When You Discover Your Church is Messed Up

When You Discover Your Church is Messed Up

A few years ago I was leading a mission team through Central America when I got a call from a friend of mine. He was really shaken up as he told me that the pastor of my home church had just been removed for having an extra-marital affair (his second known affair).

I think he was expecting me to be more shocked. But I wasn’t really. Mostly because I’ve been hanging around the church a long time and I’ve learned a few things about how messy the church can be.

So yesterday a good friend of mine called and told me that last weekend her church went through a major upheaval. One staff member was removed for having an affair, the senior pastor got forced to resign for something or other (not a moral failure), and another staff member got removed. Basically, her entire church leadership team got ousted in one week.

I could sense the disillusionment in her voice. And I could relate. But I told her something I’ve learned is of utmost importance in those situations.

When you first begin to really understand that your church is made up of flawed people – including the leadership (and you) – it’s really important that you do what King Solomon says in Proverbs 4:23: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

It’s easy to get cynical and jaded, especially after you’ve had a few experiences like the one my friend had. But that’s the worst possible thing you can do.

Your heart is like a stream. If it gets polluted with bitterness or cynicism at the source it will impact everything you do. You won’t be able to help those hurt by the fallout of major upheavals because you will be fighting your own battle.

If you really want to live free it’s imperative that you keep your heart pure and get rid of any cynicism. The great thing is, Jesus says the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8). If you can keep your heart pure you’ll see God working, in spite of all the flaws in you and those around you. Your stream will be clear so you can watch with expectancy as he brings great things from even the most messed up of situations.

God is always at work redeeming everything, including messed up churches. Fight with all you’ve got to keep your heart pure and live free from cynicism.


P.S. If you plan to hang around at church in any capacity – staff, attendee, volunteer – I HIGHLY recommend you check out A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. It’s a quick, easy read that will challenge you and help you as you learn to live with and love the church that Jesus gave his life for. Click here to check it out.