Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
TITLE: No Greener Grass...
By Noel Mitaxa
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Apart from the church fair coming up on Saturday, which had led to Pastor Kelvin’s study becoming a dumping ground for equipment and materials. But how to shift that huge box of horseshoes on his desk?
His phone interrupted his rustic reverie. And as he picked it up, he found his caller already underway. “Hello, is that Pastor Kelvin Arminus?”
“Yes, it is. Who’s calling please?”
“My name is Elmer Brooks, and I’m calling on behalf of the board of deacons at the Door of Grace Church in Springbrook. We have met to issue you with an invitation to be our senior pastor.”
Wow, Door of Grace Church! thought Kelvin. His mind began racing. That church has a great reputation. The kind of church where any pastor who is invited will tell his wife and go into his study to pray; while she goes upstairs to pack. But best not to get ahead of myself…I’d better just listen up.
“I’m surprised to receive your offer, because I’ve only just turned thirty,” he began.
“Pastor Kelvin,” Elmer continued, “don’t you worry about what you see as lack of experience. We’ve followed your progress through our denominational connections, and we are impressed. We have a very committed staff and some highly qualified lay people who make up a great team in serving the Lord in our corner of his vineyard at the Door of Grace. And we can show you the ropes when it comes to a multi-faceted ministry. We have Children’s Church, our Youth program, Young Marrieds, and faith-based business and community employment programs. If you’ve seen our worship services on cable television, you’ll know we like to our music and our messages to attract people with the most influence.”
Opening his diary, Kelvin replied, “This may be providential or coincidental, but I will be in Springbrook next month. Could I meet with you then? In the meantime, I’ll pray over the possibility to gauge God’s direction. I’ve always wanted to meet with Pastor Schultz anyway, and that would help to make any changeover much smoother. How does that fit with your timing?”
The line not only went quiet, it was as if its temperature had somehow dropped.
Elmer finally cleared his throat. “Pastor, we’d like to meet with you next week if possible – and we’ll pay for your expenses. There’s really no need for you to contact Pastor Schultz, because we can work through the logistics for you. Why should you ‘wait on tables instead of searching the Word and seeking the Lord.’ Isn’t that why the church in Acts chapter six had deacons appointed in the first place?”
“You, you don’t wish for me to meet with Pastor Schultz?” stammered Kelvin, his voice rising in disbelief.
“I’ll be honest with you about Pastor Schultz. He has had a remarkable ministry with us, but he doesn’t know about this call – or our deacons’ meeting. And it’s best that he doesn’t know. We are concerned that he has alienated some of our most important members and trustees through his very arrogant questions. They have flatly told us that if he doesn’t go, they will; and their substantial stewardship will leave with them. We can’t afford to lose them, so it’s better for us to move quickly so the fellowship is not hurt in any way.”
No stammering now. Kelvin’s voice was calm, clear and measured. “Elmer, thank you for your phone call,” he replied, “but could I suggest that your deacons follow Matthew 18: 15-20. That’s where Jesus prescribes how to deal directly with offences in the church and not allowing cowardly criticism to dictate your responses.
“His parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew thirteen also relates to false seed being sown into a good crop, and you’re in danger of the same scenario. Any criticism accompanied by threats to leave is the false seed of blackmail, and no leadership can afford to buckle under it.
“You may well be open to far greater blessing with Pastor Schultz as you apply the scriptures’ healing to your problem, because I could not accept a call to the compromised scenario you have described to me. I will pray for you, and assure you that this conversation will remain completely confidential. Thank you for taking the trouble to call.”
He replaced the handset.
Suddenly a cluttered study and an upcoming church fair seemed very, very attractive…
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