30 August, 2009

People Never Cease to Amaze Me

It's happening again. Last Sunday there were a few people who approached me after the worship service to tell me, they "felt led" to leave our church and start attending another. If someone truly feels that way, then I have no problem with it, so long as they just go. But it never happens that way. They can stand and look you in the eye and tell you that they have no problem with you or your church, but that God is leading them... but then they start trying to lead the sheep of your fold astray, to take them with them to the church that THEY felt led to go to. That's when they start to do what I call "circling the wagons." What's that? That is where you find as many people as you can to join your side. It's kind of like in the old cowboy and Indian movies where they covered wagons would make a circle to make their defense. The only difference is that in this scenario they go on the offense, trying to take as many with them into their circle, because everyone knows that the more you have in your circle, it proves you are in the right.

Somehow, I just don't believe God is ever in that. If God leads you, then go, and keep your tongue in check. When you start running your mouth and trying to take others with you then you have just crossed into the realm of sowing seeds of discord, and that, according to the Word of God is an abomination before the Lord.
You'd think that after all the years I've been in the ministry I would be used to it, but I don't think you ever get used to people and their betrayal. Yeah, it is betrayal. You pour into the lives of people for years, only to have them try to destroy your ministry as they go. I know it won't work. I've been through it enough times over the years that I know we will not only survive, but we will grow through this. What bothers me deeply is that every time this happens, innocent people are hurt deeply. Usually it is the ones whom they persuade to follow after them to their new destination. The church they leave is poisoned in their mind by those who bad mouthed the church and the pastor, so they can never go back. Or, they feel guilty for leaving, so they can never go back. And the sad truth is, those that left this church will eventually leave the next, and the next, and the next... leaving behind badly wounded sheep as a telling tale of their legacy, and these wounded sheep are often destroyed spiritually because of all of this. It makes me sick, and I am sure it sickens the Lord as well.

I will say it again. If God leads you to do something, then do it, but don't drag others into what God is telling you to do just to prove what a great thing you are doing. When you drag others around from place to place, you leave wounds in both them, the church you left and even in the church you are dragging them into.


Michelle said...

this just shows they don't have the vision YOU have for the church. Let em ALL be gone then. This is probably what God needs to happen anyways, to further the faithful. Its a mentality that needs to go...so now its WENT! Praise GOd, now you can get busy!!

Becca said...

Pastor Garrett;
I have not been to your worship service yet but I enjoy reading what you write. You seem to me to be a very anointed teacher.Our Church also has been struggling with this we have lost many and it has created a financial burden for our Pastor. have been feeling like maybe God wants me to attend somewhere else but I'm not sure and I will be very careful not to talk about it to anyone. I just need to be feed more and I don't like the feeling of disconnect in our church. I will be praying for you and your Church. God is moving and Satan want to steal and corrupt. No way Satan.

Darrell said...

Thank you Becca. I hate hearing what is happening in your church. I want to be clear that we are not facing that kind of struggle within our church and I hope I did not give that impression. I am blessed to be pastor to some awesome folks that I dearly love. Again, I want to state that if God is leading folks to another church, I will be the first one to acknowledge that this does happen. But when it does happen, if it is a God thing, it should be a very peaceful transition and should not start involving others. If it does, then it CLEARLY is not of God.

Jeffrey Richard said...

Hey, Darrell, sorry to hear what's happening up there. I know the hurt of having people pull up stake and leave. We had a younger couple (not married yet, but not living together either) He grew up in our church, and his mon also was faithfully attending. His girlfriend's mom was dying of cancer. We were there for them through that, even giving up Christmas Eve to visit her on her deathbed (and her mom never once even visited-just was trying to be a good pastor). After she passed, maybe a month later, they missed. I sent him a text to be sure all was well, they were missed, etc, to get a reply that they just visited a church w/ old friends. When they missed the next week, I figured they probably all gone. Never got any return calls or texts. No "thanks for everything, but". Just disappeared. I'm not complaining, and we wish them well. They blessed us for 5 or 6 months. I just wish they'd have said something. At least they didn't try to stir up discord like your folks did. Not cool.

I found out first hand though how it feels when good people move on. It's hard not to take it personally.