 8:12

Yeah, if we embrace that kind of role, the real role of disciple. I mean, you’re bringing up the whole idea of like, yes, you have to be willing to learn new information, and you’re kind of saying I totally know this. Like congregations are like, I don’t want to sing any different hymns, I want to sing the stuff I’ve always known, and that’s very, very common. But you have to have, like the people with a growth mindset, they tend to have a curiosity about the world, and the problem with curiosity, of course, is that when you learn new information it’s what we talked about earlier like it challenges your old ways of viewing the world and therefore you have to be willing to admit that your prior thinking may have been wrong. And so, within people who have a growth mindset, they’re willing to adapt to new circumstances, which actually brings us to the most important trait among growth mindsets, which is, as you talked about earlier, a willingness to fail A lot of time. People with fixed mindsets see failure as the limit of their abilities. If they’re not naturally good at something, they will become frustrated and they give up very easily and they’re afraid of failure, whereas people with growth mindsets they see failure as an important way to grow.

Margie Bryce: 9:27

So when you fail, you learn right, like you learn from failure. What do we learn from this?

Alex Lang: 9:33

Yeah, you get back up and you say, ok, well, that didn’t work. Like what do you have to do? I will tell you that I failed a lot growing up. I was not a naturally intelligent person, but what’s interesting was in my classes I was the dumbest of the smart kids, let’s put it that way Like I was always like the dumbest of the smart kids. OK, you’re on the tail end I was like, yeah, I barely made it into those advanced classes and I was always like the worst grades in those classes, and so I was always kind of on the cusp. I was going back and forth between the normal class, where I get like an A plus, and then the hard class was where I’d be getting like a C or a D. So what I learned was I was like if I was going to succeed because I was going to have to work a lot harder, they would do their homework in an hour. It would take me three. I still wouldn’t perform as well as they did. But what that failure taught me was that persistence and slow and steady work will get you where you want to go in the end. And what I noticed about some of the people I went to school with was when it was hard for them, they didn’t have the work ethic to overcome, because they never encountered any barriers. Like everything was just so easy that they didn’t have the work ethic to actually get over the top later on in life. And so I really think that failure is is such an important thing. But the question you’re asking is how do you go from one to the other? Right, that’s what you asked. So I think it’s a very slow and steady process. So in my preaching I would introduce new ideas and kind of like slow drips so that over time people believed in themselves more and they were willing to try things outside of their comfort zone. So you know, I would just do it in kind, and probably the best way to describe my preaching is like it was kind of like group therapy in some ways, like I would get up and I’d be like guys, you can do this. God sees all this potential inside of you and you have to be willing to allow God to bring that out. Like let God take you to these new levels because you have this ability to do things you never thought you could do. And I will say that when I left I had so many people who said to me you pushed me to do things I never would have done without you, and I got a great story about this, if you don’t mind me telling it.

Margie Bryce: 11:47

It’s very sure.

Alex Lang: 11:50

So there was this woman who came to our church. She actually grew up in a very conservative Catholic household you talked about yourself growing up Catholic and her father was high up in the DEA and so he was busting like big narcotics rings all the time and his view of the world was that people never change. Bad people will always be bad people. Well, she’s a teacher. She taught middle school, she’s still teaching to this day, and what happens is one of her former students gets in touch with her when she was first teaching and he had horrible parents, just people who didn’t care for him at all, and as a teenager he got really into drugs and eventually he got really addicted to heroin and he had no place to go. And so they end up talking and she says you know what, why don’t you come and live with my family? So she’s married, she’s got all these girls like the family full of girls and she invites a 20-something-year-old guy who’s addicted to heroin to live in their home. Now, the love and grace and forgiveness that she and her family showed this young man over the years helped him to get clean. He’d never had that in his life. He’d never had that kind of unconditional love. Every time he fell it was like of course you’re going to fall, you’re horrible. They would say, ok, get back up, let’s do it again. And he changed his entire world. Like it’s amazing to see what this is again when I talk about unconditional love, what it can do to change people’s lives. But she told me when I left. She said you know, I would have. I thought that was just who she was. And she said no way, prior to you coming here, I would have never done anything like that, because I believe what my father taught me that people never change. But she’s like I heard from you over time that people can change, that we can be different and that I should be different and I should take a chance. And so she was willing to do that because she had listened to those messages over a long period of time. Five years in is when she did it. So it was like that slow little drip over time and she took it in and she went from a fixed mindset, which is kind of what she was, to a growth mindset.

