As you can imagine, I have a stack of articles and papers in my study here that I intend to write about in this space. As you also know, that stack tends to pile up and grow as other things press in on me and immediate concerns crowd into my blog posts. Near the bottom of this pile is something from the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of ACU Today. It’s a list of bullet points from a 1993 speech made by then university president Dr. Royse Money.
At the beginning of the speech, Money declares, “I come to you tonight with a heavy burden on my heart for the Church. As we seek to be the Church that belongs to Jesus Christ, I see hindrances along our way that impede our progress. I want to be honest with you tonight and discuss some issues and problems and challenges we face in our fellowship (Church of Christ) that are not easy or pleasant to discuss. But we must.”
This month at Legacy we’re talking about what’s NEXT. What’s NEXT in your walk with Jesus? What’s NEXT for our congregation? What is God calling you to NEXT? Where is Christ leading us NEXT? We’re looking at Peter’s “add to your faith…” We’re considering Paul’s call to “attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” and “straining toward what is ahead,” and “pressing on.”
Legacy’s elders and ministers are gearing up for our annual retreat together tonight and tomorrow at Camp Carter on the other side of Fort Worth. In the midst of our prayers and planning and reflections heading into this weekend, Money’s bullet points are worth considering. For Legacy. For your church. For your congregation’s leaders. For you as a child of God and a disciple of his Christ.
~We must realize that unity does not mean uniformity of belief.
~We must determine the essentials of faith apart from traditions, customs, comfort and personal preference.
~We must realize in dealing with those who differ with us, both within our fellowship and beyond, that tolerance and a certain level of fellowship is not the same as total endorsement of another’s views.
~We must learn to handle diversity in a charitable way.
~We must mark those who cause division among us.
~We must rediscover that in our allegiance to Christ, the bride wears the name of the Groom.
~We must realize that the enemy is Satan and not each other.
~We must determine what the real issues are regarding the role of women in the Church.
~We must decide on the way Scripture should be interpreted.
~We must realize the powerful dynamics of change.
~We must rededicate ourselves to search relentlessly for truth as it’s revealed in the Scriptures.
To Money’s excellent observations and clarion call for action, I would add a couple of my own:
~We must shift our focus from pastoring the saved inside our walls to saving the lost outside our walls.
~We must be motivated by Christ’s love instead of by a driving desire to be right.
~We must relax and stop taking ourselves so seriously as we realize we live under and in the grace of God.
We ignore these things at our own peril. Just talking about them and feeling like we’ve done something isn’t enough. Action must be taken. Hearts must soften. Lives must change. Leaders must lead. Pro-active instead of reactive. Just holding our own isn’t cutting it. Christ’s compelling love wasn’t given freely to us so we can huddle up and play church and avoid doing anything wrong. His sacrifice on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s powerful work at the garden tomb is a call to action. Holy action. Christian leadership. The Kingdom of God is “forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it!”
May our merciful Father bless us with wisdom and vision. May he graciously overcome our staggering incapabilities to lead his people forward in his eternal Kingdom.