When a Church Splits – Testimony #25

A WEE PEEK – “… But if the split wasn’t bad enough, the thought of the ones who had neither stayed, nor gone to another church weighed heavily upon us. And again, I could do nothing but watch as these friends, that we’d shared so much with, disappeared back into the world. They were hurt with no desire to enter another church building…

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When a Church Splits

LATEST NEWS – This church split situation happened some time ago when I was very ill, and before I’d been set forward as a Pastor in our local area. Names have been omitted in respect of those who were close to the situation.

When a Church Splits


Around 2005 In the early part of this season, I’d been serving the church as a Cell/House Church overseer and I was learning much and gaining experience in ministry. But then, I fell seriously ill. My pastor at the time decided to relieve me of the responsibility so I could focus on my family and to find my feet with this illness. I wasn’t happy, stepping down for me wasn’t an option as I found most things difficult to quit on. But he was absolutely right and within a few days, I was feeling more peaceful about ministry, however, as things were, I could rarely attend church, being confined mostly to my home.

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During those months, I just had to focus on myself and my family, but one Saturday evening, the Lord gave me a deep impression to share with my pastor from the parable of the sower. And the message was, just keep sowing. I was still in that time of learning about the prophetic so it took me a few hours to work up the courage to take the letter. In the end, I waited until after dark and posted it through his letterbox. I had no idea why God had given this word, but it was a word from him and one, I had to deliver. The next day Sharon came home from church and knowing what God had said through the word, I could see she was visibly shaken. Then she began to tell me that our pastoral couple who we’d shared everything with, was stepping down.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and I thought well, it’s either he didn’t see the letter I posted or, they had read it and continued anyway.  With that, we were obviously hugely troubled, so I tried to do what I could from my sickbed at home including writing a letter to the church council showing them that our pastors stepping down wasn’t a good idea. However, they’d made up their mind and went onto a sabbatical. From there, the church began to fracture and all I could do was sit at home and watch the carnage to follow.

I was very sick at this point and mostly confined to home, however, with these new developments, neither of us could let go. So, it was Sharon’s turn to follow the leading of God and speak to the visiting senior overseer of the assembly. That day, the church voted an individual in as Pastor with the blessing of this overseer, in the Sunday morning service. Afterward, Sharon caught the attention of this overseer and explained to him what it had been like in the church, in those last few weeks. He actually cried and was totally blown away by what he was hearing. And yet, he did nothing and this grab of power went ahead.

We realized that there was nothing we could do but as usual, I had to seek God to find some kind of peace. I knew as a Christian that I was to submit to our Pastors and overseers and now, we had a new set, filled with overseers we couldn’t agree with. So one day I picked up a little note, which must have been part of some study and it was the verse in Hebrews about submitting to overseers. I looked to God and got the impression that he was saying can you submit? My answer was no. I said to the Lord that I couldn’t submit to these overseers as they were unqualified to do what they were doing and there was our answer. It was time to move.

The weight of being ill and a church split was simply too much for us and leaving wasn’t easy by any means. But we graciously stepped away from the place we’d been saved, baptized and married with a sense of peace as well as grief. But as always, God provided hope. I listened to a preacher one day, a very wise and godly man and his message was about the decisions in life. He said don’t pitch a tent when you should build a house. And don’t build a house where you only need to pitch a tent. The last part was the answer we were looking for and we knew, that our time in another assembly was going to be temporary and that we’d be back in time.

Those first few months of being ill and having the weight of the church split so fresh in our minds, making it very difficult to watch the split. Some people stayed and others left for other churches, and I could do nothing but sit there and watch it happen. But if the split wasn’t bad enough, the thought of the ones who had neither stayed, nor gone to another church weighed heavily upon us. And again, I could do nothing but watch as these friends that we’d shared so much with, disappeared back into the world. They were hurt with no desire to enter another church building.

BLOG BLURB – Thankfully, I’d say that these splits are quite rare in the worldwode church, but unfortunately, in some instances, it can happen.

When a Church Splits
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About Steven Birnie

Steven Birnie is a former local Church Minister and the author of Christian publications which include non-fiction, fictional and teaching eBooks with audio sermons. From the north-east coast of Scotland, Pastor Steven is married to Sharon and together, they have two young children called Emily and David. After seven years of training, three years of overseeing youth and young adults and, three years of being the Assistant Pastor in his local Church, Pastor Steven moved on to focus on writing Christian Publications. In the future, he hopes to write The Tribulation Soldier, his newest Series of Fictional, Military EBooks on the End Times, the Rapture and the Tribulation Period, as a 2.5 Million Word Series. But despite continuing pastoral work and writing, Steven remains devoted to his children, enjoying his family life with caravan holidays in the Highlands, fishing, canoeing and his favourite pastime, riding his motorbike through the Scottish countryside.