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“Shepherds in a Ranching Culture”

Hal Poe wrote a column with this title recently for our local paper, The Jackson Sun. It is well worth reading. Hal underscores the importance of pastoral oversight and care and the value of smaller congregations.

Here is a piece of his warning about inherent issues of large, mass meetings:

The mass meeting has always had certain advantages in dealing with people. A spirit of enthusiasm can be whipped up that is impossible in a smaller group where everyone knows each other. Inhibitions often limit us when people know us, but in a mass meeting, there is only the crowd and each person can cloak themselves in anonymity. Whether a football game, a rock concert, a political rally or a worship service, the mass gathering allows us to lose our individual identity as we participate in the emotional experience of the crowd. A few skilled leaders can move the collective and drive them like a herd of cattle. It does not really matter what the individual cares and concerns may be, because the point of the meeting is a successful meeting.

Rather than pursuing the “bigger is better” model of church, Hal encourages us to plant other churches maintaining a close knit community where people can know and be known, where pastors can shepherd their people.

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