Things have spun wildly out of control now, but the original conflict between my husband (associate pastor) and the senior pastor was a very reasonable point of disagreement. My husband describes it as a difference on mission strategy. You might say that the senior pastor’s philosophy is like street corner preaching: find a good spot, stay there, and proclaim the Gospel. Lots of people will hear you, and anyone who wants to hear knows where to find you. My husband, on the other hand, would go door-to-door, sharing the Gospel in a familiar context with anyone who was open to hearing.
As general strategies, I suspect that both of these have benefits and drawbacks. Neither is contrary to scripture. An open discussion of how these mission strategies are working/might work in our congregation seems like it could be productive.
BUT…. There has been no open discussion of anything. There has been a lot of anger and blaming. The senior pastor seems to think that knocking on doors and preaching from the street corner are mutually exclusive strategies, and to be unwaveringly confident that God wants all of us on the street corner.
We are a knock-on-doors family. I believe, and many others have affirmed, that my husband has been equipped to knock on doors and draw people into relationships with Christ.
Several street-corner folks have threatened to resign from church work, to leave the church and take others with them, or to divide the congregation if my husband does not stop trying to knock on doors. Several church leaders have continued for months to try and push us out.
It is devastating to be so consistently, aggressively rejected for practicing ministry in the way you believe God has designed you to serve. Sometimes I have thought it might destroy my husband, or me, or crush our family. It has nearly driven him out of the ministry altogether. I have felt abandoned, neglected, and mistrustful of the church.
A pastor recently suggested to me that it takes “an extra measure of faith” to trust God to work through the church when you are so close to its inner workings. There is plenty of sin to go around in here. Trusting God to use all this mess for His purposes is a challenge I’d rather pass up.