When Church Conclaves Turn into War Councils
In this post, we will see the moments when a church conclave (meeting) turns into war councils.
Church Conclaves Rip the Mask off
A church conclave, more commonly called business meeting, are times when you truly get to see who people are. These get-togethers are much different than the superficial Sunday worship experience.
As a church leader, I will go further to say who people are in these meetings, is directly tied to their level of faith. Having endured many of these, and you will hear about one shortly, the mask is ripped off of those pretending to be followers of Jesus.
People who sow seeds of confusion before, during, and after worship services, are the same who performed this function prior to business meetings.
It isn’t those who conduct themselves in an unbecoming manner that I wonder about. More often, it is those who, like old vintage windup toys, are playing the role of puppet master.
In smaller congregations these people are easy to identify. In larger ones, however, they are provided a bit more stealth while demonically operating.
Another interesting feature of these conclaves is who chooses to attend. Depending on what the meeting is about, it is not uncommon for chronically absent Sunday members to never miss a "conclave."
Where there is "praise" they are absent yet where there is confusion, they appear.
In the early days of my pastorate, there was a man who didn’t attend church regularly. He always had an excuse such as his health and other things. However, during the time of major confusion, he showed up at conclaves regularly.
He even made the comment to another minister: “I heard about what was going on and I got right over here in five minutes.” Remember, this is the same person who seemed to never make it on a regular basis.
Another interesting feature of these meet ups is how the agenda is managed. Experience has shown the more confusion in the church, the more difficult it is to stay on topic.
Churches that are experiencing a season of peace, roll right through agenda items with no confusion.
There are numerous things to watch for in church conclaves (meetings). Learning how to conduct a meeting is essential for the health of the church. These can be damaging to the congregation when not effectively managed.
Below are notes from a real meeting I conducted as the interim pastor of a congregation.
Please read through this carefully and understand how truly devastating these meetings are to the church. A few pastors suggested not even having these meetings because they degenerate so quickly.
However, part of being a believer is learning how to conduct ourselves at all times.
Emotions Often Over-rule the Spirit in Conclaves
Church business conclaves can be very intense experiences. They are certainly much different than the worship experience. Again, this is not to suggest “worship” only occurs on Sunday!
Most Pastors quake in their boots at the idea of business meetings. This raw fear becomes more acute when they did not personally call or sanction the meeting.
As was revealed in the last article, God enemies made serious accusations, about me, to the congregation in an earlier meeting. If you remember, there were three (3) preachers present at this most demonic of all get-togethers.
All three (3) took much pleasure in pointing out how inexperienced I was, and that I was unable to control the situation which had spun out of control.
The moral fact that two (2) of the three (3) preachers had caused the chaos was immaterial to their purpose. Imagine someone cuts your car’s brake lines and when you crash, they accuse you of being a bad driver!
It was true that I was inexperienced, and, on that point, there was no dispute. Even your enemies can speak a little truth although their motives are satanic.
It would have been a flesh-based response to present my years of corporate leadership experience to push back against the accusations. The House of God is not corporate America.
It is crucial for you to understand that conducting a church conclave is not like conducting a corporate business meeting. You are dealing with a mostly volunteer workforce in the church.
As a leader, you have nothing to hold over their head as is true in corporate America.
They are not paid, you cannot threaten them with job loss, so what leverage do you have?
The point is, do not allow your emotions to push you to a place God does not want you. This is not a time to flex with respect to your expertise because of pride.
God’s Enemies Always Show Themselves
Too many invite corporate leaders into church leadership believing their skills are transferable to the kingdom of God. Yet, and out of the other side of their mouth preach (2nd Corinthians 3:4-6):
What was interesting is that the very thing which disqualified me in their eyes, qualified me with God. The three (3) wayward ministers believed their experience made them superior.
Although it did not make them superior, it was the lack of faith which made them inferior! I do not say this with respect to me being better than anyone. God forbid.
However, to preach the word that you either do not understand, or do not believe, is truly sickening.
During this confusion, the spirit impressed upon me the need not to fight back. This had to be the Holy Spirit because as a Prophet (by gifting), warring on hypocrite preachers is what I was born to do.
I must admit to taking pleasure in confronting, mocking, and embarrassing (biblically) God’s pulpit enemies wherever I find them. Like Elijah confronting the false prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel - this I was born to do.
For this, I make no apologies.
However, this wasn’t the time nor place for that. God’s people were used to such unsanctioned responses from undisciplined, over-emotional preachers. Further, they had already received a “masters” class in demonic behavior from those three (3).
The Holy Spirit reminded me His People needed to see something different modeled.
As I looked out over the congregation, there was a heaviness in the place. Satan’s children had ushered in confusion, proclaimed to be the answer to it, yet only made things worse.
How I responded would determine the future of the congregation in both the short, and long term. There was only one thing I could do: admit how inadequate I was to serve. I once preached a sermon: “When Your Enemies Speaks Truth About You.”
These enemies of The Cross were correct, although their motives were totally wicked.
When you find yourself in such a position, whatever the circumstance, remain disciplined.
It is tempting to refute the accusations of God’s enemies in such a situation. However, remember that this is, in the most literal sense, a life and death struggle. When our Savior was standing before Pontius Pilate, as well as the Sanhedrin Council, he largely remained silent.
His life was on the line, and yet he remained silent.
