Tag Archives: radio organization

Change, principles, and other boring stuff that can dramatically alter your life

bowieI’ve been involved in church leadership now for almost 14 years (that seems like forever). I have now worked as a volunteer in a church, as part-time staff, as full time staff, as paid temporary staff, and as a supported ministry worker. I have been asked to give advice to churches I do not regularly attend, and I been asked to not give advice to churches that I do regularly attend. I have also spent years working with ministries that seek to supplement and support in-house church ministries. I have been part of growing and vibrant ministries, ministries that have struggled and declined, and ministries that have switched from one to the other and back again.

When you work with any organization, and I think especially with churches and ministries in the last 10+ years, you experience change. It is inevitable. Either your ministry is changing and adjusting to different demographics, attitudes and cultural climates around you in order to better reach the people God is putting in your path or you begin to experience declines in attendance and engagement with your ministry. Sometimes you enact those changes along the way and you find that you do not experience the results you are hoping for, which leads to further changes. It is a difficult, confusing, turbulent cycle that tests our patience, resolve, and even our faith.

With change comes uncertainty and conflict. Again, these things are unavoidable. I remember major conflicts that took place when I started my full-time ministry and all of the twists and turns that took place over my first three years as a youth pastor. People were upset and extremely frustrated because of change, because of lack of change, and most importantly because of a lack of assurance over what the future would bring – and this was true of people from both sides of the conflict.

I was forced to navigate these waters as a 21 year old church leader, and for over a decade now I have continued not to just dip my toe in these waters of change and conflict but to dive in head first. I was not ready back when I was too young and inexperienced to deal with what I was thrown into and I am not ready now, as a 32 year old church leader that now has experience but still not enough to deal with what is coming my way.

Why do I do it? Some would say it’s because I like to argue (not completely untrue), but, truth be told, I am weary of the battles that feel like they have been continuous and unrelenting for too many years now. I continue to fight, to accept and work through conflict, and to seek difficult and painful changes for one reason: principles.

I believe God has called all of His followers to something extraordinary. I believe we are called to change the world, not just in subtle ways through our everyday lives but also I big, dramatic ways like what can happen when likeminded believers work together towards a God-sent vision for a group or a community. I believe He has called us to do difficult things because nothing that is worth doing is easy. I am willing to endure the deep pain that conflict with fellow church members, many of whom I truly have considered family, brings to my heart because I know that “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, ESV)

There has been a single principle that I have lived my life by. In some ways it is far too simplified, but it has worked for me. I’m not entirely sure where it came from (the Sunday School answer would probably be “God”), but I think it might be from my answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

The answer is not 42.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:13

This is a simple answer by a wise man as a culmination of 12 chapters of a book laying out a methodical process to find the meaning of life and what was learned along the way. The principle I live my life by is simply this: “do the right thing.”

So, in any situation, the question becomes, “what is the right thing?” That’s the part that isn’t so simple. I will say this; the answer is never easy, convenient or comfortable. This has required that I get rid of any notion I had of living life my own way. It has meant that I would take on the role of servant to nearly everyone who has asked something of me. I have sacrificed money, time, energy, and personal desires for what at times feels like no reward at all. It has forced me to put relationships that I value at risk, it has caused me to sacrifice a comfortable job for the instability of something new, and it has brought me pain, sleepless nights, and heartache.

And it has totally been worth it, because it has put me in the place God has wanted me and it has caused me to do what I have been created to do. There is nothing better than that.

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This Just In – The World Did Not End in 2011

Remember this?

It became a widely discussed last year when nation radio host Harold Camping announced that he had discovered a Bible code that said the world would come to an end upon the return of Christ on May 21. Thousands of people sold all of their possessions to purchase billboards and to get the message to others: “Repent, this is your last chance!”

I’m not sure, but I can’t imagine that May 22 was a good day for those individuals.

Camping was described as “flabbergasted” that the world didn’t end, but he didn’t let that little misstep get him down. A little over a week after the not-end-of-the-world, he released a new statement saying that while his biblical interpretation skills were very good, his math was not and he was off by a few months. The world instead would end onOctober 21, 2011. In case you missed that day, Jesus did not return last October.

Camping was again shocked. Many wondered what was next for the 90-year old preacher. There was very little in the way of information coming from Camping and his radio organization, until this March. Camping released a letter that is available on the Family Radio website that included some pretty bold statements;

…we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing…

We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention…We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

Camping doesn’t sugar coat it for himself. He was wrong, that wrong was not simply a misstep but a sin. He has chosen to step down from his radio program and teaching because of the situation and in his statement, he takes responsibility and asks forgiveness. He has confessed his sin, and for this Camping should be commended. It can be easy for someone with authority and power to abuse it, but it is exceedingly difficult to step up and take responsibility for our sins, and especially publicly.

However, Camping’s letter also points out a potential positive that has come from this situation.

Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible.

Through this very public and unfortunate situation, Christians across the country and around the world had an opportunity to talk about the Bible, Christ and His return to friends, neighbors and coworkers that would have never otherwise been interested in discussing religious topics. It shows that God can use anything for His purposes.

When Joseph was approached by his brothers inEgypt(you know, after they sorta sold him into slavery after very nearly killing him), Joseph told them;

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. (Gen 50:20)

Camping obviously didn’t mean harm towards other in the situation, but the evil one certainly did. However, as Christians who believe in the Bible we can take opportunities like this and use them for good, talking about what the Bible actually says about Christ, His return, and the forgiveness of sins that gives us the hope of eternity in heaven.

God gives us opportunities like this all the time when we look for them. He gives us chances to share our faith with others in ways that will impact them. When we talk about sharing our faith, sometimes we get this awkward picture in our head of getting our friend/coworker/family member, sitting them down at the other side of an empty table, looking them straight in the eye and starting a conversation with the line, “Did you know God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” While there isn’t anything wrong with this, we often have opportunities in the flow of life to talk about our faith and beliefs in ways that are loving and relaxed, not forceful and harsh. The question is, are we willing to look for these opportunities or shirk away from them.

Anyone hear that Peyton Manning is planning on signing withDenver? Or that there’s going to be a bunch of no-names on Dancing With The Stars? Have you seen the new iPad? How about the 80 degree temps in the middle of March?

We have conversations like this all the time because we are interested in sports, or TV, or technology, or outdoor activities. Are you interested in God? Is God as important to you as your TV, your sports teams, or your other hobbies? If He is, then why is it that we talk about those other things so much more than we talk about Him? Find ways to talk about Him more, not in a way that is forceful or looks down on those who may not share your faith, but in a way that is honest and from your heart. Allow Christ to shine through your life and impact those around you, and see what God does with you.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

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