Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gender Relations

Some form of this article hits the Abbotsford Times this week. Enjoy.

Among the most explosive issues in Abbotsford of late has been the subject of a banned high school class dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity. In the next few hundred words I want to dig into some explanation of how men and women relate which should prove to be as popular as running your nails down a chalk board and drinking battery acid. Please buckle in as we look at three gender-relation positions that must be rejected as being unfaithful, unbiblical, and, ultimately, hurtful to men, women, children, and the cause of the Gospel.

Chauvinists insist that men are superior holding the power to abuse, misuse, mistreat, and manipulate women to do their will asserting, essentially, that women are not equal to men. These spineless men often abuse their wives, are addicted to porn, selfishly abandon their children, try to control women through the threat of violence, anger, and by withholding finances. Simply, we can not live like this and should confront men who do.

Feminists maintain the opposite position suggesting that women, not men, are superior in every aspect and should, therefore, be out front ruling and manipulate the world around them – especially men. These women are often single or in a bad relationship, watch The View, are stubborn and pushy, malicious gossipers, and are submissive to no one but their own plans and desires often guising their feminism under the slogan of ‘freedom from male tyranny.’ This woman is not the Biblical view of femininity.

Egalitarians essentially believe that men and women are equal to each other with no difference or distinction. This view upholds the value and worth of everyone while maintaining equal rights, opportunities, and roles for male and female alike. And, while we do believe that men and women are equal, we must reject this position because, unlike egalitarians, we must hold to the Biblical idea that men and women are equal but distinct. Unfortunately, too many have confused distinction with inequality; difference as discrimination.

Finally, we come to an acceptable view which we call complemtary. This view holds that, male and female – while being equal in value, worth, and dignity – are distinct from each other in both role and responsibility. This is much like Luongo and the Sedin twins who, though they are on the same hockey team, have different positions and functions while working towards a common goal. Another especially evident example is the parent-child relationship: while the child is equal to his parents in dignity, value, and worth, the parents still must make decisions, teach, provide for, discipline, hold responsible, and direct the child as they see fit. Obviously, it is very unhelpful to assume that ‘distinction’ is synonymous with ‘inequality.’

The complemetary view insists that all human life is equal in value, dignity, and worth while maintaining that men, women, and children are different and distinct from one another. Additionally, in no way do male/female distinctions belittle or give superiority to either man or woman, but rather encourages the faithful response of both to live lives worthy of their calling, duty, and responsibility. Finally, men and women are not meant to duplicate one another but rather to complement each other recognizing that both are created equally and uniquely in the image and likeness of God.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Good Sex

Follows, in 500 words or less, is a short article on sex appearing in The Abbotsford Times Friday, September 12. Enjoy!

According to a Canadian survey, Canadians like to add some mango to their tango quite regularly. In other words, Canadians like to have sex. This is true in all parts of Canada including places you'd least expect: uptight furrow-browed Toronto, for example, and the buckle of the Bible Belt, Abbotsford.

Of course, in the Bible Belt, the missionary's position on sex takes prominence whereas in Toronto they just build really tall towers and cheer for bad hockey teams.

Before I round the corner of first, I should state my position on sex: Creator God, in Genesis 1-2, creates us with the capacity to experience pleasure and enjoyment intending that man and woman would have sexual desire for each other to be enjoyed within the confines of monogamous marriage.

Unfortunately, our first parents, Adam and Eve, then sin in Genesis 3, causing all kinds of dysfunction and turmoil. Instead of hanging out in a garden naked and without shame, they find themselves clothed, shameful, and looking for new real estate.

Good community becomes bad community, good relationship becomes bad relationship, and good sex becomes bad sex including adultery, homosexuality, friends with benefits, fornication, polygamy, girls in clear heels and guys with high-speed Internet connections and a box of Kleenex.

Historically, the church has responded in some rather harsh ways, including Lorraina Bobit-style surgeries, men living in desert caves by themselves, and, more recently, Mennonite-style seating. The conclusion being that sex is evil and should be completely avoided except for in the case of childbearing.

The truth, however, is that there is much biblical precedent for ongoing pleasurable sex between man and wife.

Sex, within the bounds of marriage, should be exciting and creative, hopefully frequent, and for the enjoyment of both husband and wife. Guys, this means that you need to slow down and do the hard work of romancing your wife instead of merely holding the "minute-man" title.

That said, I thought I'd pass on a few helpful hints to help around the home.

Following are real stats gathered by pollsters Ipsos-Reid on Canadians' favourite mood-setting techniques. If they work, feel free to thank me!

