You know, unless God Himself has spoken to you recently and ordained that you attack one of His churches, I'd want to be very careful about trying to “hit the sweet spot” and kill your former church. You may find you’ve been working for someone other than who you think you're working for.
Christians are like manure. Spread us out and we do a lot of good, but heap us up in one big pile and pretty soon the place begins to stink. It's why Jesus said, "Go ye therefore..." Large churches are pretty much a bad idea for that reason. I love my home town for all the pain it brought me and my family. I've got history there going back to the day the school was founded. My great great grandpa signed the church charter. But the town was meant to support a school, to train young people and then send them out into the world, not to become the old Adventist's graveyard. Anytime a church gets too big or dominates a neighborhood or town, there is a temptation for someone to try to take the reins and run things the way they think things ought to be run.
The problem is, they don’t really aim at the bullies. They aim at the flock itself. In the case of my church, a lot of angry ex-Adventists can't resist picking at old wounds. They set out on a campaign to encourage more people to leave their old church – sniping at the flock itself which never did them harm.
Power is where the devil attacks churches. Christ called us "the meek" when he described his flock and while we may be destined to inherit the Earth, there's always somebody out there who wants to lead us somewhere else for his or her own benefit or for the sake of their over-inflated ego.
We're up against that in one of the churches I've been going to up here in Washington. I suspect I may be here in Washington to participate in a little revolution against an entrenched and repressive leadership. I like the church where I'm at, don’t get me wrong, but I'm wondering if God really wants me to be comfortable in any church right now. He seems to have given me rather a lot of experience with churches run by bullies (beginning in my youth back in my hometown). My teaching career ended at the hands of just such a bully church board. One of my favorite people at that church told me before I left, "Brother King, I love my church and I hate to say it, but I think the only thing that will save this church is a visit from the grim reaper."
A friend of mine who was the target of one of these church bully groups told me, “You can’t change the church from the outside.” Running away and sniping at it from the woods is not helpful. If you don’t have the stomach to stand up for what’s right, go ahead and run away. Just don’t confuse guilt over your own cowardice with a mandate from heaven to belittle and ridicule the folk you left behind when you went. Don’t confuse a system that says “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” with people who are busily tearing down that system from within.
Wolves are not sheep. They are not part of the flock however they may dress themselves. Bullies are not Christians, however much they dress themselves up in robes, collars and dangly crosses. And you don’t defeat bullies by becoming one yourself.
I'm still in my church despite the procession of bullies I’ve encountered. I’m here because I love my church and I will not stand by to see it abused by the agents of Satan, sent among us like ravening wolves to sew confusion and discord. It's not the church that’s the problem, guys. It's the devil who is responsible for the wolves among us and I have decided that I am called to be God's own sheepdog!
Tom King – © 2012