Worthwhile: May 17, 2019

Friyay! The weekend is upon us and the season we enjoy called summer is quickly approaching. School graduations, last days, and Memorial Day are near… but we press on.

This week a worldly perspective of masculinity, mid-life crisis, and the family feel of a small church. Get some.

From the New York Times magazine last week is this story of a cultural perspective of masculinity. While the conclusions, or rather assumptions, the author presents are probably off, the storytelling is engaging.

We have a long way to go in gaining healthy views on masculinity but a refusal of ownership for one’s life is not a starting point. Be a man of your word, love those around you, care for your children.

Next up, I am forty-one and a half at this very moment. That is the same age as John Piper as he suffered what we might call a mid-life crisis. I don’t have any crisis, I won’t buy a motorcycle, quit my job, or leave my wife, but I did resonate with some of the feelings Pastor John shares.

Unfulfilled dreams, missed opportunities. There is some good perspective here. And there is much the Lord will use in this season of life if you find yourself in it. Read on.

Lastly some good news for small churches, if people are engaged. Smaller organizations usually mean a higher percentage of engagement. For a church that means the smaller we are the more likely everyone will have a role and be part of the ministry.

It is true and as my pastoral progression has gone from large church to small church I have seen the personal discipleship fruit of such a situation. The key is, engage. Wherever you are plug in and serve. Open your life to others and walk this Christian journey together. Read more from Karl Vaters.

And if you live in San Diego and are looking for a small church to do that with, I know one!

Diversity in the Church

This week I had the opportunity to interact with some church leaders on the question of diversity in the church among other things. I attempted to share my heart and desire to see the local church reflect well the reality of Christ’s bride – a church greatly diverse in language and ethnicity. It is the reality of the church described in the New Testament and it is sad that we have historically allowed affinities other than Christ form the core of our churches.

Today John Piper tweeted a link to a 2007 article explaining why his church sought diversity, especially among staff and elders. Given the current public climate concerning race, it is a timely reminder for Christians of our citizenship in the kingdom of God. You can read the whole article here but below are some choice sections.

“It is right to admire this diversity for many reasons:

  1. It illustrates more clearly the truth that God created people of all races and ethnicities in his on image (Genesis 1:27).
  2. It displays more visibly the truth that Jesus is not a tribal deity but is the Lord of all races, nations, and ethnicities.
  3. It demonstrates more clearly the blood-bought destiny of the church to be “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
  4. It exhibits more compellingly the aim and power of the cross of Christ to “reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Ephesians 2:16).
  5. It expresses more forcefully the work of the Spirit to unite us in Christ. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).”

“it seems to us that the admiration we feel for this diversity in the New Testament should carry over into the desires we have for the visible church today. It seems to us that the local church should want these things to be true today at the local level where this diversity and harmony would have the greatest visible and relational impact. For us, this has implied pursuit. If we admire it and desire it, then it seems to us we should pursue it.”

I know this is easier said than done, creating a diverse church, but we should be about it. For Christians, honestly, it should come naturally…

To Follow Piper

The evangelical inter-webs are buzzing at the nomination of John Piper’s potential successor, Jason Meyer. Meyer’s resume and reputation are at the very least humbling at it sounds like Bethlehem Baptist will be getting a phenomenal leader and servant with fresh vision.

One item from Justin Taylor’s announcement of the news struck me however. It was in reference to Piper’s role in all this. Taylor says of Piper and the decision to find a successor, “he still has joyful energy to preach but feels increasingly incompetent and less focused for fruitful and effective visionary leadership of Bethlehem’s organization and structure; they will remain at the church (after a year away)…”

Piper is passionate about preaching and will do it until he dies, but he feels “increasingly incompetent and less focused for fruitful and effective visionary leadership…” I pray that I can become a leader like this, capable of recognizing my time of leadership has shifted. There are not many aging pastors with the same realization as Piper but certainly the same situation. I am thankful for his example and wisdom.

I think it is also significant that the Pipers will take one year away – seemingly to allow Meyer to pastor without a constant shadow which will be difficult in that situation. This is a good model for the church in general.