When we were first looking at the church that we presently attend, the pastor was a retired teacher and not exactly the image of vibrancy. One of the members was concerned that this might have a negative influence on our decision to join the church. So, the member commented that while the minister was advanced in years, he will probably retire soon. I responded by saying that ministers come and ministers go, but it is the people that make up the church.
What I meant by that comment is that while the minister may influence the church, the church is ultimately the people of the congregation. If you have a poor minister, he will leave eventually but not so with the congregation. If the congregation is bad, no minister in the world will be able to change that.
A bad congregation will resist all and any efforts to change them. At best, they will drive off any minister that attempts to change them. At worst, they will drive off all of the good people in the church and thus increase their strength.
The pastor in our church arranged for a healing service for the church council. It seems that there was a disagreement over church policy. Several of the council members were verbally attacked by members of the congregation and other council members. I guess the only part of the bible that these people seem to know is the part where Jesus threw out the money changers from the temple. Sad.
I know that the pastor meant well, but having a healing service for only the 14 of us on the council is just a drop in the bucket. What really needs to happen is a healing service for the entire church but that won’t happen. The bad people would not only resist such a service, they would also revolt and drive off the minister. Sad.
The first time that I really encountered the “bad people” was at a congregational meeting about two years ago. As the clerk of council, I got to sit up front and face the congregation. It wasn’t pretty. The venom that emerged was overwhelming. The way that some of the women spoke made me wonder if this was a church or a roller derby locker room. I certainly didn’t feel the love of Christ in their voices.
Over the years, I have seen a lot of good people leave the church. Almost all of the people, that I considered to be an asset, have left. This includes the person who was initially concerned that we might not join the church because the minister was too old.Â I suspect that they encountered what I have recently experienced.Â They rightfully said that this isn’t the only church in town and that they can do better than this.
The latest out break has convinced me that it is time to leave. This church is too far gone for any hope of rescue. In many respects it has stop functioning as a church and now more resembles a biker gang.
I suspect that the minister will leave soon. Others are already positioning themselves as the leaders of the church. Some even see themselves as dictators with absolute power over the church and its members.
The question that I am faced with is “do I finish out my term as Elder or do I just resign and leave?” Part of me doesn’t like the idea of quiting and I only have 3 months to go but the other part of me says that if I am going to leave, I should leave before I get hurt more than I have.
Sometimes after a council meeting I am so wound up that I don’t get to bed until 3AM. In short, being a member of this church is detrimental to my health. Church should be a positive and nurturing place and not a place where I have to be concerned about being mugged.
Needless to say, I did not attend the healing service. I didn’t see much point in it given my intent on leaving.Â When you are in an abusive situation, healing only lasts as longÂ as the next abusive encounter.Â And while I was not personally attacked, I find that the hostile atmosphere of this church is totally unacceptable.