At the beginning of this year, God impressed on me that our ekklesia (fellowship, church) would change. I had the sense that some people would leave. I also knew that it would be friends that I would never expect to leave. I hate the tearing, the dismantling of relationships. Even though God warned me, I find myself grieving.
People move on for several reasons. Some go on to greater things or different kinds of ministry. Others have their life’s focus changed. I know one person that hasn’t been with us has a new job. It’s very demanding and she’s on a steep learning curve. Then again, some leave because of hurt and offense.
My dad’s side of the family didn’t communicate well. When conflict happened you had to be a master at reading inferences and body language. Rifts in his side of the family have lasted as long as fifty years. All because people couldn’t express how they feel in a safe environment. I purposed in my heart not to be that way. Frankly, if you have an issue with the ekklesia or me, I prefer that you yell at me than slink away in silence.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. A close girlfriend of mine used to be a part of the ekklesia. We had been friends for almost 20 years. I had shared new teaching on the topic of the Kabbalah. The origins of the Kabbalah date back centuries to the times when Jews were mystics. It’s an example of the Tree of Life. It’s not the twisted teachings that were made so popular by the singer Madonna and it’s not the mess that one trendy Christian teacher presents it as today. His views are very one-sided.
During that time, my friend announced that she wouldn’t be fellowshipping with us anymore. She was moving on to help another ministry. A few months went by, and the leader of that ministry came to visit with me about doing some joint activities together. As a side note, he made mention of my friend. She had told him about my Kabbalah teaching. She had taken offense. She thought it was the stuff Madonna was spewing. She told this man that I was leading the ekklesia astray. Wow! I was shocked. I had no clue. What a misunderstanding. But “really,” my dear friend couldn’t or wouldn’t let me know what she was thinking. The greatest loss was her’s.
There’s an old quote from Alcoholic’s Anonymous. “Our secrets make or keep us sick.” This is a prime example. Usually, there’s a misunderstanding or a lie that the hurt or offended person believes. In that case, if we don’t communicate, we are the ones that are being robbed of community, support, friendship, and fellowship.
Another friend doesn’t hang with us much because of personality issues. One of the ladies in our group bugged him. She’s very direct when she speaks. He would come to me and complain. I repeatedly told him that he needed to tell her and clear the air. Redundantly telling me wouldn’t solve the problem. At one point I set a goal for him. I gave him a week to talk to her. He didn’t do it. My friend, Del Hungerford says, “Our offenses create fences.” And that’s what happened in this case. It’s one of the reasons he stopped fellowshipping with us.
Saying nothing and staying away when there’s an issue doesn’t solve anything. It leaves the problem to fester like a thorn in an infected wound.
I know that most of the changes for NW Ekklesia this year are by divine plan. I encourage “us all” to SAY SOMETHING when you have an issue or conflict. The bottom line is you will feel a lot better.