Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 21

“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19

Many years ago my grandmother was very upset with the pastor of her Baptist church. The contention in her soul had gotten to the place where she was ready to flee her house of worship and begin attending another. That was when my great-grandmother Bern got involved in the situation.

Bernice Lillie was an outspoken woman for her day. No one to be trifled with by my grandmother’s accounts. While I never met her I can imagine her manner as she sat my grandmother down and gave her philosophy of church attendance.

“Thelma, you never leave a church because of a disagreement with a pastor. Pastor’s come and go but the church is a family. We stay together.”

Sage advice. While I do believe that there are points of doctrine which might cause us to leave a church (such as a new pastor coming into a church and preaching Jesus is not God for instance) , my years of pastoring have left me wondering at  parishioners who pigeon from one steeple to another because they feel the preacher is too long-winded or they don’t like the taste of the communion bread.

Our world is short on people who know how to get along. So the church should be a place where we learn to practice  mending relationships not breaking them up. I know God moves people sometimes but leaving a church should be a call of God not a fight with a deacon.

I know this is an argument with lots of nuance so tell me what you think.