Newscasters are not necessarily interested in truth. They are more interested in having ‘a story’.
Misrepresentation and misinformation occurs so often I am becoming increasingly sceptical about how public opinion is shaped. We are trained to shorten everything to a ‘text’ or a headline. Often what carries forth is not what has actually happened but what is said about what happened.
I can appreciate that much happens in a short space of time and it is difficult at the beginning to know every aspect of a situation. A car crash, a rumour about a pastor, a political controversy, a somewhat public marital spat … all of these will have stories attached for a season, but real truth could be down the road a piece.
One statement people hear from me is the need to postpone judgment. This is not easy for people, but it is an essential and needed skill for us to develop in our churches. We really do not need to know everything in the ‘now’. I’ve heard those questions in the past like “Is The Shack heresy?” or “Is it true what I’ve heard about ________”. Often the Church at large would be better suited if we agreed to postpone judgment and let go the feeling that we need to know the truth in the here and now.
Group-think can be formed quickly and can be majorly incorrect. The resurrection of Lazarus, followed by the Triumphal Entry, followed by the offer of money, followed by false accusations … all of this led eventually to the public cry of “Crucify Him!”. It was not just nor based in truth. The event was the setting of a group response manipulated by just a few people with a hidden agenda. Fear enters in and logic is twisted in the short term.
Sometimes the proper faith response is “At the moment I’d have to say I don’t know”. Being comfortable to withhold opinion until more facts are revealed can be personal growth for some of us. May more of us develop this skill!
Your co-worker, Dennis
Many imagine a Regional Minister as having a stressful life dealing with troubled pastors and problematic churches on a continual basis. This stereotype is a bit off. Many of a Regional Minister’s travels are for very positive reasons. An example would be this last weekend celebrating 100 years together with our Brownfield Baptist Church.
This church is in rural Eastern Alberta, but has had significant outreach locally and globally. The church Sunday School often has a larger attendance than the local school across the road. The church has a greater than average number of young couples and small children. Many families have intentionally relocated to the area due to the church and the family values of the community. These include self-employed business types as well as farmers. The outreach of this church of 80-100 has included significant ministry beyond themselves:
– Support for Gull Lake financially but also practically as they are included in the camp’s LTD program
– Participation in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (raising with government assistance the equivalent of $600,000 last year)
– Bringing on buses from Calgary immigrants for their first experience of Alberta farm life.
The 100 year celebration had an exceptionally well done DVD with pictures of the past 100 years of the church. Pictures included previous anniversary celebrations, previous pastor families, the progression of the manse, the newer building and many ministries supported. One picture was of the first service which included a baby. That person at 102 is still alive today but due to health reasons could not be present. Many signed a birthday card for her as her birthday was coming the following week.
Saturday night I was able among others to bring congratulations on the 100 year observance and share support for our CBWC Executive Staff and fellow CBWC churches. Sunday was a great time of worship with good worship and prayer, and a sermon on ‘Legacy’ with Al Richardson presenting, a pastor in Edmonton who was raised in the church.
One role of a Regional Minister is to be a witness of these significant milestones for churches. I greatly enjoyed my time over the weekend. We do not seem to celebrate enough the goodness of God to our churches. He is the One who builds the churches and changes lives and families for His glory.
May God help us celebrate and give thanks for His mighty acts!
Your co-worker, Dennis