Fifty per cent of Canadians get in the mood when their spouse cooks their favourite dinner, signifying that a good shake and bake will add some real spice to your diet.

Next, talking sweet words of love clocks in at 43 per cent, suggesting that suggestive words go a long way.

Further, 39 per cent say that lighting candles does it for them.

Playing soft music sounds the song for 38 per cent of Canadians, while playing a game rings the buzzer for 22 per cent.

The classic, "going out for dinner and a movie" proves a failure, with only two per cent agreeing that this gets them in the mood.

Finally, I leave you with my personal favourite and, sadly, least successful: five per cent of all Canadians get in the mood by listening to the 1970s rock band Kiss.

This accounts for more than 1.6 million very odd Canadians and the clear and obvious reason why I needed to write today's column.

Enjoy your weekend [wink wink]!

- Jeremy Postal pastors twenty-somethings at Christian Life Community Church in Abbotsford and can be reached at

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Church and State

The following article appears in the Abbotsford Times Friday, August 8th. Enjoy.

Three things you should never talk about at Christmas dinner: first, religion – especially because you’d hate to mix Christmas with religion; second, politics, politicians, or how much you loath Toronto; and third, don’t mention anything about last Christmas when you brought up religion and politics with crazy Uncle Leo.

Scripture has much to teach about governments, rulers, leaders, and the people they rule. Ideally, the government is set in place to provide for, protect, manage, and serve its citizens and is responsible to, and constrained by, God (Psalm 2; Daniel 4:34-35; Rom. 13). Additionally, because there are rulers above us, we will be placed in situations were we will be offered lessons in submission situations where we learn to cooperate, are loyal, and have a willingness to obey even when we may disagree. Significantly, we learn to submit to God by the daily practice of submission to those around us. In so doing, we become more like Christ who, in great humility, submitted himself to the will of the Father and to death by painful execution on a Roman cross (Philippians 2).

Keeping submission and humility in mind, let’s scan the four major views of the relationship between Church and State asking yourself where you fit in.

  1. Hostility

Those who take this stand are often accusatory throwing “John 3:16 hand-grenades” seeking to, sometimes violently, overthrow authority. Though we don’t see many churches building arms and ammunition stock houses, we do see church/Christian movements taking active and hostile action towards authority on many issues including abortion, calf roping, slot machines, and Cosmopolitan magazines in the check-out line.

  1. Separation

Some swing in the opposite direction, completely separating themselves from civil affairs claiming that, because the government is so corrupt, they should have as little to do with it as possible. While being good citizens, they should not vote, serve in the army, or work for the government. Additionally, this group would probably take issue with Puff Daddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign.

  1. Distinction

This view holds that the State should rule and govern certain things while the Church should rule and govern other things. The Christian can be loyal to and work for either, but must not, by any means, confuse the two. News stations such as CNN, hold tightly to this view as their ratings go up when they catch Christians mixing faith and politics. It makes for great TV but, for some, horrible politics.

  1. Integration

This view suggests an integration of Church and State for the betterment of all. These people vote, know the issues, know who the Christian politicians are, and serve within the structure of authority/government. They believe that by integrating, they will be able to best share the Gospel and transform society from the inside out. Sadly, those who integrate have been accused, rather than encouraged, by their Christian brothers of being too liberal while everyone else accuses them of being too conservative!

Abbotsford will benefit greatly when its faithful Christians act like responsible citizens, humbly serving in culture and society, to proclaim the Gospel and glorify God.

Monday, June 30, 2008

5 Points of Church Unity

A version of the following article was used in the July 4, 2008 edition of the Abbotsford Times.

The number of churches in Abbotsford clocks in at a staggering 92 which, most likely, also corresponds to the number of street corners we have! Abbotsford churches seem to be everywhere—meeting in schools, pubs, theaters, homes, and parks, as well as in the traditional pew and steeple buildings and the mega-church multiplexes complete with bookstores, gymnasiums, and shuttle services. With so many people in so many different venues, under a vast array of leadership, it would seem, at first glance, that the Church in Abbotsford is widely divided. This, in part, is true as people needlessly squabble over paint colors, taste in music (even though everyone knows that boy-bands and country music are bad), and other non-essential issues that get elevated to essential. The question that I think must be asked of ourselves then is; why the division?

