What Happened After Our Church Shepherd Died?
In this article, we continue to examine what happened in our church after the Shepherd died.
When Shepherds Die There is No Leadership
For those new to our story, we continue this series of articles disclosing the demonic chaos and confusion after our leader died.
In fairness, there was no “succession planning” properly executed by the Shepherd we served.
This is not to be critical because I have pastored long enough to know we all get it wrong! As the Apostle Paul would say: “me being chief among them (who err).”
Church religion must be viewed in light of what the Holy Bible says and not what the “wise” tell us. Before proceeding with this story, it is crucial the reader understand that “religion” must give way to “faith.”
What happened in our church these many years ago occurred because religious people who were short on faith were allowed to “run amok.”
At one of the final meetings before the vote for a new Shepherd to replace our departed leader, the former Pastor’s son was prepared to tear down the entire congregation to get his way.
The catalyst was a few dollars his father was paying him, under the table, to clean the church.
Those who oppose God are demonically insane. I sat this because for years, I was demonically insane as well before coming to Jesus Christ. Although his stance was non-sensical, to him it made sense.
For almost as long as the church had endured, the Pastor’s son was allowed to operate with impunity. His father had never opposed his sinful conduct in a manner sufficient to correct it.
When it comes to our children, I think we all tolerate things we shouldn’t. When guilt from past mistakes in the relationship is mixed in, a formula for soul destroying paralysis results.
At the time of our Shepherd’s death, he was so sick and weak that standing against this was no longer an option. Once, I personally witnessed his son come into the finance office, take cash from the collection plate claiming: “it is owed to me.”
Yes, you read that correctly! This man strong armed robbed the church collection plate with no consequences.
Departed Shepherds Leave Church Leadership Vacuums
Among the many issues experienced during these times of extreme loss, a ‘vacuum of leadership’ opens up.
Where once there was a firm hand, the devil now runs wild in the fellowship.
These vacuums do not only occur when leaders die, they also become relevant when they “leave.”
During these times, the will to resist evil dissipates and the result is the devil stays where once he fled.
The Holy Bible says as much (James 4:6-7):
It must be clear, by now, that I have been shocked, disturbed, surprised, even hurt, by the actions of church members. God judge me righteously if I have so hurt those I now lead!
Far from being ashamed that I was so naïve about people, I glory in it! Often, experience can prejudice us against the revelation of God.
After the church leader dies, whoever is charged with watching the congregation, will be hurt and angry with how people act. However, never allow your heart to become hardened against God’s people because their hearts are hardened towards you.
Church’s suffering the death of a leader are grieving mightily. This loss doesn’t come through only death, but also those abandoned for “greener pastures.”
These are vicious careerist who, for more money and prestige, will leave you to satisfy their lust. Nevertheless, this grief takes on many forms: confusion, mistrust, and anger.
What I write next is still very painful to me personally with respect to how several local clergy conducted themselves during this time. I naively believed, having never led a congregation prior, that there was a “limit” to which those claiming “the call” would sink to.
I was wrong in a way that still shames me to this day!
Leadership Vacuums Bring out Unqualified Opportunists
Let me explain what I mean by “unqualified opportunists.” As regular readers and YouTube subscribers know, there is no fiercer opponent of “transcript heavy” preachers than I.
Congregations have become blinded to the reality that (Isaiah 55:8-9):
The church is in the unacceptable spiritual condition it is because God’s men have been replaced by educated sociopaths! Most God did not call, so He neither qualified nor glorified them.
Such vast levels of education only make these sorts more effective manipulators of the sheep! I know several personally.
Nevertheless. the evening arrived which would see the congregation select a new Shepherd. There were three candidates among which I, as the Interim, was one (1).
Normally, an Interim is not considered for a candidate to become the next Church Shepherd.
However, something interesting occurred which changed this hard fast rule. The congregation was dealing with someone I described in previous posts as a “rogue” preacher.
He was not only unfit to lead the House of God, but his spiritual condition made it obvious he couldn’t even lead himself. I don’t say that to put anyone down either and certainly not to make myself appear more “righteous.”
To show earnestness in this area, the candidate #3 would have been an EXTRAORDINARY Shepherd for the church! I would have willingly followed him as well had he been elected and allowed me to remain.
However, the “rogue” had gone to jail for “alleged” violence towards another just several months prior to the vote. Another church leader had to go bail him out of jail!
By selection time, Baptist denominational leadership had become involved with the process. As inexperienced as I was then, I not only welcomed this, but readily submitted as well.
Our church needed a steady hand at the wheel and neither I, nor the Deacons, “fit the bill.”
