Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The 90 and the 10

And taking on my new role as the Associational Missionary of the Mell Baptist Association, I suppose that I will see churches and pastors go through many situations. I saw something today that I fear happens often, but was manifest in an open way, however too late.

A pastor who had been at a church for more than a decade, had began to make some changes a year or so back. Things went good for a little while, but then fell apart after the changes had been adopted. Then the grumbling started. This pastor who have been very patient with this church for years, was very patient yet again.  Reviling came, slander came, attacks came, unsigned hate mail came, and he suffered well.

However, as it sometimes goes, the attacks upon him and his family grew worse. There was a small number, maybe 10%, more powerful people in the church, who made the most noise, and most influential in causing harm to the pastor. There were a lot a very unchristian things that happened. Things that give the world reason to speak the worst about Christians. 

Eventually the pastor decided to leave. A few of the supportive people decided that they couldn't stand by and watch this take place, and they left before he could. After finding another church, and securing a place for his family, he submitted his resignation to the administrative team. He was to read his resignation before the church the following Sunday.

Sunday came, and the end of the service came as well. He approached the pulpit with trembling in his voice and his resignation in hand, but before he could read, one of the 90% stood up and asked if the self-identified "silent majority" could stand and come up there with him because he should not have to do this alone. And so they did, and they came and they came and they came and they came. It was a very touching scene. 

The stage was full of people. The steps to the stage were full of people. The choir loft was full of people. The aisle steps up to the stage were full of people, all standing in support of this pastor. It became very evident who the 10% were. The other thing that was interesting about this display, was that several of the 90% began to make public apologies, about their lack of support through out the attacks upon the pastor. They apologize about their silence, and how it had equaled complicity.

I have always been told about the 90 and the 10, that I had never seen it quite like that. Unfortunately my fear is that the 10% are in many of our churches, and that our shepherds are in danger of those 10%. And of course the related fear is that the 90% won't stand.

So if you are part of the 10%, beware, for the bible says to touch not mine anointed.  If you are part of the 90%, don't stand beside him, as he resigns in hopes of finding people who will do that for him the next time. Who knows, things might be different in many churches if good men arise and cause undercurrents of grumpy goats, or maybe wolves, and their efforts to be thwarted.  Many hearts were broken that day by a pastor who had poured out is life for many years.

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