Monday, November 02, 2009

Sermon of the Week: MacArthur on "Black Tuesday"

A friend recently sent me this link to a 9 Marks audio interview with John MacArthur on his four decade long ministry in his church. Along the way, MacArthur discusses various "mutinies" he experienced in the course of his tenure including one he calls "Black Tuesday." Here's the link (listen especially to minutes 6:00 to 12:00).
At one point, MacArthur tells Dever:
You’ve been a pastor long enough to know that there’s a lot of pain in the ministry.

When you stay in the same place for a long time, you see all your weaknesses reflected back to you.

But I’ve learned to embrace the suffering, to embrace the criticism, to embrace the failure, and to embrace the pain, as probably the most productive work of God in my life….

There is a sense in which the best things that have ever happened to me were the mutinies that have occurred in my church, the disappointments, the criticisms, the misrepresentations.

I go back to what is often called at Grace Church, "Black Tuesday." Probably 7-8 years into the ministry, the church is expanding and flourishing and everything is going great. Then the entire staff mutinies. There was somebody orchestrating the entire thing.

I walked into a staff meeting one day, and I said, "I want to tell you guys how much I love you and how much I appreciate you… I just want to thank you for your friendship." To which one replied, speaking for all, "If you think we’re your friends, you’ve got another thing coming buddy!"

A mutiny broke out in that moment. I was shocked… I was devastated…

It tore me up. I was in tears. I was in grief. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

There have been two or three other times when I would have left Grace Church, but I didn’t have an invitation…. The net effect has been to deepen and strengthen the ministry.

All the struggles…a father coming to me and saying, "My son’s been dead for nine months, and you came when he died and I haven’t heard a word from you since. Do you care?"

You go through things in life…

The hardest thing for me to go through is when I am accused of misrepresenting the Lord or truth…. I won’t defend myself, but…when someone says I teach something I don’t teach, I feel I need to correct that.
To know that someone like MacArthur went through discouraging times in his pastorate should give comfort to all of us with more ordinary abilities.

No comments: