"I woke up this morning with news that a young pastor in N.C. that I have been encouraging is out of a job..... Paul was serving a church in KY, then called to pastor in N.C. a couple of months ago. He was told last night that they made a mistake in calling him. Since he started he has been preaching a series from Philippians. The church just flat told him that he is to preach inspirational messages and not use scripture as much. The deacons also said that much of the Bible is outdated and not relevant to the congregation. This left Paul with the option of bowing to the pressure or resigning. Paul is married with 2 children and now with not even enough $$ to move back to KY without help from his family."
I am so very sorry for this pastor and his family. (Perhaps someone reading this will be convicted of the need to help this family financially!) But I praise God that when offered the option of preaching more inspirational messages or resigning, Paul chose to stay faithful. I've been blessed enough in my ministry that I have never been in a church which told me not to use Scripture so much. Sounds as though this church wants a Joel Osteen-type preacher, one to make them feel good all the time. The problem with preaching messages based on Scripture is that Scripture sometimes challenges us and convicts us of the ways we've been living. It corrects us when we are wrong, and at times the correcting process is painful. And the messages are not always welcomed. Try preaching a message on gossip sometime and see the response you get!
This past Sunday Utica Baptist Church honored me with a gift for six years of service here. Actually, nearly every week this church shows their appreciation and love, and Sharon and I are honored to be here. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and this is the month this church in NC chose to let their pastor go because he was using the Bible too much in his preaching! If you have not honored your pastor yet, make sure your church does. Contact your deacons or elders and ask what plans are being made for that. Your pastor is a human being, and is not perfect, but he does things to help people you don't know anything about. He prays for you in the middle of the night when he is burdened for you. He is constantly looking for ways to make your church stronger. He can hardly read a book or watch a television show without thinking about the next sermon, or the one after that, always staying alert to the Voice of God however He chooses to speak.
The pastor and his family many times are the subject of rumors and gossip beyond belief. There are times when the rumors have been flying so heavily about me and my family that I wondered where my friends were. At any time they could have stepped up and stopped it, but for reasons known only to them, they didn't. But God is faithful, and He is the lifter up of my head. My job would have been much easier if I could have told everything I knew, but the principles of integrity and confidentiality prevented me from doing so. The only option was to endure the gossip and pray that one day it would settle down.
I praise God for allowing me to be in a church which loves the Word of God and honors their pastor and staff, and I pray for those men and women who are doing their best to serve God in churches across our land.
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com