When I arrived at my first church fresh out of graduate school, I was oblivious to the fact that I had walked out of the warm, protected womb of seminary academia into a virtual battlefield of unrest and power plays. The church had a reputation of staff tensions, divisions, and in-fighting.
The previous twenty years had seen the appearance and disappearance of three strong-willed pastoral leaders. The original, founding pastor had retired, the second pastor had been asked to leave, and the third pastor, caught in the crossfire of controversy surrounding the first two, made the wise choice to move to another church. I have no doubt that each of them was a fine, committed man of God called to serve in that large congregation. However, I also know God does not call together church workers only to see them divide the body of Christ.
When I arrived, this large congregation had been without pastoral leadership for three months. The details of the battles among the multiple staff are being omitted, ...1