Skip to content

Chapter 28. The Heartache Church

April 23, 2010

Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.

The voice mail on his cell phone announced that a 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.

Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.

No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.

The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.

The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.

It was impossible for the pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.

He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.

He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost every one there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.

He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”.  He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses were those sung by previous generations.

A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.

Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.

Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.

The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.

The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he’s not been impressed by what he’d seen in the mall.)

There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.

When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.

Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those that left, and encourage the rest.

God would sort it all out some how. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. He would not allow a war to go on.

This Too Is Home Missions.

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. pamela Newton permalink
    April 24, 2010 6:53 pm

    Great story Praise God !

  2. Imon Rose permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:09 pm

    That reminds me of the problem my mother, Sis Opal Blackford, had when she built the first organized church in Madisonville KY. From her little church the KY. district was organized. At that time they made fun of her and the work she was doing.

    God only knows the trials of Home Mission work. I grew up in it. Everything has a beginning & I am proud to have been a apart of it. It takes a lot of faith and grit to build a work for God.

    I can still hear her singing, “John if you go I’ll go with you. Preach to word and I’ll preach with you. Whatever the need, whatever the deed, you can depend on me”.

    She worked under M.J.Wolff, from the southern IL district to organize the state. She started the first Ladies Aux., the first youth rally, and fellowship meetings. She was the first sec. & tres. for the state. She never asked for honors or attention, and didn’t get any either. That is Home missions work. The awards will be given when we are all called home.

    Praise God,
    Sis. Imon Rose
    Hopkinsville, KY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: