Archive for August, 2015

Let me share a little secret as to why pastors sometimes choose not to resolve every conflict they might have with someone in a congregation.

Pastors have a limited amount of energy.  They expend much of that energy – I’d guess a minimum of 50% – on the preparation and delivery of their weekly sermon … and that sermon is the most important thing they do all week.

Pastors also engage in staff management … board consultations … individual counseling … hospital visitation … special projects … social functions … conflict intervention … and an endless number of additional tasks.

And when pastors perform these tasks, they need to be at their best.  One careless word on his part … one misinterpreted action … and his imperfections will be spread all over the church.

Whenever a pastor has to deal with someone who is angry/hurt/offended, that encounter robs him of precious energy for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  Such encounters can deplete his energy and paralyze him emotionally, affecting the pastor’s ability to lead … pastor … and even preach.

Many years ago, I served on the staff of a church where the pastor was under assault.  Being a sensitive man – as most pastors are – the criticisms devastated him.

He called me on the phone and told me that he was so distraught that he couldn’t focus clearly enough to study for his sermon … which was only three days away.

But pastors can’t allow themselves to come to church on Sundays with depleted energy.  They have to be at their best, not just to please the Lord, but to inspire, encourage, and equip their congregations.

This little discussion leads me to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Let me make five observations about this verse as it relates to pastors:

First, Jesus does not include or exclude spiritual leaders from His instructions. 

Since the Lord wants His leaders to model submission and obedience in a local fellowship, I believe that these verses apply to pastors as well as regular churchgoers.  Pastors are “brothers” … and pastors sometimes offend their “brothers,” too.

Second, Jesus envisions a situation where one of His followers is estranged from another follower.

The term “brother” implies a spiritual relationship … maybe even a close one.  Jesus is talking here about interpersonal relationships inside the family of God.  He is not talking about relationships with just anybody.

Maybe your brother (or sister) is so upset with you that they are ignoring you … avoiding you … talking negatively to others about you … or lambasting you to your face.

Whether they’re justified or not, “your brother” (or sister) is angry with you about something.  There is a break in the relationship … and at least one of you knows it.

Third, Jesus implies that the offender knows what he or she did wrong.

Jesus says that while you’re in the very act of worship, you suddenly “remember that your brother has something against you.”

Do you know precisely why your brother is angry with you?  My guess is that you do.

It’s something you did … or said … or something you didn’t do … or didn’t say.

However, when it comes to pastors, people are often angry with them without the pastor knowing why … and this is because most people are scared to death to confront their pastor about anything.

If a pastor discovers that someone in his church is upset with him, must a pastor drop everything, contact that person, and try to make things right?

Some would say yes.  In fact, I have a book written by a former megachurch pastor who shares story after story about times that he sensed someone in the church was angry with him.  In every instance, he went to them … he is a very sensitive man … and said, “Brother, I don’t know what I did to offend you, but I want to tell you I’m sorry and ask you to forgive me.”

This is where I part company with the broad interpretation of this passage.

If I’m a pastor, and I definitely know why someone is angry with me … and it’s negatively impacting our relationship … I believe that I have a biblical obligation to take the initiative, contact that person, and see if we can work things out.

But if someone is angry with me and I have no idea why, I don’t believe that I have an obligation to contact them.  Instead, I believe that they have an obligation to contact me according to Matthew 18:15-17.

In other words, pastors need to take the initiative for specific, known offenses against their spiritual family members … but wait for others to take the initiative for general, unknown offenses.

Because of the nature of their calling, pastors lack the time and energy to “turn over too many rocks” in their congregations.  For if they do, they will undoubtedly encounter venomous snakes and scorpions … and they’ll spend all their time tangling with them rather than watching the entire flock.

Fourth, Jesus emphasizes the importance of resolving interpersonal conflicts quickly.

When I was a kid, my brother and I sometimes got into fights.  They never lasted long … and I usually won … but I didn’t always fight fair.

I’d hit him hard enough to end matters, and then immediately tell him, “I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

I wasn’t inwardly remorseful or repentant … just outwardly dutiful … and with my lousy attitude, my brother had every right not to forgive me.

In other words, some conflicts can be resolved too quickly.

