Jump directly to the Content


Sometimes we are called to fight worthy battles, sometimes to build God's house.

My two pastorates differed greatly. Two Sunday afternoons, less than three years apart, typify the contrasts.

The first afternoon began with an awkward lunch. The atmosphere reminded me of the meal following a funeral-people smile and comment on the food, but inwardly their hearts are broken. I knew mine was.

Joining us at the table was our district superintendent and an elder from a sister church in town. They had come at the request of our elder board to spend the afternoon listening privately to the complaints and accusations of individuals in our congregation.

What had begun sixteen months earlier as minor skirmishes was now full-blown conflict with several individuals. The surface tension was over issues as petty as my decision to rearrange the office furniture. We also struggled with an undercurrent of controversy over the practice of certain spiritual gifts. But as I saw it, the real conflict was the issue of control-a small group in the church had served notice that they were in charge, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Church Staff Shortages
Church Staff Shortages
From the Magazine
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
As a child, I hid God’s Word in my heart. Now it sneaks out when I least expect it.
Editor's Pick
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
We have a unique opportunity to reset, pivot from old patterns, and look afresh at the future.