What our churches need are pastors who not only forgive the wrongdoer, but also persist in love and faithfulness to that person in spite of the wounds. Our churches need pastors who have laid their rights at the foot of the cross and are willing to pour themselves out for their sheep, in conformity to the Good Shepherd. As is appropriate, share your struggle with pouring out your life for others. Don’t break confidences or injure the reputation of the church or an individual, but do not shrink back from honesty in the pulpit. Your confession might be the key to someone else finding freedom and healing in Jesus.
It has been a few years since that painful encounter with the church board. I would like to say time has healed all wounds and I bear nary a scar, but that would not be honest. I still bear the wounds of that season on my heart. But today, I have some perspective on the journey and see the ways in which God has reshaped me through those dark days into a more accurate image of Jesus. I find I am being continually reshaped. As I continue to embrace the truth and challenge, I see how God in Christ acted not only on my behalf, but showed me how to act―to pour myself out for the world and for my church. May it become more true in my life each day.
Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell is a Nazarene pastor, wife, mommy of JoJo and Jack, teacher, lover of learning, and friend. She and her husband, Tommy, have served as co-pastors of several churches. Currently, Stephanie serves as co-lead pastor with Tommy, as well as the worship pastor at Mountain Home Church of the Nazarene, an extraordinary community of believers in Mountain Home, Idaho, and blogs at www.stephanielobdell.com.