Which Church is God's Will for me?
“Should I stay in my church or find another one?”
This is one of the hardest questions for a young pastor to answer. Sometimes it comes from a selfish heart--"The music pastor won't let my son play the drums"--but often it comes from someone who genuinely wants wisdom.
For example, if someone comes to you with this question, and the circumstances revolve around difficulties with their church leadership, giving counsel can get dicey quickly. Imagine the culpability on our hands if we actually encouraged or empowered a divisive, dissentious, disgruntled young family to go against godly (though imperfect) leaders whom God has actually placed over them simply because we didn’t hear the whole story. We have all seen the ‘facts’ handed to us which presented a clear-cut case of unbiblical and ungodly leadership which couldn’t shepherd itself out of a wet paper bag, only to find out afterwards that the case-changing evidence which vindicated the leadership and indicted the disgruntled sheep had been omitted. “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13).
On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine a worse scenario than preventing a true sheep from breaking away from disguised wolves because we so quickly encouraged them to serve where they are and remain loyal. After all, every church has its fair share of flaws, right? In a world where false shepherds love to feed themselves by fleecing sheep and goats1 alike, I’m not comfortable with blind encouragement towards loyalty to every social gathering that calls itself a church of Jesus Christ.
Early on in my ministry, I crippled myself in these conversations because I imagined myself as the judge over the trial. To me fell the responsibility of weighing the evidence, giving a verdict, and to them fell the privilege of marveling at my wisdom and insight, rejoicing that their baby was still in one piece. That thought is wrong for so very many reasons. Besides the fact that I lack Solomonic wisdom, I am never the judge of another’s church, no matter how much wisdom I have. I felt an impossible responsibility to give a verdict about leaders, philosophies, and convictions held by ministries of which I was largely unaware. Yet, I have seen the foolishness of thinking that I could gain that kind of information from one conversation and, more importantly, that I was even supposed to sit as a personal judge over others.
There is a better way....
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