Hey Friends, today I’ve asked Kelly to help answer the question why bother with church? She has graciously decided to share a personal story of conflict and forgiveness within her local church. I’m sure many of us can relate to this type of situations. I’m also sure many of us can use and give the forgiveness Kelly encourages here. Only by grace, Kelli
Imagine two preschoolers stacking up some blocks and making a tall tower. Then one of them decides he doesn’t want to build together, and with one swift hit he smacks it and down it goes. Similarly, there’s nothing that knocks the church down faster than division. The force behind that is the one known as the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12:10), laughing at his dirty work. But the devil cannot be blamed for everything. Christians get it wrong sometimes. Not you, of course. It’s those other Christians. Like me.
Let me tell you a story.
I used to be director over one of our younger kids’ classes at church several years ago. There was some spiritual block-building going on. The previous director had stepped down, and there was no one to take her place. Coming from a family who planted a church, I saw a need and filled it. God started dropping a new vision in my spirit for that ministry.
God gave me a burden for those kids, which propelled me to volunteer to be their lead teacher every week for a year. Previously, the lead teachers were on a rotation basis. During that year, I broke the class into two sections by age, renamed it, redecorated it, and gave it a new format. That class? It was my blood, sweat, and tears.
Early on, God showed me the woman He had planned to be the director after I finished making all those changes. The time came to train her. At the beginning, it went well. After all, she had experience and was gifted. But then the month came when we were in transition over to her becoming the new director and I was her oversight. It wasn’t long when the block tower started to fall.
Part of my method of training was to “inspect what I expect.” I saw changes on one of the activities, and I matter-of-factly told her so. She let me know that it didn’t work that way for her, and she preferred to do it another way. I remained stubborn. We were butting heads on non-essentials—a division of methods. I had spent hours figuring out how every detail was going down, and since I was over this project I expected my trainee to do it my way! I was going to continue to coach her until she saw the light!
I learned she worked best when she could get all the information and instruction at once, and then go do it. My overseer said she worked the same way, and if someone wanted to continue to instruct over her shoulder it would drive her crazy. Were the kids going to go to Hell if the details weren’t to my liking? No. Finally, my overseer told me she could handle it, and I was able to fully focus on the music ministry again.
I was wrong. I was so wrong. Even though God had entrusted me with this special work, I bombed big time. I had to repent of so many feelings and chose to forgive her. You know what? She chose to forgive me, too. And thank God she did, because she could have walked out in offense never to teach that class or even return to our church.
Last year I was speaking on a panel at our ladies’ retreat, and a question was asked along the lines of the leadership getting it wrong. God stirred me to take the mic, and refer to this story. Leaders make mistakes. We are learning, too. Check your heart, forgive and pray for your leader, and walk in love. I was grateful when someone gave me grace when I messed up. We are all growing spiritually.
After that session was over, we caught up to each other, and I apologized again. She was emphatic, “I had some things to learn, too. You know what, this is my family. I’m not going anywhere. I love you.” Big hugs were in order, and I wiped away some tears.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Why bother with church? She’s our family. Family is designed to stay together. So let’s build each other up; we’re part of the same block tower. Let’s not allow division to knock us apart.
Kelly R. Baker loves to encourage believers to stay spiritually nourished and thriving with God. She serves with her husband in leading the worship ministry at their church, and is an author, mentor, and songwriter. You’ll probably find her sneaking a bite of dark chocolate in between keeping her crew of four on the homeschool and household routine. Thrive with others, and receive exclusive access to her library of Insider Resources at kellyrbaker.com.