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FIRST

INISIW
Ministry is the international journal of the
Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association
and has been published since 1928.

Association Secretary James A. Cress


Editor Wilimore D. Eva
Listen to me, pastor! Assistant Editor Julia W. Norcott
The need for and qualifications of a healing Editorial Assistant Sheila Draper

pastoral ear Professional Growth and Inter-church Relations


Nikolaus Satelmajer
Misheck Kirimi Contributing Editors: Sharon Cress, Peter Prime, )oel
Sarli, Kit Watts
Consulting Editors:
Ben Clausen, Raoul Dederen, Teofilo Ferreira, Ron

EVERY The theological value of the Flowers, John M. Fowler, Michael Hasel, Roland
Hegstad, Kathleen Kuntaraf, Ekkehardt Mueller, Jan
ISSUE Creation account Paulsen, Robert Peach, George Reid, Angel Rodriguez,
Penny Shell, William Shea, Russell Staples, Richard
Genesis 1 and 2 as foundational theology rather Tibbits, Ted Wilson, Edward Zinke
than solely an account of physical origins Pastoral Assistant Editors: John C. Cress, Fredrick
Russell, Maylan Schurch, Loren Seibold
Greg A. King International Advisors: Alejandro Bullon, John
Duroe, Paulraj Isaiah, Anthony Kent, Ewoo Andrews
Laurence, Ivan Manilich, Carlos Martin, Gabriel Maurer,
Editorial Joel Musvosvi, Ivan Omana, David Osborne, Peter
Roennfeldt, Raymond Zeeman
Growing a healthy church, part 2 Pastoral Advisors: Leslie Baumgartner, S. Peter
Four basic dimensions for effective church growth Campbell, Miguel A. Cerna, Jeanne Hartwell, Mitchell
Henson, Greg Nelson, Norma Osborn, Leslie Pollard,
John Grys and Greg Schaller Dan Smith, Steve Wiilsey
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Ministry (ISSN 0026-5314), the international journal
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Bible credits: Scripture quotations from NASB are from the New
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MINISTRY March 2001


L R

W e are indebted to you for publish


ing Hans K. LaRondelle's article
"Luther and the Gospel" in the
("Lectures on Galatians, 1535," LW,
26:208).
We can have no doubt that Dr.
his comments about insurance, he said
that "insurance is not the risky, unregu
lated business that it previously was
November 2000 issue. So much of what LaRondelle is committed to biblical and when wise counsel directed the avoid
he writes is standard Protestant interpre historical truth. We can only plead that ance of it." That's an interesting
tation of both Luther and Paul. On the in the interests of that ideal he will allow historical note, but not very helpful in
other hand, I would point out that the Luther to speak for himself. Carl B. my opinion.
article demonstrates just once more that Braaten and Robert W. Jenson in their Cress could have suggested that
Luther's views were somewhat in ten recent book, Union with Christ: the New term insurance is available at a cost that
sion with those of his subsequent Finnish Interpretation of Luther (Eerd- is within the reach of many. If a parent
interpreters. mans, 1998), have made a genuine loses his or her mate, especially the
For example, Dr. LaRondelle writes of attempt to allow Luther to explicate his breadwinner, then clearly the need is to
Luther's earlier theology: "At this point, own theology. provide for the family remaining. Term
for Luther justification was seen to be Erwin R. Cane, Angwin, California insurance provides far greater benefits
made inwardly righteous." By contrast, in the case of early death. It is not an
LaRondelle directs our attention to
Luther's mature theology contained in
his 1535 commentary on Galatians:
A s a church administrator, I have tra
ditionally looked to my monthly
perusal of Ministry as a way to maintain
investment, of course, but I have grave
questions about thinking about insur
ance as an investment in any case.
"Later, in his commentary on Galatians an awareness of current trends in the There are also policies that would
(1535) Luther reached his mature con pastoral ministry and issues of concern provide considerable help in case a
cept of justification: it is the forensic or to the church's pastoral ranks. And then breadwinner is unable to work follow
legal imputation of Christ's righteous came the November issue! I couldn't ing an accident or serious illness.
ness to the repentant believer." put it down. While the analysis of the I am not sure I agree with Pastor
Significantly in his comments on Lutheran World Federation/Vatican Cress in his general statement about the
Galatians 2:16 in that 1535 commen "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of pure motives of insurance companies.
tary, Luther emphasized again and Justification" provided by Drs. I do appreciate Ministry and have
again his concept of justification as the LaRondelle, Dederen, Heinz, and Evans done so for many years.
gift of inward righteousness. For exam was what initially caught my interest, in T. C. Whitehouse, via e-mail.
ple: "Therefore the Christ who is the end it was the power of their con
grasped by faith and who lives in the
heart is the true Christian righteousness,
on account of which God counts us
stant and consistent affirmation of the
wonders of the truth of justification that
moved me from interest to inspiration.
A short response to the article pub
lished in the January issue of
Ministry from Claude Lombart. Pastor
righteous and grants us eternal life" Many thanks for a fine series of articles. Claude eloquently reflects the isolation,
("Lecture on Galatians, 1535," LW, Byron L. Scheuneman, senior vice loneliness, and pain of those whose
26:130). The following pages empha president, ADRA International, Silver Spring, marriages have broken down.
size the point repeatedly. Maryland. While calling for a response on the
Dr. LaRondelle tells us that "good part of the world church to create a
words of the Spirit are not a component
of justification itself." But Luther wrote
that the proclamation of the faith
R esponding to James Cress' contribu
tion in the November issue, I agreed
with most everything he suggested,
position where spouses who are "inno
cent" can remarry, I would suggest that
the letter also calls for an appropriate
"brings the Holy Spirit who justifies." though I do have one observation. In continued on page 7 7

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We want to share our aspirations and faith in a way that will provide inspiration and help to you as clergy. We hope you will accept this journal as our
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March 2001 MINISTRY


EDITORIAL

The call
in the calling

C
alling or career? Prophet or pro he spoke to me . . . and I heard him
fessional? Priest or pundit? who spoke to me. ... As for them,
Conviction or compliance? [Ezekiel's "congregation"] whether they
Bottom line, why are we ministers? Why hear or whether they refuse ... yet they
are you and I doing what we're doing?
WILL EVA will know that a prophet has been
What actually got us doing it in the first among them. Do not be afraid of them
place? What keeps us going? Perhaps nor be afraid of their words, though
most challenging of all, what in fact briers and thorns are with you and you
have we come to consider ministry to dwell among scorpions; do not be
be at its heart? afraid of their words or dismayed by
"What I object to most is the their looks.... Behold I have made your
appalling and systematic trivializing of face strong against their faces, and your
the pastoral office. It is part of a larger forehead strong against their foreheads.
trivialization, that of the culture itself, a Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I
trivialization so vast and epidemic that regular rhythms of immediate sight and have made your forehead; do not be
there are days when its ruin seems consciousness, a pastor becomes subject afraid of them" (Ezek. 2:2-9).
assured. There are other days, though, to what easily develops into a ministry of Hard as it may be to admit it in writ
when we catch a glimpse of glory a minutiae and trivialities, a mere profes ing, especially in a magazine like this
man here, a woman there determined sionalism, simply a job, at best another one, there is a question mark of pro
to live nobly." 1 service profession. I definitely do not gressing size that presents itself squarely
With these words, Eugene Peterson wish to rob ministry of its relevancy on the foreheads of we who are today
reintroduces the idea of "vocational (God knows, how often in the name of called "clergy." It has to do with our
holiness." In that context he speaks of a heavenly calling we have pompously believability, our credibility. The reason
seeing "all around men and women, destroyed, as we say, anything of any for its scarlet presence lies, I believe
pastors, hammering together a voca earthly good). But I want my own heart close to the matter of our sense of the
tional identity from models given to always to beat with the conviction that, holiness of our calling. People are starv
them from the 'principalities and pow bottom line, God Himself has in fact ing for the real thing. We are starving
ers'" that surround them. "The models," called me to do what I am presently for the real thing.
he continues, so persuasive in the sur doing in my ministry. Eugene Peterson, once again: "But
rounding culture, "were all strong on A few weeks ago I talked to one of here I was on a religious ship on which
power (making things happen) and my fellow ministers a colleague I God was peripheral to the bottom line,
image (appearing important). But none admire and respect. My moments with in the background of an enterprise that
of them seemed congruent with the him were inspiring. He simply talked of was mostly informed by psychology,
calling I sensed forming within myself."2 the deeply conscious sense that he has sociology, and management-by-objec-
That calling is, in short, based upon the come to possess that when he stands tive." 3 Let me commit myself under
fact that it itself, even more than the up to preach, whether here or there, it God either to plunge into the ocean
minister himself or herself, is holy. That's is God who has inspired his soul with a and out of such a ship, or to turn such
no new thought, but one that, given the particular content for this particular a ship into a more worthy course. We
neglect of it during the last thirty years congregation or audience at this partic may not be able to turn the whole
or so is quite a shattering concept! Ours ular time; that God has sent him to fleet, but we can, by Cod's grace, turn
is a genuinely holy calling because it is these people at this time. There is some our ship about. H
one given to us or made for us by Cod thing magnificent and true about the
Himself. convictions he shared with me.
We must recognize again that the call Ezekiel had these convictions. He 1 Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant
to ministry, our calling, is a holy one; w< ild not be caught merely doing his (Grand Rapids, Midi.: William B. Eerdmans Pub.
Co., 1992), 37.
one that has its origin in the heart of o. thing. His work was the work of 2 Ibid., 50, 51.
God. Yet, bit by bit, running beside the ti .Spirit. "The Spirit entered me when 3 Ibid., 45.

MINISTRY March 200 1


listening adds quality to pastoral services
because people perceive it as ultimate proof of
love and care for them. Unlike talking, listen
ing is "selfish-proof." It is not "I" centered but
"other" oriented. By listening actively the
minister tells the talker, "what concerns you
is important to me also . . . because you mat
ter. I want to share your pain and happiness."

The ministry of listening


People come to church to listen. They also
come with a big desire to be heard. In a size
able number, that desire and need is the main
reason for coming to a church. People have a

Listen to me, tale, and it must be told. People simply need


to feel the sense of significance that is offered
them by a listening, caring ear. If the church

Pastor! has no provision for this, they will tell it else


where. Some people may be ultimately lost,
not because no one talked to them, but
because no one actually listened.
Recognizing these realities elevates "listen

W
hen Deborah, a middle- ing" into a ministry a service of love that
Misheck Kirimi
aged, divorced woman the church exists to offer. Unfortunately, the
was found dead in her "talking ministries" have increased tremen
room with a lethal syringe dously at the expense of the listening
still dangling on her ministry. It's time we readjusted the scale.
thigh, the local counselor recalled two signif One practical way to overcome this limita
icant facts he had observed about her. First, tion is to begin to create a culture of attentive
although Deborah was affiliated with a near listening in the congregation. A minister can
by church, she had no close friends. Second, turn the church into a listening community.
she had a distressing tale that she had to share Parents can learn to listen to their children,
with someone who would listen. She found children to their parents, spouses to each
nobody responsive enough with whom to other. Everyone can learn to listen. The result
share her story, and in a way that is what will be improved relationships.
killed her. Probably the only ears that ever lis In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
tened to her were those of Sly, her tomcat. People, Stephen Covey writes that "to relate
Our churches, homes, and workplaces are effectively ... we must learn to listen. And
full of Deborahs people in dire need of this requires emotional strength. Listening
being listened to. "It is impossible," said involves patience, openness and a desire to
renowned Christian psychiatrist Paul understand highly developed qualities of
Tournier, "to overemphasize the immense character."2
need humans have to be really listened to, to
be taken seriously, to be understood." 1 The Listening to heal
world is thirsty for quality listeners. Teenagers When it comes to mind-healing listening,
talk to the wrong people because adults have we don't merely listen to what is said; we lis
no time or will to listen. Spouses confide in ten to the person who is saying it. Here the
the wrong ears because they don't find "messenger" is more important than the
Misheck Kirimi is a
patience or grace in the ears of their life part "message." We must be genuinely sensitive
local church elder in
Nairobi, Kenya.
ner. Nowhere do we see more clearly the because talking is often so personal that inat
don't-care attitude that has permeated our tention equals disrespect or disregard for the
culture than in our low tolerance to the talker.
"tales" of others. Although many people hear when we
This is why, at least in part, effective listen speak, only a caring person listens. The differ
ing is a minister's premium skill. Good ence is that hearing is done with the ear while

