I preached last week in El Paso for Mike Acosta. It was a trip down memory lane re-experiencing the joys and travails of being a pioneer pastor. I could so relate to everything he was going through. Yet, he has a group of people that love him. It was that juncture in my life that God spoke to me about just loving and serving the people I did have and trusting God to build His church. I never experienced the big breakthrough but I did get closer to God and it was a time of spiritual growth that shaped me into the man I am today. I certainly believe for that and more for Mike and his wife, Yadira.
This week I am back in Southern California preaching for Eric Strutz in Colton.
A consistent topic of conversation between pastors in our fellowship as well as all other fellowships are church and fellowship splits and the damage they do. To my not on the inside eye it seems like the gifted are able to waltz through the drama that is tearing everyone apart and survive and prosper. The not so gifted, the regular soldiers, are left dying in their wake. I wonder if I will ever hear an apology from those who chose church split over proper submission to leadership. Remember, proper submission allows for the discussing and solving of all problems for the good of the whole body of Christ.
It was while in Uganda, as I was driving East with Richard, that he began to tell me of the beginnings of the fellowship in Uganda and the crest of revival that was taking them into many different cities. We drove through one large city and he described a powerful church from our fellowship that used to be there. What happened to it? It seems that our original American missionary fell out with leadership. He was financed by those with similar sentiment to come back into Uganda with promises of money and aid for those who would separate and work with him and his compatriots back in the states. Some chose to join with him, others stayed on, but the damage was done. His actions had an effect upon the whole Ugandan group of churches, to cause splits and enough insecurity to turn revival and growth into a holding pattern that only now are they beginning to recover from some 15 years later.
Richard told me if this man with the promises were to come back now, he would be treated better by Richard and those that stayed with the fellowship than those that he convinced to take a different route, a route that became a shipwreck for many.
Is there a proper time for dissention and separation? I’m sure there are. The clue for discernment is ego and what is in it for the leaders of the dissention. What are the motives? Is it really issues of doctrine and what is right or is it an issue of an ego not being stroked enough within the constricting feel of fellowship. Sigmund Freud had a good group of disciples. Their egos were not able to share the limelight with Freud so each added just enough twist on Freud’s theories to gain their own group of disciples. The church should be different….