"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ministry Lessons: Lesson 1

There are a lot of lessons that we as preachers need to learn. We need to learn many things about ethics, preaching and spirituality. This is the first in a series of blogs that I will do on these issues. I am not presenting  the need-to-be-learned lessons as a teacher, but as one who sees the needs to learn these lessons myself. I know great men that appear to me to have learned these lessons, and they inspire me. I will be using certain men more than once to illustrate these lessons. In each subsequent lesson I will refer to this person as the POI (Person of Inspiration).

POI: Bishop M. R. Couch.

Bishop Couch has many positive traits, and I will highlight more of them throughout this blog series. Out of all the men that I know, Bishop Couch was the best example I could think of for the current ministry lesson. This lesson is how to handle one's self around people who don't like you. The incredible, and almost unbelievable, truth is that not everyone  appreciates or likes Bishop Couch. This is hard for me to imagine, but it is true. There are people who are uncomfortable with him and his kind of ministry. Therefore, I have had the opportunity to watched him in various situations of varying degrees of hostility and he has always displayed the most incredible grace and poise. 

He is always self-possessed, positive and friendly, even to those who dislike him. He does not seek to avoid his "haters," neither is he confrontational. He does not seek to make the conflict a matter of public attention, yet he does not avoid addressing problems with the persons involved if he must. He involves no one in the situation that is not directly connected to it. He is the master of private rebuke and public love. I can testify to this one from personal experience. And I am thankful for each and every time. 

He does not let people rattle him and get him off his game. He knows who and what he is. He is a great example to preachers on how to handle themselves in various social, preacher contexts. Especially in contexts where there are others present that do not like you or have done you wrong. 

In this way I want to grow up and be just like Bishop Couch.

Lesson Summary: Called and confident persons/preachers must learn to be comfortable around those who are uncomfortable with them.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Man's Gift Will Make Room For Him Part 2

For some reason I woke up off and on though the night thinking about my last blog on this topic. Consequently, I am revisiting this issue. I have returned to this issue to discuss it from a traditional point of view. By traditional I mean the way it is commonly used to refer to a man and his ministry. We often tell young preachers that if you truly are called of God you will not need any man's help. He certainly cannot aid God in the process himself. He is to tell no one that he is called. He is to just pray and study and God will do the rest. Strictly speaking, this is very seldom the way that it happens no matter how much we protest to the contrary. Thank God for when it does. 

The larger point that I want to make with this blog post is "the gift will make room" for the man. Certainly the gift will make room for the man, but men will always attempt to determine the size of the room. We tell the man that his gift will make room for him, but then tell him how big his room can be and where it must be built. 

I understand that a novice preacher will need fatherly direction, but the novice is not the only one who receives this kind of pressure. Men who have been consistent and faithful for decades are still receiving pressure about the size and location of the room their gift made for them. My dad at 66, who has been preaching since he was 17, is still receiving political pressure from local groups. Men began to feel like they are the lords of their territories.

If we are going to argue that a man's gift will make room for him, then we must let him operate in the room his gift has built. I understand that there are exceptions and parameters, but not many. Especially for the experienced man of God. We should never judge a man by a single place that he preaches. Neither must we judge a man by the minority of the places that he preaches. We should judge a man by the whole body of friendships that he has, not a nuanced list of men for whom he has preached. 

If we are going to insist that a man's gift—and not the man himself—will make room for him, then we have to allow room for the gift.