The excitement of my minister friend and his wife is fresh in my memory as they told me about the great people at their new church—especially the one man who made them feel so welcome. He'd even given them a new washer and dryer at his own expense.
Equally memorable is this friend's pain six months later as he told of the difficulty he was having in his consistory—especially with the one man who so recently had welcomed them to the parish with open arms and gifts. The problem? The gift-giver wanted things done his way!
There's an old saying, "Beware ot those who meet you at the train." The message for pastors is borne out by the experience of manv of their colleagues. The ones who welcome you to your new parish with gifts and glad hands may soon try to control your ministry.
To be sure, manipulation may not be a conscious intent of the giver. One minister accepted a new car from a church member, no strings attached. A few months later this generous person very nicely remarked ...1