But that’s not the case with most of us.  We let conflicts drag on … damaging our relationships … poisoning our souls … and sometimes spreading to others.

So when Jesus’ followers are offended, He wants them to resolve matters as quickly as possible.

I once worked for a pastor who was feuding with the chairman of the deacons.  Their feud was becoming known all over the church.  It was getting ugly.

One Sunday morning … before communion … the pastor publicly told the congregation that he and the deacon chairman weren’t getting along, and publicly asked for his forgiveness.  The chairman stood and forgave the pastor.  (What other option did he have?)

My problem with that approach is that now scores of people knew about a conflict they didn’t need to know about … but they did see their pastor model Matthew 5:23-24 in action.

I’ve said it many times: if Christians would just apply Matthew 18:15 with a degree of urgency … as well as Matthew 5:23-24 … church splits would be reduced to almost zero.

Finally, Jesus never modeled these verses for us.

In Matthew 15, Jesus warned His disciples against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  In verse 12, “His disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

Jesus didn’t apologize for His sentiments.  He didn’t feel convicted.  He didn’t seek out His spiritual rivals and tell them, “Look, guys, I didn’t mean what I said” or “I could have said things better.  I’m so sorry.”

No, He doubled down and told His followers, “Leave them; they are blind guides.  If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).

When I was a pastor, I once received a phone call from the son-in-law of a man whose memorial service I had conducted.  The man reamed me out for preaching the gospel at his father-in-law’s service and demanded an apology.  I refused and told the man I had every right to say whatever I wanted on my own turf … our church’s worship center.

I didn’t know the man.  He wasn’t my brother.  These verses don’t apply to such people … although “do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6) was more relevant to his situation.

But in Mark 3:20-35, Jesus’ mother and brothers were really worried about Him.  They thought He was “out of his mind” and that He was so devoted to ministry that He wasn’t taking care of Himself.

When they “went to take charge of him,” Jesus didn’t apologize for upsetting them.  Once again, He doubled down … refused to go back home with them … and said to the crowd surrounding Him, “Who are my mother and my brothers?  Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus didn’t say … as that sensitive pastor did … “I don’t know what I did to offend you, but I want to tell you I’m sorry and ask you to forgive me.”  No, Jesus ignored His mother and brothers … claimed His listeners as His spiritual family … and focused on the mission the Father had given Him to do.

I don’t pretend to understand completely all the ramifications of this passage.  It’s been one that has troubled me over the years, and I’m not always sure how to apply it.

But I hope that my thoughts will cause you to think through not only the truths of these verses, but also their importance in your spiritual and relational worlds.

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There are occasional verses in Scripture that I don’t fully understand.

And two of those verses are found in Matthew 5:23-24 in the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus says:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Jesus seems to be saying, “If you’re in the act of worshiping God, and suddenly recall that a fellow believer is angry with you, suspend your worship, seek out your friend, make things right, and return to worship renewed.”

These two verses seemed simple to live out … until I became a pastor.  And then I ran into all kinds of scenarios where I tried to live out these verses but wasn’t sure how to apply them.

Some examples:

*How about when a pastor stands up to preach?

Some Sunday mornings, I would walk up to the stage … look out over the congregation … see several people who didn’t like me … and wonder, “Should I keep on preaching, or stop everything and find out why those people hate me?”

I kept on preaching … but did I violate Matthew 5:23-24 in the process?

*How about when people leave the church without telling you as pastor?

One time, a family had stopped coming on Sundays for several weeks, and someone told me they had left the church.  So I drove over to their house and knocked on their door, and the man of the house appeared.  When I asked if I could speak with him and his wife, he refused because his wife didn’t want to talk to me.  Although she later returned to the church for a brief time, the family ultimately left for good … and they never did tell me what I had done wrong.

I tried to apply Matthew 5:23-24 in that situation … so why didn’t it work?

*How about when someone continually asks if you are angry with them?

Years ago, a staff member came to me every few weeks and asked me, “Are you upset with me?  Have I done something to offend you?”  I wondered, “Am I giving off accidental signals that he’s displeased me?  Or is he just an overly-sensitive individual?”  Although he was trying to live out Matthew 5:23-24, in my view, he went way overboard.

