Friday, May 1, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays ...

It is such a dreary day outside ... and that blah-ness has worked its way into the building. Ever had one of those days?

There's work to be done, things to finish, places to go ... and yet, I just don't have a lot of motivation. Is it just the weather? Is it something else? I don't know.

On the brighter side of things - tonight is our Maplewood Baptist Reunion Dinner!

For those that aren't familiar with Maplewood - let me give a little background:

Back in October of 2000, Missie and the kids and I moved from Manvel, Texas to take the position of Music Minister at Maplewood Baptist, here in Clarksville. The church was a small church, running around 100 on Sunday Mornings. The pastor had been there for a little less than a year - and the church was poised for growth.

The first year and a half were hard - but in a great way. God began moving and changing things - and repositioning the church to be a huge impact in the community. By the Easter of 2002, we were averaging over 250 on Sunday Mornings - and on Easter Sunday, we had over 450 people! Things were awesome! There was a wonderful Spirit in the church, and it was truly a great church family.

But then ... something happened. To this day, I still don't know exactly what it was - but things changed. By the summer of 2003, there was a tension that had developed ... and a lot of it came from the staff. We had grown from 2 staff to 5 full-time ministers ... and I think we lost our focus. We began, under the leadership of the pastor, to focus on who WE were and what WE wanted rather than who God was or where He was leading.

I was constantly belittled by the pastor, and was told on more than one occasion that I 'suck as a worship leader' and that I shouldn't be in the ministry because I didn't have a 'pastor's heart'. After months of that, I stepped down from leading worship in the early summer of 2003. I should have left the church at that point, but selfishly I wanted to stay because of all the blood, sweat and tears we had put into the church.

I took over the Administration area of the ministry. Well ... that is definitely NOT my calling! It really stinks to be out of God's will ... and I had stuck myself so far out of it, that I couldn't even see what I was supposed to be doing. To make a long, painful story short ... in October, I was called into the pastor's office and fired. However, I wasn't allowed to tell anyone that I had gotten fired - I had to speak before the congregation on a Sunday night and 'resign' - or I was told I wouldn't get my severance pay. I capitulated and spoke on November 2. Then, I was told that I didn't make it clear enough that it wasn't the pastor's doing that I was leaving - so I had to come back the next Sunday night and do it again!

After I left, a lot of allegations were made and my name was drug through the mud ... but God was gracious through it all. I can see now that He delivered me from the situation before it really got out of hand.

After I left the church, Maplewood merged (took over) another church in town, moved locations, changed it's name, lost more staff members, had the pastor resign and lost their building.

All is not lost, though! God is still in control. The remnant that stayed with the church through it all has gotten another location, called a great man as pastor, has changed it's name and is beginning to grow.

So ... tonight, we're having a dinner for all the former members of Maplewood. A lot of us haven't seen each other in years. I have been able to make amends with all of the former staff and God has allowed us all to grow in other places.

I'm really looking forward to tonight ... but really wish the rain would stop!!

Oh well ... maybe some Mexican food for lunch will help! Torreros ... here I come!!

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