Laurie KennedySome churches are challenged by a member who knows it all, complains about everything and wants to control the church through their finances, experience and threats.

These challenging church members have similar characteristics. They sit in the same seat every Sunday and are extremely critical of the Pastor and Board. They offer significant encouragement and cash on their favorite projects but nothing to others. Any testimony is about previous years, former Pastors, favorite projects and any prayer is directed similarly.

I was asked to advise a Board concerning one of these individuals. A mentor encouraged me to read ‘The Devil in Row Seven’ by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. The book arrived two days later and I was engrossed. This is not a book for casual relaxing reading with my feet on the coffee table by the fireplace. It was intense and riveting.  

The book relives the horror for Rebecca, daughter of Pastor Robert Nichols and her family. Their verbal, written and physical attacks required the assistance of the folks in their church, the police, and national media. I was horrified at the extent of hate directed to her family from a church member.

The book reinforced in me, “The primary purpose for our leadership mandate is to make known the glory of God by leading others to flourish in God’s design. (Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck) The phenomenal power of God given forgiveness that Rebecca and her family lived and demonstrated is obvious in the book. This awesome gift of forgiveness is available to all of us.

I finished reading the true experience of Rebecca and was totally immersed with the realization that God’s direction in her life was one of complete and total forgiveness for the member who sat in complete hatred of her Father. Wow!

Leadership is … forgiving first, then dealing with organizational and relationship issues.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group