Let’s reverse this situation.  How would you feel if your pastor came to you every few weeks and asked, “Have I done something to offend you?  Please tell me what I’ve done so I can make things right between us!”  Would you start to run every time he got near you?

*How about when someone comes to you and says, “So-and-So is really angry with you?”

This scenario happens to every pastor.  Whether they’re meddling or just want everybody to get along, some churchgoers seem to ferret out offenses that the pastor has committed against others … then come to the pastor to report the bad news.

If a pastor has preached his heart out at two services on Sunday morning, and a Christian ferret comes to him after the service and says, “There are four individuals in this congregation who are really upset with you, pastor,” should the pastor spend the rest of his Sunday contacting these people to make things right with them?

But most of the time, when I have approached people who were reportedly incensed at me, they denied that they felt that way at all … and sometimes, I felt like an idiot.

Is that a valid application of Matthew 5:23-24?

*How about when a pastor makes a decision that negatively impacts many people in the church?

I once attended a leadership conference at a prominent megachurch.  A well-known pastor told us that he once tried to impose a major change on his church, but because he didn’t handle things wisely, many people were either upset with him or stopped coming altogether.  In the spirit of Matthew 5:23-24, this pastor visited every home that he could identify where people were upset with him, and he apologized for his behavior personally.

While I have great admiration for any pastor who would humble himself like that, I also wonder if that was the best way to handle that situation.

I am not trying to evade what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:23-24, but I am trying to understand His words so that pastors know when to apply them … and when not to do so.

What do you think Jesus was saying in those two verses?

I’ll have more to say on this topic next time.

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Many years ago, I saw an ad in a Christian publication promoting a product I found offensive.

A certain televangelist was inviting churches to buy satellite equipment so they could beam the messages from his church into their worship services.  The idea behind the ad was that if a church really wanted to grow, then its people needed to listen to this single gifted man.

The ad outraged me.  This televangelist came from the South, while our church was in the West.  He came from a charismatic church, while ours was non-charismatic.  He often used a condemning tone, while I tried to speak with grace.  He did not know our people, but I did.  And he was not a biblical expositor, while that’s what I loved doing most.

How dare he presume that every church in America needed to hear him preach every week rather than their own pastor!

I hope that few churches signed up for this offer.  Not long after that ad came out, that televangelist engaged in some extracurricular activities that resulted in the satellite dishes being turned off … for good.

While that was an extreme case, the Christian world seems to be increasingly listening to fewer and fewer biblical teachers.

Many churches now have only one teacher in the entire congregation: the pastor.  Since most churches don’t offer adult classes or Sunday evening services or midweek worship anymore, the pastor becomes the lone communicator of biblical truth by default … or design.

Even if a church has small groups, leaders are usually instructed to facilitate discussion rather than teach in any meaningful way.  And increasingly, that discussion is about the pastor’s message from the week before.  So even gifted teachers who lead such groups aren’t supposed to teach anything, but let everyone talk.

There are pros and cons to this approach.

For starters, it helps some preachers lead a more balanced life.  I once knew the pastor of a megachurch who told me he studied 50 hours every week.  (You read that right.)  He studied 15 hours for the Sunday morning service, 15 hours for the Sunday evening service, and 20 hours for the Wednesday night prayer meeting.

Why so long for the Wednesday night service?  Because he never knew who might show up to hear him, and he wanted to be accurate in his teaching.  (John MacArthur showed up a few times unannounced.)

Forgive me, but that’s insane, if not self-destructive.  In fact, that pastor died less than two years after he shared that information with me.  Since studying is a sedentary habit, the lack of bodily movement may have done him in.

So that’s one extreme: the pastor is the primary teacher in the church and teaches all the time except when he’s on vacation.

We now have another approach which I believe is much more healthy: the pastor shares the teaching role with several other gifted communicators.  Each teacher may teach for an entire series and then take the next one or two off, or each teacher might be assigned a different Sunday during the same series.

The advantages are enormous.  The congregation gets to hear from several gifted teachers.  The pastors have plenty of time to prepare their messages.  And messages can be divided up by specialties.  It can be difficult listening to the same voice all the time, but if you hear two or more voices, it’s much easier to take.

