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Pastor, it must have been very difficult….

posted 22.03.2015

“Pastor, how do you keep a few hundred people of a different race, background, theological persuasion, personalities, past experiences serving and worshipping in unity together?”

I have often been asked this question as members imagine how difficult the work of a pastor is. Indeed, from a human perspective, it is very difficult. That said, a few principles have helped us here in SJC:

1. We gather around the cross. There is a given “unity of the Spirit” (Philippians 2) which we can gather around. If we can agree on our allegiance to the Lord, many other differences are minor.

2. It is interesting to note that in most church conflicts, often passionate people are involved. They thought that they are doing what is best for the Gospel and church. As a church, we want to recognize that and help each person to fulfill their calling, may it be missions, ministry to prisoners or outreach to children. While unavoidably for some, fulfilling their calling may mean joining another part of the Body of Christ, it will be our task in SJC to create as much room as possible for every person to fulfill his call and destiny.  This value is also stated in the second paragraph of our Crossroad Vision statement.

3. Following from (1), because gathering around the cross is what is most important, we do not want to “sweat the small stuff.” Not everything in church is important and if doing something or holding to a view leads to disunity, we would rather drop it or keep it within our own hearts and not impose upon others.

4. Gossip and unreasonable judgment of others is avoided. In this area, I have come to realize that the leaders can set the pace. When we do not relate on the basis of gossip, unsubstantiated attributions and a labyrinth world of reasoning, the community is set free. Stay in and relate in the open, as children of light (1 John 1:7). Indeed the truth will set us free, as will any community that walks in the light. It is not ours to judge the motives of others, let God do that (1 Cor 4:3,4).

5. This has been said: “dogma divides but charity unites.” How true. When we would rather love the Lord and one another deeply, we won’t quibble over differences. We can passionately discuss and even disagree but “blessed be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love.” 

So how has it been these past 14 years in SJC? I will say we have a congregation with sensible and mature Christians. It has been a great joy and privilege to pastor this flock.

 
 
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