MINISTRY
listening is done with the mind and sciously, assessing the credibility of the speaker. Only then can they assist
heart. Pharaoh Ptahhotep instructed pastors testing the water before step the speaker to explore and pick the
his officials to listen to pleas of clients ping in. Can the pastor be trusted? Is best solutions to the presenting prob
patiently and without rancor, because he or she "safe" and actually interest lem.
a petitioner actually wants respect and ed in me? Does the pastor care? How
attention to what he says more than much can I disclose to him or her? Learn to listen
the accomplishing of that for which Only when these questions are Pastors need to deliberately hone
he came. answered can the listener start to dis their listening skills. J. Michael
Listening with this kind of con close useful information. In the Bennett, an expert in listening,
cern heals emotional wounds. Not presence of this kind of caution it is writes, "No one could count the tales
doing so can in fact create wounds. common for listeners to jump to con of woe that have as their central point
We talk our problems away when we clusions before the tale has been fully T thought you said....' No one could
know someone who cares is listening. told. "I know what she's going to say" tally the jobs ruined, the classes
Naturally, knowing that another is an attitude that portrays the typical failed, the battles lost, the hearts bro
human being is aware of how we hurt lack of patience. James W. Gibson and ken, the money wasted, the lives
makes the hurt endurable. Similarly, Michael Hanna write, "You can deal damaged as a direct result of poor lis
knowing that someone is aware of with this problem if you learn to be tening skills." 5 Listening experts
our joy makes that joy more intense. patient. . .. Wait until you hear what compare good listening skills to good
Either way, a "listening someone" others have to say, then make a criti reading skills. If reading is listening
makes life better. cal judgment. . . . Being patient may with the eye, listening is reading with
mean biting your tongue in order to the ear. Like reading, listening can be
Qualities of a good listener keep yourself from interrupting."3 difficult. By far the greatest hindrance
For someone to actually disclose 3. Attention. Many listeners let to skillful listening is a false belief
themselves, the listener must demon their thoughts wander or descend that we are already good at it. What
strate four qualities. into lethargy when another person is we forget is that listening is quite dif
1. Confidentiality. The speaker talking. Unless the speaker is excep ferent from hearing. It requires active
needs assurance that he or she is con tionally gifted or the subject acutely discipline.
fiding in the right person, someone important to the listener, 80 percent A study by Gary T. Hunt and Louis
who can be trusted with the deepest of what is said goes to waste. Most of P. Cusella found that many corporate
secrets without the risk of leakage. us are awake only when we're talking. employees did not seek to improve
The majority of Seventh-day As soon as it's our turn to listen, we their listening abilities because they
Adventists rate their pastors high tend to slide into indifference. Real mistakenly believed that they lis
with regard to confidentiality. listening is a highly active skill. tened well.6 The first step in learning
Listening pastors gather vast amounts The very name "shepherd" carries effective listening might be the
of information concerning the day- with it a connotation of patience. admission or suspicion that one is
to-day problems of their flock. This Some sheep are slow, clumsy, thank not such a good listener.
increases their efficiency in minister less, and always getting lost. A pastor Active acquisition of information
ing to those needs, not to mention may have to listen to speakers who from speakers be they be boring or
the trust that is built on the basis of are slow, boring, unintelligent, unin entertaining greatly improves our
which all sorts of further doors of telligible, or in error. When pastors professional and personal decision-
ministry may be opened. patiently listen to such people, they making processes. Moreover,
Some of what the pastor hears live up to their title. Writes John listening makes our services more
brings him or her personal trial. Being Powell, "If you raise your eyebrows or responsive to the personal needs of
privy to some classified information narrow your eyes, if you yawn or look those we serve. W
can be overwhelming, creating in at your watch, I will probably retreat
pastors the pressure to share it in to safer ground. I will run for cover of
turn. As persons of integrity, they silence. . . ."4 1 J. Michael Bennett, Four Powers of Communication:
resist the temptation to do that. They 4. Involvement. Gibson and Hanna Skills for Effective Learning (New York: McGraw-Hill,
Inc., 1991), 51.
can safely vent the pressure by recy say that emphatic listening allows us 2 John Powell, S.J., Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I
cling the story at its source. to identify, to understand, and to Am? (Miles, 111.: Argus Communications, 1969), 5.
2. Patience. A speaker/parishioner reflect the feelings, needs and inten 3 Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits ofHighly Effective
People (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 37.
might not go to the root of his or her tions of another person. This kind of 4 James W. Gibson and Michael S. Hanna, Introduction
problem during the first or second listening equips listeners with infor to Human Communication (Wm. C. Brown
counseling session. Early sessions are mation that gives them a feel for Publishers, 1992), 66.
5 Powell, 56.
usually spent quietly, even uncon what it is like to be in the shoes of 6 Bennett, 47.

MINISTRY March 2001


and theological. I intend to compare the
Genesis account with the extra-biblical cre
ation account related below. Some scholars
contend that this is the best way to under
stand the theological distinctives of the
Creation account.3
By inductive I mean that some of the
themes and messages discussed are intrinsic to
the Creation account itself, so that as one
thoughtfully reads and reflects on these two
biblical chapters, the key theological messages

The theological identified in this article are readily discernible.


The fact that this study is exegetical in nature
is closely related to the previous characteristic

value of the and means that it is based on a responsible


interpretation of the actual content of the first
two chapters of Genesis. Finally, in taking a

Creation account theological approach, the article will raise the


questions: What does the Creation account
teach about God, His relationship to the
world, and His plans and purposes for human
beings? What does the account indicate about

M
uch of the time that Bible salvation and eschatology?
Greg A. King
students have devoted to
the first two chapters of An extra-biblical creation account
Genesis has been directed With these points in mind, let us review a
toward matters other than creation account drawn from the literature of
understanding the theological thrust of this ancient Mesopotamia.4 Though it is a com
critical passage. For example, Christians have posite account, I will refer to it as The Enuma
tried to understand the relationship of the Elish, which is the major source from which it
Creation account to the scientific record and is taken.
have tried to harmonize the two. They have "In the beginning, neither heaven nor
spent time and energy contending that earth had names. Apsu, the god of fresh
Genesis 1 and 2 preserves a factual, authentic waters, and Tiamat, the goddess of the salt
account of the origins of this earth and its life oceans, and Mummu, the god of the mist that
forms. Their efforts have sometimes led them rises from both of them, were still mingled as
to clashes with the scientific community and one. There were no mountains, there was no
even to vigorous debates within the Christian pasture land, and not even a reed-marsh could
community. 1 be found to break the surface of the waters.
While this kind of debate may be neces "It was then that Apsu and Tiamat parent-
sary, if it is made the sole focus, it can cause ed two gods, and then two more who outgrew
us to overlook other important components the first pair. These further parented gods,
in the Creation account, such as its theologi until Ea, who was the god of rivers and was
cal message. The theology of Genesis 1 and 2 Tiamat and Apsu's great-grandson, was born.
is neither peripheral to the purpose of the Ea was the cleverest of the gods, and with his
account nor is it irrelevant to contemporary magic Ea became the most powerful of the
Christians. The fact is that the first two chap gods, ruling even his forebears.
ters of Genesis are theological in nature.2 And "Apsu and Tiamat's descendants became
Greg A. King, Ph.D.,
that theology, far from being abstract and an unruly crowd. Eventually Apsu, in his frus
is chair of the
Department of
unrelated to life, is as practical and relevant as tration and inability to sleep with the clamor,
Religion, Pacific when it was first written. went to Tiamat, and he proposed to her that
Union College, I will attempt to touch on the main theo he slay their noisy offspring. Tiamat was furi
Angwin, California. logical messages while encouraging a lifelong ous at his suggestion to kill their clan, but
study of these crucial chapters. My approach after leaving her Apsu resolved to proceed
will be comparative, inductive, exegetical, with his murderous plan. When the young

March 2001 MINISTRY


account, which stands out when com
HAT DOES THE CREATION ACCOUNT TEACH

W ABOUT GOD, HIS RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD,


pared with extra-biblical creation
stories, is the nature of God. The first
words of the Bible, "In the beginning
God" express a profound truth. There
AND HIS PLANS AND PURPOSES FOR HUMAN BEINGS? : is no pantheon of gods, no potential
for rivalry among various divine
gods heard of his plot against them, heavens he made stations in the stars potentates. The Creator God of Gene
they were silent and fearful, but soon for the gods, and he made the moon sis 1 has no spouse or consort as was
Ea was hatching a scheme. He cast a and set it forth on its schedule across common among the pagan gods. He
spell on Apsu, pulled Apsu's crown the heavens. From the other half of is One. Thus, Genesis presents a strik
from his head, and slew him. Ea then Tiamat's body he made the land, ing contrast with Enuma Elish which
built his palace on Apsu's waters, and which he placed over Apsu's fresh commences with both Apsu and
it was there that, with the goddess waters, which now arise in wells and Tiamat and is polytheistic in nature.
Damkina, he fathered Marduk, the springs. From her eyes he made flow Furthermore, Marduk, the god who
four-eared, four-eyed giant who was the Tigris and Euphrates. Across this creates, is a sixth-generation god.7
god of the rains and storms. land he made the grains and herbs, What are the practical implica
"The other gods, however, went to the pastures and fields, the rains and tions of this? Is the Bible indicating
Tiamat and complained of how Ea the seeds, the cows and ewes, and the that God needs nothing beyond
had slain her husband. Aroused, she forests and the orchards. Himself to bring fulfillment? Is there
collected an army of dragons and "Marduk set the vanquished gods a suggestion that everything else in
monsters, and at its head she placed who had supported Tiamat to a vari the created order is lacking fulfill
the god Kingu, whom she gave magi ety of tasks, including work in the ment and needs to look to God to
cal powers as well. Even Ea was at a fields and canals. Soon they com find it?8 Possibly. In any case, the ben
loss how to combat such a host, until plained of their work, however, and efits of having a single deity to serve
he finally called on his son Marduk. rebelled by burning their spades and as opposed to the capricious gods of
Marduk gladly agreed to take on his baskets. Marduk saw a solution to Enuma Elish seems obvious. Should
father's battle, on the condition that their labors, though, and proposed it the bickering and feuding that exist
he, Marduk, would rule the gods after to Ea. He had Kingu, Tiamat's general, ed among the gods in Enuma Elish be
achieving this victory. The other gods brought forward from the ranks of the reality in the divine world, there
agreed, and at a banquet they gave defeated gods, and Kingu was slain. would be cause to worry about our
him his royal robes and scepter. With Kingu's blood, clay from the ultimate safety and to wonder if there
"Marduk armed himself with a bow earth, and spittle from the other gods, was a unified purpose and destiny to
and arrows, a club, and lightning, and Ea and the birth-goddess Nintu creat life on Earth.9 Knowing the one true
he went in search of Tiamat's mon ed humans. On them Ea imposed the Creator God provides confidence in
strous army. Rolling his thunder and labor previously assigned to the gods. these and other areas.
storms in front of him, he attacked, Thus humans were set to maintain Another obvious theological mes
and Kingu's battle plan soon disinte the canals and boundary ditches, to sage is that God is a Creator God.
grated. Tiamat was left alone to fight hoe and carry, to irrigate the land and While this may seem axiomatic to
Marduk, and she howled as they raise crops, to raise animals and fill most Christians today, it was not nec
closed for battle. They struggled as the granaries, and to worship the gods essarily so for individuals living in the
Marduk caught her in his nets. When at their regular festivals."5 ancient world. There was a tendency
she opened her mouth to devour him, With this story in mind, let's on the part of the various religions to
he filled it with the evil wind that explore the leading theological mes identify each god with a certain part
served him. She could not close her sages expressed in the biblical of the natural world. For example,
mouth with his gale blasting in it, and Creation account, some of which there would be a god of the fresh
he shot an arrow down her throat. It emerge as we contrast the Enuma waters, a god of the salt waters, a god
split her heart and she was slain. Elish account with Genesis 1 and 2 of storms (the name "Baal" was some
"After subduing the rest of her and some of which are inherent in times used for this god) and a sun
host, he took his club and split the biblical text itself.6 god, to name a few. However, the
Tiamat's water-laden body in half like Genesis account declares something
a clam shell. Half he put in the sky The nature of God revealed in startlingly different: "In the begin
and made the heavens, and he posted Genesis ning God created the heavens and
guards there to make sure Tiamat's salt One of the foremost theological the earth" as a unified, interactive
waters could not escape. Across the messages of the biblical Creation whole.

8 MINISTRY March 2001


Thus, God is not part of nature (as The biblical creator God has no char The biblical Creation account
pantheists would maintain) and is acter flaws. He wants to develop this and relationships
not to be identified with some natu moral perfection in His innocent There are far-reaching theological
ral force such as the winds or the creatures (see Gen. 2:17). He wishes messages resident in the kind of rela
storms. Rather, He is the Creator of it to maintain the innocent nature in tionship that is described as existing
all. 10 He is sovereign over the world which He brought forth His creation. between God and his human cre
and in complete charge of everything This stands in dramatic contrast with ation, as one reads the biblical
on it, including human beings and the gods of Enuma Elish. In that Creation account. The Bible presents
their destiny. account, killing and war and deceit humans as the crowning achieve
This theological message speaks are the order of the day. In a sense, ment of God's creative work. He
volumes to our age. One of the hall the gods in this account behave like made Adam and Eve in His image and
marks of modernity is a desire for the worst of humans. after His likeness (Gen. 1:26, 27).
personal autonomy. We wish to have In all of this a significant and By contrast, in the Enuma Elish
no obligation to anyone except self. sobering principle emerges: "people account, humans are created as some
We may not discern it, but we want to become like the gods they worship. thing of an afterthought. They are
be our own god. The theology of Their gods are their models." 12 One made for the purpose of relieving the
Genesis 1 and 2 dismisses any such can only wonder about conditions in gods of manual labor. They are
possibility. There is room for only one the world should humans, ancient or formed from blood and spittle, along
God and one throne. The Creator modem, try to further emulate heroes with clay from the earth. This
God "is the transcendent, sovereign or conceptions such as those of account of human origins deals a
ruler of the creation. He is in com Enuma Elish. Pondering this type of death blow to the worth of human
plete control."11 world gives one a profound grateful beings. If we were not divinely
Another theological message high ness for the moral and holy God of intended, if we simply came into
lighted by comparing the biblical the Bible who invites His children to existence to do grunt work for the
account with Enuma Elish is the follow Him in His holiness (see Lev. gods, then we can make no real case
innate moral and holy nature of God. 11:44, 45; 1 Pet. 1:16). for human dignity.

