Trouble is, Chip himself can't be troubled to keep that commitment. He took off to Korea for two weeks, smack in the middle of the series, to promote his r12 Christian/Living on the Edge ministry. I found this very disappointing. Considering we're all reading Chip's book for this series, who could better teach this material than our Senior Pastor? In the past, he's stated that all of these sermons are planned out months in advance, so frankly, Chip probably could have shifted his schedule around and managed to be here for all eight weeks. But ministering to the Venture flock isn't his job; he has a whole team of other people to take care of that. It often seems like Chip's big priority is promoting Chip and trying to turn r12 into the next Purpose Driven Life.
Venture Christian Church just doesn't feel like a community anymore. There are security guards stationed throughout the building during services to make sure you don't wander off. When you walk in the auditorium - frankly, I can't call it a sanctuary - it's nearly impossible to find a familiar face. Many of the fun, community-building events from the past, like the annual Christmas pageant and "Trunk or Treat" have been cut. On the back of each program is an indirect reminder to tithe: each week there's a total for how much has been given vs. how much the church needs. I wish there was a little more transparency about where all that money is going.
I suppose there may be transparency; I've never asked to see information about church spending.
I don't think I'm an inactive member of the church. I try to go to services every Saturday night. I tithe. I have an adopted kid in Ethiopia that Seanie and I support through the church. I am a member of a small group. I would very much like to take some of the classes offered - but they aren't offered during times that I can be at the church.
But all I ever feel is increasingly alienated from the pastors and the message of the Church.