I learned to recognize true repentance and character change as a lay counselor through the divorce support group and Celebrate Recovery ministries by sustained, lengthy patterns in behavior change. Repeated patterns can also flag problems. Comments during the April 8th meeting indicated repeated cycles of losing pastors, elders and families over the years since the senior minister took over. Why had the church lost beloved ministers? Why had several of the elders quietly stepped away from their positions? Why were families permanently walking out the doors of FCCF? Why was this pattern repeated over the years? Was it because of the governance change? Was it due to poor management policies and procedures? The leaders publicly asked these questions and more at the meeting. Perhaps the exodus of talent and membership was due to a mixture of the above.

“Ya pray for your pastor and you pray for your ministers, that’s all you can do right? Seems like I’ve been praying for six years and I keep seeing the same thing happen over and over and over again.

You, sir, are in denial that you have a problem. Coming from an addiction I can see that. And also having been a great liar, I can see that in you. Because from the people that I’ve known and people that I’ve built relationships with here, those that have left, I would believe them. Because there’s ten and twelve and eighteen of them, and there’s you.” (Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Inside Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, p. 89.)

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