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March 2001 MINISTRY


fine volume by a Seventh-day Adventist scientist
Albert Baylis underscores the dif ship with Himself, God blessed a spe which addresses many of the scientific issues in rela
tionship to the Genesis Creation account; Ronald F.
ference between the two views: "And cific twenty-four hour period during Youngblood, ed., The Genesis Debate (Grand Rapids:
so, here is our first answer to 'Who the first week of earth's history and Baker, 1990), presents from a professedly Christian
am I?' The Babylonian myth would set it aside for human benefit. perspective both sides of some of the issues debat
ed within the Christian community in connection
answer, 'You are a product of the gods Yet another theological message with the early chapters of Genesis.
to make their life easier.' Modern focuses on the nature of the male- 2 The observation of John N. Oswalt, The Book of
Isaiah, Chapters 1-39, NICOT (Grand Rapids:
myth would assert, 'You are a product female relationship in general and Eerdmans, 1986), 31, about Isaiah is just as true of
of random chance in a purposeless marriage in particular. Genesis affirms (he biblical Creation story. He states, "Unless the
book of Isaiah is a great theological document, it is
universe.' The Bible says, 'You are a that both man and woman are creat nothing. Whatever may be its strengths as a piece of
personal creation of Yahweh, who ed in the image of God, and both are literature, they pale by comparison to the breadth
cares for you, has created you male given the right to rule over the rest of and sweep of the book's theological insights."
3 Victor Hamilton, Handbook on the Pentateuch (Grand
and female, and has placed you in an creation (Gen. 1:28). If these features Rapids: Baker, 1982), 35, states, "I am persuaded that
orderly and good creation as his rep of the story had impacted humanity the implications of the creation story of Genesis
emerge most dramatically when it is compared with
resentative ruler.' This knowledge of over the years, women would not the creation literature of, for example, Mesopotamia
God's order and created relationships have been downtrodden as has all too (be that literature Sumerian, Assyrian, or
Babylonian). For it is in the comparison of literature
is considered obsolete by many today. often been the case. of identical general theme that the distinctiveness of
As a result, our age suffers the anxiety As to marriage, Genesis 2:24, 25 biblical faith and message appears."
of enjoying no secure place or signifi lays down the basics of a marriage 4 This story is quoted (though I have corrected his
spelling!) from Bruce Railsback, "Creation Stories
cance in the world."13 covenant, subordinating all other From Around the World," 2nd ed. (Unpublished
Another theological message attachments, even those most dear, to manuscript, University of Georgia, 1997), 21, 22,
who notes, "This Babylonian story of creation
emerges from reflection on the spe one's spouse as the two become one comes largely from the Enuma Elish and the
cial divine-human relationship that flesh. As Hamilton notes, "The mar Astrahasis, which appear to have been written
between 1900 and 1500 BC, perhaps during the time
the first humans enjoyed. Instead of riage relationship is then an oath, a of the Babylonian King Hammurabi. The tablets of
being created to perform tedious covenant, never an arbitrary relation both are broken and incomplete. At the end of the
labor, they were created as regents of ship of convenience." 14 story here, the details of the creation of humans are
supplemented with material from fragments of later
God to enjoy a special relationship writings. The latter may date as late as the 500s BC,
with their Maker. Even as human par The promise of restoration but their consistency with the earlier Enuma Elish
suggests that they tell the same story. The main
ents enhance and deepen their love Finally, Genesis 1 and 2 prefigures actor in these tablets is Marduk, the most powerful
by procreating a child who becomes a and anticipates the new creation of of the Babylonian gods. Like most Babylonian gods,
he has many names, and elsewhere he is sometimes
recipient of their love, so God created the book of Revelation. In fact, this known as Bel."
intelligent beings with whom He ties well with the message of the 5 The observation of Hamilton, 35, is apropos here.
could share things of importance to Sabbath, because the rest of the He states, "A study of mythology helps the believer
to see how ancient man tried to answer ultimate
Him. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve Sabbath and the communion with questions about life and reality when the light of
enjoyed God's direct presence in the God it engenders is a prototypical revelation had not dawned upon him. Interestingly,
the answers provided to those questions by ancient
Garden of Eden. God will restore this foretaste of the rest in God's new king man are not all that different from the answers pro
direct relationship in the earth made dom and the closeness humans will vided by modern but unredeemed man." Reading
Enuma Elish certainly makes me grateful for the bib
new (see Rev. 22:4). have with Him there (see Heb. 4:9). lical account. One shudders to think about what our
The message regarding the divine- Revelation's portrayal of the new self-esteem would be if Enuma Elish provided the
human relationship is closely earth contains strong similarities to true account of how human life originated on this
planet!
connected with another significant the Creation account. As with the 6 Presenting the biblical theology of Creation by con
theological message of the Creation Garden of Eden, the new earth has no trasting it with an extra-biblical creation account is
especially appropriate, if, as Albert H. Baylis, From
account: the Sabbath. After six days need for a temple (Rev. 21:22). Also, Creation to the Cross (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
of creative work, God rested on the God is directly present (verse 3), and 1996), 30, 31, maintains, "The wording of the (cre
ation) passage leaves no doubt that it intends to
seventh day. Why did God rest? Is both a river and the Tree of Life are snub them [the false gods]. Words and phrases are
this an example of the divine otiosis there (22:1, 2). chosen that intentionally belittle claims existing at
expressed in extra-biblical accounts, This, indeed, is the ultimate value Moses' time."
7 Hamilton, 40.
the gods needing a nap? Far from it! of the biblical Creation account. Even 8 See ibid., 22.
In fact, the biblical Creation story while it reminds us of God's perfect 9 Baylis, 30, remarks, "For the pagan, the world was a
fearsome place." I was reminded of how true this is
seems purposely written to counter creation of long ago, it holds out the recently when reading Eric B. Hare's Dr. Rabbit to my
that idea. Far from being tired hope of a new creation, a world children. It described some very superstitious people
and their fear of and efforts to appease the spirits.
remember His creation was spoken restored to its original perfection and 10 See Baylis, 28: "Nothing could be clearer than this.
into existence with a few words God beauty and harmony. IHi God created it all."
chose to rest as a model for His chil 11 Ibid., 30.
12 Ibid., 26.
dren. To provide a special occasion 1 See Colin Mitchell, The Case for Creation 13 Ibid., 42.
for worship, to give time for fellow (Grantham, England: Autumn House, 1994), for a 14 Hamilton, 29.

10 MINISTRY March 2001


that already exists. Schwarz's eight character
istics as a unit are an instrument detecting the
winds of the Spirit's work in the life of the
congregation. These eight provide a greater
understanding of the "atmospheric" condi
tions of the congregation I serve. They
provide direction for my prayer, teaching,
reflecting, serving, and shepherding life as a
pastor and leader. They give my ministry and
that of the congregation a framework by
which God builds up His kingdom.
As a follow-up to the explanatory first arti
cle in this series ("Growing a healthy church,
Part I," Ministry, January 2001), this article

Growing a healthy will cover the first four of Christian Schwarz's


"essential eight" congregational growth char
acteristics. A final article (appearing in
Ministry in May) will cover the last four. The
Church (part 2) first growth characteristic is that of empower
ing local leadership.

1. Empowering leadership
John Grys and Editorial note: Understanding this second When our church received and evaluated
Greg Schaller of a three-part series requires reading the first, our "snapshot" survey (see the January article
which appeared in our January issue. The final for an explanation of this survey), we discov
part will be published in the May issue of ered God was prompting us to address the
Ministry. quality of our leadership. God uses a certain
kind of leadership in healthy congregations, a

L
fe and ministry have something in leadership best described by the word
ommon. There is the frustration at "empower." Empowering leadership was our
imes that what I am doing doesn't minimum factor, that is, our weakest link.
eem to make a difference. I seem to Our church had largely sensed this. In fact, in
:ast seeds only to watch them die. Schwarz's findings, many of the healthiest
In the state of anxiety that this causes, it is churches with a high quality index discover
John Grys is easy for me to listen to the sweet whispers of that empowering leadership is their lowest
administrative pastor another church hawker, promising the holy quality. As churches grow rapidly, which ours
of the Hamilton grail of church growth programs. An amazing had, expectations and needs for leadership
Community Church in array of "models" are out there for me to escalate. Healthy churches grow leaders who
Chattanooga, choose from a smorgasbord of holy pro grow leaders. Investment in people through
Tennessee. grams that can lead me on in my conquest. discipleship, delegation, and multiplication
But can I measure the spirituality of an indi of leaders are some of the factors that empow
vidual? Of a congregation of individuals? er overall leadership quality. Our leadership
What can I be certain of in a ministry that has (both paid and lay) had to move toward a
much uncertainty? more empowering style of leadership.
This brings me to Christian Schwarz's find The greatest barrier to empowering leader
ings in the Natural Church Development ship is myself as a pastor-leader. Am I willing
retooling. His findings eight characteristics to trust God through His people? Am I willing
that cause churches to grow are quality-driv to hand the ball off or do I want to keep it and
en. These characteristics are remarkably run on alone? The greatest growth barrier to
Greg Schaller
biblical, relevant, and comprehensive. my congregation is my own growth. This is
D.Min., is pastor of
While a weather vane can tell me the why Jesus spent so much time doing what is
the Stone Mountain
Seventh-day
wind's direction and an anemometer can tell today called self-leadership. He spent time
Adventist Church in me the speed of the wind, neither can pro with the Father, seeking to constantly align
Lawrenceville, duce the wind. They are merely instruments His heart to the heart of His Father. Like ours,
Georgia. informing me of the movement of a wind His society was one of turmoil, change, and

March 2001 MINISTRY 11


uncertainty. To thrive in that kind of influences the contentedness of in gift utilization but in grace. As Paul
ministry environment required a Christians more than any other fac makes clear in Ephesians, gifts and
heart continually aligned with His tor. Believers pursuing God's call grace are irreversibly linked. Embrace
Father's heart. Empowering leadership through gift utilization are generally grace, empower the gift. Exercise the
requires my heart to be continually more satisfied in their lives. "None of gift, enlarge grace. I believe our
and fully aligned with Christ, the the eight quality characteristics churches would experience more of
head of the church. This alignment is showed nearly as much influence on grace and the Spirit of grace if we
demonstrated in my desire to serve both personal and church life as 'gift- spent more time releasing the gifts.
the mission of the congregation. This oriented ministry.'"3 Many of us pray for the latter rain out
deep need for personal anchoring in This echoes the findings of anoth pouring of the Spirit, never realizing
the midst of such turnover and transi er church health student, the Apostle that the former rain came largely in
tion has led at least one writer to Paul when he wrote, "Now about the form of particular God-given gifts
conclude that a leader must spend at spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want which were released by the Holy Spirit
least fifty percent of his or her time in you to be ignorant" (1 Cor. 12:1, in the lives of disciples passionate
the area of self-leadership.1 NIV). Gift-oriented ministry aligns about their Savior.
The proven reality of this principle the mission of the church to the gifts
has led me to make significant of the church. It is the means by 3. Local church structures
changes over the course of my min which the Spirit of God is released to A corollary to gift-oriented ministry
istry. While it is impossible for me to do the work of God, not just in the is local church structures. Schwarz uses
personally minister to each individual the phrase "functional structures." If
in a congregation of 400,1 can invest Y DESIRE TO you ever sat on a church board,
my time and energies in those who
lead ministries in the congregation. I
have had to shift from being only a
M HELP EVERYONE
Schwarz says, you'll find this charac
teristic to be the most controversial of
all the characteristics. The human
doer of ministry to being primarily a FINALLY LED ME TO A body has structure. Practically every
personal coach to the ministers in the organism has structure. Structure is
congregation. This transition has not necessary for directed movement. Yet
PLAGE WHERE I WAS:
been easy. It has raised to the surface Schwarz's question is simple: "Are our
my insecurities as pastor, my own structures functional?"
motivations and my own values. It Implied in this question is the
has challenged my relationship with issue of mission clarity and vision
Christ in a way no other ministry fac hearts and lives of His people but also strength. A church with 200 attend
tor has challenged it. My desire to in the wider community. ing cannot do everything. The
help everyone finally led me to a place This ministry of the Spirit provides question is, "What can you do?" The
where I was helping no one, especial a greater sense of meaning and con challenge of functional structures can
ly my family. I found a great desire to tribution to the individuals in the be described by a continuum. On one
turn over several personal ministry body. I have seen people in the side of the continuum is the fixed
barriers (PMBs) identified in the church, led by the Spirit, come alive structure of the local congregation
Natural Church Development materi as they have aligned not just their the things that are non-negotiable.
al, to the wisest and greatest leader "ministerial" lives but their vocation On the other side is the flexible
ever to walk the earth. al lives to their gift mix. When a those things that can be tweaked,
I find these PMBs demonstrated in believer's passion, gifts, tempera revised, or rejected. What do you find
my life outside and inside the church. ment, and personal style are activated most in your congregation?
They are: (1) complacency with status by the Holy Spirit and brought out in One exciting thing we discovered
quo; (2) lack of vision for the lost; (3) a meaningful contribution to the about our congregation is that we
fear and timidity in giving leadership; body of Christ, there is an inner ener have very few on the fixed side of the
(4) lack of certainty in calling; (5) gy that ignites. continuum. The question can then be
poor delegation and management I know one individual who, upon asked, "Are we structuring for
skills; (6) ministerial mercenary per discovering and utilizing his spiritual growth?" Releasing gifts mobilizes a
spective; and (7) poor change skills.2 gift, awakened to a whole new aware vast army, energetic and ready to
ness of what God was doing in his life. move. However, do the structures in
2. Gift-oriented ministry Once on the periphery of body-life, he your church prevent the deployment
Related closely to empowering found himself joyfully using his of those gifts, or are they enhancing
leadership is gift-oriented ministry. Spirit-given gifts to build up the body. gift-deployment? In one church I pas-
This second essential, Schwarz found, It was a joy to see him grow not only tored, we had a standing personnel

