Church & Ministry

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

(An Interruption to the Series) The Call of God

by Daniel R. Brown

The call of God to the gospel ministry, apart from salvation, is the single greatest qualifying mark for anyone who is a minister of the gospel. For this reason, ordination councils examine a man in three separate areas: his conversion, his call to the ministry, and his convictions on doctrine. The call of God is widely recognized as a first order priority by virtually every book on pastoral theology. These authors, crossing every spectrum of theological position, devote a section or an entire chapter to the subject. Most churches will usually ask a potential pastoral candidate to give expression to his call to the ministry.

Even after this emphasis in both our literature and our practice, the call of God has fallen upon hard times. My experience in ordination councils, as well as discussions with pastors and teachers, indicates that a great deal of confusion and doubt surrounds the discussion of God’s call to the ministry.

I believe there are several causes for this increasing lack of clarity about God’s call to the ministry. First, while an abundance of literature addresses the call of God, authors tend to describe the call in their own terms, so that great variety exists in how the call is defined and described. Second, the call of God is confused with a subjective, existential experience equivalent to someone saying, “God spoke to me.” Third, some are openly antagonistic against the call of God to the ministry (e.g., Friesen, Decision Making and the Will of God). This is not an apologetic against that position, but if a man states that he is definitely not called by God, I am willing to take him at his word. Fourth, the call of God is a part of understanding God’s individual will for one’s life. Those who deny that God has an individual will for the life of each Christian will undoubtedly choke on accepting God’s call to the ministry. Read more about (An Interruption to the Series) The Call of God