Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Strong is Envy? Part 3

Pr 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

It IS possible to defeat an envious person, but it can be difficult. A small Baptist church had a very badly-written church constitution. It permitted children to vote, and on every anniversary of his hiring, the pastor could be fired by 25% of the vote. No joke; 25% of the membership could fire him. New members couldn't vote until they had been members for one year, so it didn't even take 25%.

Two men with large families controlled the vote, and they routinely fired every pastor on his anniversary, often over the objections of the majority of the tiny church. Without being elected, they controlled the church, and they envied the popularity and success of any pastor who could take their power away. Then, my friend Mel became the pastor.

Under Mel's leadership, the church tripled in attendance in a matter of months. And as the anniversary drew near, the two men assured everyone that they were going to fire him, although the rest of the church didn't want to. One month before the anniversary, the two families took a vacation together, and Mel got to work.

As I said, this church had a badly-written constitution. They could have a surprise business meeting any time a quorum of members was present, and they could amend the Church Constitution at any business meeting. Mel called all the members on the phone and told them he was having a business meeting on the Wednesday night that these two families would be absent. There, they amended the constitution to require a 50% vote to fire the pastor.

The two families returned to find out that they had lost their power. When one of the men threatened to give Mel a beating, Mel demanded that he keep his promise. From then on, any time the man started something, Mel demanded that the man keep his promise to fistfight him, and the problem disappeared.

Months later, the last I heard of them, the church was doing well, was growing steadily, and had a happy congregation.

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