We are in deep waters these days. Unprecedented threats are coming at us personally and as the Church, and the differences among us will lead to disaster if we don’t act humbly, wisely and quickly. Somehow, we must get our heads together to face these challenges. Read on.
I came upon those pretty airplanes in Anchorage, AK, as they chatted about things before their day’s work. They are so different from each other in size, engine type, fuel type, payload and speed, but they were all getting along just fine. Actually, it is the distinctions of the several types that make them useful as a working fleet. Each can do things that the others can’t.
What they have in common is their ownership and purpose. While several were former U.S. Army and were painted Olive Drab, and others had flashy paint jobs, they are now recognized as part of one fleet by what you see when you look at them.
All were probably on wheels when built, but are equipped with floats for this assignment. Many are given wheels and even skies for other seasons. They soooo portray the gifting of the Church in I Cor. 12.
And so – – leaders in a local church are responsible to oversee our organizational life and to help us function smoothly, but they are not responsible to think for us. We need the voices of many (I Cor. 14:26) in the discerning process, including those whose gifting and life experiences produce a different perspective than ours. We even need to hear those who make us uncomfortable.
However, none of us are perfectly like Jesus, so although we can all hear the voice of His Spirit, we must acknowledge that we hear through a filter of preconceived notions. Remember the judging (discerning, evaluating) of I Cor. 14:29? Wise Christians, including leaders, will test their “hearing” with others, especially in times like these that so deeply impact us and offer fodder for discord.
None of us have it all figured out. We need each other. We are “one” as the Church, the Body of Christ. We have one “owner” and one purpose and it is time that we learn to dialogue on testy issues. I can learn from anybody, and sometimes I am amazed (and humbled) by how that works.
Dogmatism is out, and throwing a verse or two at an issue and considering it “done” won’t work either. We’ve got to talk, openly, humbly and respectfully – for our own well-being, for the witness of the Church, and for the sake of the Name of Christ. Lets!
Ken Stoltzfus, Kidron, OH
July 31, 2020
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