Monday, May 21, 2012

The Pastor Search Committee


I believe one of the most crucial problems facing churches today is a poor fit between pastor and congregation. For example, if a pastor search committee hires an Arminian pastor for a Calvinist church, that is not a good fit from a theological perspective. The unsuspecting church will probably rise up in revolt when they hear their new pastor preaching on losing one's salvation and prevenient grace. This problem is not the fault of the church or perhaps even the pastor, if he was diligent to explain his theological views. No, ultimately the fault lies with the Pastor Search Committee.

The Pastor Search Committee (PSC) is given the responsibility by the church to search for the pastor whom will help that church grow, mature, and reach the unsaved. The church is trusting that the PSC will bring a recommendation of a new pastor who will lead the church to flourish, not die on the vine or split. I believe that every PSC honestly seeks to do its job in a manner that will be a blessing and not a curse. However, we continue to see huge disconnects between new pastors and churches which result in church splits or pastor termination. How are we to solve this problem?

One way in which I hope to assist in the resolution of this pervading issue is to begin a brand new blog entitled, "Pastor Search Committee Update." In studying this issue, I have found a lot of good resources which are available to PSC's. The problem is that the best information is scattered throughout many different church administration documents. I hope to bring the best of those resources to light in this new blog. Also, perhaps I will be able to contribute an idea or two which may be helpful.

Please pray for the PSC's all around the country. They need our prayers. And please tell your friends about the new blog. It is my prayer it will be a blessing to PSC's everywhere.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Church's Cry For Help



The influx of Calvinism into our local churches continues to cause division. Here is a portion of one person's email to me after reading my booklet, "Differences Between Reformed Southern Baptists and Traditional Southern Baptist."

My husband and I have been a member of a small Southern Baptist church for 25 years. My husband was raised in the community where the church is and attended the church as a child. It was not until after we married and moved near the church that he was saved became a Sunday School teacher and Deacon.

I was saved at age 8. I am 64 years old. My father was ordained a Deacon in our church when I was four years old. I was raised in a Godly home by loving parents.

Seven years ago our church called a pastor to serve. The search committee seemed exhausted when they called him and the chair made the statement "I hope we have done the right thing."

We embraced the pastor and his family. Our family tried often to get to know our new pastor, but, he was not easy to know and his wife was even more difficult. They were kind and sweet but not the type pastor and wife we had known in the before. They did visit the sick (only when asked to do so), they did not check on the congregation, etc. In fact, it seems we made him a little nervous. He is most comfortable in his study on his computer. In fact, we have learned he has recently written a book on Calvinism while we are paying him a salary to serve our church.

At first we noticed he didn't offer altar calls. Later, when the deacon body asked if we could have a revival he said, "he did not believe in revivals as revivals started within a congregation." We have not had one in several years. He never has asked but one person to fill the pulpit in his absence except for a few people who have joined the church since he became pastor.

Then, we learned he is of the Calvinist belief. I am so sorry to say I was 60+ years old, had been raised in a large Southern Baptist Church and did not know who John Calvin was nor what Calvinism embraced. I started studying everything I could get my hands on. I asked the pastor for help. He gave me scriptures. I told him I did not agree with his theology. Big mistake.

The deacons have visited with him about his beliefs. Most of the deacons do not agree with what has become arrogance. However, there are three men who have joined the church since he became pastor who embrace his beliefs.

I am very, very worried about our church. I fear we are headed for a very ugly split. I do not think this is the will of God. I visited with the Chairman of the Deacons (who by the way is a new member of the church and is a sweet man and a Calvinist) and told him that had our pastor been up front with us during his interview we would not be in this situation. It seemed to go over his head. He asked me if I believed the Word of God.
I just want to thank you for writing the booklet which I found on my Kindle today. I am deeply troubled over what you described in the booklet and how it has happened in our church.

Now to my question. Now that we are IN this situation. How can we, in a God pleasing way, endure and how can we, while holding on to our beliefs we have had for 140 years, continue without a horrible church split. I can love him, I can sit through his boring sermons that are never "fleshed out" but I cannot live through his arrogance. It was not that way in the beginning. It seems now he wants to make our church into a Reformed church. I do not find that Godly. And, I seek help in understanding how to get through this most difficult time. My husband has tried to talk to him, and other long time church leaders have tried as well. He uses words we do not understand and we leave more frustrated that ever. Where do we find help?

Do you hear this dear Christian's anguish? Do you hear the cry of the unsuspecting church member who is being run over theologically and personally by Calvinists? This is where the rubber meets the road. This is no longer a theological debate. This is damaging the local church. Do you care enough to help stop it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Christian Toolbox

TrobyWorks.com has announced the release of a great new app for Christians for only $0.99.. It's called the Christian Toolbox. Here's the description of the app:

Are you a Christian who wants to grow more spiritually mature? Do you want to share and defend your faith with others? Do you want an app that will allow you to be in God's word everyday no matter where you are?

Say hello to the Christian Toolbox.

An all-in-one tool that gives you access to:

• 50+ bible tracts that encourages you to share your faith with others.

• an extensive topical index which shows you exactly where in the bible it speaks about over 280 different topics.

• a daily devotional that will give you an uplifting and edifying word from God everyday.

• a daily bible reading plan that provides you with an easy to use way to read the bible in one year.

• an informative guide that compares Christianity to other religions. We show you what the bible says about various topics and compares that with other religion's texts teach to show you what they really believe. Religions that are compared include Islam, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Hinduism, and Scientology.

• a fun quiz to test your knowledge about various topics in the bible.

We are always striving to provide you with the most helpful and easy to use tools to edify the body of Christ in an entertaining and easy to use way. Updates will occur every three months and suggestions are always welcome at info@trobyworks.com.

Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What The Bible Says About Accepting Jesus Into Your Heart

It may be hard to believe but there are a group of people in the Southern Baptist Convention who argue that a non-believer should not accept Jesus into their heart. This group of people are called "Calvinist" and "Reformed." They are coming out of two seminaries in droves: Southeastern (Wake Forest, NC) and Southern (Louisville, KY) seminaries. If you are in a traditional Southern Baptist church, you might want to avoid hiring a pastor who self-identifies as a "Calvinist" or Reformed."

Dr. Steve Gaines, Bellevue Baptist Church, has a great word about the biblical support for accepting Jesus into your heart.