“Let’s Take This Outside”
When the Bus Ministry Leader asked the Head Deacon if he wanted to “take the vote out into the parking lot” at the church’s monthly business meeting, any illusions that I was attending a peaceful country church were shattered. Before this exchange, all I knew of our church centered around the preaching of the Gospel, and the care for the less fortunate. In a few short moments, the veneer of health and unity was stripped away and the deep, sinful dysfunction of the church was made evident.
Men I had thought cared only for the spread of the gospel, showed themselves to be most interested in the wielding of influence and power. It was my first church fight. I was a new Christian and barely 13 years old.
By God’s grace that business meeting was not the end of my walk with Christ, but I was damaged. It shaped the way I see relationships in the church, and has influenced my convictions on how the church should be governed (hint: preteens have no business in business meetings). Since then I’ve seen and heard even worse–shameful divisions that have no place in the household of God.
My father, who was baptized shortly after me, has a saying: “Baptists only love two things: fightin’ and eatin’.” He spoke plainly from experience. I can’t say that I blame him.