Margie Bryce: 13:56

Wow, that’s a pretty incredible story. She took a huge risk, didn’t she? She did.

Alex Lang: 14:03

I mean, it’s like falling the other way. I’m in awe of that.

Margie Bryce: 14:06

I really am. So what kind of practical skill do you think clergy could develop then to help deal with the closed mindsets, and this isn’t necessarily? I mean, I heard what you said historically about the resurrection, all that, and OK, that’s out there, we can all grapple, and whatever we’re going to do with that. That was one of your drip, drip, drips in here. And that’s a good thing, but even in terms of looking at their own faith and their own level of discipleship and their own level and ability to love others the way God loves us, yeah.

Alex Lang: 14:51

so I think that when it comes to the clergy, when you help somebody discover that kind of when you want to help somebody, and I’ll actually ask this of you. So, because I think that it’s a, I think it’s an interesting question, First of all, how do you know if somebody has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?Margie Bryce: 15:17

Like how do you know? I mean, that would be tricky Over time. You’d have to. That’s not a two second assessment, unless they say a few things to really give their minds in a way.

Alex Lang: 15:30

I can give you an example and I’ll ask it a few so you can tell me. Ok, so we can figure out right now.Margie Bryce: 15:36

Wait, wait, wait, the interview’s gone away.

Alex Lang: 15:38

Yeah, so OK. So I want you to tell me what is a dream in your life that you’ve always wanted to accomplish, but you never had the chance to do it. I’m interested to know. Tell me.

Margie Bryce: 15:50

OK yeah, I would say to write an influential book.

Alex Lang: 15:55

OK, so tell me, why is that dream so important to you? Like, can you give me the reasons why that matters?

Margie Bryce: 16:01

to you. Yeah, I think that has been something that I thought about, even from childhood actually, and I have always said, and I remember my mother and I talking about it and she would ask me about it and I would say well, she goes, when are you going to do that? And I would say when I know that I have something I want to say when that emerges. And so that’s kind of stayed with me and I kind of resist from time to time here with the what do I want to say? And my faith at this point tells me that God will let me know when and what.

Alex Lang: 16:41

OK, so then, yeah. That brings me to the next question, which is what’s stopping you from achieving that dream? What are the barriers standing in your way?

Margie Bryce: 16:50

The barriers. Probably myself is the biggest barrier and looking around at other people I was like eh, everybody writes a book. Why is that? Even a big deal. I mean it’s been. Publishing is devalued, publishing has changed and I don’t know. I do have an outline. Actually I did through some coaching. A friend really pushed me and said well, all right, what’s the next step you’re going to do? And I did write an outline. I did get that far.

Alex Lang: 17:20

OK, so then? So, now that you’ve outlined what’s stopping you the barriers, if you can get rid of all the barriers standing in your way, what would be the first step you would take to bring that dream to life? Like, what would you do to actually do it? What would it actually do? I?

Margie Bryce: 17:37

probably would start working on it like not just an outline, but working on it working on it.

Alex Lang: 17:44

Ok, ok, so all right. So in that kind of sequence of question, it reveals whether you have a growth versus a fixed mindset, because, depending on what the dream is right, there’s usually practical realities standing in the way of the dream right, like there’s things that are they’re gonna prevent you from doing it. The people with growth mindset, once you kind of push those practical realities aside, they can envision a way forward to getting the dream going. Those with fixed mindsets, they often can’t even envision what the first step would be. So that’s how you can kind of know the difference. Because here’s the thing growth mindset individual, you’re often a dream right. A growth mindset can see the world as it is and envision it being something different from the way it is now.

Margie Bryce: 18:35

Well, now you’re talking about people who are visionary because I am that they can envision something that’s not there and how it could be there, and then you start at some point working slowly towards that, Towards that absolutely, and that is part of growth mindset, that’s a huge, huge part of it.