Perhaps a more accurate description of the Church in Abbotsford is not division but rather diversity, which is what Jesus prayed for in John 17. Jesus, knowing that the Church would be widely diverse, both prayed for its unity and demonstrated how it could be unified in its acceptance of one another. Thus, tattooed, chandelier-swinging Charismatics and churches with tag-team pastors can worship alongside good Bible-expounding church planters, and emo-kids with comb-overs and black eye shadow can worship alongside grandma with her permed hair and blue eye shadow.

Sadly, many people mistake unity with sameness which, in all honesty, would be a horrible way to live. For example, if unity did mean sameness, should we all, in the interest of church unity, be required to wear brown, tweed suit jackets, part our hair on the side, and clap along to the Gaither Gospel Hour? Or maybe, in the interest of church unity, we are all obligated to read the Left Behind series, vote Kurt Cameron for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and play leap-frog with our buddies because it doesn’t involve cards or dice? Thank-you, Jesus, the answer is “no”. Sameness is not unity, in fact, unity is impossible without diversity.

Following is a brief outline asking how your church can affirm its diversity, work towards resolution of its divisions, and grow in unity for the glory of God.

1.Theological Unity
There are many theological issues that must be examined and applied to church and culture. Some of these issues are primary and therefore essential to Christian orthodoxy and fellowship while others are secondary and non-essential. Primarily, a church must come together around the true teachings of Scripture and the centrality of the person, work, and divinity of Jesus. Secondary issues where we allow for diversity include things such as use of alcohol, charismatic signs and wonders, the millennium, and the precise natures of heaven and hell. As Rupert Meldenius said, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.”

2. Relational Unity
Relational unity is likely the easiest to observe and the hardest to develop primarily because people are bent towards self-seeking rather then other-seeking, my rights over others rights, and my own comfort and good over the comfort and good of others. Every Christian should be characterized by a selfless loving attitude and action which extends out far broader then his own narrow circle of like-minded people. This is why the church can gather to worship Jesus as a multi-generational/multi-cultural group of kids wearing skinny emo jeans, their parents who listen to Elton John, and their grandparents who came from ‘the old country.’ Is your church characterized by a loving attitude that extends to both friend and stranger?

3. Methodological Unity
Here the question is, “How do we do church?” Do we do a high form of liturgy? Do we wear suits and tuck in our shirts? Do we form a choir? Do we use electric guitar, lights, and cool video? Do we use mac or pc? What is our style? How do we feel? Each local church must come together unified around a common way and understanding of its particular style and method of ‘doing’ church.

Each church is meant to be shepherded by a group of leaders who will pray and then make decisions on the direction and feel of their particular church. This requires faithful and godly leadership who will hear from Jesus and direct the church. This also requires faithful serving church members who trust their leadership and engage in the ‘how’ of that particular church. Additionally, just because another church operates differently then your church, this doesn’t mean that there is disunity but rather that there is diversity. Why must there be unity around a churches method and vision? How do your own preferences music, style, or conscience get in the way of unity?

4. Missiological Unity
Missiological unity asks the question, “Are we a unified group of missionaries?” Is your church working together in the hard and trying task of local and global missions? Do you understand that your missionary mandate is to both Abbotsford and the world at large? Are you working side-by-side in proclaiming Jesus in Abbotsford? Is your church unified around a common missionary cause, sending missionaries to far away strange and exotic places like Africa, as well as to far away strange and exotic places like Auguston?

5. Doxological Unity
The pinnacle on all this is that we are unified around our ‘doxology’ which is a ten-dollar word for worship. ‘Doxa’ means ‘glory’ which is what we give when we come together in unity as the church worshipping Jesus with one voice, one heart, and one mind. This is the crux and highpoint of unity because our theological-relational-methodological-missiological unity allows us to gather as the church, regardless of the many diverse opinions, perspectives, and preferences, to worship and give glory to the one true God who exists in three persons as the perfect example of unity. God is great!

Finally, knowing that unity takes so long to build and very little time to destroy, my hope is that you would join with your churches leadership in praying for continued and deepening unity as together, the church in Abbotsford, we endeavor to glorify God in worship and faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus in our own unique and specific ways.

Grace and Peace,


Monday, May 26, 2008

Theology: 101

Theology, as it is often misunderstood, is the long, drawn out, boring study of an ancient god from an ancient, irrelevant book that only people with comb-overs and tweed jackets do. And though it is entirely possible that more Christians read the Left Behind series then who have read their Bible, it is not accurate to suggest that theology is only for musty-smelling Bible thumpers with nothing better to do with their time. In fact, anyone – including the hip art students from UFV and the waitress who serves me at IHOP – anyone who thinks anything about God is, in some way, delving into theology. The distinction, however, is in how we apply our theology.