12 MINISTRY March 2001


committee whose responsibility was ry of worship wars has led many to ing takes on a deeper dimension.
to search and deploy these areas of wonder about the significance of wor Worship as a way of life automatically
giftedness as people in the congrega ship. Schwarz discovered the issue of brings a sense of enthusiasm and
tion were asked to become a part of worship did not concern a specific excitement to the weekend. The God
certain ministries in the congregation. style but whether it was "inspiring" who walks with me during the week, I
We are in the process of putting that to the participant. Thus, he termed honor and declare in our corporate
into place in my present church. this quality, inspiring worship. time together. Through the message
Schwarz also discovered that the This question of what is inspiring being presented, the prayers prayed,
alternative to functional structures suggests that we are not limited to the music sung, the Word expressed
can be devastating to a church: "Our one type or style of worship. Eighty the God who goes through his week
research confirmed for the first time percent of those in high-quality, with me is now placed upon the
an extremely negative relationship growing churches acknowledged that throne of the convened community.
between traditionalism and both "attending our worship service is an The worship hour then becomes a tri
growth and quality within the inspiring experience for me."5 People umphant procession ignited by the
church."4 coming to worship with a sense of divine reality that He has carried us
A core to this quality is the ability anticipation, contributes significantly through the week.
of the church to develop structures to the sense of having inspiring wor Precisely because of God's magnifi
that promote an ongoing multiplica ship. People come to worship not cence in our individual lives during
tion of the ministry. What this has only for social reasons, but to meet the week, we can magnify Him on the
meant for our situation is that new God. Members who come from and weekend. Worship is a time to recount
ministries do not begin until there is with a sense of duty rather than a the blessings of God and to "praise
both a leader and an apprentice. sense of excitement may indicate a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." It is by
Leaders over our various ministry lack of God's presence in the body. worshiping Him alone during the
areas are beginning to understand one Imagine Israel coming to the tent see week, it is by doing life in Jesus' name
of their major responsibilities is to ing and feeling the presence of God! during the week, it is by serving His
work themselves out of a job. Our cur When they came, they came with an redemptive community and thus the
rent children's ministry leader has inspiring sense of anticipation. They fallen community throughout the
caught this vision and at every level were going to meet God! week that our corporate time together
she has sought to bring someone in to This issue, probably more than any finds such power and enthusiasm.
lead with her. We have had several other, is where many have gotten This is what makes it so inspiring!
changes within her department over confused on the difference between a Is there not a church that desires
the course of the year, and the disrup principle and practice. What is appro better leaders, a greater presence of
tion from those changes has been priate for one context may not be the Holy Spirit, structures that serve
minimized by her enthusiasm and appropriate for another. What is mission and worship that takes peo
vision for leader multiplication. As the appropriate for Hong Kong may not ple closer to their Savior? Whether in
sphere of ministry grows in our be appropriate for Hialeah. The ques Bangkok, Boston, or Beirut, these
church, the structures of our church tion may be asked, "What inspires essential four and the remaining four
have to anticipate that growth and those cultures? Do people in each that make up the essential eight
provide leadership for it. place find their worship a joy, or is it which will be discussed in Ministry's
Football teams have a defense a sullen duty?" A deeper question for May issue, transcend time and space,
known as the flex defense. The idea is myself has been: "Is my own internal culture and competency to capture
to bend but not break. This captures need for something exciting a the heart of God's people for Him and
the essence of functional structures. demand I place upon the congrega the heart of God for His people. They
Structures must be flexible to allow tion?" Because I like a certain style or encapsulate all that He desires in a
the necessary growth that comes in a presentation in the worship service, it way that is measurable but not morti
healthy body while still being fixed may be easy for me to project and fying, flexible and not fixed, m
enough to move the body toward demand that of a congregation which
mission and vision. This is the chal is not where I am culturally. By 1 Dee Hock, "The Art of Chaordic Leadership," Leader
lenge of any church of any size. attempting to force my worship to Leader, No. IS, Winter 2000.
world into those of my congregation, 2 Adapted from Releasing Your Church's Potential,
ChurchSmart Resources.
4. Inspiring worship my internal demand can be a flash 3 Christian A. Schwarz, Natural Church Development: A
Of course, the issue of functional point for a worship war. Guide to Eiglit Essential Qiialities of Healthy Churches
structures probably encounters no Further, when worship is under (Barcelona, Spain: ChurchSmart Resources, 1996),
24.
greater heat-intensive ground than at stood in the broader context, as a way 4 Ibid., 28.
the altar of worship. The recent histo of life rather than just an hour, inspir 5 Ibid., 31.

March 2001 MINISTRY 13


HHM: That's right! Faith is resident in
intuition. It is not resident in cognition. If
faith were resident in cognition, the smartest
people would be the most likely to be saved.
Nobody seems to understand that, but that's
exactly the way it is. So if you put together a
very impressive essay, you have impressed
people but there is no salvation in being
impressed. People are ultimately saved by
faith. Faith does not contradict reason in
most cases. In fact, you need a certain amount

Celebratipn of reason just to express faith. But ultimately


people are prone to trust God on an intuitive
basis.

and ex Derience DM: In Celebration and Experience in


Preaching, you suggest that sermons should be

in pleaching "designed to generate experiential encoun


ter."3 How does the preacher help people to
experience an encounter with the Word?

HHM: If I want a person to experience

F
or over thirty years, Henry H. something, I have to generate the kind of
Henry H. Mitchell
with Derek J. Mitchell has been recognized as an image with which they identify and therefore
Morris authority on Black preaching, and in which they participate vicariously. So
what he shares about preaching is when I paint a picture, I'm not just entertain
relevant for preachers of any ethnic ing them. I'm providing a means whereby
or cultural background. His preaching is they can get on board this experience. And
known for its keen perception of what the when we come out at the end, the biblical
Bible says here and now. His books include story is their personal story. Whatever hap
Black Preaching: The Recovery of a Powerful Art pened to the prodigal son happens to them.
and Celebration and Experience in Preaching.
DM: This idea of an image helping people
Derek Morris: Dr. Mitchell, you are a rec to make the Bible story their story reminds
Henry H. Mitchell is
ognized authority on Black preaching. I'm me of something you said in The Recovery of
president of the sure that many of the readers of Ministry have Preaching: "If you have an idea that can't be
Academy of read your book Black Preaching: The Recovery of translated into a story or a picture, don't use
Homiletics, Atlanta, a Powerful Art} What are some of the charac it!"4 Why is a story or a picture so important?
Georgia. teristics of Black preaching that make it such
a powerful art? HHM: An idea as idea is not self-evident.
It's as simple as that. And that's why Matthew,
Henry H. Mitchell: Black preaching uses Mark and Luke seem to accuse Jesus of always
a medium of imagery and tonality to enhance using parables.
the message. It isn't a downgrading of quality;
it is an upgrading of effectiveness. Preaching DM: The art of storytelling has a long his
has to be more than a cognitive essay, no mat tory. Today narrative preaching is back in
ter how coherent, no matter how forceful the vogue but you point out that Black preaching
logic. People are not saved by logic; people are has used narrative for generations.
Derek J. Morris,
not saved by exciting, stimulating, intellectu
D.Min., is professor
ally impressive ideas; people are saved by HHM: And I would hasten to suggest that
of preaching and
pastoral theology at faith, and faith is not an idea. the narrative preaching talked about in so
Southern Adventist many western circles is still not what I'm talk
University, DM: Is that what you mean when you talk ing about. The narrative preaching they're
Collegedale, about needing to have an "experiential talking about focuses on cognitive goals.
Tennessee. encounter" with the Word?2 Explanation. And while explanation is impor-

14 MINISTRY Marcft 2001


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tant, the bottom line is not how well will participate to the extent that they es of the mother tongue. Their inten
the truth is explained but how high are drawn irresistibly into a powerful tion is to create a more intimate
its impact is, and how much the Holy experience of encounter. connection with their hearers.
Spirit uses it to change people.
DM: Another characteristic of HHM: Yes! You want people to
DM: So, the narrative is not sim Black preaching that you have identi identify with you. You want people to
ply a vehicle to convey information fied is speaking in the mother tongue hear you. You want people to trust
but a setting where the listeners can of your hearers. Can you explain what you're saying. If they think of
experience an actual encounter with what you mean by that? you as a stranger, they're not going to
the Word. That's an important dis trust you. If, on the other hand, they
tinction. Let's look at another HUM: Language communicates a think that you have come from them
characteristic of Black preaching: dia lot more than just the words. or voluntarily joined them, then you
logue. You assert that "proclamation Language establishes identity in a have a ready audience.
with power requires dialogue."5 Can powerful way. For instance, a man
DM: So, speaking in the mother
tongue is a way to establish identity,
IRST OF ALL, LET'S UNDERSTAND ONE THING:

F PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO DO WHAT THE


to connect with your hearers.
Obviously, that same principle can be
applied in a variety of ethnic and cul
tural settings. Let's look at one other
characteristic of Black preaching
which is tremendously important:
celebration. You not only assert that
you explain to us what is happening who is Black and speaks with a British "expressive or emotional celebration
in the dialogue process? accent will be heard and considered should be understood as thoroughly
and received as British, no matter biblical,"8 you also insist that "cele
HHM: Participation occurs not what his color. On the other hand, a bration is a necessity" 9 and that
only with responses like "Amen," but man who is very light skinned and "preaching without celebration is a
it occurs in the very attitude of peo sounds like a brother will be per de facto denial of the good news, in
ple. Because faith is more caught than ceived to be a brother. In other words, any culture."10 What do you mean by
taught. People who are deeply spiritu the ear image takes precedence over celebration in preaching and why is it
al and deeply involved in the sermon the eye image. No question about it. so important?
tend to radiate a kind of influence So if I'm talking to a group of young
that draws everybody else into it. It's people and I speak with complete, HHM: First of all, let's understand
like if you're at a funeral and see peo proper, standard English, those one thing: people are not going to do
ple crying; you have a hard time not young people will hear me as the what the gospel says just because you
crying. In a spiritually alive church, enemy. But if I throw in a few of their have said it's right. Ninety-nine times
you'll hear a Black preacher say, words and make it plain to them that out of a hundred they already knew it
"Somebody's not praying." Basically, I'm hip to what's happenin', I'm in was right and they haven't done it.
what he is saying is, "I sense in this already. I don't care if I'm 90 years What makes you think that just
atmosphere a kind of coldness." old. It's not a good thing to project a because you've said it, however clev
linguistic image that is false. But there erly, that they're suddenly going to
DM: And without congregational is such a thing as becoming fluent in change? People change when intu
response, you maintain that "the ser a variety of languages and doing what ition and emotion unite with reason
mon event would be impossible."6 Paul recommended when he said, to alter behavior. In other words,
How does the preacher encourage the "I'm all things to all men." The point there has to be a holistic encounter.
congregation to become more is, I identify with this audience by Now, I'm going to involve emo
involved in dialogue? identifying with their language. tion. I have to do it in a purposeful
way. It isn't just excitement. A lot of
HHM: People need to be able to DM: So that's what you mean people think that the celebrated end
identify with what you're saying. You when you say that a preacher needs to of a Black sermon is just for entertain
don't say, "Please say something" or be "linguistically flexible."7 You used ment purposes. People aren't changed
"Please respond audibly." Quite to the the example of some great Black until their feelings are changed. If you
contrary. It ought to be something preachers who are very skilled with can emote with focus, emote purpose
completely spontaneous. Audiences the language but will use some phras fully, you'll have an audience that

