You may have noticed the news story of a pastor who had to defend himself from a employee who decided to shoot him. Apparently everything went wrong when the pastor told the employee that he was terminated. The pastor, who had a permit to carry his firearm, returned fired injuring the shooter.
I want to take a few moments to say, please pray for the pastor and the church. While they would have NEVER have choosen to place themselves in this situation - they prepared for the possibility none the less. It is the day and time that we live in people. While you hope that no one ever does this to you, you have to be prepared.
Since the story broke I have heard again and again, "The pastor shouldn't carry a gun." Really, with all that is going on in the world, you think that pastors and churches are exempt from the violence that is consuming our society? I have to say that I have received my fair share of death threats over the years. I have had pastors call me and ask me what they should do in the face of their death threats. I have had people take a swing at me. I've had people threaten to slash my tires. I've had people litter my church parking lot with nails. I've had people pull knives on me. I've had people threaten to attack me while I am preaching in the pulpit.
Now the first thing someone might ask is, "Well, what did you do to deserve it?" Simple. I told the truth. We live in a world that has taught people that whatever they want, they can have. That they are right and everyone else is wrong. If you don't get your way, it's their fault if you are angry about it. So when I or the church doesn't comply with culture, someone gets offended. Years ago, people just moved on. But over the years I have seen the aggression mount up against church leadership like never before. Pastors being sued by members with frivolous lawsuits. Lies and rumors propagated to destroy the pastors reputation in the community. Members deliberately withholding finances trying to starve the pastor out of his or her job.
Now let me say this clearly. These are not the actions of people who follow Christ. I would question whether or not they ever had a relationship with Christ.
Now, once you get past this level of harassment and troublemaking that there is another level of problems you have to pay attention to. People who are mentally ill. They say and do things that normal people wouldn't do. Then there are people are irrationally angry and will act out in ways that they normally wouldn't do.
99% of the time, issues between followers of Christ are resolved with love, acceptance and forgiveness. That kind of stuff will not be repeated around the water cooler or make the front page of the local newspaper. For all the good that the church does in our society today, the bad is VERY bad. When it happens, pastors and churches alike have to be prepared for it.
The above article does not reflect the opinion or position of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, the Peninsular Florida District Council of the Assemblies of God or Faith Family Worship Center of Palm City.