Rumors about churches…
Man, I guess they’re to be expected. And especially about “higher profile” churches. But rumors can be damaging. The sad thing is when rumors are spread not as rumors (like where Pat Patterson will sign to play college football) but told as truth and matter of fact. Like the email I got yesterday.
But first a little background. The church where I serve/attend is a plant of a church in Tupelo. We are still deeply connected to them and are thankful for that. The church in Tupelo just celebrated their ten year birthday. They’ve done tons of good in the community and reached many people. But I can’t think of anyone on the staff who would say that they are perfect or there is not still room to mature and grow in effectiveness as the Body of Christ.
But I got an email yesterday from a friend asking me if something was true of our church in Oxford like it is our sister church in Tupelo. “Is is true that, in order to become a member of The Orchard – Oxford, one must present copies of one’s W-2 for tithing purposes? Someone told me that it is a requirement for membership at the Tupelo Orchard and asked if y’all have the same requirement.” Seriously? I mean….seriously?
Truth is, this “fact” had been spoken about as just a matter of fact for years I’m told. Now I don’t think my friend was making that accusation. But seems to have taken the statement about the Tupelo church as at least possible fact. I simply responded by asking that they find that “someone” and ask them to stop by The Orchard in Tupelo to appologize for spreading lies about them. Or to at least check facts before regurgitating them.
I mean, how damaging can that be to a church’s reputation? How hurtful could it be to ministries and ministers? How lame of a rumor is that in the first place? And to think that it was even heard more than once in a different church’s office? That’s super-extra-lame.
So…if you hear something negative about a church that surprises you, make sure you know your facts before trying to surprise someone else.