Faith Memorial was an older, established church, and so it was kind of surprising to everyone when they found themselves in the midst of a controversy. That occurred because one of the assistant pastors had been speaking at a city council hearing about the expansion of a parking lot at a mall near his home, and he had made a comment in passing about the LGBTQ agenda. That was not the point of the hearing, and he was speaking in his capacity as a private citizen, but a local television station aired the clip with his connection to the church and the name of the church prominently displayed. The controversy largely swirled around the demands for an apology that descended on the church. The pastor insisted that the assistant pastor not apologize, and so the church went through about three weeks of unabated controversy, which was, for some of the parishioners, a complete novelty.
They didn’t like being on the world’s bad side, and yet they also knew that it is usually considered bad form for a soldier to bolt right after the shooting starts. And so it came about that Herman Peaton and his wife Gina began to find that the sermons were not nearly as edifying as they had been in years past. Leaving a church out of friendship with the world seemed too much like Demas, and so it became necessary to leave the church because the pastor was no longer “preaching Christ.” If you are going to leave a church for no good reason, you really need to find a good reason.
All the characters and situations in this Fifty Ways series are entirely fictional. The patterns being described, however, are not entirely fictional, and will no doubt be recognized instantly by any experienced pastor.
Image from Unsplash, by Mantas Hesthaven, @mantashesthaven