Jealousy among the church of God

Jealousy among the church of God is about jealousy among the members and ministers of a local church.

I am a pastor of a local church in Mexico City, i.e. a missionary. Over the 30+ years that I have pastored churches on the mission field, I have seen various times just when things are going great in my church, and new people are coming, that the ugly green eyed monster of jealousy raises its head.

Background

Pastors are not given the task of doing all of the work of God but rather to feed the sheep and equip them for the work of the ministry. As such we MUST USE our members. Using our members goes through a process for everybody, no matter who enters the church. Perhaps if the church decided to hire an assistant pastor or a youth pastor, then that would be the exception here, but all ministers that are not in an official position have to submit to the process.

The process begins by the new person explaining their understanding of salvation, and giving their testimony of salvation. If I as pastor think that they basically have a core understanding of salvation by grace, not by works then they pass that step.

A lot of pastors simply immediately start giving these people responsibilities. I see that as very wrong. Some Pentecostal churches have small groups and a new person can come into the fellowship and be the sole teacher of a small group within a few weeks, and that even if that person is a woman. So I just go against that from what I understand from Scripture and from my experience in church work.

In our church, I put a 2 year vetting limit on anyone before they can teach, preach, or lead the congregation. I have made exceptions to that rule, and every time I have regretted it afterwards, and so I am much more harsh on that rule being always. In 2 years, you can see how faithful that person is in attending. I do not watch people tithe, but the men who raise the offerings do comment to me from time to time who is not tithing or tithing coins only. They comment that when I mention to them the possibility of letting that particular new member to do more serious tasks.

Why?

1 Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

One of the key ways that Satan makes a shame of the church is to let unvetted people take leadership positions. What happens is once in, they won’t let you step them back down to being a regular member without leadership roles, like leading singing. Anybody in one of those positions will get extremely angry if you try something like that. Probably rightly so.

But in the passage of time, you see how excited they get at first, and then cool off, and see whether they continue to come, participate, and give when they are not in the spotlight.

The Problems of Leadership

Oh, for the days of youth once again! I am presently 63 years old. When I preach Sunday School and then the 11 AM church service, I am worn out by the middle and end of the second service. Maybe too many Sundays sitting at my desk preaching from Zoom has affected me poorly, but that is my problem at this point in my life. So I need other people who are ministers to help me.

Unfortunately, life is not so helpful. Over the years, and maybe this is a cultural thing in Mexico but I would bet that this is the same problem everywhere. Over the years, I have put people in charge, and even given them opportunities to teach Sunday School or preach the 11 AM service only to find that 1) they didn’t show up, 2) they didn’t call me or inform me even though promising that they would do it. 3) they show up half an hour into me preaching the 11 AM service and afterwards get mad at me because I didn’t stop mid sermon and sit down and let them talk. Really!

So that is the norm. Of course, I usually never use that person again. I had a young few, son of friends of ours, going to the mission field and we were in the states, and I gave him Sunday morning service, confirmed and everything about a month before the date. He never showed up and later said that I didn’t call and remind him the week before he was supposed to preach! I am the 60+ and he was barely into his 20s!

Competition between church members

What I see a lot is that a talented person comes into our church, and we start using them, and they do a good job. But then somebody comes in and I try to spread the opportunities for service around, and what I had only this one guy to do a lot, when somebody comes in, I take some of the burdens off of him and let the new guy take them. This has caused great jealousy between them, so much so that the first guy left the church, and in other cases the first guy retires to warm a pew and doesn’t want to do anything. When I lack personnel, I turn to the new guy and the jealousy rages.

Solutions

To me, we are in a war. If one platoon fights on this front, and a different platoon wants to take that war from us for a while, God be blessed, help is given to us. But this is the problem here, these people can teach, preach, and lead the song services, but they don’t have a clue to what they are doing. Their principle thought is that they are shining their glory before the crowd. Wow! “I am great aren’t I!”

In other words, I am so old, that I really don’t have to be in front and in the limelight. We take “vacations” from time to time, but never leave the city. (I do not consider a furlough a vacation since I work the whole time and more than when I am just in my work on the field.) But these “vacations” are to let other of our people preach and teach, whether they are good or bad, I give them some opportunities. I am usually sitting on the front row during their entire sermon though. That is my only vacation.

To my understanding, young and inexperienced people in ministry do not feel the unity of all of the ministers of God working to do God’s work nor the opposition of Satan against all of us and the work of God in general. If they did feel that they would have compassion and sympathy instead of jealousy towards their fellow workers.

I think one of the key things that has helped me over the years, is to first of all realize how much “Christians” are big liars, and try to butter up the pastor with praises of how good he is. I never believe these praises. As quickly as you preach anything that makes them mad, you go from being the best pastor and preacher in the world to Satan himself in their eyes. So I have had that experience way too many times to believe the good nor the evil that come out of their mouths.

God’s work is not about me. It is about God’s work, God’s purposes and goals. I am a very, very small part of that, and I need to always remember that and do excellent work and let God do the praising or criticizing in glory. So I do not care about praise here. I care about what God has put under my hand to do.

You are only truly a leader when you are more concerned about pleasing God that looking good in front of others. At least that is my opinion. You have to focus off of yourself and onto the needs and meeting the needs of the church.