Well it has only been eleven months since I have visited my own blog site. Obviously I have not been what you would call an active blogger. I am showing just over 12,600 pending comments of which at least 12, 599 are spam (and some of them are rated at least R) which I will try to delete and clean up. So what has prompted me to return this page called Promptings. Well exactly that, a prompting, in fact a very strong prompting.
Today was a great day in so many ways. The weather in Franklin was absolutely beautiful, worship at TPC was really strong under the leadership of Matthew West (one of my favorite good guys), and the day was capped off with a late afternoon round of golf with friends at Nashville Golf & Athletic Club. When I came in tonight I did the obligatory check-in on Twitter and Facebook. And that’s when it happened, my button just got pushed!
A young pastor that I have never met personally contacted me to let me know how our ministry had inspired him to take some bold steps and cast a new vision for his church today; and to see if we could meet and visit together in the near future. I thanked him for his gracious words of affirmation and then set out to find out more about him through his social media accounts. Reading his comments I soon discovered that someone had just laid into him for his new vision and had decided to exercise “the spiritual gift of criticism”. Now, understand that leaders are not immune to criticism. That is a given and accepted by most who lead. However, when I discovered that the source of his criticism was a fellow pastor, I confess to the strange desire of wanting to open a shoe store in the critic’s backside! Hey guys, who are you kidding? Aren’t we suppose to be on the same team? Isn’t there enough criticism to deal with in life and ministry without leveling your guns on a fellow pastor?
One of the first things that I taught our church 30 years ago was about speaking the truth in love; always asking three basic questions. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Now I happen to believe that those same questions should apply in what we write, especially in a day when it is open for the whole world to read. I think that we could all agree that Jesus said that people would know that we are His disciples by the way we LOVE each other. Now it seems to me that this young pastor’s critic failed all three of those tests.
We live in a day and time where those of us in the church are talking more and more about the conditions of the world in which we live, the loss of civility, and the anti-Christian sentiment in our culture. Maybe, just maybe if we practiced what we say we believe and preach we might actually have a positive impact on those things that concern us.
Come on brothers, we are better than this. Maligning one another is not what we signed up for when we answered the call of God to serve Him in ministry. Let’s remember who the real enemy is and it is not the brother down the street in another church. Even if you do not agree with the direction your pastor brother is leading, make it a matter of prayer and not pontificating.
So to my younger pastor friend, go for it! Dream great dreams for God, keep your eyes on Jesus, and persevere. Those of us who are a little farther down the road will be pulling for you. To my pastor friend’s critic: Hey friend, you need to repent, go back and remember why you signed up for this thing call ministry, and seek a new standard for loving your brother. He could use it, you could use it, and we all could use it.
Still in the journey!