A Little Book for New Theologians by Kelly M. Kapic brought many unhappy church related memories to the surface that had been either forgotten or pushed aside. At the time of their occurrence, no doubt I probably questioned the purpose or “organized religion” and possibly even uttered the phrase “does a Christian really need to go to church?”
Once such event occurred about five years ago. I was asked to be the associate pastor for a church plant. The church planter was a friend of mine whom I worked with previously at another church. For as long as I knew this man, he wanted to be a lead pastor.
Finally the opportunity presented itself. The plan was simple – meet people in our community, begin a home Bible study, and grow ...view middle of the document...
As his appointed associate pastor I tried speaking to him about the matter, but he wasn’t willing to listen. Sadly, we parted ways after a few attempted conversations, both as partners in this church plant and as friends. I was not free from blame. I too was blinded at first.
Humility and Repentance, chapter 7 of Kapic’s book, painted a picture of this event perfectly. “Pride has lost sight of the gap between the holy Creator and sinful humanity, producing self-absorption and contempt for others.” (p. 71) My friend and I lost sight of what we needed to be doing and became wrapped up in ourselves and being a ‘legitimate’ church to a community that just needed to be served and loved.
In a few short years, the church closed its doors…but the story thankfully doesn’t end there. My friend and I reconnected about a year ago and talked about all that occurred. Over the years, we each had reflected on the events and had seen where we went wrong. This “revelation” allowed each of us to repent, grow, and then draw closer to God as a result. My friend now pastors a church where he is quite happy and has solid support around him to help him stay focused.
Kapic nailed it perfect when he said, “Repentance occurs not only when we recognize the need to change our actions but also when we change our minds after discovering improper or weak thoughts regarding God.” I believe what was suggested is mostly what I attempted, brining the truth to light in an attempt for us to repent and refocus on serving Christ.
This dichotomy of leading and serving is an easy one for pastors to fall into these days. We must remain focused on what we are called to do and not allow the ‘position of power’ blind us to the Great Commission.