So here's the deal. A local Baptist church has a somewhat contentious history, with a significant split in fairly recent memory (about 30 years ago). At present, they have an aging building in the historic district and a congregation that's been shrinking over the last several months. A couple of weeks ago, the pastor cast a vision for the church to move from the present location and build somewhere else, nearer the areas of new development in the county. He sent out a letter asking them to really seek God's will about the future of the church.
His letter met with a mixed response from the deacons, and there will be a church vote next week. Unsurprisingly, their conflict is the talk of the town. Last week in Bible study, we talked about this briefly in the context of our study of the book of Acts and the struggles of the fledgling church. I asked our members to consider praying themselves for the other church rather than participate in the rumors about town.
So here's my reward for this good deed: Saturday afternoon, in the cemetery, following a funeral, a member of the Baptist church came up to me to basically accuse his pastor of asking me to ask my folks to pray for the church. I said, no, it was all my initiative and told him what happened in Bible study. What I don't understand is what would have been wrong with us praying for them? We didn't take a position on the issue, but were merely praying that God would make himself known in the conflict.
I still don't quite know what the man was so mad about.
Maybe he thought his pastor was cheating by soliciting "outside" prayers?