Alex Lang: 18:53

Right, you’re talking about even personal growth. Like you see, you can see yourself now and how you could be different. And so all you really need to start finding your way out of a fixed mindset is to start dreaming, like, if you can dream it, that is the first major step to that dream becoming a reality. And that is that’s a big difference, because what you find is that often people with fixed mindsets, they can’t even dream it, they can’t even envision it, because they’re so stuck with the barrier, like we just talked about. Okay, you wanna write a book, how do you move the barriers out of the way? And you’re like, well, you know, I kind of have to get out of the way of myself, and then I would just kind of start writing, right, like I have to get. Well, okay, like that’s the thing when you talk to people with fixed mindsets, they can’t even envision that. They wouldn’t even. They would say, well, I don’t know, I don’t know what I would do, and you would sit there and say, well, wouldn’t you just start writing? Well, and that’s hard for them to move forward. So, but if you could get that person to start dreaming about those things, to think about it. Oh, what could it be. Then you start to get them from that fixed mindset mentality into the growth mindset. It doesn’t mean that they’re gonna fully jump, but it is a very, very slow process. So when you’re asking the question about clergy like how do they do that? How do you get a congregation to do that, well, I’m gonna and I don’t want this to come up as judgmental because I really don’t mean it to be but I think many clergy themselves are fixed mindset individuals and that’s because the institutional church this is why I don’t mean it to be judgmental the institutional church rewards people who have fixed mindset Because if you don’t rock the boat and you don’t live by and you live by the party line, you’re in great shape, like you’re just gonna, you’re gonna glide right through. It doesn’t necessarily mean your church is gonna like grow and do all these things, but it does mean that, generally speaking, you’re gonna like your congregation isn’t going to attack you, right? So-.Margie Bryce: 20:46

Well, they’re not gonna throw rocks and fruit And-. Yeah, exactly On.Alex Lang: 20:50

Sunday Right, the church does not tend to reward growth mindset individuals and I’ll give you an example of this Like Martin Luther King Jr. So today we look back on him and we say, oh my God, what an amazing pastor he was. He was a growth mindset person who was willing to rock the boat. But we forget that at the time he was alive, doing his ministry, he was despised. He was somebody who challenged the status quo constantly and most Christians, both white and black, did not like it. And this is why the vast majority of his movement was comprised of young people who were idealistic and willing to risk their lives to create a better world. And it’s only in retrospect that we look at MLK and we say, wow, he was a great man for what he did. And this is why most pastors are not like MLK. They’re not out to change the world. Instead, they’re there to minister to their flock and serve the immediate needs of their congregation and, to be fair, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Like, that’s okay, that’s an honorable way to be a pastor. However, if you are coming into the church and you have a growth mindset where you want to invoke change, you should know that most people in the institutional church are not going to be on board with that, like there’s gonna be copious amounts of resistance. So if you’re not prepared for that resistance you’re gonna become frustrated. On the other hand, if you expect to be resistant and you are willing to move slowly and invoke incremental change, then I think creating a growth mindset is possible. I would compare it to like therapy. I don’t know how much you’ve been in therapy. I’ve been doing a lot of therapy. A good therapist knows how to lay out the breadcrumbs that eventually lead you to the loaf of bread where you have this amazing moment of self-realization. It can take months, sometimes years of painstaking work on the part of the therapist to set it up so that the moment hits just right. Because if the therapist assesses the situation and is like well, I know exactly what’s wrong with Alex and they just hand me the loaf of bread without any breadcrumbs, the moment doesn’t mean as much and you’re not really gonna have that moment of self-realization because I’m not ready for it yet. So you have to slowly guide people and inspire them to challenge their own mindsets. Some congregations are more open to change than others. Right, but even within the most like growth mindset-oriented churches, you will find there are hard limits on how much they wanna grow, and so, like the therapist, you kinda have to like test those limits. You need to see where the tolerances exist and then start to gently press on them. Because if you press too hard, too fast, then not only are they gonna push back, but in some instances they will actually shut down and, as was the case with me, even revolt. So I don’t know.

Margie Bryce: 23:36

So here’s my question about the people with the fixed mindset, and I guess I’m coming at this from like yeah, please. My dad, who just passed in February, but oh, I’m sorry about that. Well, you know, I mean he would be kind of on the fixed mindset, like he said, when Kodak stops making film, it’s time for me to die. And he would not even such a digital camera. And I said, look, dad, you don’t have to do film, you can delete your pictures right here. You don’t have to print them all out. You know, and you can this and you can that I sold. But he just left the camera on the table when we went to an outing where photography would be amazing. You know to do but and he kinda liked photography, but he had a mindset of that’s it. I mean, and you look at people who you know, who shows up first for the new version of the iPhone. I’m not the first, first in line, because I’m always the one that says, well, let him Get out a couple bugs first and then I’ll go. So I’m usually fairly early, but then you have the the group way at the end that are, you know they’re just late adopters. Oh yeah, or the not adopter, never adopters. I don’t know I mean what, saying that you know God loves all of us, what? What do we? We say then about those who are absolutely Immovable? I?

