Healing the War-Torn Church

I must raise the church's sights to how mighty God is, while lowering their view of the problems.
—Michael Phillips

Only one week after I had candidated and been accepted as the new pastor of a different church, my future congregants began to call. Our conversations were not happy talk, not effusions of "Things are going to be great." Rather, they dealt with the near, dark past and the frightening future.

"Pastor, we heard so-and-so is leaving."

"Pastor, the church is going to fall apart."

After the first frantic call, I said to my wife, "We made a big mistake." In the days to come, two dozen more people called, intensifying my regret and foreboding.

In my ministry, I have begun more than one pastorate on a scarred battlefield. As new pastor in a civil-war-torn church, you face a frightening task. Though you gallop on the scene like a hero, with backslapping and cheers and words of encouragement, when you sit behind the desk the first week, the reality sets in—this church really has been at ...

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