This past weekend I attended an assembly of Churches and Ministries belonging to the Baptist Association of NSW/ACT. It was an important and defining meeting for the Baptist denomination of our State.
It was important in that it was an opportunity for us, as a collection of churches, to ‘stand’ together on the foundation of God’s Word, in the fellowship of the God’s Gospel, and for God’s glory.
It was defining (or you could say ‘redefining’), in that the meeting was an opportunity for us to speak wth one voice and declare with clarity and conviction a corporate position on God’s definition of marriage. It was also an opportunity for all churches in the Association, and all pastors / ministry workers in the denomination to commit to that said position on marriage.
During the day, there was a lot of robust debate, passionate conversation, pastoral sensitivity, and patient listening to different points of view. Some of it invigorating, much of it frustrating. And while, in the end, I can see God’s provision and protection in the adoption of the statement and the commitment to it – the narrative leading up to, during, and since the meeting is disturbing to me on a lot of levels.
It leads me to reflect on how I’m feeling about it all.
- We/I have to be careful to keep being prayerful and devotionally determined to seek God’s wisdom through his Word in regard to my heart response to others. To remain humble and contrite and committed to love my brother, sister and neighbour.
- We/I need to be vigilant in staying close to God’s Word, the Bible, in all matters. To seek God’s heart and listen to God’s voice when it comes to obeying what God wants, having compassion on God’s people, and being on mission in God’s world. Being forever mindful that those three realities always have effect on each other. Obedience always needs compassion and always leads to mission. Compassion on the mission having been birthed out of obedience. Mission and obedience being better informed by compassion.
- (This will be a subject of another blog) Servant Leadership is a crock. Not because Servant Leadership is bad, but because of what Servant Leadership has become. I will seek to live while leading by example. But how about we stop serving and call it Leadership, and instead, serve others and call it ‘service’. Just service. Because that, to me, is like Jesus. “He did not come to be served, but to serve (not as a servant leader, but just to serve), and give his life as a ransom for many” I am concerned that there is a pretentiousness that in creeping in to our serving others if we are doing it as leadership, when we should be serving others with an attitude of service and nothing more.
- I don’t think there is any such thing as different categories of sinful behaviour or unfaithfulness. There is only one unforgivable sin, and all other examples of disobedience falls under the definitions of; a. Active rebellion and reject of God’s will, or b. “What you once were”, before the transformation by saving grace. The difference between those two definitions is either the absence or presence of repentance. Thus we call for, and we pray for a response of repentance – in ourselves and in others.
- To that end, we love people when we call them to repent. We love people when we stand along side them and call them to repent. We love people when we go to them, stand along side them, and call them to repent. We love people when we see that they are made in God’s image and also as the reason why Jesus Christ came. We love people when we, (in word and deed) show them that they are loved by God.
So, in an endeavour to be humble and to be godly, I devote myself to those three things in point 2, by God’s grace – to obey what God wants, having compassion on all God’s people, while being on mission in God’s world.
Thus the journey continues