Alex Lang: 25:08

Think that it for those people. You have to show them grace and kindness, but at the same time, if you’re trying to move the ship forward and those people are gonna stand in your way, you kind of have to have a conversation, and I’ve had conversations with people where I’ve said, look, there’s a lot of churches out there and and and maybe the way that we’re moving in this congregation is not where you want to go, and I know this church is your home and I know you don’t want to leave, but the fact is is that Most of the people are rowing in the same direction and you’re rowing the other way. So what? What can we do to either make you feel like you’re more a part of the community and and it makes you feel like you’re more invested in this process, or, if you don’t want to get invested in the process, then I think perhaps we need to look at other options, because it’s not fair to you to have to stay in a community that you think doesn’t reflect your values, and it’s not fair to us to have to can keep trying to move forward with you Literally trying to throw the anchor in the ocean to stop us from moving.

Margie Bryce: 26:17

I mean and that depends on whether your person is in leadership or not. I mean, they can just kind of just sort of exist there and you say you’re willing to. You know, just, you know, stay and, and Some of the I will.

Alex Lang: 26:30

I mean, I’ll be honest with you. Yes, that can’t like in leadership, it becomes. It can become more an assault from the leadership perspective. But I’ve noticed there are people who, who disagreed with me, who could do more damage outside because they would just spread rumors, they would talk, they would gossip and they would undermine a lot of the things we were trying to do simply by just talking about it. And those are the people who I would actually address directly and I’d say can we have a conversation about this? Because I’m hearing things I think we need to. We need to talk this through because it was counterproductive to what we’re all trying to do here. And, to be perfectly honest with you, a lot of times those people would refuse those conversations Because they knew what they were doing was wrong and they didn’t want to stop, but at the same time they again it’s part of the fixed mindset they didn’t want to have to endure the growth.

Margie Bryce: 27:20

Well, and I also think that the, in many instances, the church has become a psychological Security blanket. You know, it says Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, but that’s the one unchanging thing. But when we are mandated with go, therefore preach the gospel, the method of doing that has to change according to the era in which you live. So it’s. You know, people will talk about an assault on Sunday school. Well, no, we do small groups, and you know, and well, we got to get back to Sunday school. Well, no, we can’t make it be 1950 and 1960 anymore, and there were a lot of things that weren’t as great as what you like to remember them as. And there are things that have to move forward, and the rest of the planet is. And that’s where that’s the mission field, not the, not the little bucket of people that, oh, they left the church, we got to get them back. You know, well, god has stocked the pond and we’re over there fishing in a little bucket Of people that you know, oh, they shouldn’t have laughed. And you know and it’s not that I don’t have compassion for people A lot of times we don’t lose them to the kingdom, we might lose them to the congregation. They might decide that this is just not where we’re going. But it’s just kind of refreshing to to at least Consider some of these things. But it is a difficult environment in the institutional church and I think I people wouldn’t be surprised to know them kind of a little bit anti Institutionalist and I’m I’m you know, this was a part of my dissertation was to coin the term. We’re doing the franchise dance. In many instances we’re not really living the daring call, the spirit, and there’s a lot of things that play and in motion today that are going to press us In in new ways and we have to get back to the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and that’s that’s all I can say. I mean, that’s to me, that’s everything. But what? What concluding remarks Would you like to add in? You have your questions Only everywhere you go.

