Dear Pastor Friend,
Have you surveyed the present scene? Have you noted how many Christian marriages are in trouble, and how many Christian homes are dysfunctional? Do you have any idea how many people hesitate to take their problems to their pastor and struggle for years without help? Have you any idea how many Christian parents have turned over the spiritual leadership in their home to the church or Christian school? Do you know how many Christians living within 1 city block of one another never relate because they are presumed to be different? Have you noted how many pastors will not relate, even so much as to pray with and for neighboring pastors? Do you see it as a serious offense to Christ to fragment the body of Christ the way we do? Does it make any sense to remain a loner in ministry and perpetuate methods that give no promise of ever fulfilling the task of the church even if the evident results were 100 times better than we presently experience?
I am not angry, or frustrated with pastors and church leaders. I am guilty of the same misconceptions and misconduct. I am experiencing a wake-up call and discovering that a spirit of deception has attacked the church. We have failed to recognize a work of grace in many of our Christian brothers. We are working in isolation. We are duplicating our efforts and not working efficiently. Our lifestyle contradicts our doctrine. We have lost touch with the world and don't speak in terms that they understand. We live separate from the presence of unsaved sinners, but not from the practice of many of their sins.
As pastors and leaders, let's start with pastors. As an evangelical, I've gone to mainline pastors in my neighborhood to tell them I was praying for them, and to discover where they stand. You know that, to evangelicals, these guys are supposed to be liberals. At least 75% of the time I have found them to be in Christ Jesus and about as evangelistic as many evangelicals. I have enjoyed sweet times of fellowship with them. You might not find your percentage as high, but you would be stimulated to find a supportive brother nearby. Besides this, even liberal pastors need prayer that we could provide.
In view of the desperate needs of the hour, we need to get desperate to know precisely what God has called us to do and then be decisive about acting in complete harmony with His expressed will. I believe you will find it simpler than our contrived plans and explosive in its results after we have demonstrated the love of Christ and the unity of the faith, because the Lord has prepared the community around us with intense need and no answers except that which we have to offer. FIRST, we need to demonstrate it through our relationships with one another and with them.
Are we willing to be changed, and to trust the Holy Spirit to bring His children into harmonious, loving relationships?
by Rev. Bob Walker, graduated to Glory.
Tidewater Missions Fellowship