W.B. Riley, who served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for some fifty years, told the following story:
In my first pastorate, three of my church officials had refused for three full years to speak to one another. A committee was appointed to investigate the cause of the difficulty and either adjust it or bring in a recommendation for exclusion.
The night of the trial arrived. The three officials were in their places, silent, glum, and determined. Much prayer was had before the committee’s presentation.
The Spirit wrought! Hearts softened! At last one man arose and in penitence confessed his fault. Another followed, and yet a third man. Men who had passed in the streets with a scowl, now locked in mutual embrace.
For six months I had preached my heart out, without a convert. The next Sunday night the house was packed to the point where I was left but standing room in the pulpit. A multitude of converts were made, and for two full years (the rest of my pastorate in that place) the inpour to the church was incessant. A new house was erected; from half-time service the church went to full-time, from no gifts to large gifts; and in a lifetime of ministry I have known no delights to exceed the blessed winters and summers brought about by a reconciliation of brethren.”
And now, in the light of this excellent illustration, I’ve got two questions for you:
#1: Are you currently playing some role in causing any hard feelings or ill-will within your church?
#2: Even if you aren’t playing such a role, if such hard feelings or ill-will exist within your church, what are doing to bring the problems to a godly resolution?