During my time in seminary I have been working for Starbucks. One complaint/request that I frequently hear is the need for Starbucks to recycle more than just their cardboard boxes, primarily for plastic products such as the 25+ milk jugs that are thrown out daily. I have seen no real effort towards this, although recently a recycling bin for customers showed up. People love it, I have heard many compliments on it, but there is one problem with this recycling bin, it is misleading. Why you might ask?
It is misleading because to my knowledge Starbucks has no plans on offering a way to recycle their numerous paper/plastic products that are thrown out daily.
Instead it is an image thing for the public eye to look positive on Starbucks in the midst of the green initiative movement happening in the US.
This got me thinking about how many people within the church are often misleading. This often presents itself in the form of those who pretend to be something that they are not, which is commonly seen in the seminary classroom with "professional" Christians who believe that they have arrived. It is also commonly seen at conferences where once again people appear to come off as something they are not in order to impress someone or get somewhere. The worst is perhaps at churches when that guy in your small group won't shut up about everything he knows and has experienced, often the same seminary guy from the conference.
My fear is that this misleading mentality of pretending to be something that you are not has serious ramifications for the church. An example of this that I am often around are those aspiring to be church planters and/or pastors. I am all for church planters and those desiring to be pastors, but I think that some guys are unclear of the qualifications of a church planter and instead have bought into a trend that is misleading by believing that their charismatic personality, youthful vision, MacBook pro, and plaid untucked shirt are enough to qualify them to plant a church.
The reality is that it takes a lot more than those things to be a church planter and/or pastor. But due to the recent rise in popularity of church planting, my fear is that many have either been mislead about what it takes to be a church planter or are being misleading in aspiring to be a planter. Either way both are misleading and could lead to many serious problems when there are unqualified leaders planting and/or pastoring churches.
To be clear, I love church planting, I have had the desire to plant since I was 16, and I am moving to South Asia to plant churches in 2012. So hopefully this serves as a conversation starter about church planting, what it takes, who is qualified, etc. Any recent or future church planters out there care to weigh in on the conversation? I would especially be interested in hearing from those that under went assessment before planting by either their church or planting network.