16 MINISTRY March 2001


goes away wanting to do what the expect people to be glad about some Letters continued from page 3
Word says to them because the whole thing if you're not glad. If you're so
person has been impacted. So I cele chained to a manuscript that you pastoral response for those who do not
brate knowing that if people are can't really rejoice, that you can't be feel called to celibacy and singleness.
impacted by my celebration they're transparently a part of the words that Brethren and sisters whose marriages
much more likely to do what they're you're preaching, you've got a prob have failed do feel isolated. They have
supposed to do. lem. The preacher helps the people to lost a partner and, in many cases, the
catch the spirit. If you have any logi presence of children. Their former part
DM: Even though you suggest cal reason to expect the Lord to work, ner may now be a different person from
that "it will not be easy to begin to you ought to be involved in it your the one they married. Feelings of guilt
design vicarious experiences and cele self. We are celebrating the behavioral add to the soup of emotions felt by
brations of the Word"" you obviously purposes of the sermon. We're cele divorced or separating couples.
believe it is both possible and impor brating the truth. We're not just up A doctrinal "solution" that allows for
tant for any preacher who wishes to there dancing around. We are giving remarriage is not an adequate solution
communicate God's Word effectively. what I call ecstatic reinforcement to to the situation Brother Lombart feels.
the text. And until you've had that Sensitive inclusion in the life of the
HHM: And it's not all that hard if ecstatic reinforcement, the whole per church through pastoral care must be a
you follow the rules. First, in order to son has not yet met the text. part of the healing process that martial
celebrate you move out of the cogni ly separated and thus bereaved
tive mode. You don't just conclude DM: As preachers lead congrega members should go through.
with a cognitive summary but you tions in an experience of celebration, That help cannot come through the
find a way to be glad, a very simple what safeguards them against going actions of a remote committee at the
way to be glad about the truth con to emotional excess? General Conference but ought to be
tained in the sermon. If you get glad dealt with at a more local levelwith
about it, you want to do it. HHM: There is no such thing as friends and fellow pastors responding
Second, you can't celebrate what's excess, if you go at it properly. In the with love to the pain felt by their
wrong. You've got to have a positive first place, you do what you can and brethren.
text and a basically positive sermon. the Holy Spirit does the rest. In the Peter jeynes, pastor, North England
You celebrate because the prodigal second place, this celebration is Conference, United Kingdom
son came home. That's what gladness intentional emotion, focused emo
is about. It's the good news. This glad
ness transforms people in a way that
a critical comment never would.
tion, and if it's focused, there is no
way it's going to excess. There are a
lot of people who end up throwing
A nother outstanding job on the
January issue of Ministry. I felt every
article was a winner.
Indeed, if you actually succeeded away the baby with the bath water One correction. In the interview with
through critical comment in giving when they fear that almost any emo Lee Strobel ("Feedback and Evalu
people a bad conscience, you would tional expression is going to lead ation"), Lee is incorrectly identified as a
only be succeeding in giving what a them out of control. They are so busy teaching pastor at Willow Creek Church.
psychiatrist would call a guilt neuro being proper, they forget that the In fact, Lee is a teaching pastor at
sis. People are not saved by guilt Holy Ghost has got good sense. And Saddleback Valley Community Church
neurosis. A sermon has to start posi if it's really a Holy Ghost motivated in Lake Forest, California, and has been
tively, and it has to end positively. celebration, there's nothing that's so for well over a year.
Third, don't introduce new infor going to get out of hand. If preachers Cod bless, and keep up the great
mation in the celebration. This is not go beyond the Holy Spirit, they're on work!
because people are dumb; it's because their own. That's manipulation. Rick Warren, pastor, Saddleback Church,
they already have the truth, and now That's not authentic celebration, m Lake Forest, California.
you're just putting that last blow of
the hammer to drive it all the way in. 1 Henry H. Mitchell, Black Preaching: The Recovery of a Powerful Editorial note: Many thanks for your
Art (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990).
It's the ecstatic reinforcement of the 2 , Celebration and Experience in Preaching (Nashville: correction. Apologies for our oversight.
Word. Now we use heightened rheto Abingdon Press, 1990), 25.

I
3 Ibid., 139.
ric and beauty of phrase to touch 4 Mitchell, The Recovery of Preaching (San Francisco: Harper & have read cover to cover the January
people, things that we would not use Row, 1977), 45
5 Ibid., 115.
2001 issue of Ministry. It is one of the
in the earlier more conscious moves 6 Black Preaching: The Recovery of a Powerful Art, 1 13. finest ever! Bi
7 Ibid., 87.
in the sermon. 8 Celebration and Experience in Preaching, 26. Russell L. Kaufman, interim pastor, River
Fourth, the preacher has to be 9 Black Preaching, 131. Valley Community Church, Newaygo,
10 The Recovery of Preaching, 54.
caught up in celebration. You can't 11 Celebration and Experience in Preaching, 139. Michigan.

March 2001 MINISTRY 17


abused,"Anne continued. "Sandra says that
Martin has done the same to Lisa."
"Do Lisa's parents know about this?" I
asked.
"Not yet," Anne replied. "I'm going to talk
with them, and then we've got to do some
thing."
The following week after the church serv
ice, Lisa's father, also a church member, spoke
to me. He was calm, yet angry. He and his

Sexual abuse of
wife had talked with Lisa and she had con
firmed Sandra's story. Both girls' parents
wanted to meet with Martin.

children in the
I had serious misgivings about confronting
Martin. Could a man, friendly, ever ready to
laugh, really be a child abuser? How could I be

church
sure that the girls were not exaggerating one
or two harmless incidents? What would I do
if Martin denied the girls' statements?
Over the next few days I prayed about the
case, and then decided to visit with Martin. I
came straight to the point. "Sandra has said
A nne sounded concerned, even a that while she and her sister were on vacation
Peter Winter
/% little desperate. "Pastor, I want to with you, you rubbed her genitals," I said.
/ ^ talk to you," she said. I found it "She also said that you did the same to Lisa. Is
y""""^k difficult to believe what she told that true?"
JL. J^Lme. "Martin* has sexually abused Martin hesitated. Then, looking down he
my daughter." said "It's true." He seemed to actually be
Martin was the leader of one of the chil relieved that he could finally talk about it. As
dren's ministries in our congregation. He was his pastor I felt the curious sensation of being
in his mid thirties, capable and fun-loving. He repelled by his admission and yet relieved
and his wife had no children. They were very that he was apparently willing to discuss his
popular with our young people and had a behavior with me.
number of close friends in our small, family- "I've already talked with the parents of
oriented church. both girls and we have decided that unless
My first reaction was to ask Anne if her you want them to report you to the police
daughter was sure of what she was saying. you are going to have to meet certain condi
"Sandra wouldn't lie," said Anne. "What's tions," I told him. "First, you have to meet
more, there are clear indications that what with the parents of these girls, listen to what
she says is true. After she and her sister came they feel about what you have done, and
back from a vacation with Martin and his wife apologize. Then you have to pay for the ther
last summer, her attitude to Martin changed apy the girls need. You must also go to a
drastically. She no longer wanted to go to any therapist yourself. Finally, you have to resign
youth meetings. When we bought Martin a immediately as Pathfinder leader, and for as
Christmas present, she didn't want to sign the long as it takes for the girls to get over this
accompanying card. And she refused to be you must not come to church."
alone in the same room with her male piano We talked about these conditions for an
teacher." hour or so. Martin's main objection con
"In fact," Anne continued after a pause, cerned the matter of therapy. "You just want
"right now she won't even let her father to force me to see a psychiatrist as if I were
touch her. We thought she was just going some sort of a pervert," he said.
Peter Winter is a through a phase associated with puberty. But This surprised me. I felt that if his problem
pseudonym. now it seems there is much more to it." had been mine I'd have been eager to go to a
I was shocked. But there was more to therapist. However, Martin began to show
come. "Sandra isn't the only one Martin has signs of not believing that he had done any-

18 MINISTRY March 2001


thing abnormal. My other surprise been dealt with in a matter of months the hands of one or two families and
concerned his attitude about church. took over two years to resolve. Our the pastor. "Some people just can't
He wasn't worried about not coming church suffered during this time. forgive," he would sigh with a hurt
to church again. "I've been having Initially Martin seemed to comply look in his eyes. His answers raised
doubts anyway," he said. with our conditions. He met with the questions and doubts and soured the
This interview caused me heart parents. The meeting was emotional atmosphere in the church. Then
ache and some trauma. Not only ly charged, but it helped clear the air quite suddenly, in a class conducted
because Martin seemed happy to stop a little. Martin expressed his sorrow at at the church, one of the members
coming to church but also because I his mistakes, and the parents were started to criticize the church leader
was painfully aware that I had no willing to forgive. ship for not being able to forgive. And
right to stop him coming. I was so as time passed the rumors and crit
beginning to feel the gathering force Emerging problems icisms grew.
of a painful dilemma. As time went by, however, two
My predicament was caused by problems emerged. First, as his initial Covering up reality
two other factors of which the par reactions indicated, Martin was reluc Martin's abuse had never resulted
ents of both girls were already aware. tant to enter therapy even though I in sexual intercourse with his victims.
First, we felt the girls should not have Typically he started by being harm
to be confronted with their abuser
week after week. Second, the girls
didn't want to have the feeling that
our whole congregation knew what
had happened to them.
w I

E WERE JUST

BEING

PLAYFUL," HE SAID,
lessly playful with a girl setting her
on his lap, tickling her tummy, or
massaging her playfully on her back.
Then his hand would drop below the
waistline and he would touch the
genitals. When this happened to
Emotional trauma Sandra, she was on the verge of
One of the cruelest emotions in "AND MY HAND puberty. Martin's fingers penetrated
abused children is their sense of her vagina. Sandra realized that
shame. Even though they do nothing Martin had crossed a critical line. She
whatever to provoke their abuser, suddenly stiffened and became fright
they still feel ashamed that they have ened. She stopped laughing, felt
been singled out as objects of pervert nauseated, and lay limp, not knowing
ed desire. They try to hide their how to react. Martin stopped his sex
shame by keeping their abuse a ual advances and tried to make light
secret in many cases even from their of them, as if nothing abnormal had
own parents. occurred an attitude that confused
In order to spare the feelings of the referred him to a highly recommend his young victim.
two girls, we decided to keep Martin's ed therapist. After an initial visit, Later Martin adopted the same
abuse a secret from the church. Martin told me that this therapist attitude when talking to his friends in
Reading 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, I was could only give him appointments the church about the incidents. "We
convinced that, with some coopera during work hours. He said that for were just being playful," he said, "and
tion from Martin, he could be healed. this reason he would be unable to my hand accidentally dropped below
The secrecy was also intended to give undergo therapy. I believed Martin the waistline, that's all. Lisa and
Martin an opportunity to get himself but nevertheless insisted that he Sandra's parents are just making a big
sorted out without suffering the enor undergo therapy. As a result of this fuss about a minor incident." Thus
mous repercussions that a police pressure Martin eventually started to again the rumors spread in the con
investigation would bring. go to a psychologist of his choosing. gregation that Martin was being
Looking back, I can see how naive This counselor had little expertise in victimized by members too hard
I was. I should never have tried to the area of sexual abuse. I gradually hearted to forgive.
stop a member from coming to began to realize that Martin was in At the time I wasn't aware that
church without the understanding fact avoiding our agreement and his Martin had spread these rumors. I
and support of the church. That was a responsibility. was simply aware of a rapid deteriora
mistake. I now recognize also how The second problem was that as tion in the atmosphere of our church.
my attempt to keep the matter confi church members noticed his absence, As I saw mistrust and recriminations
dential merely extended and even they visited him and asked why he no grow, I realized I had to get advice. I
intensified the suffering of all con longer came to church. Martin's talked to my denominational leader
cerned. A problem that should have replies hinted at unfair treatment at ship who immediately assured me of

March 2001 MINISTRY 19


financial support to get whatever pro It was this information that led me him. "Martin is sorry for what he has
fessional help I needed. I attended a to take the matter further. In my next done," they said. "You've got to for
one-day seminar on child abuse conversation with Martin, as I pressed give a repentant sinner." Others saw
organized by a neighboring church. him about why he felt he couldn't go his sin as a mistake rather than a
From this seminar I obtained the to a therapist who specialized in sex deliberate act. One or two thought
address of a Christian psychologist ual abuse cases, I realized all the more that the victims were exaggerating the
who specialized in therapy for both how significantly Martin had been incidents. "After all," they said
child abusers and their victims. manipulating my genuine desire to "Martin never actually had inter
"I'm struggling to understand for see him healed. He acted injured and course with the girls."
giveness," I told Thomas, the grieved at my insistence, letting me The professional counsel that
therapist. I told him I knew that it know that he was hurt by the fact Thomas gave, however, provided
was true that Martin had abused or that I was being so hard on him. everyone with food for thought.
tried to abuse both girls on more than By now more than a year had "Most child abusers set their victims
one occasion and that he had seemed passed since Anne's initial visit. I real up," he explained. "In a process
reluctant to enter therapy but ized that our attempts to contain the known as 'grooming,' they engineer
Martin also seemed to be genuinely issue had failed. I talked with both situations in which they can be alone
sorry for his actions. "Shouldn't we sets of parents about revealing the sit with the child and in which the child
be more willing to forgive?" I asked. uation to the church. They had by is dependent on them. In these situa
tions they become sexually intimate

w
with the child. Even if this intimacy
'