This is important because we remember that it was his silence in the face of Pontius Pilate that fascinated the Roman governor (Matthew 27:13-14):
Show Humility When Enemies Attack
As was pointed out earlier, even your enemies can speak truth about you. I was inexperienced, having never pastored before, yet the three (3) had interesting dynamics of their own.
The first minister, who attended our church, had never pastored before either. Yet it was him leading the charge of accusing me of the same. His stance was interesting because he had just been bailed out of jail by the deacon a few months earlier.
Over the years since this event, God’s wisdom in bypassing this man to lead His people has become self-evident.
The other two were church pastors in the city. Why they were in a meeting, at church they neither pastored nor belonged to, is beyond the scope here.
Nevertheless, one (1) was trying to take over the church to leave his current congregation.
At the time, his church had serious mortgage problems, and he was simply going to walk out and bring his members over to this new assignment.
Again, God stopped him and the minister formerly in our church, now attends church with him.
The third minister, also a church pastor, knew what was going was wrong. He would have never allowed another preacher into his church meetings, which were not members.
However, he had a dog in the fight as well. What this was is also beyond the scope of this post.
When in this situation, exposing people’s motives will serve no value. This is not about being nice or loving either. When things have deteriorated to this place, the truth has become irrelevant.
You will always have real Christians with you, but it is the children who throw the temper tantrum which are most noticeable. It was time for transparency and boldness in the midst of this confusion.
With every fiber of my being I wanted to confront all three of these preachers with the word of God. However, and even though they profess to be preachers, they didn’t care about truth either.
I stood in front of the congregation and simply said: “they are right, I am inexperienced” and then asked: “now what Satan?”
At that moment, you could feel the atmosphere shift. Everyone was expecting me to refute each allegation, and pushback against their wicked motives. I further added that I would not be the new Pastor if God did not desire it so.
In just these few words, I had said enough and sat back down.
After I took my seat, I looked at the three (3) preachers, and I saw how downcast they were. I did not react in a way to bring discredit to myself, but they had and knew it!
I point this out because when you are in these conclaves, do not be a “door mat” but model Christian composure if your cause is right.
Your enemies must see God, even when they do not know that is what they are seeing.
I don't believe 'actions dictate call', but ‘call should dictate action!’ Each saw God that night, and none realized it.
I am constantly amazed with how blind preachers are to the Word they proclaim to believe.
Church Meet-ups Determine Destinies
The church had now seen that, although I will certainly inexperienced, I would not buckle under pressure. More importantly, I had the ability to be Godly while under attack.
Sometime after the vote for a new Pastor, and I was elected, a church mother came to me. Although I was not her selection as Pastor, she said: “you weathered the storm."
This woman, and her husband, had voted for the associate minister of our church whom they knew tried to destroy me over the previous eleven (11) months.
They cast their vote for this minister even though, in this very meeting, publicly declared him unqualified to Pastor.
If those who claim Holy Spirit revelation (ministers) are blind, how much more are those who claim no such enlightenment? This isn't something to be angry with them about either. I express thankfulness it isn't me!
Whether you realize it or not, what happens in these oft demonic encounters is life changing to someone. Whether for good or evil, a change is inevitable. Someone's everlasting soul is riding on the outcome of how YOU conduct yourself!
No matter what would have happened with respect to me pastoring (or not), I had peace that these Saints had witnessed a leader with a bit of composure.
Unlike previous preachers, I could not sing or entertain the crowd. But I have mastered composure. I do not claim, as Paul said: "to have mastered anything else but this one thing I did..."
Jesus Uses Every Experience to Mold Us
I now share something critical. The Holy Ghost gave me the words that evening, but my poise came from somewhere much different. I spent some years in the United States Marine Corps.
During our training, the chief goal was to mold us to a place where we only responded when appropriate. At that time, I learned that environmental stimuli should never dictate response.
The only predicate for response is need. Church meetings must be treated as what they are - war zones. As scripture teaches: "keep your foot when you go to the House of God."
Many Pastors rail against police shootings of Black men by white police officers.
Having been personally harassed by police officers, I understand their frustration. Once, I had to talk an officer out drawing his weapon on me while I sat in a vehicle. Police involved shootings happen 99% of the time for one reason alone - lack of nerve from responding officers.
I’ve been in those situations, in other countries, while facing people who wanted to harm me and my unit. In these situations, not even one Marine responded when not appropriate.
Imagine receiving orders which demanded: “you will not return fire on our enemies, until they fire at you first.”
However, and in the kingdom of God, you most often will not even return fire even when His enemies are shooting at you. This is in no way meant to abrogate the responsibility we have for first judging, and then confronting evildoers in church.
I was born to confront wicked leaders, so please understand what I just said must be from the Lord!
Yet, remember the most potent weapon you have is faith but this can be overthrown by something equally powerful: the tongue.
I am sure you remember this (1st Peter 3: 9-10):
Every experience, whether good or evil, God will use. Who would’ve thought my Marine Corps training, from decades prior, would be valuable in the House of God?
God’s Word showed me how to recognize reprobate leaders, but my “warrior” training provided the blueprint in dealing with them that evening.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a similar worldview when he said: “Jesus gave me the message, and Gandhi gave me the method.”
Let me be clear: I am not teaching that one should NEVER respond aggressively. The Bible teaches something much different.
Moses, the Prophet per excellence said: “The Lord is a Man of War, The Lord is His Name.”
Just make sure that God’s enemies, and your enemies, do not drag you to a place God does not want you.
Header Image Courtesy of Mohamed Hassan @ Pixabay