The moral of the following story is that sometimes God allows bad things to happen because he wants us to make a change that we otherwise may not make. This can happen at church, school or at work. Just because you become displeased start asking God what it is He wants you to do. I was becoming unhappy with what was happening at my previous job. I decide to start my own business. The greatest thing in my career I have ever done. Otherwise, I would have stayed with my previous occupation and missed the many years of pleasure and joy. My business pays better and I don’t have 450 employees.

I learned this as a member of a church board of a very traditional church; we believed God wanted to give us a different vision and ministry. The board decided to make some changes and become a more evangelistic church reaching out to a community having many unchurched people in Las Vegas, NV.

Most Christians agree that not all traditions are essential. Traditions like wearing of robes by the choir, thundering organ music and the order of worship are honorable but not biblically necessary. But as we started, the very suggestion of change, all traditions suddenly become essential traditions and they don’t go without a fight. The reaction of some members of the congregation was unsettling.

We decided to clear the platform and have the minister sit on a front seat until it was time to preach. They would not introduce who was going to sing and no one gave their testimony before singing. It was a well-planned and organized presentation of the gospel that we believed would be more acceptable to non-Christians having been invited by Christian friends. After about three weeks we had three families leave because we had removed the American flag and were no longer being patriotic. Some asked why we were hiding the preacher. Had he done something wrong?

It was a problem making the transition from a traditional church, that ministers to a closed community, to a nontraditional church that reaches out to lost people. It can be hazardous! If it is not carefully and prayerfully planned and executed, the road to spiritual renewal can end up leading to ruin.

Our minister preached a long-term diet of teaching sermons to lead comfortable Christians out of their comfort zones. He taught the difference between that which is unbiblical and that which is antibiblical. Most of our Christian traditions were not necessarily biblical. For example there is nothing in the Bible that forbids women from taking an active part in Christian ministries or favoring a piano and organ over a guitar, drums and keyboard. Nor does the Bible say anything about things like choir robes, song books, Sunday School classes, the wearing of neckties or whether the congregation should applaud or not. These things are not biblical and we are free to decide for ourselves.

We are not free to alter things like God’s plan of salvation. The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace and when a church adds some requirement to this it is doing so in defiance of Scripture. Such things are antibiblical.

It was not easy to convince traditional Christians that the purpose of the weekend service is designed to help us reach people with little or no church experience. The purpose of the mid-week service would be to build up believers through worship, teaching and praise.
The transition did not go easily. The Board of Elders realized that spiritual leadership involved more than being right. It involves love and compassion for those who do not agree, or do not understand.

Spiritual leadership requires a sensitivity and skill at knowing when to do what. In some respects, spiritual leadership is like parenting. Parents have to know when to encourage, when to correct, when to stand firm and when to let go and let a child make some mistakes. Of course, parents also make mistakes and we, as a board could be guilty.

We realized one thing, nothing would happen until both the leadership and congregation, or at least most of it, was willing to listen and respect each other’s ideas and opinions. We had had to learn to cooperate with one another and once something was decided we had to set aside our differences and work together toward a common goal.

However, many became disenchanted and angry at the church. We spent hours in board meeting trying to determine what we could do to keep old-time traditional Christians from leaving the church. We finally realized our church was not for everyone. We believed our mission was to help other churches in the community to grow and help us assist in converting non-believers to become Christians. We reached the conclusion that the only way God could get them to where He wanted them was for them to become discussed and upset. Let me give you an example.

A non-Christian father received salvation and he and his daughter stay a couple of years at our church. They left to attend his parent’s church. His daughter became very active in that church and was a member of the choir. She was doing extremely well when the father decided to come back to our church. They were not here long before he became very displeased with most everything. He left the church very angry. My conclusion was that God wanted his daughter in the other church where she was active and contributing to the ministry of the gospel through the choir.

I have witnessed hundreds of Christians who have real issues with our church only to find that in transferring to a new church they became active and God was using them to minister where they were more active. In fact, this happened to me. I belonged to a different church in town and was on their board. I became very displeased with what was going on and changed churches. I had belonged to that denomination for 30 years and my wife all her life. God had a greater plan for my wife and me in our present church than in any other church we belonged. Had I not been displeased I may still be attending there.

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Larson

     /  October 31, 2013

    God took one son in a car accident 15 years ago. Now I have one dying of brain cancer. What should I have done to prevent this and what am I supposed tolearn from it? My mother-in-law pointed out that in all known history, our first son was the first child tope ever die in the family. Why am I being singled out to suffer while no one else in the family ever has even more than an occasional flat tire to deal with?


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