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GUARDING THE GATE

Can problem personalities be checked before they become board nominees?

In the front of the room stood an old blackboard filled with names, each a potential nominee for the deacon board. There must have been twenty-five on the list, more than enough to fill the eight slots. Then, just as the meeting was about to close, someone suggested a name. Dutifully, the chairman put it on the board.

Immediately, one of the other staff pastors leaned over to me and whispered, "They've got to be kidding!"

I nodded. All of us on the staff knew what his election would mean: trouble!

He was a man of great personal charisma, an expert at "God talk." But behind the scenes he was contentious and critical. To make matters worse, he was a disciple and personal friend of one of the most rigid Bible teachers in the nation. Always quick to notice an interpretation or practice that differed from his favorite scholar's, he was apt to see a conspiracy behind any decision he didn't like.

We waited for the senior pastor, the chairman of the board, or someone to speak up, but no one did. Apparently, ...

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