“In Crowd” in Churches

A few weeks ago while I was getting ready for our Monday evening Bible Study, I was in the outer office making copies. As I was waiting for the copies to be done, I was looking through old church pictures and at the pictures of the pastors on the wall next to Pastor Ray’s office. In those pictures, there is all of the pastors that I have known since coming to St. George Community Church. But, there is one missing from the wall. That pastor would be Pastor Wayne Jewel.

For those who didn’t know him or hear of how bad things were for our church, count yourself as blessed. Pastor Wayne caused so many problems that people left the church and they decided that the Bible wasn’t correct and NOT the inspired Word of God.

We were still with American Baptists. USA at the time. There came a time when this pastor decided to put in his resignation because he said that people wouldn’t do what he told them to do. He also didn’t believe all of what was in the Bible. I would say this was probably the first true problems that gave Satan a stronghold in our church. Wayne didn’t want to do what the Bible said, he had his own agenda. His wife refused to participate in anything since she didn’t want her husband preaching. She also had a deep resentment for the area. She was a school teacher and she was uprooted. She became very bitter and angry.

We actually stopped going to church when he came there. I never took our membership, but I stepped down from everything because of all the bitterness of the pastor and the divisions that came about.

While all of these horrible things were going on, I am reminded of what Paul tells the churches in Matthew 16:18 – Paul talking to the Corinthians; Some were with Apollo, and some were with Paul. I don’t think that it was the leaders that were the trouble makers, it was the church body. Paul didn’t approve of the church body when it came to separating themselves into groups. Paul asked them this question, “Is Christ divided” (1 Corinthians 1:13)?  Obviously the answer is “no.”  There were a number of issues when it came to Corinth that were public issues. Some of the issues that we still see in churches today and obviously my church wasn’t exempt is how people carry their own denominational baggage of sorts when they come to church. One of the things I have been guilty of myself is that I have gone to churches that ended up not really teaching the Bible. Too many teachings and their own personal views came into play and those things eventually caused a great division.

Paul’s preaching was simple. This is how he described his policy: When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 1 Cor 2 :1. I would have to say that this pretty much says it point blank.

  • 1 Cor. 3:11 – For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

You will find in churches today that there are splits and denomination divisions.  They can often be found within all churches as was the case at Corinth.

  • The devotees to Paul
  • The devotees to Apollo
  • The devotees to Peter
  • The devotees to Christ

As I was looking at the missing picture of Wayne Jewel, I was also thinking about how Paul rebuked the division that was going on in Corinth. Paul didn’t tell the Corinthians that they need to overlook their differences. Paul instructed them to knock off their practices that was causing division and seek unity by practicing the true teachings of God.

What gets me about the Corinthians is that it wasn’t good enough for them to be Christians. They had to feel like they were special because they were following the teachings of Christ, Paul, Peter or Apollos. This behavior is rampant in individual churches and denominations. This is also extremely destructive behavior. My church use to be affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA like I said before and there were those who came to church that were die-hard American Baptists, German Baptists, Southern Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians and a whole lot of other belief systems. They had to be either be laxed or strict, there was also those that had to be wrong and someone that was right.

When Wayne came to our church, I was given the opportunity to see just how ugly and unGodly people really were. It wasn’t about God at all. It was about who was right and who they believed in. When Paul came up against all of this destructive behavior. He was not impressed at all. I wonder what Paul would think about what goes on in churches today. I would think he would be horrified by how far people and churches have gone when it comes to worshiping Christ Alone.

Don't Shoot the MessengerIs Christ divided? Jesus Christ is the ONLY ONE. Jesus has one body. He isn’t like a lego where He has to be put together and different things make up His body. He is one body and as Christians, we are the body of Christ. Each and every Christians need to remember that we are joined to the head and dependent upon one another. When it comes to denominations and divisions, it isn’t like we can take this part of Him and move each brick around to form Jesus in the way we want. It sure seems like there is a whole lot of anger and unfriendliness going on? Why do we fight each other when we should be united in our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. I don’t get it.

Paul appeals, not on his own behalf,  but in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul knows that Jesus demands the unity for all believers. When I look around at the churches and people nowadays, I think we have moved far away from what the one and only true God of the Bible says. There are thousands of churches and denominations because of divisions within the church. Shoot, any more people will get butt hurt over the simplest of things. I really like the pastor we have now and the ones in the past. Our previous pastor would always say, “don’t shoot the messenger”. He would say that because his responsibility was to deliver the Word of God. He wasn’t going to sugar coat things so people don’t get their feel bads hurt. I would want the honest truth instead of stroking my ego any day. I feel Pastor Ray is that way also. I may not agree or understand everything he says, but if it is in the Bible, then I can’t disagree with God. That is NOT a good idea.

As I watch the news and keep up to date on what is going on in the world, I am thoroughly convinces that Satan has been successful when it comes to bringing about confusion in our day and times. People keep looking and searching for new churches until they find one that will line up with what they think it should be and according to their will, not Gods. I know way to many people who will leave a church because someone doesn’t agree with them. I hate to say this, but, we will never find a church or people that is going to always agree with me or anyone else. It’s a good thing because I am wrong all the time. I don’t need a following. I just need Jesus.

Sheeps and Goats
         Sheeps and Goats

Wayne was the first time our church really had such a split and it was ugly. I honestly don’t think that God would have been pleased whatsoever. After a couple years and he was gone, we returned to church. We didn’t stop going to church though. We would go church hopping and to this day, I still have many wonderful friends from those churches and some are going to my church now. At first I was thinking how horrible it is that people get upset over some of the things they do. Then I started reasoning things out because even in the Bible people were being separated into the sheep’s and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46).

I think today, there is a huge division over the “end times”. I love to study the end times, but what I have concluded is that no matter what theory or stand someone may have on them, in the end God is in control. I don’t need to understand every little thing there is, because in the end, God is in control. I don’t need to know the day or the hour, because in the end God is in control. I think man has a way of making things complicated and wants to be right. But in the end, God is in control, not me. So, I will just keep doing what I am doing and sharing the Gospel with others, because I know there will be an end and that is because God is in control.

In closing, I just want to say that many of today’s problems are because of Man, not God. I see the division that Pastor Wayne and those in our church in the early 2000’s as a social group. You had the one side of the church that loved Wayne, so they were in the “In Crowd”. He would greet them and they would hang out because they were, “his friends”. Then you have the not so popular side that is wanting to be part of the in crowd, but a hand goes up and they are told, “sorry, you’re not my friend”, so they are excluded.

Churches aren’t exempt from having their own “In Crowd”. Thankfully our church is filled to the brim with wonderful Godly people who love the Lord. As I look around though, I can’t help but wonder where their hearts really are. Churches have small groups instead of Bible Studies. My church still calls them Bible Studies as they should be. They should be about God and the infallible Word of God. But, it is sad that many churches don’t teach about what the Bible says. They add their own thoughts and interpretation’s. I have even seen it where they don’t even use the Bible as a resource. All of man’s ideas are interjected into the message.

Divisions like the one that happened when Wayne was at our church comes about because of man’s failure to not listen to God. If man would stay right with God and have a personal relationship with God, then there would be unity in the churches, not division. In order for us to have a real relationship with God, we must have a fellowship with each other.

  • 1 John 1:3. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.