Jump directly to the Content

PIECING TOGETHER A SHATTERED CHURCH

How do you minister to a congregation whose trust has been broken?

I was jogging down the street, thinking about my new church (I had arrived only a few weeks earlier), when a man I had never seen motioned with his hand for me to stop. I slowed down, stopped, and tried to catch my breath.

"Are you the new pastor of Suburban Baptist?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, smiling.

"I'll never go there again!" he hissed. Then he began an angry tirade about the church's hypocrisy, its control by a few members, its lack of love. It took him thirty minutes to finish.

I could tell he had been deeply hurt, but I wasn't sure what to say. I only knew this was going to be the most difficult pastorate of my ministry.

Following a Fallen Pastor

The previous pastor at Suburban, whom I'll call Fred Sharpe, had resigned under pressure from charges of sexual indiscretions and aberrant theology. When I had candidated, the pastoral search committee described the problems in general terms, with a note of sadness. "Fred was a man of unusual abilities," they explained.

Before Fred had become ...

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Power of Preaching Teams
The Power of Preaching Teams
Toolkit: Preaching
From the Magazine
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
How Jesus rescued a New Age psychic from spiritual darkness.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close