A Letter to my Church Family



Today’s post is very personal and will possibly not make much sense to anyone outside of my local church family, but this is the best avenue for me to share some thoughts with them. If your church has ever been through hard times and conflict, perhaps this will help you also.

The comments that follow are my observations and my opinion and not those of anyone else.

Dear Church Family,

 As a result of a number of resignations from our church staff in the last few weeks, our elders held an open meeting this past Sunday afternoon.

After the two hour meeting, I felt so encouraged by the spirit our elders expressed. They shared their hearts in a way I have not seen by elders at Madison. The results of this storm of fire has pulled them together and tempered a resolve to bring unity to our church family. These five men have prayed and cried over the recent changes, but I felt a real bond of unity between them. No one man served as a spokesman, but each spoke and responded to questions relating to their specific assignments.

Our elders basically made a stand that our body will continue to have a traditional and a contemporary service each Sunday. They pledged to remain steadfast in supporting a united body that will be salt and light in our community. The present conflict centers around the style of worship – not uncommon today in churches throughout our country.

This church family went through a painful time 12 years or so ago. There was much anger and distrust among the family at that time. One of the main issues then was also about worship.

At Sunday’s meeting, one of the elders pointed out that the New Testament has less to say about how to worship and more about loving one another and not judging each other.

As to questions on where we go from here, Marty Rothschild said, “Let’s take a breath.” In my estimation, they are reeling at the suddenness of these events and are trying to find solid ground.

Several of us thanked the elders for sharing their hearts, and I encouraged them to have a Sunday service of prayer and petition asking for God’s guidance for our future. Before we left we all gathered around them in prayer for our future and God’s guidance.

Our family is clearly facing a time of transition, but I am encouraged by a leadership that took responsibility for their own mistakes and welcome people who will step up and to fill in the gaps.

 Holy Father,

Bless us as we invite You to stretch us and root us during these days.

Ground us in faith and give us courage to press on despite changes and sadness and loss.

Show us the sweet found in the bitter.

Give our elders and members courage to step out in boldness and

humility to bridge the gaps left by those who have left.

We praise You for every blessing in our lives. Thank You Father for Your goodness and mercy.

 “. . . but to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet. “Proverbs 27:7



4 thoughts on “A Letter to my Church Family

  1. Jane Kersten

    Thank you, Martell–I was so encouraged by our meeting Sunday and feel a renewed spirit of love and support among us, and real compassion for those who are serving so diligently as our elders. I believe we will see more dedication to serving in whatever way we can so this great church will continue to be a blessing to the community.

  2. Meredith

    Thank you for writing this post and closing it with a prayer. I’m so blessed to have grown up at Madison with so many people that have loved me and showed me how to be Jesus.

  3. Tom Kilpatrick

    Martel – although Linda and I have not been in the midst of this- our hearts and roots are at Madison. I truly hope that the remaining elders will show the leadership that reaches out to the un-churched in Madison. In the parable of the feast- Jesus taught that the master said go into the highways and byways and bring in the less fortunate and put them in places of honor at the table. We have to realize that before they will come in- we must relate to them in how we dress and act. Madison stands at a cross roads with a real opportunity to reach beyond the wall of our building, Our people have to realize that our worship gatherings are for worshippers regardless of their dress or demeanor. The comment about love from Marty is so true and if we really practice this then – how we sing or dress will not matter.
    Thank you for writing and giving us some insight of what is going on,
    Tom and Linda Kilpatrick

    1. JoyMartell Post author

      Tom, Thank you for your thoughts. I am so glad this was helpful. I just thought of all the people who were not at the meeting and felt the whole family should hear about it. We continue to pray for you and yours.


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