The Church’s Dirty Little Secret

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there” (Ephesians 4:14).

“Church is the only place on earth where people can throw hissy fits and get away with it.”  —A friend serving his first church after seminary

I told my minister friend I was sorry he had to learn this little dirty secret about church life.

I asked for his story. He had two.

A church member attending his class said she could not find her workbook. The pastor told her he had borrowed it for another class, and she was welcome to use his. She said, “Okay. I’ll go home then.”

And she stalked out.

The minister said, “Would she have done that at work? At the doctor’s office? I think not.”

But she had no problem with putting her immaturity on full display at church.

On another day, a man stormed out of a church leadership meeting because his idea for a fundraiser had been rejected.

My friend said, “Would he have done that in a college class? At work? At home? At the store, even?”

He would not have. And this guy was a church leader!

The church—which is the institution which we Christians should respect most—ends up being the least respected by many. And the pastor the least respected professional.

My friend said, “Situations like these used to keep me up at night. By God’s grace, they don’t any more.”

I’m sad he had to learn this reality about church life; I’m glad he’s sleeping at night.

A couple of random comments come to mind.

—The only way Noah could stand the stink inside the ark was the storm outside.

—That the church still exists, with all its human flaws, is proof aplenty of the grace and mercy of God.

Immature believers abound and that’s all right. Babies must go through all the stages of development before they achieve maturity. But we should never put an infant in a place of leadership. Leaders must be adults in the faith if they are to be role models and examples to those coming after.

The leader who storms out of a meeting because he/she did not get their way has just done the church a favor. He/she has identified themselves as unqualified to lead, as surely as if they had hung a sign around their neck.

We are better off without such people representing God’s church and making critical decisions. (On the other hand, if that one comes back and apologizes before the entire group, that is a sign of a growing maturity and they should be given every encouragement.)

Here are seven “wrong ideas” the spiritually immature—those given to “hissy fits,” as my friend put it—have about the Lord’s work …

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Joe McKeever
Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.

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