Rod left a comment on my post “Rejected” that I want to give more visibility.
His comment was an excerpt from a Christianity Today article called “To Serve Is to Suffer.” Here is part of the article:
The biblical model of community life is Jesus’ command to love one another as he loved usâ€”that is, for members to die for other members (John 15:12-13). The model of Christian leadership is that of the Good Shepherd dying for his sheep, not abandoning them when the situation gets dangerous (John 10:11-15). When God calls us to serve him, he calls us to come and die for the people we serve. We don’t discard people when they have problems and cannot do their job properly. We serve them and help them come out of their problems. We don’t tell people to find another place of service when they rebel against us. We labor with them until we either come to agreement or agree to disagree.
When people leave a church because they do not fit the program, it communicates a deadly message: that our commitment is to the work and not to the person, that our unity is primarily in the work and not in Christ and the gospel. The sad result is that Christians do not have the security of a community that will stay by them no matter what happens. They become shallow individuals, never having true fellowship and moving from group to group. Churches committed to programs can grow numerically, but they don’t nurture biblical Christians who understand the implications of belonging to the body of Christ.
The way we treat people who disagree with us demonstrates whether we love the people or the work… (By the way, I think this is true for all believers, not just elders/pastors/leaders.)