Saturday, November 28, 2009


Recently, my mainline supervisor received word that he and his wife were being transferred to South America. Their positions will carry serious and demanding responsibilities. They are good people who will do well. Their giftings suit them well for what God is asking them to do.

I usually refrain from commenting on this particular part of our movement's tradition. Moving and doing it often comes with the calling. I believe the whole process to be a sacred one. It is bathed in prayer. Its affect on people is often dramatic.

The different reactions to the announcement of our friends move, were varied, but mainly it was one of shock and uncertainty since our friends have been with us such a short time. We were certain that this relationship was going to be in place this way for a very long time to come.

It has thrown many of my colleagues into the realm of uncertainty. There have been many questions asked as to how this could happen so fast or who will replace our friends.

I admit that I have had some of these private thoughts myself. You know that these decisions are considered deeply and the face of God is sought, but still when we involve a human element, a nagging question still hangs out there. "What happens next?"

God's promises never change. They are sure. Our abiding peace is in the fact that "He who began a good work in you, will continue to do it." Still out there hangs uncertainties.

I am conflicted often as to whether my uncertainty and the uncertainty of others is a sin of doubting or just part of who we are as people. Maybe it is just a lack of faith.

So are we unfaithful when we are uncertain? Are we actually doubting the power of God? Are we just being human?

I would be interested to know your thoughts on uncertainty. What do you think?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spiritual Gifts Fair?

It has been several months since I last posted to this blog. I have had some writer's block. I have needed some time to rethink some positions. I have also really wanted to examine my own reasons for writing. I have decided to not only ask my own questions, but entertain some from others. I have also decided to blog about the oddities of faith.

Today, the community of faith which I belong to hosted a "spiritual gifts fair." My friend, Matt, who is staying with Janet and me for a couple of days and I got goofy as we discussed what this might be. Perhaps we thought that one would get the gift of prophecy if you guessed the amount of candy in the jar. Maybe you would get the gift of healing if you won the "whack a mole" contest. Possibly, you would get the gift of tongues if you putted a golf ball into the clowns mouth. An immature mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Seriously, this event was held for people who have identified and are developing their spiritual gifts. It was an opportunity for those in the community and those just entering into it to see opportunities for service and put their gifts to use in the various ministries in the community. It is quite a unique idea.

This community has had its ups and downs. It has begun to grow quickly over the last few months. The community has done the right thing. It has reached out to the poor and sacrificed in order to make them part of the community. As a result, people from all walks of life have turned up and wanted to become part of this family of faith. Some of the leadership is very comfortable with their spots in the community. The newer members are not being squeezed out, they are just trying to figure out where it is they fit in all of this.

It was years ago when people showed up to our movement (which I believe is the church of and for the poor) and they were given a "job" as soon as they joined. That strategy implemented by William Booth, was sheer brilliance. It was also a spiritually sound principle at work. All people have gifts to add to the family of faith, uniquely given to them by the Holy Spirit.

Sadly, over the years, it has appeared to me that many long timers in our movement, think that prior to getting a job, that you need to "know" what our army is all about. We have also seemingly become more officer-centric, as our operations have become more complex. Pastoral authority and responsibility is often not shared and as a result, we have a ton of gifted people who find another place to use their gifts.

You know my thoughts on sharing authority and allowing people to carry out their responsibilities with little interference unless there is something completely unscriptural going on with them. Allowing people to be free is something that will cause the community of faith to grow.

I continue to wonder how we can flatten authority structures and allow for input on all levels. I admit, it can be challenging and sometimes intimidating, even for people like me who are proponents of this way of working. It may just be a matter of us trusting that the Spirit has the right idea and that we need to know how to work in concert with what He is already doing in the world.

So my questions are simple. Do you think we will ever really let people put their gifts to use? Is there a need for us to "pay our dues" in order to have a certain position? Why is it that it is intimidating for some leaders to let people do their thing?

So after months of being off this medium, I want to know, what do you think?