By the time you read this, my church will know that I am resigning and moving on to another church in another state. While I am excited about the new position, it’s not easy to say goodbye to a church I’ve called home for the last five years. I’m sad to think I won’t be doing life with these people, and that our contact will mostly be on Facebook, MySpace, and yearly visits.
But I’m also struggling right now. For the first time in five years, I have a very short-lived, kind of freedom. I can say whatever I want, and there isn’t much that can be done in retaliation. It’s not like they can fire me—I’m already leaving, even if they don’t know it yet!
Maybe I should rewind. I love my church. I love the community, the school, the organizations, and 98% of the people. It’s that two percent that have been getting under my skin for five years. Some of them oppose everything I’m for and spread rumors and gossip. There is always an endless list of things these people dredge up to bring unnecessary drama and distract the church from kingdom work!
And there are some of the leaders. We have a few leaders who don’t do anything other than enjoy their title, people who blatantly undermine and contradict the overseers, and some guy who still thinks drums are of the devil.
Man, I’d love to have one massive flesh moment and just really let them know what I think of them. I’ve got a speech with visual aids and everything. And honestly, there are some very valid reasons some of these people need to be confronted.
But if I do confront anyone, it can’t be out of frustration or because I’m leaving. It has to be out of love, out of a desire to see the church grow and benefit. And as I check out, I’m just not sure that I’m the guy meant for that task. Ultimately I think all I would accomplish is a bunch of burnt bridges and some sinful satisfaction in getting the last word as I ride off into the sunset.
And I’m speaking from experience. I went out in a blaze of glory from a previous church. Fired up with my righteous indignation, I gave my notice and then exposed the sin I felt needed to be dealt with. Suffice it to say, that particular pastor is not a big fan of mine and I don’t really feel comfortable visiting that church. And ultimately, nothing changed at the church. People don’t like conflict and when the loudmouth leaves, it’s easier to just go back to the routine than pursue the issue.
If I had stuck around to see it through, then maybe my action would have been justified, but isn’t that the point? Godly confrontation is done out of a desire to see the other person grow closer to God, a process that we are called to be a part of, not as payback on the way out the door.