“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. (Jer. 23:1)

“DON’T DO THIS!” I begged over the phone. “You’ll split the church in half.”

“No, I won’t,” Charlie pushed back. “Most, if not all, will stay with me.”

The news had gone viral. Charlie had been holding secret meetings of church leaders for nearly six months. They wanted Jacob—the senior pastor—out. They had enough signatures to force a special meeting with church members and call for a vote.

“On what grounds?” somebody asked.

“Jacob’s a good man,” Charlie responded. “He’s done nothing immoral. He’s a good preacher. But the church is declining. Finances are dropping. We need a change in leadership.”

“Look, Charlie,” I persisted. “Jacob’s putting you under discipline. Do what he’s telling you to do. Stand in front of the church and say you’re sorry. Do it, Charlie—and you stay here as one of our pastors. Model what it means to be under the authority God has appointed for you.”

I heard him laugh.

“What kind of pastor does this, Charlie? Who tears the Lord’s church into pieces? Can you tell me that?” He had no response. But that’s exactly what happened. Much to Charlie’s surprise, he got only 40 percent of the vote. And then he did what Christian shepherds should never do. He took his supporters and started a new church a mile away.

While most of us simply wept.

The Lord’s shepherds build up people. Be a good shepherd and build up someone in Jesus today.

Thaddeus Barnum is the author of the devotionals Real IdentityandReal Love(WPH), as well as a pastor in Connecticut.