Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day period observed by much of the Christian church known as Lent.
Amy Sondova: “I know what it is to imagine there’s no God. I tried to do it for exactly 12 hours one day, and I was so tormented, I had to admit I believed in God. I was just so angry at Him that I wanted to Him to stay far away from me, and for years, that was the weird ebb and flow to our relationship. He never left me and I knew that. That’s how I know He will never leave me, that His promise to be with me always is true.”
Kathy Escobar: there are lots of ways to pastor.
Brian Cosby: Youth pastors, give up your gimmicks.
Gregg Allison – a professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville – gave a seminar recently to Mars Hill Church staff on the theology of scripture.
Tony McCollum: Bob Russell’s nine keys to lasting in the ministry.
Greg Laurie: even atheists have moments of doubt.
Chaplain Mike Mercer: Grace means saying ‘I’m sorry’ – even in the case of Mars Hill.
Wanda Martin: “I can’t imagine spending late nights helping my daughters work through their sins, only to get them up the next morning to start the process all over again! … cannot imagine my daughters describing me in such a way. If they did, it would be terribly upsetting because I spent very little time during their growing up years helping them work through their sin. That was NOT the focus in their lives. Instead, my husband and I emphasized God’s love and our love for them. Of course there were times of correction, but they were few and far between. Instead of focusing on indwelling sin, we reminded our daughters that they are God’s children, who were created in His image.”
Lisa Whittle: “It is why I’m interested in having a different conversation. I’ve grown a bit weary of talking about why we hurt each other in the body of Christ, as if our humanity is not reason enough. Instead, I want to shift our energy and effort to a conversation that is more productive: becoming better ourselves, and helping the church wounded be restored, again, after being hurt.”
These and additional Linkathons are always posted at the Phoenix Preacher blog.
keep a close eye on the back door, too. Make sure that the sheep can’t simply open the gate themselves and disappear from sight. Refuse to allow people to resign into thin air, both for the sake of your church’s witness to the gospel and for the good of every single sheep—especially those who tend to wander off.
Jamieson frames his argument mainly in regards to a “troubler” – someone who, for example, may be looking to avoid discipline.
The upshot of all this is that a church should not accept a member’s resignation who is not doing what Christians do—in this case, regularly assemble with a church.
His four implications of that idea:
1.The troubler … needs to either reconcile with that church or join another one where he can be more content. He can’t simply resign his membership and sit on his couch on Sundays. If that’s what he intends to do, FBC Smallville’s response should be church discipline, not “See you later!”
2. Churches’ membership procedures should reflect the fact that the church, not the individual member, has authority to accept and dismiss members. A member cannot unilaterally resign. A member can submit their intention to resign to the church, and the church will either accept or reject that intention.
3.Churches’ governing documents (constitution, by-laws) should reflect the fact that individual members do not have the unilateral right to terminate their membership. Instead, that prerogative belongs to the church. Therefore, the church has the right to refuse someone’s resignation and pursue discipline instead. It’s important to have this clearly stated in a church’s documents for both pastoral and legal reasons.
Here’s an example of the kind of language I’m talking about, from the constitution of the church I’m a member of (Third Avenue Baptist in Louisville):
“Clause 3. The church shall have authority to refuse a Member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other reason the church deems necessary or prudent.”
One important note: Numbers 2 and 3 in this list should probably be well established before a church attempts to resist someone’s resignation, whatever the circumstances.
4. The pastoral specifics of how churches handle individual resignations will vary. For members who have moved out of the area, I’d suggest that a baseline requirement on this front might be something like “they intend to join another evangelical church in the immediate future.”
Your thoughts? Right on, or too strict, or something else?
The ladies at Wartburg Watch are not fans of this approach….
In the wake of the Elephant Room, Tim Schrader asks if we can all get along.
Althea Butler pushes back at Eddie Long’s coronation.
Karen Spears Zacharias: “I just wish to God that pastors everywhere would keep to their own bedrooms and out of ours.”
Wartburg Watch posted on how to leave a “Mark Driscoll-like church”.
Skye Jethani: “Books and blogs are filled with recommendations about how to reverse the exodus of young adults, and I have no silver bullet solution to offer here. But I do want to explore one area I believe many churches have overlooked- vocation.”
Ben Irwin’s open letter to friends in the pro-life movement.
Rachel Held Evans reviews Peter Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam.
Thabiti Anyabwile: “if you’re from outside the African-American community, think very long, hard, and carefully about ever calling some African Americans to take your position in defense against other African Americans. It’s disastrous for everyone, and, frankly, you won’t begin to pay the deeper costs over the longer period that your African American friend will.” (HT to Frank Turk at the Phil Johnson Pyromaniacs link posted above).