The downside, of course, is that most churches can only afford one gifted teacher, not three or four.  And the more gifted someone is, the more often they want to speak … and the more often the congregation wants to hear them.

Now a few megachurches are planting satellite churches in outlying areas and sending a live feed of the message from the mother church into those venues.  A church I once attended has been doing this all over the Phoenix area and has started several satellite campuses in the area where we used to live.

When they did this, they absorbed another megachurch.  The pastor from that megachurch taught periodically at the mother megachurch, but several months later, he left … and hasn’t been heard from since.

It seems to me that technology is leading to a social Darwinism in the Christian community.

For example, a pastoral colleague recently told me that Rick Warren was opening up a satellite campus in his community.  What would happen in your area if that happened?  Would people from your church flock to the satellite campus and desert your church and pastor?

Is this about reaching more people, trying to amass the most followers, increasing revenue streams, or all of the above?

I have six concerns about this particular trend:

First, what happens when a popular teacher veers off course theologically? 

If thousands of people have to choose between the teachings of Paul the apostle or their favorite Christian communicator, who will they choose?  There is a Gen X preacher who is clearly off the rails theologically, and I know someone who thinks he’s great.  How much effort should I expend in trying to convince him otherwise?

Second, what happens if a famous teacher falls morally?  

Twenty-five plus years ago, some of America’s best-known Christian leaders were involved in sexual scandals.  It was a hard time to be the pastor of any church.  I remember one woman (who did not attend our church) who kept calling and implying that all these guys were crooks.  Although there have been fewer scandals in recent years (thank God!), when we farm out our teaching to a chosen few, those teachers seem to represent all of Christianity to many people.  And if a few of them go down, it impacts everybody.

Third, what happens to smaller and medium-sized churches? 

Back in the 1990s, Christian pollster George Barna predicted that the days were coming when most churches in America would be either small or large and that medium-sized churches would soon become extinct.  I’m not worried about the satellite churches winning lost people to Christ.  There are enough unbelievers out there for everybody.  Instead, I’m concerned about believers in smaller churches who have struggled for years to make their church go and finally leave it to join a satellite church.  While the jury is out on this approach, I hope we’ll see the results of surveys on this trend soon and be able to adjust accordingly.

Fourth, why are we letting a few people do all our thinking for us?  

I once heard a new pastor in Silicon Valley tell a group of pastors that whenever he started preparing for a message, he first read all the commentators and then added his own thoughts.  My immediate response was, “Why aren’t you letting God speak directly to you first?”  Like many pastors, whenever I selected a passage to preach on, I first did all my own work and then consulted with the commentators to check my conclusions.

I didn’t want to preach a message that God gave to Chuck Swindoll or Bill Hybels: I wanted to bring a message to our people that God had given me.  Since many of these satellite churches hire pastors to be on premises while the megachurch pastor is speaking on satellite, how do they feel about having their teaching gifts shelved?

We need tens of thousands of pastors all over the world who don’t buy sermons from Rick Warren but who let God’s Spirit speak directly to them through His written Word.

Fifth, what is this one-teacher trend saying to other gifted teachers in a local church?

Let me share my own situation.

My primary spiritual gift is teaching.  It’s what I love to do more than anything else.

But after 36 years in church ministry, I don’t think I will ever be able to use my gift again inside a church.

Why not?

If I attended a small or medium-sized church, and the current pastor found out I was a former pastor and invited me to preach … and I did well … I would become a threat to him … and he would never ask me again.

If I attended a large church or a megachurch, it would probably take me years to be asked to preach … because 36 other guys would be asked before me.

So my teaching gift sits on the shelf, unused and unvalued by the wider body of Christ.

I wonder how many other gifted teachers have been banned from using their gifts in local churches because of the one-teacher approach?

Finally, what happens to rookie preachers? 

I preached my first sermon at 19 years of age in a Sunday night service at my home church.  While it wasn’t very good, my church let me teach many more times because I told them I had been called by God to preach.  There were a lot of venues back then for someone who was learning to preach: Sunday School classes, the Sunday evening service, the midweek service, as well as the local rescue mission.

