Monday, January 29, 2007

Advice for the Ministry....

One of the former pastors at FBC Statesville, Dr. Frank Campbell, spoke last week at the funeral of the church's former Christian educator Leath Johnson. Campbell discussed the things he learned from Johnson and advice he gives to students going into ministry. He said that students going into ministry need to do 3 things: work hard, love people, and ALWAYS tell the truth.

As I consider this very wise advise, I cannot help but think about how well this advise fits with Jesus' commandments in Matthew 22:

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When you think of it in light of the commandments in Matthew, this advice easily applies to all church leaders clergy and laity. If you love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, you are going to work as hard as you can when doing His work. The command to love your neighbor is explicit; no interpretation is required. As for ALWAYS telling the truth, I think both of Jesus' commands in these verses apply. If you love your neighbor, whether they are fellow church leaders, church members, or strangers, you are not going to lie about them, and I think the same goes for loving God. It is important to remember that the business of the church is God's business, and those who have accepted a call to do God's business have a huge responsibility. Part of that responsibility is always telling the truth. As church leaders, we cannot run from the truth because the lie is prettier, safer, or easier for the congregation to handle. If a church leader makes a decision, and is unable to truthfully support that decision to anyone who asks, he or she probably made the wrong decision. In ministry, integrity is the bottom line.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A New Year

I haven't posted much on my blog recently, and there are a few reasons for that.

First, I had some computer issues at the end of the year last year. I now have a new computer, and I have switched from Windows to Mac. The new computer is yet another example of God fulfilling a need during my seminary experience. I am now up and running on the new laptop.

Secondly, Gay and I went back to Tampa for Christmas. (Winston-Salem is now home.) We enjoyed getting to visit with friends and family back in Tampa. We especially enjoyed visiting our friends and colleagues at the new church start Logos Dei, but it was difficult not to be able to visit our old home church and the people we love there. We also spent some time with Gay's family in Columbus, GA. One of the highlights of that trip was a visit to Andersonville, the Confederate Civil War prisoner of war camp in nearby Americus, GA.

I start back to school on Wednesday. I will be taking Theology II, New Testament II, Art of Ministry (internship) IIb, Homiletics and Worship, and Preaching the Death of Jesus with Dr. Fred Craddock. It should be a great semester.

Gay and I are still doing great. We knew when we started this journey that it would not always be easy. We appreciate the prayers and support of our friends and family, and ask that they continue as we start the second half of this journey. God has been faithful, and we know that will continue. There have been some good things happening in the Baptist world, and I hope to post a little more about this in the coming week.