According to a rule, if I wanted to become a candidate to Shepherd, I needed to resign as Interim. Never mind that no one could produce scripture, church by-laws, or policy to support this rule.
As with so many other “churchy” things we do, our people had no idea where this rule came from. However, it was mandatory to follow it.
Area denominational leadership presented this to me. I responded forthrightly: “I will not Pastor then. If I resign now, someone else will be brought in to do so, and things will get worse. I do not care about what happens after the vote. God has me here now, and I will remain, regardless of the future cost.”
The church relented and changed their “rule.” It had become obvious that he, the former Shepherd’s hand selected replacement, was not fit to lead.
Had I resigned as Interim Shepherd, I would’ve lost the ability to confront this guy. Whatever happened after the vote was of no concern to me. I knew God sent me to remain a bulwark against his in that season.
Denominational leadership was concerned about the rogue minister being selected as well and expressed as much openly.
The church hurt which had occurred during the previous eleven (11) months on this “rudderless ship” was about to come to a head on vote night.
God Spoke and the Leadership Vacuum Was Filled
During the voting process, there was a woman who stuffed votes for her preferred candidate. I’ll give you one (1) guess who she stuffed ballots for?
It made no difference because I was elected the new Pastor overwhelmingly.
During the announcement of the vote count, the rogue minister, realizing God had rejected him as leader, began to criticize the process.
Preachers who aren’t listening to God never consider themselves the issue. Anything which doesn’t go their way is everyone else’s fault.
He received only nine votes and questioned the integrity of the entire congregation. It is what happened after this which requires your attention.
After I was announced as the new Pastor, those who voted for the rogue minister scrambled to get to him, shake hands, and express their disappointment. The rogue had spent months grooming them.
Listen to the Holy Bible’s description of grooming (Romans 16:17-18):
A Real Shepherd’s Enemies are God’s Enemies
If a Shepherd of God’s people is standing on righteousness, his enemies are really God’s.
When we take a big picture, Kingdom view, the rogue minister and his supporters were simply confused about the move of God.
Anyone who says they have never been on the “wrong side of God’s will” is a liar”!
He knows I have and will yet be. Thank God for the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
I praised God that he had protected His sheep over the eleven (11) months of hell. Not because I was elected Pastor either. Rather, because I desired God's Will, even if it was not me.
No matter how long these sorts have been going to church, they are spiritual infants and toddlers. While watching my grand-daughter, I noticed something in her behavior which illustrates the point.
I often warn her not to do something which endangers her. She smiles, does it anyway, and takes off running to avoid the repercussions of her actions.
The issue is, in closed spaces, she always ran out of places to hide and is forced to face the consequences. She did this on multiple occasions, and it took time for her to realize she had nowhere to run.
Even when she well understood there was nowhere to hide, she persisted in the same behavior.
Those we lead are no different than a child in this way. They repetitively exhibit destructive behavior, smile, and believe things will work out somehow.
When the writer of 1st John used the phrase: “Little children” when writing to adults, this was/is more accurate than we understand.
Shepherds Must Attend to All Sheep
Some say the amount of foolishness in a fellowship is directly related to how educated (or not) a congregation is. I disagree. Education has as much to do with wisdom, as being truly ‘saved’ with church attendance.
Although both can dwell in the same place, often they don’t. In the city where I live, there is a church which, on average, has more master’s and PhD recipients than the rest of congregations combined.
Over a twenty-five (25) year period, the reason became clear; the Shepherd was an educated man who believed in educational programs. Although this church, like others, has issues, the congregation believed in education.
This Shepherd was no minstrel Black preacher who practiced ‘entertainment’ either. When he died, the congregation had many of the same issues as the less educated congregations.
Where is this leading?
More educated congregations act just as foolish as the less. In the previous three posts, I outlined instances which left you thinking: “How could that have happened in a church?”
I would submit that the church is a microcosm of society. The difference is, the faithful congregation takes those problems, which consume the world, to the Lord Jesus Christ!
It is more important to understand the dynamics of your congregation and, at first anyway, adjust to who they are instead of ‘vision casting.’ After all, didn’t Jesus go to the well, speak the woman’s language instead of expecting her to come to him, and speak His (John 4)?
There is much value in understanding the audience who you are pastoring. It must shape, while not your biblical position, how you communicate it.
The Apostle Paul put it best when he encourages us to shift our shape, if not our substance (1st Corinthians 9).
The death of a Shepherd can be a dark space in an otherwise encouraging organization.
This doesn’t have to shape the destiny of a congregation, however.
Header Image Courtesy of Mart Productions @ Pexels