Discouragement can come from a variety of causes. In a special called business meeting, the church voted 18 to 6 to approve a small group ministry. There was much discussion, including many questions.
There were those who felt the wording in the ministry overview, leadership guide, and small group guide were too harsh. Maybe they are right. That was not cause for discouragement.
One or more questioned the need for such a ministry. After all, we already have Sunday School. At least one wondered why we needed to make it a ministry of the church… Why can't folks just do it without it being an official ministry of the church? Those were not cause for discouragement.
More than one expressed their feeling that the overview and guides showed a ministry that was too demanding on people, requiring too much of them. At least one felt that the ministry would create a "church with the church." Those were not cause for discouragement.
All of those and some others were genuine concerns and questions. We not only expected it, but we hoped for it. We need to know how what we have been working on for many months is perceived by others and where we have fallen short in our expression of the ministry. Apathy, manifested by no questions or discussion would have been extremely discouraging.
The cause for discouragement boils down to this: It was stated, more than once, that we believed God was leading us to do this as a means of making disciples and building up the small corner of His kingdom and His Church known as Kitsap Lake Baptist Church. Yet, it did not make a difference to those who were opposed* to it. They might as well have said, "Let's leave God out of this." That church members I love and have known for nearly seven years would behave that way in the heat of the moment was not the discouragement either. That Satan could maintain such a foothold within the body of Christ…that is discouraging!
I am the Pastor and part of my job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Equipping them includes making them aware of the enemy's activity and being on guard against it. So now, Satan is accusing me of being a failure. But, I recognize the discouragement is from the evil one and I choose to rejoice that God is doing something among us which Satan is actively trying to stop!
Finally, 75% of those who voted were openly in favor of it. A number of them expressed their belief that it would grow the church and help bind us together as a church family. That was very encouraging!
*Note: There is a difference between having questions and being opposed. Neither are bad in and of themselves, but there is a difference.