For my church, 2012 was a tough year. It's good that it's over,
but having weathered it has given me an even greater appreciation
for our church--and our church leaders.
For my husband and me, it all started with a business meeting
early in the year that turned contentious. We hadn't been aware
that there had been secret meetings and a lot of unhappiness with
some of our church members until this meeting. You wouldn't believe
the things that came to light: a disgruntled group of folks made
hurtful accusations about our pastor, hired a private investigator
to follow him, and demanded that they get their way (or else). They
even sent emails telling people to stop giving and attending until
they got their way.
Of course, this all ended up with this group not getting their
way and they split the church. You can imagine what having half the
church leave did financially to our church. It was--and is--tough.
But in the midst of what I think would be any pastor's nightmare,
our church continued to reach the lost, minister to the needy,
preach the Word, and thrive.
And this is my ode to the great leadership I saw in our staff
who weathered the storm.
To you--our leaders:
I see in you gentleness to listen to scathing criticism and
still try to receive it and learn.
I see in you maturity to absorb the hurt, the attacks, the
cynicism and not strike back.
I see in you self-control to know that the whispering, gossip,
and slander were like a wildfire, but you didn't create a firestorm
on your side.
I see in you great trust in God as you chose not to speak
against those who left but instead encouraged us to bless them and
their new church.
I see in you humility to stay aligned with a denomination that
provides accountability and consultation in and out of the
I see in you renewed passion and commitment to focusing on what
God has called us to.
I see in you godly leadership to lead us to move forward and
straight toward what's on God's heart.
In the middle of the storm, Ray and I prayed about where God
wanted us to land. It was all so confusing. We told God that we
didn't know what to do and that if he would just tell us, we'd be
obedient--either way. Unlike so many of the folks I knew best, God
led us to stay.
Much like Jesus broke the bread and multiplied it for the
multitude, our staff was wounded and broken. But from those wounds,
we've seen God multiply great fruit in ministry since then. And
we've seen a healing within our church.
I'm so grateful for our leaders. My prayer for them in 2013 is
that they will be refreshed, healed, restored, and buoyed for the
great ministry God has entrusted to them!