But where does a preacher learn to teach today?

I have always believed that if someone is called by God to preach, they should preach first in front of their home church.  But the larger your home church is, the less likely that is to happen.

Before I became a pastor at age 27, I had preached in a church setting about 50 times.  There were a lot of things I had to learn – and a few I had to unlearn.

But with increasingly fewer opportunities, where can a young preacher learn to develop his gift?

Acts 13:1 says that the church in Antioch had “prophets and teachers” [plural], including Barnabas and Saul.

1 Timothy 5:17 mentions “the elders who direct the affairs of the church well” and then singles out “those [plural] whose work is preaching and teaching.”

Seems to me that New Testament churches didn’t have just one teacher … they had multiple teachers.

Romans 12:6-7 says, “If a man’s gift is … teaching, let him teach …”

If local churches have one only teacher, where are the other gifted teachers supposed to teach?


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“If you can preach, people will forgive you for all kinds of mistakes, but if you can’t preach, they will nail you on everything they can.”

That’s a paraphrase of what a megachurch pastor once said during chapel when I was in seminary … and there’s a lot of truth in that observation.

For a long time, I have believed that the primary way for a pastor to create conflict in his church is to promote change without first receiving the approval of the board, staff, and key leaders.

Change creates anxiety … causes people to complain … the complainers organize … they oppose the change maker … and if he doesn’t comply with their wishes … they strategize his demise.

But I have a theory … and I haven’t read this anywhere … that preaching may ultimately be the primary source of conflict in a local church.

Let me make my case:

First, the pastor is the only authority figure in modern life who tells people collectively how to live.

When I saw my doctor recently, he offered a few suggestions for helping me to become more healthy … but he did not gather all his patients in a room and bring us a lecture.

When I see a politician giving a speech on television, if he’s too prescriptive (Americans need to drive less, cut our electrical use, conserve water) I might talk back to him or change the channel.

All week long, we resist people in our lives who tell us how to live … even if they’re experts in their field.

And then we come to church on Sunday.

And what happens?  A man stands up … using the Bible as his source … and tells us: “You need to trust God more … humble yourself before the Lord … share your faith with your neighbors … treat your wife better … be honest at work … obey our country’s leaders …” and so on.

If we believe the Bible … and we like the pastor … and we’re walking with the Lord … we’ll want to comply with the pastor’s directives.

But if we don’t believe Scripture … or we dislike the pastor … or we’re not walking with God (and this incorporates a large percentage of any congregation) then we may very well resist the pastor’s words.

Paul … Stephen … Peter and John … all were persecuted because of their preaching.

They didn’t arouse opposition because they were disorganized administrators … or insensitive counselors … or poor staff supervisors … or even weak leaders.

No, they aroused opposition because of their preaching … just like Jesus did.

Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what a pastor says … just that he’s the one saying it.

My guess is that people complain more about their pastor during the two hours after he’s preached than during the rest of the week combined.

Why?  Because he’s just finished telling them how to live … and they don’t like it.

Second, the pastor arouses rebellion by preaching against specific sins.

If a pastor preaches against the sins of others, we’re all for him.

But when he starts preaching against our sins, we may very well rebel.

And if he doesn’t stop, we may even seek to take him out.

I think it’s safe to say that if John the Baptist were around today, he wouldn’t have a large congregation.  His preaching was too specific … too condemning … and way too personal.

Yet Herod Antipas liked to listen to John preach.  Mark writes that “Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man” (Mark 6:20).

But Herod’s wife Herodias felt differently: “So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him” (Mark 6:19).  Why did she feel that way?  “For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife'” (Mark 6:18).

It took Herodias a while, but she finally took John out … for good … because he was preaching directly at an area of her life (marriage) where she refused to change.

It’s possible for one family member to love the pastor’s preaching … and for another member to hate it … even though the pastor has no idea who feels which way.

Whenever I preached against a specific sin … and if you’re being honest with the biblical text, you have to so … I hoped that my preaching would cause people to experience immediate transformation in that area of their life.

But sometimes, preaching causes sin to surface in someone’s life … at least for a few minutes.  If people repent, they’ll grow spiritually.  But if they resist, they’ll blame the messenger for coughing up their pain.

