It seems almost every week I hear a horror story that would make Alfred Hitchcock cringe. They come in various forms, but usually involve a church/ pastor conflict where the pastor is booted out. Often this happens without any compensation or consideration for his health, family, or even the reputation of the church in a lost world. Throwing preachers to the curb should earn a spot in the X-Games, as some are gold medalists in that field.
It’s not unusual to see a church cut off a preacher at the knees. The end result is a pastor and his family who leave wounded and bleeding. There is little solace in the handful who silently support. Their vocal support was needed! Often the fear of men or the fear of losing business or long-term friendships is more important, even to the righteous, than doing the right thing.
How many pastors’ kids have grown up hating the church? Many of these men find it difficult to find another church because they are “branded.” Meanwhile, the so-called leaders of the ouster pat themselves on the back for protecting “their” church. It seems some folks think roast preacher is a pleasing aroma to God. No, brethren, it stinks to God and stinks up the fragrance of Christ.
I’ll admit there are pastors who create their own crises. They try to do too much…but is that worse than doing nothing at all? Some may need better people skills, but the bottom line is do they preach the Word? Liberals have great people skills, but they will ruin a church and bankrupt a nation.
While there are some who need to be dismissed, I find they are the exception, not the rule. Most church/ pastor conflicts are over preferences, not the Word. The issues rarely deal with immorality, unethical behavior, or anything illegal. Rather, the preferences of a few (usually not biblically based) and the opinions of men drive the man of God out the door. Lacking biblical grounds for dismissal, the church leaders throw out statements like:
– “We want a preacher who just visits the sick.” (That’s not biblical!)
– “We aren’t being fed.” (Pigs usually like anything, but I guess the meat, milk, bread, and honey of the Word give them indigestion.)
– “This is OUR church.” (Really? Are you kidding me? It’s the Lord’s church! )
– “We have a deacon run church.” (That’s not biblical either).
– “We don’t want to change.” (You won’t find that excuse defended in Scripture.)
– “We will not change.” (That’s the sin of stubbornness.)
– “The last preacher who tried that didn’t last long.” (Obviously an admission that the problem is not the pastor.)
– “I was here before you came and I’ll be here after you are gone.” (Lehman Strauss used to say, “I pray for funerals, and God often answers my prayers.”)
– “We don’t want a bunch of new music or young people in our church. They’ll change things.” (Translated, “Let them go to hell—we could care less.”)
The list could be a mile long, but you get the point.
In my denomination, we have over 42,000 churches and most of them are ineffective, declining, and dying. Drive by most of them on any given Sunday, and the parking lot is pathetically empty. Why? No power. I’m not talking about electricity. The lights are on, but they lack the power of God. Why? They don’t think they need it. They’ve lived so long without it that they think their way is God’s way.
In reality, they need to be shut down. Our nation is one of the largest mission fields in the world, yet we have more churches per square mile than any nation in the world. There’s a disconnect. The disconnect is we’ve got buildings with signs that say “church,” but they are nothing more than good old boy power clubs where the jerks are in charge and Jesus has no say or sway in what is done.
We’ve got dozens of boards and agencies in our denomination. I’m for forming one that recommends we shut some doors and sell some buildings. Or just kill the church off and resurrect a new church in its place where the old guard can’t come or attend unless they publicly repent.
Many of our churches could go out of existence tomorrow, and no one would notice or care. Somebody needs to padlock some of these places. They haven’t changed. They aren’t going to change. They resist change. They refuse to change. Even Jesus can’t change them.
They are Corinthian in nature. The Corinthian church was the most carnal, ungodly, whining, personality driven, disrespectful (of Paul) bunch of baptized people to ever walk the planet. They were carnal, they were filled with jealousy, strife, and envy, and they were playing favorites. They allowed immorality within the church. Unfortunately, not much has changed.