This is going to sound a bit difficult to believe. However, God as my witness, it is true.
It was the year 2004 or 2005 as best I can recall. A senior adult woman who was a member of the church I pastored was upset with me and certain leaders in the church because of a practice going on in our church that she felt should not be allowed.
What bothered her so badly was the shouts of ‘Amen” and the occasional clapping we did in church. Both activities were Spirit lead. Many times we clapped when the choir sang specials or when solos were done. There were ‘Amens’ too.
The lady first approached a deacon about his saying amen because she happened to sit close to him and his wife. When she didn’t get satisfaction from him, she came to me. She wanted me to tell folks not to say amen and not to clap. She didn’t get any satisfaction from me either.
Her next move was to make calls to church members and complain. She did’t get much help there either. That’s when the accusations and character assassinations began. According to her I was not a Southern Baptist and not even saved.
Because she was upsetting the church members with her phone calls, the deacons and I decided a visit was in order. Following the prescription according to Matthew in exercising church discipline, the chairman and I scheduled a visit to her home.
She was so glad we came.That was until she realized we were not there to heed to her wishes but to kindly ask her to stop making the calls and upsetting the church members. We affirmed our desire for her to remain a member of the church but the busy body activities of sowing discord was to stop.
Scripture was shared supporting acts of praise in worship. I shared my conversion experience when she got on the attack about my salvation. My deacon chairman was just as polite when he stated the whole deacon fellowship was in agreement on allowing the Holy Spirit freedom to work in our services and that it was not our place to tell the congregation they can’t do something “Spirit” led.
Well instead of things getting better she began accusing the deacon chairman and me of trying to ‘run her off.’ She requested a meeting with all of the deacon fellowship. Request was granted.Her satisfaction was not met.
Praise God for men of God and His Word for lovingly standing for righteousness!
Hoping this was going to get better was dashed when a deacon called me to his home. Seems the lady had talked with the county sheriff. Now the sheriff wanted to talk to me. I called him and set up the appointment.
Upon arriving at his office, he began sharing he was talking to me as a friend to the senior adult lady. She was a contributing supported and he wanted to help. Basically the request was made from him if I would be willing to talk to her again. He shared how he had made calls to churches in the past when there had been civil disturbances and did not want to have to come to my church.
My response went something like this. First this is not an act of helping a friend. It was him acting as a sheriff seeing I was in his office, during his office hours, and him sitting there behind his desk below the county emblem hanging from the wall.
I further told him there was no civil disturbances going on but only a woman who was angry because she wasn’t getting her way. The whole matter did not warrant his involvement. Nonetheless, I agreed to speak with her again right then and there. He made the call to her and put me on the phone.
The call started out cordial but didn’t last long because she did not get the satisfaction she hoped for. I wish the sheriff would have stayed in the room and heard her tell me to get my resume ready because she was going to run me out of town.
The only ones alive today to verify the truthfulness of my encounter at the sheriff’s office is the sheriff. The lady soon thereafter was admitted to the hospital and placed in ICU. I tried to minister to her twice before she died but she did not think much of me. The deacon who got the call from the sheriff requesting my presence died a couple of years ago. The deacon was a good man.
Several of the men on the deacon fellowship are still alive and can attest to the validity of this overall experience. They know about the summons to the sheriff’s office from my report to them.
Strange experience to say the least. Summoned to the sheriff’s office because I would not stop a worship activity that honors and praises God. Who would have thought it?
Until next time,