They asked Andrew Murray the greatest thought that had ever entered his mind. “My accountability to God,” he said.
My pastor friend Albert still carries scars from his last tough assignment. And now, he tells me, he faces a crisis in his present church.
The issue, you will not be surprised to learn, has nothing to do with the community at large, the unchurched he is trying to reach, or the surrounding culture.
The problem Albert faces is internal.
“Twice the treasurer has threatened to cut my pay if I announce plans to stay on. He tells everyone that our church cannot afford a pastor. A couple in the church is spreading gossip about me. A recent survey of the congregation assessed me and my ministry–which is fine–but the board chairman plans to discuss it at the upcoming annual meeting without clueing me in on the results ahead of time.”
Nothing about this bodes well for Albert. (I suppose I’ve seen too many of these disasters-in-the-making to be optimistic. Some people are determined to have their way and run “their” church as they please.)
He concluded, “Pray for wisdom, shrewdness, strength and peace for my wife and me.”
Ask any pastor. The stresses from these forces are preacher-killers.
I’ve been reading the recently published “Valley Forge,” Bob Drury and Tom Clavin’s account of General George Washington’s turning a bedraggled, dispirited, starving, half-naked army into a fighting force that defeated the best-trained militia on the planet, the British. What strikes the reader is that while battling the British and contending with both the frigid weather and the sparse supply of food and clothing, Washington was constantly being undercut by Congress and generals who wanted his job.
The internal strife must have been worse than the external.