From the Pulpit & Into the Garden: "Grow Where You are Planted – Scatter Seeds of Inspiration!"

Posts tagged ‘pastoral resources’

Looking in the Rearview Mirror- The Ugly Side of Church Splits

What happens when members leave your church community or group?
Several years ago, I was on the receiving end of such an event.
Have you ever sat in church thinking this is going to be a beautiful day?You just said the Lord’s Prayer and shared a sign of peace.
Suddenly, you are lifted out of your state of serenity. Voices amp up and they are not praising God.
Jesus’ teachings are thrown out the window, and you may have to run fast, because you could get tossed out the window as well.
The food may be flying if it’s fellowship time.
Is this really happening? Yes! This toxic, dysfunctional behavior happens all the time.
Individuals enter a state of discontent. Bitterness begins to fester like an old wound.
Suddenly, the area is all inflamed, and anger rises to the surface. “It’s her fault.” “It’s his fault.” The chatter begins to spread and the lion is looking for its prey.
Lines are drawn down the center of the sanctuary, and if you don’t agree with the powers that want to be top dog, their fangs begin to show.
If you are a pastor or trusted servant, you or members of your family may come under attack; placed in the line of fire, by the people who were just praying with you, praising God.
For those members who are caught in the middle, it is like being like the crème in a Oreo Cookie. The cookie falls to the floor and is crushed by someone you once considered a friend.
Church splits happen because everybody is clamoring or struggling for a false sense of power and control, not recognizing it is God’s power and direction that we need most.
Recently, I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch such an event from the sidelines, involving a friend of mine.
Unfortunately, there are no winners in the ugly claw for dominance. Hurting people always hurt others.
Those who are disgruntled carry a deep resentment, and spread more sewage; never taking personal responsibility nor repenting for the harm that has been done.
Just hearing about this event brought up feelings of déjà vu. I resolved to pray for all involved.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about myself and what is acceptable in my own ministry walk.
As I looked in the rearview mirror, remembering dark periods in my time of formation, I recalled God did for me what I could not do for myself. He lifted me up by encouraging me to shake the dust from my feet and told me, “Don’t look back, look up and see all the greatness I have in store for you. Amen!”

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