I have been the pastor of a small older church for 5 years. The direction of about 10% of the body is opposite of myself, (I am instinctively drawn to making disciples and reaching out to unbelievers, a number of folks here are uncomfortable with all that). I suggested that the leaders designate me as an interim pastor so that they could start a pastoral search. They were without a pastor for over a year before, and I thought it was the honorable thing to do and would get us thinking positively about it. I also thought we were friends with good relationships and a sense of trust. I was approached yesterday and told to take my stuff and go now- as in today. Yesterday became a crazy day as we moved both my wife’s (best CE person I have ever know) and my operation out of their building, it’s amazing how much stuff you have in your office, all now in my crowded living room! I think my head has stopped spinning by this morning. Now I’m sitting here grasping what happened yesterday.
I guess I had kind of a gut check that this could happen, a couple of the guys have been in that place, but it really hurts that they had no consideration whatsoever for the devastating impact this would have on my beautiful family. I am now trying to tell my children that church does not suck.
One of the leaders made a stunning statement as I was leaving the building. Referring to an elderly handful of people that had abandoned the church because of the usual things, (a sermon was 5-10 minutes too long, didn’t like the music, communion wasn’t done right), he said they: “are the people that need us most.” … I thought people going to hell needed us most.
This to me is a breathtaking statement. These people whom he said need us most are Christians, strong, prosperous, pretty healthy, resentful Christians.
God had lately given this little church a tremendous calling, and as is usually the case, we have seen the fruit right before our eyes. We have seen souls come into the kingdom in the last few months, it has been so exciting. But the leaders have decided that the folks that have been saved most of their lives, and that have abandoned the work because they didn’t like the songs 2 weeks in a row should be the consuming (and it is going to be consuming) focus of the church’s ministry.
And all those neighbors who are destined to go to hell unless they are reached for Christ? I guess they’re not our problem!
As a shepherd I have been putting a little pressure on leaders to be spiritual leaders over God’s flock, not just buildings and rummage sales, I guess they’ve just had enough. It is a very unhealthy body, and has been since long before my time. I’m wondering if it would please God more to confront reality than to sweep it under the rug in the name of unity. Oh well, not my problem any more.
It’s hard to let go when you have been a shepherd. But as I sit here I am beginning to feel a little more liberty in my spirit, what can I do today?
I think I’ll start by listening to this:
“Your love is teaching me how to kneel” – Vertigo – U2