Archive for January, 2017

It’s a Dead Horse

 

A Word for 2017

By Val Waldeck
Pastoral Assistant

Near the end of the Civil War, as General Sherman marched to the sea, his army destroyed anything in its path that could be used by the South.

Outside of Atlanta stood an elegant old southern mansion. Its owner was an old Grandmother of the South. She had supported the South with her wealth and in those last days, all she had was her home and an old horse. As Sherman’s armies marched by, the horse was shot and died in the field near the entrance to her home. She was very upset. She went to her neighbours… she went to the mayor… she went to the Church… she told everyone how the Yankees had shot her poor old horse. The war soon ended, but not her anger. If she was around, sooner or later you would hear the story of how the North had done her wrong and killed her gallant steed.

One day she heard that General Robert E. Lee, the great leader of the Southern army, was passing her farm. She ran to the gate and waited for him. As he passed by, she rushed out into the road and stopped him. She began to tell her story of how the Northern army had destroyed the most valuable possession she had.

“Do you see that?” she cried out as she pointed to the decaying hulk of the dead horse.

“Yes, Madam, I do,” said the General. “It’s a dead horse. My advice to you is to bury it and get on with your life.”

Do you and I have any dead horses in our lives? The best thing we can do in this New Year is deal with them and move on. Life is far too short to go around dragging dead horses.

We may not forget, but we can choose not to remember. That’s what the Lord did for us. He said: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;  And I will not remember your sins.” — Isaiah 43:25.

Human beings have a strange habit of overlooking faults in their own children or family, while vociferously condemning those same faults in others. We tend to protect those we love, trying our best to justify their behaviour and make allowances for them. That is a “family” thing generally.

The Family of God should get the same protection. If we destroy each other with our words and judgmental attitude, we do great disservice to the Body of Christ and end up destroying our testimony and ourselves. “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” – Galatians 5:15.

God calls for us to be humble in our dealings with others, gentle and patient, making allow-ances for one another in love. “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:20.

Anger never displays the character and nature of Christ.  May Ephesians 4:2 be the hallmark of our lives this year, both inside the Church, and outside: “…with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love.”

Let’s bury our dead horses once and for all.

Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to minister to you while Mark was recuperating. It’s such a joy to have him back in the saddle again. Continue to give him your full support this year as he works to grow the Church in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The Lord bless you in 2017… BIG-TIME!

Val

 

10 Ways To Support Your Church Leadership

Our Church is going through a time of crisis now as our Pastor recovers from major surgery. We thank and praise the Lord that He kept His Hand on Mark and is overseeing his recovery. We are looking forward to his return in the very near future. Thank you for your personal, prayer, and financial support. We appreciate it.

I especially appreciate your support and attendance at the services and thank you for your encouragement. Let’s keep on keeping on! The Lord has much in store for St. George’s Church.

I thought the following article presenting ten positive ways church members can support their church leadership is excellent and edifying. Enjoy!

Val
Pastoral Assistant

1. Pray for your church leaders—both the paid staff and the volunteer leaders.

Pray that their fervor—for God and His Word—will increase daily. Pray for wisdom in their leadership and decision-making. Pray for their marriages to be strengthened and renewed. Pray for their kids. Pray. Pray. Pray. Become an intercessor on behalf of your leaders. We don’t need to know all the details of every matter to pray. The Holy Spirit already knows how to pray. Follow the Spirit’s lead.

2. Give your leaders permission to be less than perfect.

No one is perfect. Leaders are real people. Church leaders have a human nature they wrestle with too. And no one’s family is perfect either. Church leaders have strong-willed kids too. A healthy leader leads from a posture of humility and doesn’t try to present a picture of perfection. And a healthy church will allow its leaders to be a little less than perfect too.

3. Understand the actual role of each leader and the function of the church.

Church members oftentimes place unreasonable expectations on their leaders. Yes, pastoral leaders are there to serve, to teach, to equip, and to protect the flock. But they’re not there to solve all our problems. They’re there to walk beside us through our valleys and celebrate with us on our mountaintops. But no one person can be everything to everyone — except, of course, Jesus.

4. Remember your lay leaders.

Smaller churches may have more lay leaders than larger churches, which can afford larger paid staffs. Try to remember that your lay leaders have jobs outside of their volunteer positions in the church. This likely includes the elders. They aren’t available 24/7 for phone calls and meetings when they have to be at their places of work 40+ hours per week in addition to the time they serve at church. The next time you cross paths with a lay leader at your church, tell them how much you appreciate the way they serve and their personal sacrifice of time and energy.

5. Honor your leaders’ commitment to confidentiality.

There’s a big difference between secrecy and confidentiality. Secrecy is the attempt to hide information. Confidentiality is the way to care for a person with grace and common courtesy. Pastors and elders are oftentimes in a position where they know about deeply personal and private matters that are occurring in the lives of church members, or even other staff members.

Yes, we live in a Facebook-driven culture, where people seem to have less and less of a filter these days, but that does not mean that church members are entitled to know every detail of another person’s private life. Neither are church members entitled to know every detail that may have been behind a leadership decision. Such details are sometimes an HR issue. And all legal issues aside, there’s a common decency factor that leaders must abide by. These kinds of situations especially need discernment and sensitivity. That’s why the leaders are there. They’re there to lead with wisdom through difficult times.

6. Allow your leaders to worship on Sunday morning.

Do you have something you need to discuss with a pastor or an elder? Please don’t corner them in the foyer or in the courtyard on a Sunday morning. Let them worship with their families. And let them complete the job their supposed to do on Sundays. Make a phone call or send an e-mail during the week to set up a time when you could meet. Choose the right time to discuss your issue.

7. When you have a grievance with another church member or one of the leaders, follow Matthew 18 and go directly to that person after having given the matter much prayer.

Do not discuss your grievance with your small group as a “sounding board.” That’s gossip. Do not meet with a friend at Starbucks to “ask for their wisdom” on the matter. That’s gossip. Do not offer up a “prayer request” on the matter with your friends. That’s gossip. When you have a grievance, pray first; then go directly to the person your grievance involves. Follow the order set forth in Matthew 18.

8. Never send criticism in the form of an e-mail, or worse, an anonymous letter in the offering basket.

If you have a concern, do as #6 and #7 says: 1) Set up a time when you can meet, and 2) Go to the person directly. And, of course, #1 is always imperative too. Pray. Pray. Pray. Maturity involves a face-to-face conversation whenever possible. Difficult conversations should never happen in an e-mail or a letter.

9. In times of crisis, be present.

Sometimes the negative people draw the most attention because they’re the loudest. But instead of being loud, let’s be strong, let’s be courageous, and let’s be present. Your leaders need the body of Christ to surround them with love and encouragement, especially in trying times. A crisis either brings out the best in a person, or the worst. When a crisis hits your church, pray. Pray and be present.

10. Encourage your leaders with words of affirmation.

You’d be surprised at the burdens your church leaders often bear, and they bear them silently out of their desire to honor confidentiality—and sometimes they’re honoring the confidentiality of the very person who is slandering them! Be a positive presence in their lives. Speak words of encouragement.

Reprinted with permission from Missional Woman. Denise J. Hughes