There is a definite time to stand up for what is right - especially when the Gospel itself is at stake. There are other times that God calls us to be peacemakers and to diffuse volatile situations. Thankfully, there is biblical help for approaching these situations. We certainly need God's wisdom and discernment to recognize the best response in each case. In the New Testament, few churches had faced such bitter division as did the Corinthians. Here are a few tips from 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 - Paul's prescription for restoring unity in Corinth that give valuable insight for conflicts we face today.
One of the main categories of blog posts I intend to create here is a “week in the life of a pastor.” Ministry rides that strange line between the necessity of planning ahead and days that can be full of surprises. For those who sense a call into ministry, a helpful way to give you a taste of things is for you to experience it as I experience it. It’s as close to shadowing as we can get via Internet. I had hoped to do this through video, but I came down with some head congestion, which would make it difficult for you to understand me. And I had to save my voice for the weekend. So, here is my Week in Review for last week. Stay tuned for video content
One of 1500 hymns written by Alfred Henry Ackley, who had worked with Billy Sunday's evangelism team and Homer Rodeheaver's publishing company, is "I am Happy in the Service of the King." Since July 3, 1960, the date of Ackley's death, one can sense a shift in the degree of happiness written on the faces of the King's servants. As creation marches downhill toward the end of the age, the reasons to despair seem to abound. However, God's Word gives us so many reasons, Spirit-inspired reasons, to rejoice. Let's review a few of them together - and as we do, we are not looking for a superficial rah-rah session. It's helpful to take several moments or even days and meditate on each one of these.
In one of those chats where you sit and talk with your wife about your day, my wife and I were discussing a common phenomenon in every church - namely, that people vote with their checkbook, their money. You and I would readily agree that legalism hurts and kills a church. But something that had never before occurred to me was this particular connection between legalism and the church's cash flow and what that connection means for leading a church.
As I write this, the southeast US is in the heart of hurricane season, and the bands of Hurricane Dorian are beginning to dump rain showers here in the Carolinas. The storm has already claimed 20 lives in the Bahamas and devastated entire villages and communities. My wife and I moved to Fayetteville to begin ministry at Grace Baptist on October 1, 2016. Hurricane Matthew (“the most powerful storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season” according to weather.gov) made landfall on October 8 about 3.5 hours south of us in McClellanville, SC. As it travelled northward, it washed out roadways, flooded homes, and impacted families who still to this day have not been able to rebound. Then last year, Hurricane Florence made landfall in nearby Wrightsville Beach, NC on September 14. Florence did over $300,000 in damage to our church. We had a seven month old baby, so we evacuated to Charlotte with family. (Experience with Matthew taught us that it is common to have power outages and boil water advisories in Fayetteville - not workable for an infant.) There were mandatory evacuations in our city for a one-mile radius out from the Cape Fear River. It was a significant storm.
Your church and community may have been devastated by a hurricane, a tornado, a fire, (God forbid) an active shooter situation, or some other tragic disaster. It is in moments such as these that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and love our neighbors for the glory of Christ. Here are some ideas, and I’d love it if you would share some of your own in the comments.
Pastor Billy Shaw is a full-time pastor, husband, and father with a passion for helping other pastors.