My Resolve: The Conversation Continues

A few days following the October 18 General Conference Annual Council’s Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation action, I sorted through my thoughts and wrote My Resolve. By the time it was published in the October 23, 2016 issue of Best Practices for Adventist Ministry, I thought that the whole storm had perhaps blown over. I was wrong. My mail box has been filled with heart-felt responses and wisdom worth sharing. Here is a small sampling of insights worth contemplating.

I have wrestled with these same thoughts, struggling with the dismay that this is my church…and yet unwilling to give it up because it is my church. –Rondi Aastrop Reynolds

Great article! You reflect many of my own thoughts and feelings. Committees and administrators may vote and mandate, but God's Spirit moves His Church forward in His own way. We are His church, and it functions best when we remember He is still Lord. He gifts and calls as He wills, and He will see us through. And in reality, the church works best, and ministers most effectively at the local church level. The organizational structure serves best when it remembers that its primary mission is to facilitate ministry at and in the local church. The Body is defined by its Head Jesus Christ, and it shows up in its most obvious ways in the local church family. This is where church happens and where people connect most often with Jesus. Our only hope is to keep our eyes on Jesus, and allow Him to draw us together and show God's love to the world by the way we love each other. Let's be His church! –Ben Maxson

This should be shared with the seminary students as to the mature way to respond to leadership conflicts—looking up to the Higher Authority with determined principles—before relating horizontally with co-workers. –Ivan Wortman

We dare not look at a slice in time … we have to maintain a broader view. –Hal Thomsen

Administrations come and go but God is constant and trust worthy. –Clyde Iverson

The easy thing is to walk away. But you are not that kind of person! We cannot give into the direction that some are heading. You need to be the leader of your church and stand up for what is right! Stand firm in your beliefs and decisions. –Karen McClendon

A couple of favorite sayings – "Apply the glue to your posterior and sit in the boat." And "Don't go down the street to the other church, you sit right here in this one!" Unfortunately every organization has politics. We all have to make a decision as to why we belong to the church we do when every voice from inside and out will increasingly ratchet up the tension and give plenty of reasons to quit or go elsewhere. You are in a position to see the ugliest side of the church - but also the best. Your reasons for staying in ministry and this church are ones we all need to evaluate and make a conscious decision as to our participation and membership. Thank you for your dedication and transparency. –John Fleming

Thank you for this article! For me there was one way to deal with the question: To ask the One who has called me into ministry to affirm His calling. Lord, do YOU still want me to be a pastor in this denomination? Secretly I hoped the answer to be a no, because of all the hurt, because of the daily struggle, because of fear for the direction the administration is leading. But the answer was a yes. So yes it is. Here I stand, grateful for every single one of you standing with me. –Sonja Kalmbach