Monday, January 01, 2007

Changing Church Part XII

An interrogator interrupted. “You didn’t inform your deacons, elders, or staff. You didn’t ask anyone’s advice. Do you regret these decisions?”

Anne turned a trembling face to watch her husband’s response. He was very young to be a senior pastor. According to their newfound doctrine, there should be no such thing as a senior pastor, just elders in the faith willing and able to teach in the congregation. “When God commands something in His Word, you do it. If everyone in the world was advising me not to, I would obey God. As to informing them, I don’t know. Looking back I recognize the reason I didn’t. This investigation would have happened before the congregation was made aware, and they might never have been told the truth.” Will always made absolute statements cautiously, trying to let this committee from the association know that he recognized the weight of the assertions he was making. He wanted to make sure that he didn’t say anything definite that he could not defend from the Scripture.

“We’re confident that God has worked through churches as they are. But we are also confident that God can work more effectively when we yield our traditions to Him. When we let Him change us, even in big ways.”

“It was impossible for me to just step down and find a little house church or something that believed 1 Corinthians 14, for example. As a pastor at this church, God gave me the responsibility to lead them, and to teach them His Word. I love my church, and I am not going to willingly abandon them.”

“You were willing, though, to risk massive divisions and confusion.” The head of the investigational committee continued.

“My husband has spent this entire week answering phones and visiting members of our congregation to answer their questions. He’s not ignoring these possibilities.”

“Anne.” Will’s voice was soft, but stern. Then he addressed the committee. “Picture a shepherd. He will lead the sheep to water even if the whole flock is headed in the opposite direction. At first only a few may recognize that their shepherd has changed directions. The flock looks ready to split. But the shepherd takes up his staff and comes around behind the flock to corral them together. He goes after those who missed the turn. One thing I will not do is run ahead of this church. We have made three primary changes: shifting the responsibility of teaching off of only one pastor and onto all the males, especially heads of family; removing an organized singing time and allowing instead a more request-oriented worship; and ending our nursery and children’s church service.

To God be all glory.

See index for first and additional chapters.

1 comment:

Believer said...

I have been reminded through your story that the hardest part of changing the church is changing the attitude of my own heart.