Church & Ministry

Confronting Racism in the Church

Sermon preached at 2010 IL/MO state conference. Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin Jan/Feb 2011. All rights reserved.

By Greg Randle

In 1865 General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, to declare to slaves there that they were free. The order that General Granger took to those slaves had been signed two and a half years earlier. So although the people had been pronounced free nearly three years before, they did not know it until the general came and told them. In essence they were still slaves. They thought like slaves. They talked like slaves. They even lived like they were slaves.

Already Free

We have a lot of Christians today who are still thinking like slaves, still talking like slaves, still living like slaves. Although our emancipation proclamation was signed two thousand years ago by the blood of Jesus, we still don’t know how to treat one another in the Lord. God wants us to be able to come together in the Body of Christ regardless of our racial background, regardless of our ethnicity—to come and experience unity and fellowship one with another. In fact, Galatians 2 challenges us about an issue that we’ve been dealing with since the beginning of time: racism. Racism is the institutional power used to hold down a certain race of people through injustice or other unkind means. And the last place we should see racism is in the church of Jesus Christ.

Peter, the apostle to the Jews, and Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, confronted this issue. We see Peter’s failure, and Paul’s freedom to help him overcome his failure. Read more about Confronting Racism in the Church

The Idea of a Standard of Ethics

Not long ago, I was paging through my copy of Voice magazine. The issue theme was “measuring church maturity,” and I wanted to see what the issue’s writers had to say on the topic. For whatever reason, church maturity didn’t suggest the idea of “ethics” to my mind. So I was surprised to see Ken Bickel’s article calling for renewed emphasis on pastoral ethics (posted here yesterday), and even more surprised to find two pages devoted to a two-part ethical standard for IFCA members.

I am not an IFCA member, and—believe it nor not—they haven’t hired me to recruit for them! But I have a lot of respect for these guys. I offer the ethical standard below as an example of the idea of a standard of ethics—an idea that more fundamentalist organizations should seriously consider, and an idea more fundamentalist pastors should seriously consider as well (present company included). Read more about The Idea of a Standard of Ethics

Revisit & Reaffirm Ministerial Ethics

Reprinted with permission from Voice magazine, Nov/Dec 2010.

The associate pastor of Country Bible Church is a multi-talented young man with great people skills. His senior pastor, also a highly gifted ministry servant, values and trusts his young associate. The younger adults of Country Bible are calling for some changes to be made in the worship services and children’s ministries of the church. The senior pastor pays attention to these calls for change, but inclines to move slowly, to allow the church body needed time to adjust to and embrace the changes. The reach and the rate of the initial phase of changes fall short of the younger adults’ desires and expectations. These younger adults begin to voice their complaints to the associate pastor. He commiserates with them, but expresses that he is basically powerless to move things along faster and further.

With frustration mounting several of the young adults begin to voice the idea of breaking away from the larger group, perhaps becoming their own congregation, but remaining under the umbrella of their present church’s organization. As that conversation continues over a period of weeks, the younger adults decide that even that idea would move too slowly and would probably not produce the results they desired. So, they begin to talk about breaking away completely and starting their own church. They approach the associate pastor with the idea and invite him to become their pastor. He finds the idea appealing, but cautions that the discussions of that possibility need to be kept secret until final decisions are made. Secrecy is preserved and the group moves persistently toward forming a new church, gathering more young adults to the idea as the weeks pass by. Read more about Revisit & Reaffirm Ministerial Ethics

The Role of an Interim Pastor: How to Help a Church Through the Process of Change in Pastoral Leadership

Reprinted with permission from Paraklesis Fall 2010.

When I came to BBS in 1998, after 20 years in pastoral ministry, I had no doubt God was leading me here. I was looking forward to being part of a team shaping a new generation of men to be servant-leaders for the church.

I enjoyed the ministry God gave me as a pastor, especially opportunities to get close to people, be involved in discipleship, and see a body of believers grow in their walk with and service to God. So when I approached the time for a change in ministry and focus I wondered: Would I miss being a pastor? The answer was “yes,” but God answered the longing in my heart with a great opportunity to combine my new role with continuing involvement in local church pastoral ministry: the role of being an interim pastor to churches going through the process of a change in pastoral leadership.

Soon after coming to BBS I learned a church I had previously served was losing their pastor. The deacons asked me to serve as interim pastor and assist them in the coming search process.

What a fantastic opportunity. I was able to go back to a church body I loved and assist them for nine months in areas that would help the church grow and prepare for their next pastor. Once this church cleared that process, which culminated in the calling of a new pastor, I found there were many churches going through similar circumstances.

Through the Church Relations Department at BBC&S and assistance from church fellowship leaders in various states, other contacts were made with churches needing similar assistance. Read more about The Role of an Interim Pastor: How to Help a Church Through the Process of Change in Pastoral Leadership