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"We are resolved to put these patterns of behavior behind us, and become the unified body of believers that Christ anticipated when he prayed in John 17:23 ' … that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me.'"

"I hope this can be a model for others," Joudry said to me on the phone. "Each church has its story, has its 'stuff.' Our job is to face it. Face our junk. Face that elephant in the sanctuary that nobody talks about. Face it, stare it down, cry over it. Work through it. And when it's been wrestled to the ground, to get up and begin to look forward.

"It's dumb to act like we have no problems. And it's just as bad to take half measures. You can't fix congestive heart failure with band-aids. You have to dig down, dig right to the cause, look at ourselves."

Facing the problem has been messy and painful, and still is. Conflict always comes with aftershocks, with sad "what-if"s, with a sense of lost time, lost love, lost opportunities. But in the water and tears of an odd church service last year, many wounds were washed as one congregation faced their stuff and saw light on the other side.

A church repented for old sins. Reconciliation began. Something beautiful happened by the river in Madison.

Paul Pastor is associate editor of Leadership Journal.

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From Issue:Ministry Health, January 2014 | Posted: January 1, 2014

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Displaying 1–5 of 14 comments

Phyllis Lloyd

March 05, 2014  5:00pm

My eyes filled with tears as I read about the children of the pastors treated so hatefully. My parents were AG pastors and only by the grace of God was I able to answer the call of God on my life. We saw our parents endure horrific situations at the hands of members that could not possibly have had any sort of devotional life. Belonging to a church and being the church are two separate lifestyles. My siblings were injured by it all. The AG political system of voting and politics made me dread every voting season and even after 40 years of personal full time ministry...the word "business meeting" gives me shudders. God's will....will never take us outside of His ways. God hates divisiveness!

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February 22, 2014  7:08pm

Please remember, every "story" had two sides and this is only one man's opinion. While I won't disagree that some of this article is true, much of it is enhanced greatly. I was a member if this church for 14 years, came to Jesus there, and yes, it did have issues. And yes, I did leave and felt set free when I did. As far as the new church building being constructed down the road, it is much smaller than MAG by at least half. No one but Jesus is perfect and if we keep our eyes on Him and not on man, we will survive in Him.

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Steve Skeete

January 30, 2014  3:39pm

Meanwhile the people who started the whole thing build a bigger 'church' down the street and a new episode of Diotrephes and his kin commences. Help us, Lord!

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January 30, 2014  12:06pm

Where was Jesus the whole time in this church?

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Doug Tegner

January 24, 2014  9:56pm

Thank you for the article and example set by Pastor Jourdry. We had a similar situation to work through in 2006 and by God's grace we have experienced redemption, renewal, restoration and re-direction. I have been serving as Sr Pastor since that time and can attest to the vitality and ongoing repentance our church family is experiencing. We lost 1/2 of our congregation before our Solemn Assembly and restoration (of a former pastor) service. Yet, I too, even now, 7 years after the fact, experience bouts of depression, discouragement and anxiety with the leftover "losses" our congregation continues to be reminded of. (ie. 600 of our once-1200 member congregation, departed "for good"). Here is the article from Leadership Journal that expresses our testimony to God's redemptive work for this "repenting church". http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2010/spring/repentingchurch.html Tha nk you for stepping out in obedience to the Lord and for standing up to "ram" sheep who destroy His flock.

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