Friday, May 11, 2007

Grace, Authority, and Leadership. Part 2

Wow, the begging for comments was really just a ploy to see if anyone was still reading this. Maybe it would have been easier to install a counter. I'm glad at least three of you are reading. I'm finding a real helpful escape in just being able to think through some of these things, outloud in a sense.

Without getting into a discussion on church structure, there is certainly a diversity of positions held even by you three who were kind enough to comment on the previous post, I would like to explore this further. I can see clearly the pros and cons of my own church's leadership structure (or what JDF might see as a lack of leadership structure), and I have a fairly good idea there are pros and cons to your church's structure as well. Certainly there are a lot of books and even classes being taught on pastoral leadership that cover grace and authority, but I wish there was more being said about the assertiveness of Jesus, and how that applies to christian leadership. This "third way" Journeyman spoke of, Jesus calling us to turn the other cheek, Being a "strong" leader without feeling the need to control or manipulate others, these ideas go together. I hope they are marks of my ministry.

I love being a Pastor. Do it cuz it's the law! Do it cuz it's policy! Do it cuzz I'm the boss! No, no, no...Do it cuz God says! Now there's power! Seriously, there's this relief that when people step outside established boundaries and rebel or sin ...they are not disrespecting me but actually disrespecting God. Wonderful, carries with it the huge responsibility of greater judgement, and making sure you actually say what God says. I was blown away by a recent conversation I had with a pastor that shared he spends less than 10% of his time working on his messages. There is something wrong here. Is this because he's being the ceo, administrator, maintenance person, worship leader, technical advisor, etc? I think so, but what are the praxis for protecting yourself from that? Logistically, these things are necessary. Yes? I love what Journeyman added about submitting to each others strengths and giftings, takes a certain humility and Godly wisdom for a leader to do this well.

General consensus...Live Godly lives and lead by example.

How do we separate the common from the holy? or the secular from the sacred? I am not a financial guru, fitness expert, or enlisted warrior in the religious "rite". However, I do feel like stewardship, health, and social action are important facets of my faith. Certainly Jesus spoke about these things, albeit in His unique assertive way. I have a hard time saying certain areas are off limits for God to speak into. He is the creator of all things. As His called, and appointed, leaders are there certain "common" areas we should not speak into? I would hope people would see the incarnate Christ in the ways I live, spend, and even vote, or maybe even don't vote.

Certainly I would agree that Christianity in many churches across the U.S. has become all about being wealthy, drug free, and republican... for Jesus. And then there's the other voice that strives to be giving to the coolest cause, following the latest health/nutrition fads, and voting democrat...for Jesus. And now these two camps and (and their countless off shoots) can focus on pointing and laughing at each other, instead of focusing on Jesus. Certainly these are "common" things and our lives should be summarized, not by these labels but by ideas like grace, service, redemption, love, and holiness. Surely these are the causes that the scripture, the sacraments, and the godly shepherds will lead to. As christian leaders can we and should we, impart these practices with out ever talking about political associations, 401k, or weight watchers?

I think that for the sake of "discussing the vernacular" we must talk about these things. Any overseeing should truly be practiced in the so called "sacred" areas. As individuals we should be intentional in finding fellowship and practicing grace, among others who disagree with us in the so called "common" areas. And any pointing and laughing should probably be at our own expense. Surely there is plenty to laugh at.

May we always stay focused on Jesus. And may we lead others to see Him and serve Him.


Marianne said...

I think the biblical categories of holy, common, and profane are very helpful. It's not that I cannot speak about these categories it's just that I have to speak about them the way the Scriptures do. I can certainly instruct my sheep to be good stewards, and to give sacrificially, but I cannot tell them where they ought to invest (I can suggest but without authority and never from the pulpit). I can instruct them to moderation in all things, but I cannot tell them to follow the "Hallelujah Diet" or in my context tell them that they should drink Pale instead of Dark (LOL). I can instruct them that they should vote their conscience and that all authority is given by God, but I cannot tell them who to vote for (except in blogs: Ron Paul 2008), or guilt trip them if they vote for Obama.

I also think that we can speak to the areas of common and profane with the express intention of liberating the conscience of our people with respect to things indifferent. If someone is questioning whether it is God's will that they take a certain job as a plumber, I can assure them that they should make a decision that will best provide for their family. Clearly plumbing is common. If on the other hand someone asks if they can be a prostitute, well I can certainly give them Scriptural guidance that they ought not (clearly a profane occupation). Of course it's not always easy either. I know of a church in Las Vegas, where the question is "can I be a blackjack dealer?"

"Well Pastor Chris, can I?" (LOL)

Anonymous said...

Now I see where you were heading...with you (like me) one has to remember that "tongue and cheek" are your call letters.

Pastor Paul