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.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Before You Resign, Read This
Before You Resign, Read This
5 important realities and hard questions that you need to consider.
From the Magazine
Christians Invented Health Insurance. Can They Make Something Better?
Christians Invented Health Insurance. Can They Make Something Better?
How to heal a medical system that abandons the vulnerable.
Editor's Pick
How Culture Shapes Sermons
How Culture Shapes Sermons
Recent books on culturally distinct preaching challenge misconceptions and equip diverse pastors to better address a multiethnic world.
close