So Your Church Has Split

Where to start? I suppose that question itself is difficult in church splits. Do I begin with the actual split? Do I tell of the competing camps that divided the body into fragments? Do I start earlier, and describe the years-long saga of missed solutions & unexplored opportunities that permitted this divide to form in the first place?

No, dear reader. I begin with the aftermath.

Intro: The Death-Spiral

There comes a moment where it no longer matters which side you were on. Whatever at-the-time-important issue was at hand, and whichever side you chose, the day comes when you wake up and your first church is GONE and you CAN'T get it back. The pieces don't fit back together anymore like they used to. The original is past.

It feels bad & it hurts, but you learn to live with it. You settle into the new normal, and you desire to have revival where you're at. Problem: you can't.

Pre-split, your church had X-hundred people. You were a powerhouse in your organization or fellowship. You had pull. Others respected you just for being a part of this assembly.

The problem is one of perception - you are no longer THAT church.

Post-split, the Pastor appears to be floundering. He believed he knew how to pastor the church of X-hundred people. Now he no longer has the big church - just the handful who stayed.

Is money low? Actually no, it's not. But the leadership were used to throwing cash around without deep consideration. Now they must budget and scrimp. They're not used to this. The church staff is shrinking by the week: "no money for all these offices" is a phrase you're going to be hearing a lot more in the days to come.

The "Pillars of Pentecost" were your visiting ministers. Conference speakers and celebrity evangelists buttered the church's pulpit-bread. But with the new financial and numerical realities, those preachers probably won't be around anymore.

This is huge problem, and must not be glossed over. Post-split, visiting speakers CEASE to come through. Not because "there's no money", and not because "there's nobody who'll preach for me anymore". Quite the contrary. Many traveling ministers and retired Pastors would jump at the opportunity to help a church in great need. In a time of uncertainty, the gifts and operations of the Spirit are more important than in any other season. But the Pastor has no idea how to navigate this new normal. Well-known conference speakers were once his revival-Rolodex. What to do now?

This is where it usually hits: "The double-dip". The first round of splits was over some principle or idea or other. The second round of splits is over the chaos ushered in afterward.

Who wants to attend a church with no outside voices coming into the pulpit? Memories of long ago revivals flood your mind, and great sermons from powerfully-used men of God play on repeat on your iPod. YouTube and Google provide you with an endless supply of quality Apostolic preaching. Why do you do all of this? Because your home church no longer feeds you Spiritually.

You leave, eventually, because the only choice for you is either the uncertainty of a new House of Worship, or the continuation of spiritual numbness in the Purgatory of your once-vibrant home church. Whichever option you choose, this new situation is not "home".

The above is the usual order-of-events for saints in a splitting church as it divides and dissipates.

Must it be that way? No.
Can it be fixed? Oh yes, it most certainly can.
How? That is the subject of this article.

If you are a Pastor who has had a church split, here is the way out.

(1) The Hard Part
"Was there any nugget of truth to the criticisms of those who left?" This is the hardest question any Senior Pastor asks himself. We try so hard to seek The Lord and pray for the souls that God entrusts to us. The possibility that we did something that contributed to this can shatter our ability to be the leader we need to be. But it is a necessary question.

For 7 days Job sat silently with his friends (Job 2:11-13). What was he thinking about? Probably pouring over-and-over his life's decisions: weighing whether any of his choices brought this to pass. Upon considering every detail, only then did he begin his discourse in chapter 3.

In the course of 35 chapters (Job 3 thru Job 37), Job and his friends go back-and-forth debating the exact causes and next-steps he must take. Every possibility was discussed. Every option weighed. Were Job's friends wrong? Yes. They constantly accused him of sin - be wary of anyone quick to accuse you in this season!

But whether guilty or innocent, this long argument was necessary. Their searching and theological discussion brought Job DEEPER in his relationship with God. Job grew, even while his friends were stuck in the quasi-religious buffoonery of their day.

God may drastically shift your friends-circle in this time. Get ready to fellowship new people that The Lord brings to help you. Also, be wary of Eliphaz's and Bildad's and Zophar's who arrive at your doorstep simply to announce you're at fault for your condition.

(2) The Voice of The LORD

The direction of God is critical.

In Job 38:1, The LORD speaks to Job "OUT of the whirlwind". That pretty well sums up your current surroundings, doesn't it? A whirlwind. ZERO visibility. Winds of chaos & conundrum that could also serve as winds of change. God is speaking in the wind of your surrounding.

Job 38:2 - "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" ... God's questions teach us more than men's answers ever will!

