I heard Bill was upset, so our breakfast meeting came at my initiative. Pushing aside my cleaned plate, I finally said, "Bill, I understand you've got some concerns and I want to hear them personally. You have been part of this church since it was started, and I value your insights."
Tactful to the extreme, he affirmed my ministry, saying the church had grown since my arrival five years earlier. He said he appreciated me as a person. Then he blurted, "Pastor, we're trying as hard as we can, and nothing seems to please you. You seem to be out of touch with how we live."
Other words followed, but my mind began to race. My immediate thoughts obsessed on lowering standards, carnality, lack of zeal. Then an echo of a mentor reminded me that a direct confrontation can be one's best friend. I drifted back into listening.
Bill went on about time pressures and job demands and family finances, his struggles for godliness and the heartache he felt about his child's congenital illness. He told me ...1