… I am going to post a link to a page of last week’s online bulletin of a church in my city which, at the very bottom, features a mention of the Arkansas Shepherding Conference to be hosted at my home church July 27-29:
I am going to take an opportunity like this to thank the minister there, who edits the linked bulletin, to take the time and space in his publication to let others know about the conference.
I am going to express my appreciation to him for naming my church, rather than simply referring to it as a large metro church on the westside (as he has occasionally done before) so that people who read his article will know where the conference is taking place, as well as when, and who will be speaking there.
I am going to compliment him on his zeal for the Word, his protective oversight of the flock he serves, and his utter honesty in expressing his anticipation of the event.
I am going to do so because I have come to believe that for him – and many other people of similar persuasion – to do otherwise would be to violate conscience, and that violating conscience is a serious offense before God even when the matter is not an issue to the Creator of the universe.
I will not urge him to attend, and to invite his three elders and their wives to attend, because – though it might confirm what he anticipates – for them to do so after reading his article could be construed as an act of defiance on their part, or a violation of their own consciences.
I will not try to persuade him or them that the only subject that the speakers have been asked to address is the pursuit of a more Christ-like model of shepherding.
I will not seek to argue about the value of change, or of the agents who propose it, or of the absolute necessity of ongoing change – repentance – in the life of a follower of Christ.
I will not comment about fellowship and eternal consequences, nor quote a lot of scripture that I feel is relevant. Nor will I presume what any group of elders supports. Nor will I pronounce anyone doctrinally healthy or unhealthy, since I do not hold a doctoral degree in medicine or theology.
I am simply going to post the link, with my gratitude and compliments.
I am going to do all of this.
But not today. Because I am not yet that loving; not yet sufficiently conformed to the nature and image of Christ; not yet convinced that I am perfectly qualified to be the perfect judge of the efforts of imperfect people who are trying to serve God.
Some day – when it does not go against my nature – I will do these things.