Jump directly to the Content

Last summer wore on long and hot at our church. A key staff member resigned and founded a nearly identical church a stone's throw away. Ultimately, about 20 percent of the congregation left to join him.

Each week I would look around and wonder about empty seats: Are those people on vacation or have they left?

To lose good friends hurts. I had to tell my 12-year-old son that he wouldn't be seeing his close friend very often, because their family was leaving the church, too.

I was recruited to fill a board vacancy of a member who left, and so I began receiving angry faxes and phone calls.

"I shouldn't let them bother me," I told my wife. Later, I decided to grant myself permission to be normal: of course they would bother me. But I resolved not to brood on any call or letter more than forty-eight hours. My resolve was tested.

Now, months later, our church has stabilized. I thank God. I also ask myself, What can we learn from the painful conflict we went through?

I've begun to form a list. Perhaps ...

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

A Whole New Attitude
A Whole New Attitude
To change a city, we first had to change our church.
From the Magazine
Our Pulpits Are Full of Empty Preachers
Our Pulpits Are Full of Empty Preachers
Tens of thousands of pastors want to quit but haven’t. What has that done to them?
Editor's Pick
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Matthew D. Kim believes addressing pain is part of a preacher’s calling.