It is currently thick and foggy and heavy and dark outside and unfortunately, I feel that exact same way inside, too.
We had a business meeting this afternoon to vote on the new by-laws that our church leadership has proposed, moving from a congregational-led church to a leader-led church. Sadly enough, the changes were voted down by the congregation. A 75% acceptance rate was needed. The vote tally was 67% for the change and 33% against. So sad. Such a shame.
I think I'm saddened and completely disappointed for a variety of reasons at varying degrees.
A church our size needs to be leader-led. It just does and I 100% supported the unanimous decision of our leadership team to move in that direction. If you know me at all, you know I'm all about efficiency and well-oiled-machines and doing things quickly and passionately and effectively. A leader-led church is able to do just that. I feel strongly about this. So I am disappointed that only 67% of our church was able to catch the vision painted by our leadership. Unfortunate for sure.
On another level, my heart is deeply saddened for our leadership who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into passionately pursuing and directing our church in this change. I am privileged to have close friendships with numerous members of our staff and leadership team and it breaks my heart to know that tonight, as they left the church they sacrificially and faithfully serve, their hearts were heavy knowing that something that God had called them to do was turned down by 33% of their church body, out of fear of the unknown and fear of change, mistrust and lack of control. That's a sting that cuts deep.
On a completely different level, I think one of the reasons this was so upsetting for me was the fact that I'm simply completely weary of the church (local and universal) not supporting its leaders. I have seen it, first-hand, my entire life, and I'm tired of men and women that have given their lives in full-time ministry being beat down, time and time again.
For those of you that don't know, I'm a PK. A preacher's kid. Many of you are now shaking your heads saying, "Oh, now I understand what her issues are!" My father and mother have given their earthly lives to full-time ministry for Jesus, with my father currently shepherding two churches. While the blessings of that type of upbringing are plentiful, one of the tough down-sides of living in the home of a pastor is knowing, first-hand, the times the people of the church fail to support its leaders. And I'll be honest, it has been time and time again. And not only do I have a father that is a pastor, my brother has been a youth pastor and Christian Education Director for years. I have a father-in-law that was in full-time ministry for decades. An uncle and a cousin are currently pastors. And they would all testify to the lack of support and trust of the members of their congregations over the years and the hurt and deep pain that lack of support and trust causes.
So for me, I think this was more than just a current church issue. This was a life-time of watching the church fail its leaders. And I was desperately wanting our church to get it right. I wanted to sit back and say, "Wow - this church is willing to step out in faith and follow the leaders it placed in leadership. This church put these specific leaders in leadership and they are letting them lead." So I'm saddened to say that our church didn't get it right. They aren't letting our leaders lead. And honestly, my cynical heart finds that hard to stomach tonight.
I guess there is one other level of disappointment that I need to address and that is my disappointment in God. You read it correctly and I'll add a side-note in that I'm so glad that God lets me express my feelings and He's not threatened or surprised by them. I'm disappointed that God didn't miraculously change the hearts of those that voted no. My God could have done that. I knew that there was a decent contigency that were against this change but I had huge faith going into today's meeting that the hearts of those that were going to vote no were going to change. At one point this afternoon, when we found at that we needed a 75% yes vote, I leaned over to Jack and said, "I think it will be 90% yes." So when the vote tally was read and it was 67% I think I was completely shocked. My first thought was "Lord, why?"
So as I head to bed tonight, I am still saddened, and quite honestly, I might be sad for awhile. And that's okay. What I do know is that my God is in the business of redeeming and He will take this situation and good will come out of it. One of my favorite verses to turn to when I'm discouraged is found in Psalm 42. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? PUT your hope in God, for I will yet praise him; my Saviour and my God."