HILE NO ONE CONDONED HIS does not come to intercourse, it can


still traumatize the child." This was
ACTIONS, A NUMBER OF CHURCH not what a number of church mem
bers wanted to hear, but Thomas
MEMBERS DEFENDED HIM. "MARTIN IS SORRY went on. "Martin has not shown the
fruits of genuine repentance. His
apologies have not been attended by
FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE," THE^ SAID. ;;; : his willingness to undergo the kind of
treatment that would help him."
this time become sickened by the
Dealing with an abuser rumors in our church and agreed as a Effects on the Church
Looking back, I can see that first step to talk openly to the local The emotions engendered in those
Thomas must have despaired at my leaders of our church. I also informed meetings came close to dividing our
innocence. First, he explained the Martin of my step. church. The parents of the abused
psychological profile of a typical Although our congregational lead girls in particular were devastated.
child abuser. "They are experts in ers reached some reasonable They had been sure that once the
manipulation," he said. "Martin is decisions the major one of which church knew the facts they would
manipulating you by making you feel was to organize a special, ad hoc receive significant support from their
sorry for him. Abusers are also very meeting to discuss the matter a fellow members. Unfortunately the
good at avoiding the consequences of number of the leaders later resigned opposite proved to be true in many
their actions. What you have their posts because the emotional cases. Some of their friends were too
described shows that Martin has been burden was too much to bear. embarrassed to talk about the subject
doing just that." Further, Thomas We decided to inform the church and tended to avoid them. Others
told me that the chances were great in two steps. A first meeting would be were hostile because they were con
that Martin had abused more than purely informative. A second meeting vinced that the problem would be
just the two victims I knew of. He a month or so later was set to decide solved if only the parents would for
advised me to encourage the families whether or not to disfellowship give Martin and encourage him to
to prosecute Martin. He believed that Martin. We also decided to invite come back to church. In the eyes of
only prosecution would bring any Thomas, the therapist I had consult some, the victims had virtually
further victims to light. "Further ed, to these meetings. become the culprits. But finally, as a
more," he added, "if Martin has As we met, it quickly became church we formally decided to tell
shown reluctance to enter therapy, apparent that the rumors that Martin Martin to accept the prescribed thera
then the chances that he will abuse had spread had done their work. py or be disfellowshiped.
others in the future possibly in your While no one condoned his actions, a Although it was not our desire to
church are also significant." number of church members defended publicize the abuse case, word spread.

20 MINISTRY March 2001


As a result a third victim came for
ward and confirmed that she too had
been abused by Martin a number of LEARNING FROM OUR SITUATION
years before. It was this, together with
Martin's continued reluctance to Looking back, I have drawn a number of lessons for myself, and I share
enter therapy, that finally caused the them here for any pastor who may find them useful in facing a similar
victims' parents to go to the police. A situation.
few days later the police visited
Martin's home with a search warrant. 1. Never sweep allegations of child abuse under the carpet.
What they discovered will be used as Take time to get advice, and avoid rushing into decisions, but don't
evidence in his forthcoming trial. pretend the problem doesn't exist.
As a result of his prosecution,
Martin wrote a letter stating his deci 2. Respect confidentialities, but don't try to keep the problem a secret.
sion to leave not only our local Even while you wisely and understandably try to keep a potentially
congregation but our denomination. volatile situation contained, attempts at secrecy will almost certainly
While accepting his decision, our come back to haunt you.
church nevertheless decided to disfel-
lowship him formally. We reached 3. Inform yourself of the legal situation.
this decision not merely because of In some countries you are legally required to report child abuse to the
his actions but also because of his lack police. Be aware of your legal standing regarding information that is
of repentance. disclosed to you in confidence.
Unfortunately this decision did
not end the matter. Realizing that the 4. Get all the help you can.
feelings of our church were deeply Inform appropriate members of your denominational leadership of the
divided, we organized a seminar on problem and ask for support.
the subject of child abuse. The speak
er, a therapist of great common sense, 5. Get your denominational administrative leadership to help you.
was able to dispel a number of mis Ask a trusted, sensible, and faithful colleague to support your attempts
conceptions and helped some of our to pastor the abuser, the victim, and, if necessary, the congregation.
members realize how Martin had
manipulated their feelings. We also 6. Be aware of the typical psychological profile of a child abuser.
organized a week of prayer and fast
ing for our church. 7. If you have no experience in dealing with child abuse, then consult a
Yet the sense of woundedness professional therapist for advice.
caused by this one man's action and Attend a seminar on child abuse. Your congregation or denomination
its fallout remain. Our congregation, may be able to help with the cost.
which had previously been friendly,
happy, and outgoing before all this 8. Don't underestimate the problem.
came to light is still hampered by It has the potential to divide families and churches. Recognize that it
division and mistrust. Some people can take huge amounts of time and drain you of emotional energy.
have changed their position and have
apologized for siding with Martin. 9. Advise the victims to prosecute the unrepentant abuser.
Others have not. One victim's family, I recognize that this advice is controversial. Yet as pastors we do not
previously very active in the church, have the full resources to deal with the ramifications of this problem.
comes to church only occasionally.
Martin's wife, who supported her 10. Be patient.
husband throughout, has virtually The subject of child abuse is so emotionally charged that your church
lost contact with us. The victims might take a longer time than you anticipate to get over it.
themselves have had significant ther
apy during the last three years. Only 11. Take time for prayer and fasting. ...
time will tell how well the emotional While I have purposely been quite open about the mistakes I made in
wounds have healed. this situation, I can nevertheless see the gracious hand of God leading
our congregation.
* "Martin" is a pseudonym, along with every other name
mentioned in this article.

March 2001 I N I S T R Y 21
eral evenings and mornings, and that got him
up to the fifth day.
And then Modern Man said, "Let us make
God after our own image, according to our
likeness." And so he did. He blessed God, and
he said to him, "Be distant and keep to your
self, because we have already filled the earth
and subdued it and classified it, and there
really isn't much room left for you, but you
certainly are a pleasant thought."

God in the
And then Modern Man planted a garden,
and there he put the God he had formed. And
he called the garden Safe, Respectable

garden?
Religion. And out of the ground of that gar
den Man made to grow trees that are pleasant
to the sight, and flowers, and he put a fine
building in the midst of the garden, because
good landscaping enhances property values.
An Easter message And the Lord Man took God and put him in
the building in the garden. And the Lord Man

T
commanded God, "You may freely look
through the windows at all of the trees and
reading is taken from the New flowers of the garden, but don't leave the
Thomas E. Schmidt
'mproved Genesis, chapter 1: "In building, for in the day that you leave it you
the beginning of modern times, shall surely die."
1 a about one hundred years ago,
Ji. i\Man looked at his universe, and it
Then the Lord Man said, "It is not good for
God to be awake; someone might wander
seemed without form and void, and darkness into the building and find him and be fright
was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit ened." So the Lord Man caused a deep sleep to
of mankind looked over everything, and Man fall upon the God he had made, and he slept.
said, 'Let there be science.' And there was sci And Man laid him in a box inside the build
ence. ing and put a lid on the box and laid a curtain
And Man saw the science that he had over it and placed tall candlesticks on top of
made, that it was good, and with it he divided it, so he could come there from time to time
all things. He created a science to rule the day, to remember the God he had made. The
all things he could see, and he called it Natural Modern Man said, "At last, I have expressed
Science, even unto Physics, Chemistry, and fully the mystery of life, and the depth of my
Biology. And he made a lesser science to rule mind; I shall call this God Personal, for out of
the night, all the darker things about himself, my personality he was taken."
and he called it Social Science, even unto And there was evening and morning, the
Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science. sixth day, and Modern Man saw that it was
And Man saw that it was good. And there was very good, because all this was done leaving
morning and evening, and the modern day one extra day in the weekend for recreation.
had begun. So ends our daily reading. If we had an
And Man divided all the things he saw into equivalent hymn book, we could turn to
the waters above, the land, the waters below, #372, "How Great We Are."
the grass, the fruit tree yielding fruit, the
swarms of living creatures in the waters, the God in our image
Thomas Schmidt, birds that fly above the earth, and moving Modern culture and religion deserve such a
Ph.D., writes from creatures of every kind that are on the earth, parody. We may be willing enough to say that
Santa Barbara, including himself, a higher primate who can God created us, but we all too often live as
California. be distinguished from other creatures mainly though we create God. I don't mean in the
by his ability to destroy and separate the secular materialist sense of declaring that God
whole creation. And Man saw that all this is a projection of wishes and superstitions.
dividing and classifying was good. It took sev Few people can be sure of God's nonexis-

22 MINISTRY March 2001


tence. We'd rather give Him the ben be put outside, we think. But not far out, or let ourselves in, when we feel
efit of our doubt. But that is the outside because, again, we give Him the need of a word of reassurance or a
problem. Most of our time is occu the benefit of doubt. We assign Him a warm hug, or when we are grieved or
pied by problems we can get our place nearby, a place we can go to depressed or guilty or frightened. But
minds around: finish this project at when the time or need arises. A place those aren't constant needs, of
work, prepare dinner, pay the phone of convenience. A nice place, like a course. The real world is investment
bill by the fifteenth. . . . garden. portfolios, kids who must be taken to
It is natural to shelve the problems "I come to the garden alone, while practice, a vacation to plan. Most of
we can't get our minds around: God is the dew is still on the roses," we sing, this world we have created is not a
present, but I don't feel anything. God "And He walks with me, and He talks place for God. Keep Him inside the
answers prayer but not always with a with me, and He tells me I am His garden wall, or His box.
Yes. God changes lives, but my worst own." And then what? I presumably Easter, especially the Resurrection,
habits remain. Expressions like "get leave the garden, go back to my is about God's refusal to stay in a box.
our minds around" and "shelve" house, and He never follows. What is
imply that within us there are spaces, the alternative? It is terribly threaten Another garden
and ways to divide those spaces, so we ing to imagine that there really is a A long time after the story of the
speak of ourselves in architectural God who might invade our spaces, first garden, the one in Eden, there
terms: "I don't have room for this in defy our categories, knock down our was the story of another garden, and
my life right now," "You are putting walls, demand more from us, do more Jesus, who didn't fit into the world of
up a wall," "That wasn't in her com with us, than we are willing to allow. that time. So the people killed Him,
fort zone." Admit it. How much more attrac put Him in a box in a garden, and put
Where does God fit in all this? The tive would God be if He were the God a lid on it; in the garden there was a
reality we need to get by from hour to in the garden, if we could keep Him new tomb in which no one had ever
hour, to work and eat and pay bills, is in a place of our own imaginative cre been laid. There they laid Jesus.
a pretty small place; the smaller and ation, where He walks around quietly Early on the first day of the week,
more well-defined the better. Some blessing flowers and bunny rabbits while it was still dark, Mary Magda
one as big and uncertain as God has to and small children. We could let Him lene came to the tomb and saw that

