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Keeping Enemies Close

I WAS IN MY NEW PASTORATE for less than three months when one of the founding laymen took me to lunch.

"It seems to me," he started out, "and I've confirmed this with a number of other key people in the church, that you may not be the right person for this job after all." He pointed to a couple of insignificant (at least to me) changes I had made in the worship service and how that had offended some people involved in our music program.

"In fact," he warned, "there are a growing number of people who just plain don't like you or where you're leading the church. I'm not sure those people will remain in the church if you stay."

This is yet another anecdote from the story I told in chapter 1. Perhaps it was a harbinger of what was to come. I certainly didn't realize it at the rime. After my forced exit, I realized that I had either ignored or avoided or didn't know about a key role of leadership: As a pastor, I must maintain healthy relationships with all the people in the church, even those ...

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