Sure ... below is the prologue to get you started
In different circumstances it might have been a Tic-Tac moment. Randal was literally toe-to-toe with Pastor Kent, his ham-n-cheese sandwich still lingering on his hot breath. He stabbed his finger at Kent’s nose for emphasis.
“For nineteen months you’ve been trying to change our little church and the way we do things around here. And I, for one, am sick and tired of it.” Randal looked around the room at the other board members for emphasis.
Marge, Harold, and Francis were scowling and emphatically nodded their heads in time with the cadence of Randal’s words. The other four board members were clearly uncomfortable and kept their heads tucked, only glancing up occasionally to see if they could somehow escape the fellowship hall.
Kent had been standing to read his monthly Pastor’s Report and was about a third of the way through when Randal had jumped up and began his tirade.
Kent opened his mouth to speak, but Randal instantly cut him off. “You keep talking about growing the church, but we’ve been a small family church here in the country since 1862, and that’s how we want to stay.”
The fact that Centerville had become the county’s hub for retail and medical was apparently lost on the church’s leadership. Their “country church” was surrounded by burgeoning subdivisions filled with new residents working in the booming county economy.
Pastor Kent had been called to the First Emmanuel On the Plains Church a little over a year-and-a-half before with the understanding he’d help the aging congregation reach their absent children and grandchildren. He’d pretty much tried everything he knew how to do, but every time he got some traction Randal and his buddies scuttled the plans. Although they’d seen several young faces over the months, no one ever stayed long. Frankly, there wasn’t much for them to stay for – the unstated goal of the board was to guard the church traditions. So young families visited, experienced the carefully guarded and curated blast from the past, and were largely ignored by the church members.
Kent desperately wanted to adjourn the meeting, but Randal wasn’t quite done. “Your Double the Visitors campaign was a total and utter bust. I took inventory last Sunday and there’s not a single new family in the church! It doesn’t seem like you have any idea about how to lead this church. So I’ve spoken to a bunch of the church members and they all agree with me that it’s time for you to go. You’ve worn out your welcome and we think we can do better without you. We have to take it to the congregation unless we have an 80 percent majority vote by the board – unless you’re ready to resign.”
At that, all eight heads turned toward him. Four faces were saying, We dare you to try and stay. The other four were saying, We’re so sorry, but …
Looking back over his last night at First Emmanuel, Kent knew he’d learned a lesson or two or three. He wasn’t exactly sure what he’d learned, but he figured it was a valuable.
Although he didn’t know it yet, that’s the night Pastor Kent Clark first started to learn about the perils of trying to herd church cats.