As a lay person what would you do?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Thinkingstuff, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    I have a serious question and I'm wondering what people would do in this instance. I participate in my church a lot and I try to stay away from gossips and that type of thing. Another member came up to me one day after Sunday School class and said that I "needed to watch my back" because "people" were talking about my having four kids and that we are living off of one income. Which admittedly is challenging especially because we homeschool. I never complain about any issues at home nor do I usually ask for prayer request about my "personal" situation. But my wife has been sick and things are getting tough so she may have. I asked the person who was speaking about my situation and they wouldn't tell. So I replied that who ever was saying it was not to be taken seriously and that I would ignore it. And I did....Until Last night at our business meeting. With the discusion of our budget some tempers were raised and it was obvious that the church is becoming divided into camps. Harsh words were said (from my perspective) out of nowhere and I believe there is more to come. This meeting had nothing to do with me personally however I see from this meeting that something is festering under the surface and is coming to a boiling point. My wife wants to say something to the pastor about an area of neglect in ministry she's seen but to do so would solidly place us in one camp over another. I told here there obvious manuvering going on here and for the sake of our family we don't need to be in the middle of it. So, I requested that we keep our opinions to ourselves and continue to serve as we can and stay out of the rumor mill and see where this discention will lead. Of course we'll pray. So what is my responsibility of being a member but not a leader in this problem? Stay out of it and watch the church rip itself apart from the nasty people who are speading malicious talk behind the scenes? What are your thoughts.
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    Seems to me that a conversation with your pastor is in order.

    You mentioned the below-the-surface issues. Do you know what they are? I suspect that your pastor does. Is he caught in the middle? Is he the issue? Or is it the direction he wants to take the church?

    I'm also curious as to why your personal situation is anybody's business.

    I'm afraid we don't have enough information to help much.

    I've been part of a church fight and when it was over, I vowed never to be part of another one unless it involved heresy.
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

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    I think my personal business is symptomatic of the problem. I hesitate to reveal to much information on the topic since someone here can find out what church it is. I think the rumor mill the gossips are busy at work I generally ignore them. Here are some of the issues that are brought up. Our church has 5 pastors. Some feel thats too many for the size of the church. Some don't like our head pastor. Others love him. The newest pastor doesn't get paid well and just before the meeting he sent a note indicating that if their is an increase in his salary to put it towards his particular ministry. Others made it clear that they believed this was more about him hitting the next tax bracket and not having enough income to cover the cost of a raise in salary. However, the accross the board increase to all salaries became a serious issue because the personnel commitee did not conduct a performance evaluation. The moderator refuesed a line item rejection of the Budget. There was a person who wanted to vote of no confidence in the lead pastor. Yet it seems that this person is in the camp for the New Pastor. Budget became contingent on performance evaluations. My wife wanted to talk to the head pastor about area's of neglect in the new pastors ministry that I'm certain has been brought to his attention. The other pastors haven't spoken in any way about these issues. I want to stay out of it and let them battle it out between them. I, having worked in government, know that I want to stay out of the middle of one pastor trying to manuver against another one. People, in the meeting, began calling support staff names like "Queen so and so" (as in royalty not gay) and overall the whole body is in an uproar! I've had people in the past say they don't like so and so sermon and I always advert it referring to the application of Scripture and how we should live it reminding them that though Jonathan Edwards was a great preacher his style would be boring. And so I'm perplexed. And strange as it sounds some people look up to me and ask me what to do and I generally go with "I support the pastor and help in the ministries and stay out of gossip" ( I say strange because I've developed a mischeivious persona on this web site and am not being reflective of what I really think or feel however its not really me and in person to person contact I'm much different). Yet here is a situation I wonder if I should do something or not. I'm leaning to staying out of it until it blows over.
     
    #3 Thinkingstuff, Nov 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2009
  4. abcgrad94

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    Your personal life is nobody's business. As homeschoolers, we get opinionated comments both to our faces and behind our backs, but we've let people know up front that this is what works best for us and we believe it's what God wants for us at this time. The person who came telling you to "watch your back" should have done the scriptural thing and confronted the gossip instead of stirring the pot.

    About the church problems, I'd refuse to "take sides" as it only adds to the division. Discuss your concerns ONLY with your pastor. Let him know you love him and you're praying for him, and that you're willing to be part of the solution if you plan to point out any perceived faults.

    One thing I've noticed with churches that start nit-picking: they expect the pastor to be superman, yet they ignore his needs and the needs of his family, and they also complain without offering to help relieve some of the burden. If your pastor is neglecting a certain area of ministry, find out WHY and offer to help, not just complain about what he is doing. It's easy to jump on a bandwagon when everyone else is complaining. Your pastor may very well be overwhelmed, discouraged, tired, and in need of personal and family time. He very well may be doing WAY MORE behind the scenes than the church knows about or gives credit for.

    If your pastor is truly a godly man, support him all you can, and whenever you hear anyone complaining about him, stop the gossip right there in it's tracks. That's one of the best things a layperson can do, besides pray for the pastor.
     
  5. Thinkingstuff

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    I agree with everything you have said here. I support all the pastors and their ministries. And I pray for the Church always. I know he's doing many things behind the scenes but it the others working behind the scenes I'm worried about. And I hope and pray that its not the pastors fighting with each other! I personally don't know because I usually stay out of it but the budget meeting was quite contentious.
     
  6. Gina B

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    As a lay person, what would you do?

    lay
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    I'm not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting do nothing? In which case, that is my current strategy.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Meant both in humor (lay person) and as an answer. When it comes to something that personally affects your family, your emotions may over-ride the right thing to do, and it becomes best to step away from the situation.
    As much as we all like to think that we can remain impartial, the mom, the dad, the protector, the sense of justice in ourselves won't allow that to happen...and isn't expected.

    You're coming on hard times. You need to be ministered to in that area, not slammed or told to watch your back. That's something I'd expect if you were in a gang, not a church. :tonofbricks:

    Whatever you're capable of as far as performing a type of ministry yourself, do that rather than involve yourself in ones you may not be capable of.

    I've got five kids myself and homeschooling again is in the back of my mind. I know it isn't easy. One income isn't easy. When you're trying to do it and you're afraid of your own church family and not at ease, that's worse.

    I'm sorry you're in this situation. Perhaps you'll turn out to be the peacemaker in it all by pointing out the harm coming to the church. Maybe just write an open letter...make a few honest observations and say how they've affected you, THEN let it go from there?

    Whatever the case, you have my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes there's just no clear answer. Try to be flexible and rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens, God can take it and make something good come out of it. You'll learn something, you'll grow. This is just part of life!
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    You can't do alot about other people except to pray for them.

    I would go back and talk to the member that told you that people were talking about you.

    I've had someone tell me (and they thought it was in my best interest :BangHead:) that others were talking about me.

    I quickly told that person that what she did was far worse than any gossip. She spread the gossip and told me hurtful things that I could do nothing about. I told her that I knew that others were talking about me and to never, ever share any of that information with me again because it was pointless to do so.

    You might think about doing the same. Or not. Only you can make that decision.
     
  10. Alive in Christ

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    If it were me I would flee that hornets nest so fast it would make their heads spin.

    It sounds more like a den of iniquity than a true NT church. No fellowship is perfect of course, but this seems particularly cancerous.

    Find another Baptist church...or maby some other group...where the love of God is in preiminance rather than the gossip and threatenings of church busybodies and troublemakers.
     
    #10 Alive in Christ, Nov 16, 2009
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  11. Johnv

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    Totally off topic. When I visited a church while vacationing in Hawaii, my wife and I were greeted with floral leis when we entered. I wonder if the person who gave them to us was a lay lei person.

    Okay, seriously, in regards to the OP, I concur that it's no ones business how a a married couple runs their household. That fact needs to be tempered against the fact that the criticism being raised came from a gossiper, and was raised in a gossiping manner. It's not first hand information, and it's difficult to combat an issue when you don't know who issuer is. You were right to ignore it, since you alone dont' seem to be a target.

    I don't think you should "stay out of it and watch the church rip itself apart", but the way to combat it is in business meetings, which gives everyone the opportunity to be present. That way, everything it out, and you wont' be accused of being one of the people talking behind other peoples' backs.
     
    #11 Johnv, Nov 16, 2009
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  12. Thinkingstuff

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    Yeah ok so I'll take fire up front and behind! At least the up front part is honest. We're going to have a follow up meeting and If I do as you suggest, this should be interesting.
     
  13. Johnv

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    If it helps at all, know that I'll be praying for you, my brother.
     
  14. Salty

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    I would be liable to ask that "concerned individual" specifically who I should watch out for,
    Or I might asked that "concerned individual" if they would come forward with me during the invitation so we could pray about the situation with the pastor.
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    I would love to do that to every person who spreads gossip! In fact, now that I think about it. I might have them during the alter pray or inventation part of the service have them come up with me in front of the church and ask the pastor to pray openly over it. I like it.
     
  16. windcatcher

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    John seems to have some good advise;
     
  17. Aaron

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    [Edited to add: No, don't talk to the pastor. If you feel a ministry is neglected, go straight to the Head of the church and make your appeal to Him.]

    Malicious talk goes on behind the scenes all the time everywhere. There's NOTHING you can do about it. Pray for your church, and don't get involved in the money squabbles. In fact, if I were in your place, I wouldn't even go to the business meetings.

    As far as the fellow talking to you about what others have said: your first mistake was hearing the report without first insisting that you know who said it AND that you could go to this person with the individual's name who told you.

    1Cr 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
     
    #17 Aaron, Nov 16, 2009
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  18. Aaron

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    Amen. (I'm now inserting spurious characters to meet the infernal minimum posting requirements.)
     
    #18 Aaron, Nov 16, 2009
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  19. Thinkingstuff

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    Yep. I should have insisted. I hope this "house of Chloe" doesn't bother my family especially the children.
     
  20. Aaron

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    Nope! A recipe for disaster. Pray in your closet at home. In the meeting put your differences and peeves behind you and do only those things that edify.
     

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