I’m certainly glad that our exchange has taken place via private electronic messages and not posted on an open forum.
Your questions and line of reasoning, in your email response to me, were nothing short of stupid!
It’s disgusting how much you need me and my guidance! We can only be grateful that I’m here for you for such a time as this.
How wonderful, on the contrary, to hear that your client highly regards the clergy-laity divide!
It exquisitely limits the Enemy’s workforce when the majority of “Christians” view themselves as passive pew sitters, punching a weekly time clock of church attendance—while the leadership is busy knocking into one another with puffed-up heads, useless debates, and endless divisions.
Reinforce this concept of spiritual hierarchy wherever it may be found, whether in church structure or personal relationships, as it delightfully divides, discourages, and disheartens.
Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization.
Arguments about titles, roles, and rules are to be strongly encouraged! Emphasize and even overemphasize non-essential topics.
“Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization…”
Revise and re-revise the bylaws and policy manuals until the cows come home. Underscore any religious pattern of thinking or behavior that will keep more players on the benches and little to none on the field.
Your client seems a miniscule threat in terms of equipping, training, or mobilizing people to pray or work for the Enemy. He’s securely self-focused.
His own theological training and experience nearly guarantee he will be looked to as an authority. His personality is winsome enough that he will shepherd the flock in our direction without the sheep being any the wiser.
You will also do well to ensure that any passages, referencing humility or unity are relegated as compulsory for others and applied only to his personal advantage, while your client holds tightly to his own self-righteousness.
Another hilarious thing in the religious sector (if one is given to laughter) is that with one well-placed fear, doubt, or unnecessary concern one can spin an entire conversation, conference, or series of meetings out of focus into total disarray and ensuing chaos!
Lest you doubt me, I will cite a case study.
I heard from one of our colleagues who inspired a group of church leaders to fully dissociate from one of their own and disregard this other’s so-called “success” because of his unconventional use of untrained “lay leaders” in public ministry.
This individual was part of a divergent movement, which I recognized as one of the blips of concern on the map. He was gathering everyday believers for prayer, training, and deployment in what he termed “disciple-making,” which dangerously upset the religious applecart.
Our esteemed colleague, playing on the other leaders’ fears of becoming obsolete and further underpaid, inspired a discussion on traditional ecclesial titles and roles. Those mentioned previously, like pastor and reverend, came up but even more like elder, deacon, bishop, overseer, et cetera.
This “friendly” conversation soon became a full-fledged debate with tempers flaring and increasingly more words flying. Of course, this came with the inversely proportional amount of time spent actually listening.
As they heard one another less and less, their argument became more and more heated. Lines drawn in the proverbial sand became deeper and deeper trenches between them.
The division and distraction that ensued was delicious!
In closing, be sure to keep on the forefront of your mind the fact that you are easily replaceable. And if you fail or your initial attempts suggest that you might fail, I will recommend your immediate termination.
There is a long line of underlings, who would be overjoyed to step into your strong-smelling shoes.
“The Reverend” P. Sophresh
(honorary, self-awarded title included just for the dramatic effect of it)
P.S. Those credentials are so easy to acquire online these days that as I wrote the closing words of this memo I went ahead and registered myself for one! The official certificate I printed is prominently displayed on my home office wall.
Oh, what irony and hilarity! You might well do the same if you think it would help you see from behind your client’s eyes. And who says our work isn’t fun?
It was a sweet blessing to host this Groups Connection Coaching Huddle with Darnell Robinson of the Milwaukee House of Prayer.
This conversation about the power of prayer strikes me as so relevant to this moment in history! Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.
Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.
It’s Pentecost Sunday, and now more than ever, we need a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit to bring peace to our cities, comfort to our hearts, and healing to our land.
Together, let’s pray…
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
As we began our revival history tour, I couldn’t help but feel the minister at Park Street reminded me of George Whitefield or Jonathan Edwards (but without the white wig). His message was from John 17…
…Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You” (Jn. 17:1).
The night before, our group gathered around a table and shared what brought us on the trip. We each expressed a passion for prayer and a heart for revival. Though from many different backgrounds, we were united in mission.
Park Street Church was founded in 1809 by handful of people, who united to address Unitarianism. They were clear about their purpose, emphasizing biblical theology, revival and spiritual renewal, and worldwide mission.
As a congregational church, they’ve consistently emphasized mutual accountability and the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9-10). As a church that loves the Gospel, they’ve hosted great revival preachers through the years like Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, and Billy Sunday. They gathered 40,000 on the nearby Boston Common to hear Billy Graham.
As a missional church, they were part of sending some of the first cross-cultural American missionaries, who sailed to India in 1812. In 1819, Park Street commissioned its first team of missionaries to the Sandwich Islands.
Living out their faith through social action, William Lloyd Garrison hosted anti-slavery meetings at Park Street, and the American Educational Society was founded there. They were among the first to provide Sunday School for those without access to formal education, during a time when this was looked down upon as “working on the sabbath.” This calls to mind Jesus’ question: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?” (See Luke 6:7-11 for His answer).
Each week, 40-50 different nations are represented by those who gather to worship King Jesus at Park Street. I was blessed to worship beside a brother in Christ from Nigeria.
How could a local church be true to hermission for over 200 years?
“I have revealed You to the ones You gave Me from this world. They were always Yours. You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” ~Jesus, John 17:6
As we worshiped with this biblical, Gospel, missional church, the minister spoke from John 17 on what Jesus wants for us. The night of His betrayal, just before His suffering and death, Christ prayed for our unity. Let’s not miss the significance.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in Me, Father, and I am in You. And may they be in us so that the world will believe You sent Me.” ~Jesus, John 17:20-21
This was Jesus’ last prayer for us before the dawning of a new era. The season of the Spirit was about to be inaugurated through His death and resurrection.
Jesus could have prayed for many things. Just as Park Street’s message that morning could’ve covered many topics. But Jesus prayed and the minister preached on unity in mission.
“I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.” ~Jesus, John 17:22-23
We so often allow differences to divide. We underscore what makes us different instead of our Gospel commonalities.
We attempt all sorts of programs and expansions while neglecting Scripture, prayer, and mission. And we wonder why modern religious methods fall so short…
Will we learn from a 200-year-old church who has stayed united and true to her heritage?
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know You, but I do; and these disciples know You sent Me. I have revealed You to them, and I will continue to do so. Then Your love for Me will be in them, and I will be in them.” ~Jesus, John 17:25-26
Chime in. I’d love to hear from you…
In what ways are you pursuing Gospel unity and missional priorities in your community?