I once knew and loved an energetic church that helped many broken people and brought them to Christ. For several years they grew and their future looked bright.
They had their issues, though. They had the standard conflicts over music, whether children were given too much attention or not enough, whether people should applaud in the worship service. And there were personal struggles with moral issues within the congregation. There were the power struggles between the standard groups you find in any church.
But still, they made it work and they accomplished much for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Then the worst thing happened that can happen in any church. One group actually won the power struggle. They had just enough votes to get their way.
They celebrated and looked forward to peace because in their minds, things were finally settled.
But within a short time, the church was emptied and what was once a bustling congregation became quiet and sad, even though the winners claimed to themselves that things were actually better.
This is a story that happens everywhere.
I find myself asking a lot of “what if…” questions.
What if the people who left had decided to stay and insist that the work they were doing was too valuable to walk away from?
What if the “winners” had decided that their brothers and sisters were more important than getting their way?
What if both the winners and the losers had focused less on what they wanted and asked the question, “What does God want?”
What if the leaders had regularly encouraged people, saying, “Folks, can we agree to quit arguing so we can take care of the wounded that God has placed in front of us?”
What if those same key leaders had gone to the altar repeatedly and asked God to forgive their selfish ways?
And finally, what if every church in America--large and small--stayed humble, gave in on the small issues, and stayed centered on Kingdom building?