UrL: Some people are taking issue with the idea that a pastor's sheep can be stolen because the sheep really belong to Christ. Where do you think the church member's loyalty should reside - with Christ, the church, the pastor, or all three?
Ed Young Jr.: I agree that church members and attendees don't belong to the pastor. They are God's people, called by him to serve him above all. Pastors are called to shepherd them, not own them.
The issue of pirating, though, isn't about the members' loyalty or about attendees finding another church. We tell people all the time that if Fellowship Church isn't for them, they should leave. And we lovingly direct them to any one of the phenomenal churches in our area.
The issue with pirating is all about what happens in the church leadership - specifically the staff. I've discovered there are several types of people around you: those who are with you, those who are for you, and those who use you. Pirates are the ones you thought were with you, but who end up using you for their own agenda. They are the people you, as a leader, pour your heart into. They're the people you laugh with, cry with, and share your life with, the ones you mold and shape.
Pirating rears its ugly head when those leaders that you cultivate work behind your back (and the church's back) maliciously and intently to gather their own "kingdom" and head out the door. The real issue is betrayal.
I have no problem with leaders being cultivated in the church and then being sent out to start new churches. But the key is that they are sent. When someone on your staff usurps the authority of the church, starts a rogue movement, and does their own thing, then you are dealing with a pirate.
UrL: Employees leaving a corporation to ...