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Ode to my Church

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 storm.

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!

Posted at 19:06

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