When church rivalry goes violent

There are times when being a public figure like a pastor scare the bejeebers out of me. Living next to the church building leads to some interesting knocks on the door (like when I opened the door with to find a man holding both hands behind his back and asking, “Is the pastor home?”) – but this story is somehow more unnerving than those knocks on the doors. Possibly because in my time as a pastor I’ve encountered people that I could sense had an unhealthy desire to attach on their pastor (be it me or someone else). It’s a terrible balancing act, trying to be in relationship with people who aren’t really able to have healthy relationships, and the problem is only exacerbated when a pastor is “flying solo” (both on the pay-roll and in the mentality of the congregation). The saddest part of this article is, to me, that the type of rivalry exemplified in this tragedy is not unlike a lot of the rivalries that exist in our churches where (often for reasons other than romantic infatuation) church member try to “take each other out” of the the congregational equation. Thank God the tactics are typically not through the use of a .38 – but character assassination, isolationism, and the other games we play in our churches aren’t any healthier for a community in the long-run. At any rate, keep this Church in prayer – it looks like they were honestly trying to do the right thing, and got blindsided by a person intent on destruction.