I am pricked by what The LORD spoke to Job in verse 2 here: "darkeneth counsel ... words without knowledge". His FIRST STATEMENT to Job in his trial is essentially, 'you have no idea what you're talking about, so I'm going to teach you'.

Get ready to go to Holy Ghost university for a while. The LORD is READY to speak, if you seek Him (and Job HAD been seeking to speak with The LORD throughout his dialogue with his friends).

The next question after seeking God's face is: are you ready to HEAR the Voice of the LORD? A legitimate question posed to all 7 churches of Revelation.

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; ..."
 - Revelation 2:7

Job questioned how and why God allowed this. God answers by revealing His creative works from the dawn of time.

There is a REVEALING that God wishes to usher into you now. To proceed forward, you MUST understand The Creator in a deeper way than before.

After 2 chapters of this, God throws the spotlight back to Job:

"Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.- Job 40:1-2

Job responds (verses 3-4), "... Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth."

Basically, Job now sees that his worldview must change. But he's not quite there yet. 2 more chapters of God expounding His creative wonders, and then FINALLY Job speaks.

"I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. ... therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. ... Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." - Job 42:2-3,6

Has he sinned? No, but he MUST view things DIFFERENTLY. Blaming himself or his wife was never an option, and now, he sees that blaming God isn't either.

(3) Turning things around

Now that Job accepts that GOD can do anything, God does the miraculous: He heals Job and punishes Job's critics (Job 42:7-8).

Job prays for his accusers, and you must do the same. The very people who attack you need your prayers the most, as they are further from God than they realize and are so vulnerable to false doctrine that they see no issue in wounding their Brother (you).

AFTER Job PRAYED for his critics in verse 9, the Word says "the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends ...". It was only when he PRAYED for his accusers that God ACCEPTED Job.

Want to know the secret to being accepted by Jesus right now in your mess? Start praying for your enemies & your critics, then WATCH how God changes things. DON'T - whatever you do - DON'T respond back in kind. DO NOT talk bad about these people or tarnish them: that's the very thing they're doing to you, isn't it? Insult them and you have become them. But if you PRAY for them then you are BETTER than them! Be patient with them, and GOD will change them for you. The Bible even refers to them here as Job's "friends". Don't be shocked when your present-day adversaries eventually become your future fellowship circle.

The 2nd part of verse 10 says, "... also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." ... YES. The answer to your deepest request is yes, you CAN grow again.

I know all of the 'wise men' and regional ministers around you quietly whisper, "they'll never get that big again" ... "it's just a small church now" ... "he'll never fully recover". But you WILL recover, and not just recover. God can make this church BIGGER than it ever was! (More on how to do that in step 4.)

Verse 11 - "Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, ..."

After praying for his critics, God pours out blessings. It STARTS with his friends of years-past coming to his defense and support. They EVEN aided him financially in this season. Scripture does not record that Job ever sent for them. It was God who brought them, and it will be GOD who'll bring them to you.

Verse 12 - "So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: ..." ... You really, REALLY can have greater blessings and even a larger congregation in the latter end. Here's how.

(4) Birth NEW Sons and Daughters

Job indeed lost sons and daughters, and The LORD did not bring them back from the dead. But Job DID birth NEW children, as many as he lost (Job 42:13).

THAT is the post-split secret to increase and revival. DON'T try and get back the ones that you lost. Job didn't.

DON'T try to kidnap the sons and daughters of other Apostolic churches. Job didn't increase his family by stealing the children of other neighboring parents.

BIRTH NEW CHILDREN! God will work His creative work in you: the key word being CREATIVE. These children will not be re-purposed or re-named from other pentecostal-church-locations.

REACH the LOST! Bring the hurting, the sin-slain, and the torn. Invite the addicted and welcome the unwelcomed. Believe for them that their lives can change.

Extend out your hand to the backslider. Minister to the wounded and un-churched. Those who have no church home and no pastor are the very souls which I believe are ripe and un-labored fields. Be that pastor who reaches them, and no preacher has the right to belittle or criticize God's new revival in you!

(5) Outlast the holdouts

You will most likely OUTLIVE your harshest critics. Verses 16-17 tell us that Job lived a long life, and saw generations to come. You will, too. As tough as your ministerial life is, please keep living it. Outlive the naysayers and backbiters. Pray for your enemies, as Jesus command us.

The chapter ends with Job OUTLIVING it all. Just as you'll outlive it. The bad parts, the departed family-in-God, the attackers, and the ones who never thought you'd make it back. They may not even be around to see God's blessings that are coming, but YOU WILL! Keep going. Keep seeking The Lord. God will bring you out, and He can bless you. You CAN have it all! You CAN have even more. I believe for you, and I'm rooting for you.


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