Help with the church
Hello everyone, for the sake of this discussion board I will of course not give my name and I would appreciate some valuable feedback.
Currently I am a graduate student at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. These last few years have certainly been an amazing adventure and my personal walk with Christ is getting stronger each day. Recently I completed my first internship with a local church in my area and to be quite honest about the only thing I did learn from that experience is the extent that some people will go to attain more and more power and control over the lives of others. It was a rather sad state of affairs and the level of vile gossip quite frankly has pushed me and my family away from attending there anymore. The congregation has continued to dwindle in numbers since it split and it's as if the senior pastor just doesn't care.
My family and I love Christ, I love the Bible and I know that God is calling me to preach/teach others. I was really hoping to put into practice many of the great things that I have learned since I started seminary and really help bring others to an understanding of who Christ is.
The problems all started when I began the final phase of my internship in compassionate ministry. Unfortunately, the senior pastor of the church actually wanted the food pantry (which was based in the church) to tithe each month to the church. His concern was solely about money that the pantry was bringing in. When I approached him tactfully about the matter he said, "This is my church and we will do things my way." My reply to him (tactfully of course) was this, "This is God's church not your church." At that point in time my internship abruptly came to an end but not before the food pantry decided to leave as well. I recently talked with the associate pastor who now runs the food pantry across town and he wants me to lead some Bible education classes there at the pantry for the homeless (which I think is an awesome idea.) My wife also now sits on their board of directors, but the level of gossip from the previous church is starting to spread to others within the local Christian community. In particular they have accused the associate pastor who also left the church of stealing the food pantry out from underneath them, and working to undermine the church. I have a meeting lined up with the remaining church leaders to address these matters in a Christian format. Some outside input would be greatly beneficial in aiding my discussions with the older pastor. I am a relatively young man around 36 years of age who only wants to work for God but I really feel as if some house cleaning with this particular church is in order.
Has anyone ever experienced anything even remotely similar to this in the early stages of ministry work? I want to keep Christ at the center of all that is done, and I don't want the meeting to wind up being a screaming match. I have quickly found through school and work in the community that I have little tolerance for someone who wants to use the church only for their own personal or financial gain, and that irritates me to no end...as a matter of fact that consumes me. I hope I am looking at this the right way and I am open to any and all suggestions, but I really do believe that the time to fix what is broken in some houses of worship is right now. The best part is God has finally found a group of people for me to minister to and teach, that being the homeless and economically struggling who come by to visit us at the new pantry.
Your Brother in Christ