A young preacher who has just accepted a new position writes that when he first interviewed at the non-creedal church, he expressed his honest beliefs about the work of the Holy Spirit and concerning the role of women in the church which he knew were different from the church’s traditional views. About half the church agrees with the preacher and half hold to the traditional understanding. The preacher puts a high priority on loving God and loving people. However, some members stated at a recent congregational meeting that “we believe [our traditional church] doctrine and if that doesn’t work for you, then you can leave.” The preacher asks whether he should stay or leave under these circumstances.
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You are asking is a hard question that faces very many ministers of the Word. Our job is to be faithful communicators of God’s message, not necessarily to please the hearers. Yet much harm has been done and much good work not completed because insensitive preachers tried to do too much at once, or didn’t speak in love, or otherwise behaved in careless and un-Christlike manners.
In my opinion, you have begun on a good and solid basis by giving truthful answers in your interviews at the first. The church obviously was mixed in views when you got there. I believe God will bless your work (which also, without your intention, will eventually include controversy, distress and unpleasantness) as you do the following.
Love God and love the people — especially those who disagree with you at this time;
Remember to preach the “whole counsel of God,” not just focusing on the points at issue, but not ignoring them in the total picture. There are many areas of agreement that unite the church, especially Jesus himself. It is good to emphasize and focus on those things most of the time and especially for the first year. This builds a foundation, earns respect for you and helps cement relationships;
Remember that all preaching is aimed at formation, not merely information. You are out to help people become more like Jesus. That is the first goal also for your own life. No real Christian can object to that rightly and if anyone objects to it, you are still in the right.
Develop relationships and become involved in people’s lives. That does not guarantee that they will not turn on you some day, but it helps lessen that likelihood and will make it harder for them to do so!
It sounds to me that you have your head and heart in the right place. Feed on the Word for yourself. Be Christ-like. Live out of the wells of prayer. Walk in the Spirit. God, whom you serve, will glorify his Son through you and will use you to bless the people he has put before you to serve. My counsel is to stay where God has led you for now. The decision for you to leave might not finally be yours to make.