When as a church leadership you decide to take your church on a journey through confirming vision/mission/purpose and doctrine/theology; you have to confirm your own thought and positions. The leadership team (pastors and myself) has begun the journey of discussing where each of us stand on what we have determined to be the essentials.
This has been a tremendous experience because it has forced me to rethink and remember why it is that I hold the positions that I do. This has led to an intense time of study in which I have been reminded of where my positions have come from. Sounds simple enough, right?
This leads me to my next thought… how can you lead when you don’t know where you are going? Obvious answer, you can’t.
As a church leader I have enjoyed rekindling and remembering the why and how of where I stand.
Let me give an example –
Here are some ‘bottom line’ type stuff we are talking through:
- We believe that humanity, both men and women, were created in the image of God and designed to be His image bearers on this earth.
- We believe that our first parents sinned against God and that everyone since is a sinner by nature and by choice. Sin has totally affected all of creation including marring human image and likeness so that all of our being is stained by sin (e.g. reasoning, desires, and emotions), making us incapable of coming to Christ apart from His grace.
- We believe that because all people have sinned and separated themselves from the Holy God that He is obligated to save no one from the just deserved punishments of hell. We also believe that God in His unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect some people for salvation.
- We believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past.
There are a few words in there that upon first reading scared me a little. Ok, scared me a lot.
So what did I do? I went back to the Scriptures, back to sources I trusted and find out why those words scared me and if they should even scare me at all. As it turns out, they shouldn’t scare me. The words that scared me are biblical words used in Scripture to speak of something specific and to describe the work that God is doing in my life and in the life of the rest of humanity.
Why was I scared? Because I had forgotten why I understood and believed what I do. I had forgotten the biblical nature of the words. I had forgotten where I came from.
This is dangerous. I had a bible college professor who used to say, “Don’t believe something because I tell you it is true, believe it because you study the bible and know it to be true.” Excellent advice. It is dangerous for us to take a stand that we don’t understand. It is dangerous for us to assume what we believe is true if we can’t back it up using Scripture. It is dangerous for us to get complacent in our theology/doctrine/beliefs that we forget the why. The book of Jude reminds us to earnestly contend for our faith, which is a call to know not just what we believe, but why.
I am glad that we have been chasing down the essentials. Now I remember why my essentials are essential to me.