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March 2001 MINISTRY 23


the stone had been removed from the mer prostitute in a culture where amends, and I'm not even sure how
opening to the tomb. So she ran and one's past was unforgivable. Jesus to go about trying if I wanted to. I
went to Simon Peter and "the other calls this woman by name and com hold most of it inside myself, because
disciple" (John 20:2, 3, NIV), who missions her to be the first witness of I would only repulse people if they
came running to see for themselves. the greatest event in history, an event knew what I really am inside. My bad
After they left, Mary remained and which, by the way, may not be that habits are ingrained, and my good
stood weeping outside the tomb. As easily believed by those to whom she ones seem too likely to dissolve into
she wept, she bent over to look into is sent. A God who shatters our con nothing. I don't want to get used to
the tomb and saw two angels in ventional stereotyping of Him asks us myself being this way, but neither do
white, sitting where the body of Jesus to communicate a message that is I seem to have the power to change.
had been lying, one at the head and everything but stereotypical. Nothing is as it is supposed to be as
the other at the feet. They said to her, What kind of God do we expect to I expected it to be."
"Woman, why are you weeping?" She find, anyway? What Jesus have you Where is God in all of this? Where
said to them, "They have taken away planted for yourself in the garden? do you go to find Him? Where are the
my Lord, and I do not know where And what is the nature of the message answers? Not in a garden with some
they have laid Him." After saying this, we are called upon to proclaim? Us? It sentimental stained-glass image of a
she turned around and saw Jesus couldn't be! God we have created for our conven
standing there, but she did not know ience. That Jesus isn't big enough or
it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, E ALL TOO powerful enough to deal with our
"Woman, why are you weeping? Who
is it you are looking for?" Supposing
Him to be the gardener, she said, "Sir,
if you have carried Him away, tell me
W OFTEN LIVE
deep-felt hurt, confusion and guilt.
The glorious news and the fright
ening news of Easter is that He is not
here in this garden grave. He's alive.
where you have laid Him, and I will AS THOUGH WE And He is standing behind us as we
take Him away." Jesus said to her, sit in that chair reading these words,
"Mary!" She turned and said to Him CREATE GOD. while we sit in our office, or even in
in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which, trans front of the television.
lated, means teacher). Jesus said to And He is speaking your name,
her, "Do not hold on to me, because I Discovering Jesus calling you out by name, whispering,
have not yet ascended to the Father. So imagine yourself Easter morning "You cannot find peace until you find
But go to my brothers and say to in a garden, like Mary, alone with me here behind you. You cannot rest
them, "I am ascending to My Father your bewildering thoughts, weeping in Me until you begin to understand
and your Father, to My God and your about something that you think what it means to follow Me. And you
God." Mary Magdalene went and should be there but isn't. We all have cannot follow Me sitting there trying
announced to the disciples, "I have some pain, some personal trauma. We to figure it all out, attempting to
seen the Lord"; and she told them have confusion. We may be thinking, manage your life in your own way.
that He had said these things to her "I thought the direction of life would Something's got to give."
(see John 20:11-18). be clearer by this time. I thought I'd You are about to finish this article.
The curious and important detail know what I'm good at and others Then what? Most likely you will leave
in the story really is the main point: would appreciate me and there would this quiet place of contemplation,
Mary didn't expect Jesus to be where be a straight path to the future. this garden, to take up a more
she saw Him and thus she did not rec Instead, there is just this big empty demanding activity. Go to work, tend
ognize the risen Jesus until He called road with no signs on it, and I'm still the children, pay some bills. That's
her by name. When God comes out not sure where I'm heading. I'm lone life too. But in the quiet moments
of the box, out of the garden, when ly. People have let me down. People punctuating the hubbub, remember
He decides to defy our expectations, die, people change, people leave, peo when you leave that you did not
to break out of the limitations we ple stay but don't have time for me or leave alone. Jesus will not stay buried
have placed on Him, He does it in the don't care how badly I need them. for you here any more than He stayed
most intimate manner possible, and People don't notice me, or they've buried for Mary Magdalene. You will
then He follows up with a frightening stopped noticing me. Life has unex find him unexpectedly even in the
demand. pectedly turned out something like a most devastating moments and
The risen, glorified Christ calls Picasso painting; the kind you walk places of life. It is not only true that
Mary by name and commissions her. up to and ask nervously, 'What is it?' "they follow the Lamb wherever he
A woman in a time when the word of "I am guilty. I've done things I goes" (Rev. 14:4) but that where we
a woman wasn't worth much. A for regret, but not enough to make are there He is also 0ohn 14:3).

24 MINISTRY March 2001


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Christ. 1 The Church, on the other hand, is a
word which refers to people gathered togeth
er, particularly in Jesus' name, an assembly.
Do both Christianity and the Church have
a future? The answer, in both cases is "Yes,"
though that "Yes" must be qualified. Let me
deal with Christianity first because it is, I

Christianity and
think, the easier one. And it is easy for the
believer, at least, because Jesus basically
answers it for us.

the church in
Consider, for example, the parables taught
by Jesus which have to do specifically with the
Kingdom of God. The collection of parables

the twenty-first
that appear in Matthew 13 are typical. There is
the parable of the good seed and bad seed
(verses 24-30), the mustard seed (verses 31,

century
32), the yeast (verse 33), the treasure, once
hidden but then found (44), a pearl of great
value (45, 46) and of a net bringing in all kinds
of fish (47-50). Then in chapter 23 there is the
parable of the wedding banquet (22:2-14).
The thrust of each and all of these parables

I
was recently asked to be the guest speak clearly suggests the conclusion that in
Bill Jackson
er at the annual gathering of a local Christianity, we have God's permanent reign
chapter of a national Christian organiza breaking in and continuing to expand until
tion. I was asked to speak on Christianity one day it takes over everything. So, accord
and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, ing to Jesus, it is certain that Christianity has
a timely topic for the end of the millennium. a future. Of course, many dominant world
As I prepared my presentation, I realized that powers over the centuries have done their
this subject was not as easy as it first sounded. best to disprove Jesus' words. Along with this,
For example, it struck me early that the title many of these same powers have given the
assigned to me implies several assumptions persuasive appearance of outdoing and even
that should not be taken for granted. To begin destroying God's Kingdom. A mere 30 years
with, now that we are well into the new mil after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Roman
lennium I guess I can accept the assumption emperor Nero initiated the first intentional
that we will have at least part of a twenty-first Christian persecution which, although limit
century! ed to Rome, resulted in a vast number of
The second and third implied assump Christians experiencing unspeakable cruelty
tions, however were not as easily dismissed: and death.2 In the midst of this and other per
that Christianity has a future and that the secutions it has seemed, sometimes for
Church is also assured another century. It is extended periods, that Christianity would
these two assumptions that, of course, under fade away.
lie the thrust of any discussion of the future of One hundred fifty years after this the
the "Christian" "Church." Roman emperor Decius put to death yet more
So, does Christianity and the Church have Christians; and a few decades later Diocletian
a future in twenty-first century? To such a initiated the most severe of persecutions with
question many would ask "Aren't Christianity possibly thousands of believers perishing,
and the Church one and the same? For some churches being razed, Bible Scriptures being
BHIJackson, Ph.D.,
these two entities may be interchangeable. I, destroyed, and Christians losing all civil
is principal of North
however, do not believe they are. rights.3 Despite or perhaps because of this,
Queensland College
of Ministries in Although both the word "Christianity" Christianity continued to grow and spread.
Queensland, and the word "Church" have a particular his Aside from the pressures that came from
Australia. tory, the word Christianity as used today outside the Church, there were those that
simply refers to a system of faith grounded came from within, threatening the survival of
among those who are adherents of Jesus Christianity even more seriously. The emperor

26 MINISTRY March 2001


Constantine, for example, blurred What forms will the Church still tend to radically disagree with
whatever distinction existed between take? one another as to how our definition
Church and State, which resulted in But there is an even larger ques translates into practice on a weekly
an arrogance not found in Christian tion; a practical one: What will be the worship basis. Certainly worship
ity until that time. Both the moral form or forms of the Church? In what manifests itself in a vastly different
and spiritual quality of the Christian types of ministry will it (we) be way from what it did in my teenage
community suffered. Charlemagne, involved? What will the Church (we) years (the 1970s).
the first emperor of what became look like? What will church leader Worship is a (if not the) volatile
known as the Holy Roman Empire ship look like? issue among many Christians. Forms
actually forced people to profess These are fascinating questions of worship and worship music can be
Christianity or face the consequences. which we must, and will continually seen to be representative factors as
His motto of "converting the Saxons have to answer. God ensures the one attempts to project the future of
by the Word and the sword" is surely future but we, under Him, are called the church. A major survey of
a corruptive blot on the history of to flesh out the specific forms of His Australian churches in 1996, conduct
Christianity. Serious as these blots church's future. In recent years ed by the National Church Life Survey,
were, we can hardly begin to enumer Christian denominations of all kinds found that worship, particularly wor
ate all the other internally corruptive have experienced numerous and far- ship music, is causing serious schism.5
influences that Christianity has sur reaching changes in form. Just the Many of us don't need a survey to tell
vived across the centuries of its us such things. We consistently expe
existence. Despite this, Christianity UT THERE IS AN rience them firsthand. But some
has survived and even thrived. Thus it
is by all means reasonable and persua
sive to project that Christianity does
have a future.
B EVEN LARGER
specifics may be useful.
The National Church Life Survey
revealed that some 46 percent of
respondents considered traditional
QUESTION, A hymns most helpful to them while 48
What of the future of the percent found choruses or other con
Church? PRACTICAL ONE: temporary music most helpful. 6
But what about the Church? Does Further, if an average Australian con
what we have just seen of the survival gregation was polled, it would reveal
of Christianity necessarily imply that that 24 percent of them want
the future of the Church itself is like "church" to be more contemporary,
wise assured? Does the survival of the while 15 percent want things to be
teaching automatically imply the sur kept more traditional/
vival of the congregation of the It is not surprising that the survey
taught? I don't believe it does, yet at also found that musical preferences
the same time I believe the Church advent of huge population explosions are strongly linked to age. "Genera
has a triumphant future, and again I around the globe has necessitated a tional differences are expressed in
believe that because I believe Jesus new phenomenon that of necessity musical preferences."8 The survey also
saw it to be true. breeds all kinds of further changes in revealed that age 50 seems to be the
Jesus Himself made a stupendous congregational form. There is such crucial age in church life where musi
claim for His Church, which was in proliferation and variation that it is cal tastes divide. This seems to imply
itself a far-reaching prophecy: "On almost foolish to attempt to name a that future generations might be more
this rock I will build my church, and few by way of example. instrumental in introducing changes
the gates of Hades will not prevail A Christian time traveler, even in significant aspects of worship.
against it" (Matt. 16:18). from the comparatively recent 1950s,
Eugene Peterson's paraphrased suddenly transported to the present Do denominations have a
translation of Jesus' proclamation day, would stand in mute confusion future?
says: "This is the rock on which I will were they to suddenly walk into the Denominations, while being rede
put together my church, a church so usual "contemporary worship" serv fined will continue to exist and make
expansive with energy that not even ice found in many churches today. a contribution. Princeton-based soci
the gates of hell will be able to keep it Worship styles have changed dramat ologist Robert Wuthnow believes
out."4 Jesus described what, or upon ically of late and continue to be strongly that denominations are not
whom the Church was built and that reformulated. While we may yet have a thing of the past.9 They serve a pur
there was nothing that could extin a relatively consistent definition of pose and will continue to serve a
guish such a light. what it means to worship God, we purpose. As an example, denomina-

March 2001 MINISTRY 27


tions allow us to be connected, to A few years ago I was taken with speaking countries comprise 12 per
plug into something greater than our the title of a National Church Life cent of population, but represent
local congregation. It has been said Survey publication: Shaping a Future. 12 only 8 percent of church attendees. It
that "through [denominations we] This title was deliberately forged or appears our best efforts to provide a
expand [our] own culturally bound chosen to reflect the ambiguity that is spiritual home for these disparate
concerns." 1 " still before us. Of course, Missiologist people seems to lie down the road of
Denominations "multiply the con David Barrett is even more blatant. In creating exclusively ethnic churches.
versations" in which churches his book Seven Hundred Plans to Efforts at assimilating them into our
participate. In other words, they Evangelize the World Barrett proposes own Australian congregations do not
amplify our concerns, projecting numerous scenarios for church seem to be working at this time.
them into venues that transcend the growth through to the year four bil This is just one issue among many.
local church. Hence, as a leading soci lion A.D., when he postulates the What will Christian ministry look like
ologist of religion has said, "Efforts to ultimate size of the church of Jesus as we wake up to the fact that AIDS,
save souls and protect the planet gain Christ to be 1 decillion believers (1 suicide, homelessness, unemploy
clout when supported by dozens or followed by 33 zeros). 1 ' Barrett's ment, and the search for meaning, to
even thousands of congregations plans, found on pages 789-811, sug name just a few, are matters that
bound together." 11 Our experience gest ways such a scenario might be refuse to go away? What's more, other
confirms that. Denominations help us achieved. 14 The point is, as Barrett philosophies and ideologies are
addressing these issues, leaving the
poor old church in their wake! What
T IS ALSO TRUE, HOWEVER, THAT THE ROLE

I
will it mean as, more and more,
denominations embrace interfaith
AND FUNCTION OF DENOMINATIONS WILL dialogue?
What might Christian education
CONTINUE TO CHANGE; INDEED, THEY ARE look like as we continue to train our
young people, and our not so young
ALREADY CHANGING. people in organizations like Campus
Crusade and other organizations
designed to deal specifically with the
to connect, in view of the truth that himself realizes, that the possibilities young? When might we learn that
there really is strength in numbers. are endless when it comes to how we training such leaders is worthwhile
It is also true, however, that the might arrange the church and the not just as something to do, but
role and function of denominations church's mission in the days to come. because we believe a person must be
will continue to change; indeed, they The variables determining our future equipped to minister effectively to
are already changing. Traditional direction are almost infinite. those they encounter?
denominations and denominational For example, what will the Church What will be the shape of theolog
leaders are finding that their old "tried look like in the future as multicultur- ical education in the days to come?
and true" methods are not working, alism becomes more pronounced and Will we continue to press on under
nor are they being readily accepted by as the church more accurately reflects the old overworked models, or will
up-and-coming pastors. At the same this growing phenomenon? We are we be prepared to take risks, to begin
time mega-churches are taking over already facing this issue in Australia to train people differently, more expe-
many of the traditional denomina where, according to the 1996 census, rientially. Will such training include
tional roles and are thus becoming only 75 percent of Australians were areas pertaining more to what pastors
more like denominations themselves. actually born in Australia. While 25 and potential ministers actually need
This in itself is an exciting challenge percent of the Australian population as they pastor, rather than to what
to all involved in Christian ministry. only translates to a mere 4.5 million, some have always thought is needed?
enough to warrant significant propor I have written elsewhere that theolog
So what of the future? tions of our attention. Significant ical education is at a crucial crossroad.
The future, I believe is not prede parts of the world are facing similar It needs to be more than simply
termined. We are not God-created changes and challenges. imparting and measuring knowledge.
automatons who have been divinely Yet again according to the National Theological education needs to pre
programmed to act without thought. Church Life Survey people with non- pare Christian leaders so that they
God has created within us the capac English speaking backgrounds are become better equipped to face and
ity, and the ability to "work out our under-represented in Australian cope with a plethora of needs and
own salvation" (Phil. 2:12). church life. People from non-English expectations such as those defined by

