Monday, April 2, 2007

Two Perspectives

This weekend I heard two totally different perspectives about Charter Oak Church. One was from a relatively new member and one was from a pastor in our community.

One of our members was talking to me about the need for courageous leadership in the Church and in our denomination today. Because of some things that are happening in our annual conference right now, he is very distressed with the direction some of our leaders at the conference level appear to be taking us. He said that he wished that those leaders would have the courage to speak the truth of the gospel as it is spoken from the platform on weekends at Charter Oak Church. I was thankful that he recognized our desire to obediently teach the truth, whether it is popular or not.

Then later in the weekend I had a conversation that revealed that there is a pastor in our community that is telling people that anyone who attends Charter Oak Church is going to hell because we don't teach the Good News of Jesus Christ. This pastor has never been in our church. This pastor doesn't know Dave, Mark, or me. He just made a blanket statement about where we are theologically.

I am struck at the difference of these two perspectives. One from someone who is from within Charter Oak Church and one that is from outside. We had nearly 800 people in worship this past weekend who heard in a very clear and concise manner the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also know what Pastor Dave is going to teach on Easter Sunday - it will be a clear presentation of the Gospel.

One person I talked to this weekend was praising God for His work at Charter Oak Church and another person is trashing the work of God at Charter Oak Church. Why can't we all work together for the building up of the Kingdom of God?


Roda Zone said...

great post...I too am concerned about our leaders speaking truth relating both to the gospel and societal issues. We are in confusing times, and people are often led astray by the spirit of the age. Thank you for what you, Dave and Mark are doing at Charter Oak. It is amazing...despite what anyone else says. If we don't start standing for something, we'll wind up falling for everything

Chris Whitehead said...


Why do you think it is so difficult for us to speak the truth today? Is it because we are more interested in being liked than loved? Is it because we aren't in community with each other?

I'll even go a step further and make it personal with what you have shared on your blog. Did I fail you because I celebrated your "success" in ministry and never asked you "how is it with your soul?"

Keith McIlwain said...

I've found that when I hear criticism of a church I'm serving that, when I look deep enough, there have been reasons for the criticisms...maybe not exactly the critiques made, but some kernel of truth.

Obviously, not everyone is happy with Charter Oak; I remember hearing some of that when I served in the Greensburg area, though I find it hard to believe that anyone would make a blanket declaration that attendance at Charter Oak is an automatic eternal death sentence.

If there is a kernel of truth in the criticism, unearthing it might give you an opportunity to further perfect the ministry.

Also, you may want to get to know the other members of your local Ministerium better...maybe go out to lunch with a few after your next meeting. As you forge stronger bonds in the effort to, as you said, "all work together for the building up of the Kingdom of God", they may enlighten you as to some of the criticisms.

As you help perfect the already excellent ministry at Charter Oak, and continue to work with the other churches of your area, I personally have no doubt that God will continue to bless you in abundance!