The experts tell us that it only takes 7 to 10 people to force out a pastor in any size church.

My guess is that a high percentage of those individuals are getting back at the pastor for preaching against specific sins in their lives … even if they aren’t conscious of it … and won’t ever admit it.

Third, the pastor’s authority, words, and manner can arouse open resistance.

Resistance toward preaching takes various forms:

*Not showing up.  During the final few months of my last church ministry, one board member in particular stopped coming to worship services.  I’d look down and see his wife … smiling … but he wasn’t sitting next to her … and I knew that wasn’t a good sign.

*Wandering around in the back.  In that same church, another board member never brought his Bible … and spent his time during my sermon doing everything besides sitting down and listening to the sermon.

*Watching from another room.  Still another board member from that church wouldn’t come into the worship center, but watched the service from a monitor in an adjoining room.

*Crossing arms.  My worst all-time antagonist once left the church for a year, then returned on a Sunday when I was preaching through Mark and spoke about Herod Antipas executing John the Baptist.  The antagonist sat twenty feet away from me with his arms folded … staring me down … then complained to the board chairman that I aimed the sermon at him.  I will never forget his body language that day because he launched a rebellion soon afterwards.

*Rarely looking up.  I’ve written before about a board member who spent 90% of the sermon time reading the notes in his Scofield Bible.  If all the pastor ever sees while preaching is the tops of some people’s heads … and they won’t look at him … that may signal resistance in action.

*Criticism after the sermon.  One time, when I served as guest speaker at a church, a staff member came to the front to make the announcements after I spoke, and tried to rebut something I said during the message.  I’m not sure everyone caught it, but I sure did.

This resistance could be to the pastor as a person … or a leader … or a counselor … and be communicating the message, “I don’t like or respect you, so I certainly don’t want to listen to you.”

But it could also be resistance to the pastor’s tone … speaking style … use of language … stories … cadence … sense of authority … or any one of a hundred other things.

Whether the pastor’s preaching reveals or causes resistance, though, there is no doubt that most church antagonists find fault with their pastor’s preaching … even if they never tell him to his face … but discerning observers may very well notice.

Finally, the pastor claims to be speaking for God … but some hearers just won’t buy it.

I was a pastor for 36 years.  During that time, what give me the right to stand up and tell people how to live?

In my mind, I was called by God to speak the Word of God to the people of God.  Any authority I had came from God’s call to ministry and from using Scripture as my authority.

While a pastor is speaking, many of his hearers identify him as God’s messenger … and sometimes, with God Himself.

And whether they’re conscious of it or not, they can project their feelings about God onto their pastor.

If they’re angry with God, they can become angry with their pastor.  If they’re disappointed with God, they can become disillusioned with his messenger.  If they’re wounded because God hasn’t protected them from suffering, they can blame God’s servant for the way they feel.

Seven years ago, I gave a message called “Defending Biblical Marriage.”  Using Matthew 19:4-6 as my text, I stated that Jesus reiterated that God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Without my knowledge, a board member and his wife invited a journalist from the local paper to hear me speak that day.  Being an unbeliever, I heard that she did not like my message … and later on, that leader asked me not to speak anymore on controversial issues.

But I couldn’t do that.  I had taken a vow at my ordination … which none of the board members knew about … that I would preach the whole counsel of God … which, in my mind, means that I am free to speak on any and every issue as long as I’m basing my remarks on the authority of God’s Word.

It is entirely possible that the ensuing conflict in my church was launched after I gave that message.

A colleague of mine who does church interventions once told me that he visited a congregation that was having massive problems.  As I recall, the pastor had been forced from office.

During his intervention, my colleague discovered that 14 church leaders were engaged in sexual immorality.  14!

Let’s say that you were the pastor of that church, and you were preaching through the Ten Commandments, and you came to the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.”

With 14 leaders violating that commandment, how do you think they would respond to you?

They’d want your head.

Yes, conflict often arises in the church parking lot … and inside staff offices … and through cell phones … and during board meetings.

But my theory is that conflict originates more often inside the worship center during the pastor’s sermon than in any other place in the community.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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