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