Alex Lang: 29:30

Oh well, you know, I think that right now we’re in a really interesting place with the church. Mm-hmm, we, we, the, as we, as you know, if you look at any of the statistics, the, the church is, uh, is dying across the board. Now, in the mainline churches, you know Presbyterian Methodist, episcopalian, lutheran we’re all dying at a faster clip than maybe the more non-denominational evangelical churches, but we’re all kind of dying right now. So I think that we’re in this kind of interesting space where what we’ve been doing for the last 500 years, it’s not working anymore in the same way. So we have this kind of real opportunity, which is why I’m leaving. I’m leaving to try something completely different, completely new, really outside the box, that the church, frankly, would not allow for, like the institutional church would not allow for, and it’s a very growth mindset kind of thing, but it’s, but it’s trying to take what’s happening right now and saying, okay, you know, as the institutional church is dying, how can we create communities where growth mindset is kind of the norm? Can we, can we? Can we create communities that are trying to? I mean, you’ve bought this up several times where you said, like our goal is to really become disciples of Jesus, I could not agree with you more than that. You know, like you’re right on with that, and I think the problem is is that once you get a group of people together and these larger groups, you know, the issue is is that you know, okay, so, so we have a community. Just think about it, how it works. We started community and the community grows enough and we say, well, you know what we want to have a building and you know because because that’s how we know that we’re like that, we’re something because we’re validated. Yes, look like we have this place where that we can call our home, which humans like to nest. We like to have our place to be right. So so we build a church, but then that’s what starts the whole cycle, right? So now you have to maintain the property. You’ve got to pay the pastor. You’ve got to. You got to. You know, it becomes the same thing that you were talking about earlier, which is up in the numbers of people coming through the door, up in the giving. And I think, if you’re going to make disciples, jesus really didn’t do that. You know, jesus, what’s fascinating about his ministry is when you look at it. I mean, he was a beggar and he’d be like hey, guess what? I’m coming to your house for dinner tonight. Right, that’s how he would do it. He didn’t say give me money so that I can have a salary, so that I can buy a home. He didn’t have a home, he just went from house to house to house and that’s how we lived and he spread the message. Now, that’s made me not realistic for all of us to do Like, but I think that, in my opinion, I think we kind of have to get away from and I know this is going to be controversial, but I think it’s true. I think we need to get away from the pastor as a career, that I go in and I’m doing this for my entire career and I’m getting a paycheck and I’m getting a pension Like that existed for 500 years. I don’t necessarily see that as the future because that puts all of this kind of stress and tension in there that frankly gets in the way of the thing you’re talking about creating disciples of Jesus. He would just go out, he preached the message. You say, hey, do you want to do this? Yes or no? And if you did, great Like if you didn’t, whatever, I’m moving on.

Margie Bryce: 32:54

So are you heading more towards, like a home church kind of environments? Is that?Alex Lang: 33:00

Yeah, in some ways. yes, I think that what I’m aiming to do is I want to try to create communities where we can get the money out of it as much as possible or, if there is money given, it’s given towards social good more than supporting salaries. I mean like, and my church, our budget every year was like 1.3, 1.4 million and you think, and like 60 or 70% of that went to paying people salaries. And I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t say hey, go out and you know, and build churches and bring in money and pay people salaries. I think he said take that money and go out and transform the world and do social good, like feed people who need to be fed, clothe people who need to be clothed, care for the sick, visit those who are present, do the Matthew 25 work. You know that’s what he asked us to do. If we’re going to use our money for anything, we use it for that. So I think the institution has created that problem and I think we can unwind that problem and the next as the reformation continues.

Margie Bryce: 34:00

Well, on that note, I am going to leave us leave it here, and I think it’s been a great discussion. It’s probably been a mind bending one for some of us and I want to thank you, Alex, for joining us here on the Crabby pastor podcast. Are you wondering whether your fatigue, your lack of motivation, your lack of interest, is burnout Maybe? I just wanted to let you know that I have a resource on the website, margiebryce.com, that’s B-R-Y-C-E margiebryce.com, and it is a burnout questionnaire, free for you to download and kind of self assess and get a sense of where you’re at. There are questions that not only ask about what you’re going through but maybe how often you’re experiencing it, and that’s that’s kind of a key to where you might be, because you have to know where you are in order to chart a course forward. And most pastors who experience pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout rarely know that that’s where they’re at until they’re well into it. And if you’re unsure about that little statistic, so far, everybody that I’ve interviewed on this podcast who has experienced burnout, when I asked that kind of question, they’re like yeah, I didn’t know, that’s where I was at. So again, go to margiebricecom. It’s on the homepage of the website and you can get your burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you’re at. Hey friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook. I make stained glass, that’s part of my self-care and also by Bryce Coaching, where I coach ministry leaders and business leaders, and so the funds that I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can do the buy me a cup of coffee thing in the in the show notes. But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I’m here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help, I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices you know, so that you don’t become the Crabby pastor.

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