Monday, January 5, 2009

Conflict in the Church

A while back, I asked another Christian blogger, I think Cathryn, or maybe Pam, to pray for my church, because it's experiencing conflict. I said I didn't want to post about it in case anyone from the church may read it. I didn't want anyone to feel bad, or appear to be negative, or something. I don't know. We are also experiencing financial problems.  Our former church treasurer embezzled from us, but he did make some restitution. We also have some people who have not been willing to forgive our Pastor for some things that happened when he first came, and they are not giving money to the church.  As you can see, I have changed my mind about not writing about it here, and hope it's God moving me to do this. I'd really like to know how many others are experiencing this in their churches.

I just got back from a meeting at church that I thought was held to discuss our various ministries. I thought it was in light of the financial problems, and to see where people feel the Lord may be leading us in order to move away from the past conflicts. I realized early on, that's not what it was. Pastor called it an open forum, and he was inviting people to express any concerns they had. Of course, most people talked about being weary of the conflicts, and of people taking sides against each other. The pain I've been feeling over this flooded me right away, and I put my head down and prayed while people were talking. I got up to speak to say that I am not one who has been in conflict with anyone, but I wanted them to know how much pain I've been in knowing people are not forgiving each other and working out their problems. I also said I've been in prayer, as a woman had gotten up to ask if people have been praying, and to give a personal testimony of its power in her life.

When I first started going to church, there was conflict between the pastor at the time, and the 2 preschool teachers. Most of the people at church had taken sides, and the Pastor, who I thought very highly of, ended up taking a call somewhere else, and some families quit and went to other churches. We spent a number of years with vacancy pastors, and ended up merging with another church of the same affiliation. There were some disagreements between people, and again, some left. Over the years, no matter who the pastor was, some liked him, and some didn't, but as far as I know, they respected them.

We had a pastor who had a strong, charismatic personality for around 10 years. He was the first pastor after our merge, and he led us into purchasing land and building our current church. There were people who went to our church because of him. Pastor was not perfect, even though some thought he was. He alienated some, and some did leave because of him. He and I did not get along so well, but forgave each other when we needed to. He ended up having to leave the pastorate for reasons I won't get into. We had just called an associate pastor, who filled in quite well, but wanted to remain an associate pastor. Half the church wanted to call a pastor as soon as possible, and the other half wanted to get a vacancy pastor. 

I have had conflicts with other people at church over the years, sometimes over things that were quite trivial, but God has always led me to forgive or ask forgiveness. Praise him for that!

So, please pray for God's will for our church, and if anyone wants prayers for their churches, you can write it here, or put a link to your blog. I feel Satan is at work in our churches, knowing the end times are here. I just can't understand why people are holding on to anger. It's OK to disagree with others, but don't write anonymous letters and criticize.  I'll have to type out Colossians 3:12-17 out in my sidebar.  It talks about bearing with one another and forgiving whatever grievances you have against one another.  I have brought that up at meetings, but think people are ignoring it.

"But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."  1 Corinthians 12:24b-26


  1. Oh, there's nothing like the church---sometimes more disturbing than the world, or at least so it seems because of our expectations---maybe. Will be praying---for God to have His way. All for our good and His glory.

  2. Hey Sue, Unfortunately what you write about is nothing new under the sun. I've heard it said before that some of the worst acting people are Christians against other Christians. Not to great of a testimony to a lost and dying world. In August I left my church of 30 years. It was the most difficult thing to do but I had to move on. They sure can't call me a "church hopper" with 30 years under my belt in one place ~ right. :)

    It is heart breaking. I pray that everything works out for the church and for you. I'm sorry for it ~ it is tough having church woes. Bless Your Heart ~ Cathryn

  3. Thanks for the comments, Pam and Cathryn,
    I have been going to the same church since the mid 80s. There have been a few times I thought of switching, but something would be said in a sermon, song, or Scripture that would speak to my heart to think God wanted me to stay.

    Recently, I have been thinking about checking out some other churches, but don't know if that's just me being weary of what's going on, that I barely understand, or if God is nudging me. I am thinking it's not time to go right now. We'll see.

    Pam, are you visiting any churches these days? Cathryn, I don't remember if you've mentioned whether you currently have a church you are going to. Yes, I've heard there is conflict in other churches, too. I don't like that! God doesn't like that!

  4. I am sorry to hear what your church is going through. I can see that you are keeping yourself in the Word and are a great example to your brothers and sisters. I can't imagine the heartache that accompanies this sort of attack. I'll be praying. God is sovereign and gets all the glory in the end.

  5. Hi Jnette,
    I have actually been going through spells of not being in the Word, and when I started my garden blog, kept telling myself I was going to get off at a certain time so I could do my Bible reading and prayer. I would end up going to bed and praying there, as I drifted off to sleep. That's why I started this blog, to keep connected. I still have days I don't read much, but am in the Word through the blog reading if I don't get my own open.

    It's hard for me to see God's plan in all of this, but I need to keep my focus on him and not the situation. I really didn't want to go to church this morning, but took myself anyway, and was amazed that the parking lot was full! He still is bringing in new people, even though there are some not coming.

    When I checked my church mailbox, I was immediately struck by all the boxes that still had the 2009 offering envelopes in them. It seemed to be about half of them. A few of the names, I knew would be picking them up soon, but I stood there and prayed for those people who haven't picked them up yet. I have prayed in the past for the people who hadn't picked their mail up in awhile. Do any of you do that?

    In Christ,