28 MINISTRY March 2001


1 j. Dickie, "Christian" in Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Gen.
the social changes in our congrega ed issues to our peril. Perhaps the Ed.) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
tions and societies.15 question each of us must ask is: What vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub.
Co., 1979), 657.
must I do to spread the gospel of Jesus 2 A.M. Renwick, The Story of the Church (London:
The future of Christian Christ? What am I actually prepared Inter-Varsity Press, 1958) 17.
leadership to do? What am I prepared to let go? 3 Robert C. Walton, Chronological and Background
Charts of Church History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan
What will Christian leadership What can I do even though I may Pub. Co., 1986), chart #10.
look like as, God willing, we eventual never have done it this way before? 4 Eugene H. Peterson, The Message (Colorado Springs:
ly deliberately allow younger persons NavPress Pub. Group, 1994), 42.
An exciting future lies ahead.
5 Peter Kaldor et. al, Initial Impressions (Adelaide:
to contribute? Will we in the church Exciting yes, but also quite gray and Openbook Pub., 1997), 13ff
catch up to what many in the secular cloudy. But as German theologian 6 Ibid., 15.
7 Ibid., 13.
and corporate world have known for Wolfhart Pannenberg reminds us: "As 8 Peter Kaldor et. al, Views from the Pews (Adelaide:
years: that younger people have a a result of Jesus' coming, the Christian Openbook Pub., 1995), 34.
major contribution to make to our community is to be a people of hope. 9 Robert Wuthnow, Christianity in the 21st Century
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 10.
organizations and institutions and We live in hopeful expectation of the 10 Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Congregation and
that by keeping them on the fringes, final consummation of God's rule Community (New Brunswick: Rutgers University
we are all impoverished? Will we over the entire world . . . [therefore] Press, 1997), 362.
11 Ibid., 362.
begin to change our structures to the calling of the church is to remain 12 Peter Kaldor et. al., "Shaping a Future" (Adelaide:
reflect how younger persons think, in the world, for this is where the Openbook Pub., 1997).
rather than forcing them to transform struggle for truth occurs."17 13 David B. Barrett and James W. Reapsome, Seven
Hundred Plans to Evangelize the World (Birmingham:
their structures into an existing mold? People of hope. That is what we Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist
Will ministers and pastors look the are and what we are called to be. Convention, 1988).
same, or will we break away from the Therefore, Pannenberg adds: "Human 14 Barrett and Reapsome, 79.
15 Bill Jackson, Sociology: A Must in Training Tomorrow's
well-worn standards? The average behavior is shaped as much by antic Christian Leaders, "On Being 23" [7] August, 1996.
Australian pastor is probably not very ipation as by the weight of the past."18 16 , Tliinking Rationally About the Church . . . and
different from pastors in many other I began by asking two questions: Relationships, "Pointers 9" (3), 1999. 11.
17 Ed. L. Miller and Stanley J. Grenz, Fortress
countries. The average Australian pas Does Christianity have a future in the Introduction to Contemporary Theologies
tor has the following thumbnail twenty-first century, and Does the (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998), 130.
profile: He is 47. He may or may not Church have a future in the twenty- 18 John B. Cobb, Jr., "Pannenberg and Process
Theology" in Carl Braaten and Philip Clayton (F,ds.)
have a theology degree. There is about first century? Let me simply close The Theology of Wolfhan Pannenberg (Minneapolis:
a 50 percent chance he feels called to with two words: Yes, Yes. Augsburg Pub. House, 1998), 67.
the church in which he is ministering.
He has been there for about four
years. This means this is about his
fourth church. It also means he will
shortly move somewhere else. 16
Management guru Peter Drucker
PLANT THE FUTURE
says that every time an organization
doubles in size, half of the leadership Want to reignite your own passion for
becomes obsolete. As we in churches soul-winning? Plant a church!
around the world pray for church This book is for frustrated but loyal
growth, do we ever stop and think members eager to invest their lives in
about what the impact that our
hastening Jesus' return. Using an effective,
answered prayers might look and feel
like? How drastically different might storytelling style, author Ron Gladden gets
the church of the future be as God right to the heart of the matter. If his
chooses to answer our prayers in the statistics don't persuade you, his
affirmative and how that might affect enthusiasm will. "Church planting is the
the future of Christian leadership? If Gospel Commission at its finest."
these answered prayers created our
redundancy would we still pray so Ministerial Association Resource Center
fervently for church growth? 12501 Old Columbia Pike + Silver Spring MD 20904
Phone: 888.771.0738 (toll-free) or 301.680.6508
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An exciting, hopeful future Web site: www.ministerialassociation.com
It is my firm conviction that we us$7.95 + 18%s&h Also available at your local ABC
avoid these questions and other relat

March 2001 MINISTRY 29


PASTOR's PASTOR

Million-
Dollar Party

R
ecently, Greg Nelson, pastor of the first in the large cities. They went to
2,000-member College View urban centers where shifting people
Church at Union College, sur groups and repeatedly replenishing
prised his congregation and shocked populations offered the best potential
most of his colleagues by announcing
JAMES A. CRESS for attracting new people. Suspicion or
that he was leaving the comfort zone of prejudice about new projects is much
Lincoln, Nebraska, to venture planting a less of a factor in metropolitan areas.
new church in Seattle. New churches fund more new
What would motivate one of the churches, just as baptisms inspire others
most successful pastors to enter the to be baptized, so new churches can
apparently risky venture of planting a actually pay for planting more new
new church in one of the world's most churches. Gladden says that in Mid-
secular cities? Why are so many pastors finance committees and local church America Union, each conference places
and laity becoming increasingly excited boards that, beyond the joy of bringing an equivalent of 60 percent of the tithe
about planting new churches? new individuals into a relationship with from their new churches into a specific-
Perhaps you have wondered if new Jesus, winning souls is a sound financial purpose fund for establishing even more
churches are really worth the effort. investment. Typically, newly-baptized churches. Thus, not only is the initial
Maybe you have seen some new members return the entire expense of investment recouped, but future con
churches started by disgruntled mem an evangelistic crusade within the first gregations are already funded by those
bers who swarm to form a new group 14 months of membership. Any finan recently planted.
which remains essentially the same size cial gains after that is "new income" to Church planting must be inten
for many years. Or perhaps you have the conference and local congregation. tional. Each of these projects is an
known dedicated laity who moved to a Likewise, new converts are an excellent intentional, planned outreach, funded
dark county in order to establish a light network strategy for reaching even by the union and local conferences and
house where no previous church more potential members. Ron Gladden, following established, proven methods
presence existed after years of struggle, director of church planting for the Mid- for planting new churches. Qualified
they seem barely to have impacted the America and North Pacific Unions in the pastoral couples are designated as
community. North American Division, states that the church planters and undergo rigorous
What's different about church plant conference treasurers have studied tithe training and establish long-range objec
ing today? If you were able to observe patterns for churches adjacent to the tives with specific implementation
ten recently-planted congregations in newly-planted churches and report that assignments. An up-front funding
the Mid-America Union (USA), you those already-existing churches have investment of salaries, time, budgets,
would be amazed at their vigor and the experienced no tithe decrease. and energy helps guarantee success.
dynamic spirit that drives their success. In other words, these new churches Church planting principles can be
In fact, next May the pastors of these ten are not in existence only because of a taught. Each year the North American
new churches which will have been shift in members away from other Division sponsors a SEEDS convention
meeting for an average of only 24 churches. In fact, statistics for these ten on the campus of Andrews University.
months will celebrate a million-dollar churches, demonstrate that over 440 Russell Burrill and Marti Schneider, who
party to commemorate returning over individuals are participating who would coordinate these events, report that
$1 million dollars in tithe from these not be attending any church if they attendance grows every year. Plenary
new congregations. Several factors were not involved in these new congre sessions and topic-specific workshops
explain why these new plants have been gations. No wonder they will host a offer the best training for those who
so successful when other past projects party to celebrate the million dollars net want to understand church planting. If
have languished. tithe increase to the conferences. you dream of launching a newly planted
Evangelism does not cost. It pays! Co where the people are. God's church, your first priority should be to
Through many years of itinerant evan strategy is to target people centers. The register for the next SEEDS convention,
gelism, I demonstrated to conference early Christians planted new churches continued on page 31

30 MINISTRY March 2001


RESOURCES

more Bible passages or verses which are those being employed in the passages
then discussed. In the second part the under discussion. In other places, the
author touches on subjects such as the text of the KJV may also create problems
natural immortality of the soul, holiness, (e.g. "meat" instead of "food").
and the Sabbath while presenting the The book contains some inaccura
Left Behind or Sincerely biblical doctrine of Christ's second com cies, e.g., with regard to spelling.
Taken: Exposing the Myths of ing. The last chapters contain a practical Whereas in chapter three the author
the Secret Rapture, by Louis R. application and a call to be ready for transliterates the Greek, in chapter 11
Torres. Remnant Publications, 2000, that coming now. Although pointing to he uses Greek characters, yet the words
paperback, 127 pages, U.S.$11.99. turbulent times lying ahead of us, at the are misspelled. This is also true for some
At a time when the doctrine of the end of his book the author points to the names. In some cases, one feels uneasy
secret rapture is widely propagated, hope and the joy of the second coming about the author's method of interpre
Christians who believe this teaching to of Jesus. tation, e.g., clouds are chariots, and
be unbiblical are looking for a much In chapters two to five, Torres studies chariots are angels (73) which sound
needed corrective; the author addresses Matthew 24:40, 41 and Luke 17:34-36. more like proof-texting than serious
this important topic. Although the out He suggests that those who are taken, exegesis. This is even more serious since
line does not indicate it, Torres states are lost, whereas those who are left the author suggests methods for
that the book consists of two parts, the behind, are saved. This suggestion is "Rightly Dividing the Word" (101 -106).
first attempts to refute "some of the interesting and deserves further study. The book is easy to read and contains
non-biblical teachings regarding the However, the authoralthough refer some helpful information in the present
secret rapture," the second, considers ring to the Creek textfalls short of debate over the secret rapture. Bi
"what God has predicted will happen" discussing all the relevant terms. In addi Ekkehardt Mueller, Th.D., D.Min.,
(60) at the time of the end. tion, his decision to rely on the KJV text associate, Biblical Research Institute, General
Eight of the fourteen chapters of the leads him to quote parallels which use Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver
first part are introduced with one or Greek words that are different from Spring, Mary/and.

Million-Dollar Party
continued from page 30
July 18-21 (see ad at right).
Enthusiasm can be caught. Like
influenza, enthusiasm for planting
SEEDS 2001 A Church Planting Conference
churches is highly contagious. As 1 had
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share the experiences of church Plant a Church ... Reap a Bountiful Harvest!
planters at SPROUTS, another conven English, Spanish ^ Reaping...Innovative Reaping Ideas
tion which Ron Gladden has introduced Young Adults ' ,c, Role of the Pastor As Equipper, the Lay-Led
for those who are actively engaged in Lay Members & Church, and Church Planting
specific new church plants, I was rein- Pastors, Planters
Administrators Introduction to Church Planting
vigorated with the imperative of
reaching the lost and building new con Departmental Basic Church Planting
verts into God's church.
Directors Cell Church Planting
Why a party? Jesus said "all heaven July 18-21,2001 Planting and Growing Healthy Churches
rejoices when one sinner repents." Andrews University through Natural Church Development
Imagine the joyous celebration when www.nadei.org
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March 200J MINISTRY 31


in f/ze Presence tifthe Holy
Waiting is an essential part of spiritual life in which we
discover new and healing rhythms of grace and gratitude.
Marguerite Shuster, an associate professor of preaching
at Fuller Theological Seminary, embraces the task of wait
ing in Gods presence from experience as a woman, a pastor, and a
teacher.

inttieJ'resence of the Hoty/


As the pastor of large African- American congregations
in Los Angeles and New York City, Ron Smith learned that
God is both the subject and the audience of the sermon.
Sermons communicate what God has said and what the
proclaimer and congregation have to say to Him. He now serves as
editor of Message magazine.

#Va<
resenc/oftMHoly
Only those who are secure can play, for only they
Tuesday April 35 2001 believe that good will triumph over evil. Calvin Miller,
professor of preaching and pastoral studies at Beeson
1:00 pm 4:30 pm Eastern Divinity School is uniquely equipped to help ministry
'-iWI- -,,-.,-:../..,- professionals experience personal and corporate spontaneity in the

iillii^liilli presence of God.

_^_, tva-
the Presetwe of the Hwy
Grace is only given to sinners, and only they can know
the height and breadth of holy joy. Morris Venden's
four decades of preaching about grace have helped tens
of thousands rediscover the gladness of being children of
God. He now is associate speaker for the Voice of Prophecy, the
international radio broadcast of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This seminar is made possible with the cooperation of


Oakwood College and Southern Adventist University.
Satellite broadcast in
North America

Satellite broadcast SOUTHERN


outside of North America

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