18th October 2010

Posted in

Blog :: I cannot do otherwise...

I've been thinking about how to describe my recent Church troubles to an uninvolved party - and I think the following pretty well captures where I'm at:

I attend a Church - lets call it Neighborhood Community Church or NCC for short. NCC has a leadership group of ministers, elders, and deacons. As a congregation we do not to have a head pastor in charge or a board of elders that runs things; the leadership is lay leadership, elected from the congregation, and decisions are made by consensus within the leadership group and in the congregation.

Recently one of our ministers left to work at another Church. In the aftermath of his departure another member of the leadership team accused the remaining minister of a variety of un-Christian conduct. The accusations are serious but are of the internal/attitude sort - envy, pride, and jealousy. Most of the actions that precipitated the accusation are themselves not wrong and certainly open to interpretation as to motive and intent.

The minister so accused denies the accusations. The rest of the leadership group also denies that anything serious has happened - while there were personal tensions in the leadership group these were not the fault of one individual and were addressed within the context of the leadership group.

Inevitably within a Church special relationships develop between some people. Perhaps it is ideological and theological alignment, perhaps it is ties of family or friendship; whatever the cause some members are closest to the individual making the accusation while others are closer to the accused or the other members of the leadership team. The result is that the Church is divided with some feeling strongly that the accusations bear enough weight to disqualify the minister from service while others feel that the accusations, unsupported as they are, should not be cause for action.

Despite no close personal ties to anyone on the leadership group I find myself firmly rejecting any actions based on unsupported accusations. It is un-Biblical to attempt to unseat a minister based on unsupported (and highly subjective) charges. Further it just doesn't make sense: to pursue such a course against the denials of the rest of the leadership group means they must all ultimately be deposed. There is no outcome I can see from pursuing such a course that does not lead to division - and that is precisely what we're experiencing as a body...

When one member of the body hurts, we all feel it. That's the way the body works - so even when I disagree with members of my Church family the pain that they feel leaves its mark on me as well. I would ease the sting if I could - but what else can I do while still doing what is right? I don't see any way - so here I stand.

Posted on October 18th 2010, 11:57 PM

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