Subscribe for email updates on new releases and current projects:


* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Walking in the light?

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent tonight to some of the leaders I am privileged to work with on Alpha and other ministries. I wrote this in response to an anonymous email and anonymous letter that are being sent to members of Central in anticipation of Sunday's vote. I have left out some of the more tedious portions of the email that deal specifically with allegations concerning technicalities in the meeting and voting process.

I am writing to you tonight with a heavy heart. I am not sad for the current conflict Central is experiencing. No, I believe God is using this conflict — whatever the results — to prune and shape Central (see John 15) for his purposes. Whatever the result of the vote on Sunday, I am confident that God’s work will get done and his kingdom will be built. I have certainly seen in my own life this fall the truth of God’s promise in Romans 8:28 that he works in all things for the good of those who love him! So I have no question that he will be glorified in the aftermath of Central’s vote on Sunday.

No, what grieves me tonight is that certain members of our church — rather, Central does not belong to us, it belongs to Jesus -- certain members have chosen to send out an anonymous letter making all kinds of fearful allegations and accusations against the current staff and leadership. I have a pretty good idea of who sent the letter, but that’s not the point. By sending this mailing anonymously, they are “walking in darkness” (1 John 1:6) and the consequences for them are awful. By appealing to the fears of the people of Central, they may well prevent Central from leaving the ELCA — but they will bring down disastrous consequences on the congregation as a result. I am not at all referring to the resignation of the staff should Central stay with the ELCA. Rather, I know from experience that a congregation that makes decisions based on fear cannot be effective in making disciples for Jesus Christ. We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). The very action of these anonymous accusations is planting seeds that will be reaped in a spirit of fear and mistrust in Central’s life should this group carry the day.

I have every confidence that the process Central’s leaders are directing is open, legal, and proper in every way. I am grieved to see people who feel the need to promote fear and mistrust as a way of trying to prevent or invalidate the vote this Sunday. In my quieter moments I have found myself wondering what exactly they hope to accomplish? I’ve heard some of these individuals say, “All we need to get is a third of the votes plus one to stop this.” What will they have at that point? A thoroughly divided congregation? I can’t understand it. My heart aches for these people and for their actions, partly at least because try as I might I just can’t understand what they hope to accomplish. I have had significant dialogue with several people who see these issues differently than I do. We have enjoyed respectful, even fun, conversations that start and end in mutual respect and honor and love for Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers for me, for the staff, and for Central. Thank you for your passion to make Jesus known. Thank you for all that so many of you have done to give God room to change lives through Alpha this fall. Over and over again in the last few weeks I have stood before God in awe of the opportunity he has given us to work together in his kingdom. May you know his peace through these next days.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you PJeff for being a member of a staff who is a living example of 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and 2 Tim 3:12. You are teaching us by example in a most gracious way. May the LORD bless you and Julie and your girls with His peace (John 14:27). The joy of the LORD is our strength!!! PTL!!!