Allow me to give you a primer on theology…

Theology, widely understood, is the study of God. God, in his divine wisdom, has chosen to reveal parts of who he is through his Son, Jesus Christ, and through his written word, the Bible. This means that there are aspects of God that we can discover and explore, and other parts that God has chosen to remain hidden, undisclosed, and mysterious which, for every self-professed pop philosopher with a blog who took debating in high school, is a high hurdle to jump over. Additionally, Scripture in its entirety is God’s primary way of communicating with us, revealing His character, attributes, promises, and, ultimately, revealing his Son Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite early definitions of theology is “union with God through prayer”, which sounds more hippie then it actually is. Unfortunately for the tie-dyed, long haired, bluegrass, non-conformist hippie in all of us, union with God means submission to his rule and reign. Meaning this, when we come to Scripture we must come in prayerful submission and repentance recognizing that the Bible is the authority that we reason and live our lives by. A humble studying and application of Scripture should, above all else, point us to Jesus, move us to worship, and energize us towards conforming our lives to look more like the life of Jesus our King and Savior and less like Cheech and Chong whose closest union was with a really big joint and some snack food.

Sadly, in a culture whose anthem is ‘Raise your fist, rebel, resist!’ the question of humble submission to anyone’s authority – especially that of the Bible – is openly mocked and critically questioned. Together, as the Church in Abbotsford, who loves our city and enjoys its culture, we will continually be faced with the complicated issue of restating the truth of Scripture in creative ways that faithfully communicate the Gospel, advance the mission of Jesus’ church, and address the issues that men, women, youth, and children are facing day to day.

Our goal then, with theology, is to clearly articulate the content of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of the culture surrounding us. This is our attempt to respond to God’s story with a proper view of God, ourselves, the church, and the culture around us. To God be the glory.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Bible vs. Culture

One of my hero’s of the Bible is a rough and ready character named Paul who was just as comfortable dropping the gloves with you as he was to talk with you. He was scrappy, knew when to pick his fights, and could pick himself up after receiving vicious beatings of his own. What he did not do was curl up in the fetal position like a baby and cry himself to sleep. He was stoned to the point of death, shipwrecked, abandoned by friends, beaten, starved, and yet continued to contend for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In all of this, Paul did what so many Christians and churches do not: he told the timeless story of Jesus in the language, culture, and traditions that people understood and responded to.

Paul was a master communicator who knew both the Gospel story and the stories, symbols, and languages of his particular time and culture. He understood the need to fight and contend for the truth of the Bible while at the same time making the Gospel potent for the people and culture who heard its message. Sadly, in today’s church climate, especially in the Abbotsford Bible Belt, we have churches who will do one or the other – but rarely both.

For example; one church highly values and studies Scripture, conjugates Greek verbs, and fights for the rightness of doctrine like a pack of angry stray dogs fighting over who gets to eat that annoying cat from next door. These churches often pride themselves on being ‘separated from the world’ and will go to great length to ensure that their moral value is placed on you. Additionally, these people drink excessive amounts of peach drink and horrible church coffee which only goes to show how disillusioned and depraved they really are.

On the other extreme, we find the church that is very much ‘in the world’ who hold cultural values and notions in highest value over and above Scripture. What tends to happen with these churches is that they will jump on the cool, hip, and trendy bandwagon in an attempt to attract you to their version of church, sadly, often at the expense of Scripture. These churches, if they’ll fight for anything, fight for tolerance and culturally accepted practices that offend no one but a few strays from the other church. Thankfully, what these guys do have going for them are apple computers, indie rock, yerba mate, and well mixed hops.

The problem that often polarizes these churches is the question of “What do we do with Bible and Culture?” One group responds with heavy handed Biblical arguments while being about as culturally savvy as a redneck in a suit. The other group reacts by being so indwelt by culture that there is little room left for the indwelling of Scripture in their lives. It is to this question that I think the church can learn much from Paul.

Paul, repeatedly throughout the New Testament Scriptures, speaks to particular language, cultural, and people groups in ways that make the story of Jesus both accessible and understandable. What Paul does not do, however, is make the message ‘seeker-sensitive;’ instead, he maintains the weighty content of the gospel while making it ‘seeker-intelligent’ so that non-Christians can wrestle with the full significance of the gospel in the metaphors, language, stories, and experiences that are most familiar to them. This is the task of the missionary whether it be to Punjabi Indians, suburban Abbotsford families, or the hip kids who hangout at EA. As Christians, we must take on the mindset of ‘missionary,’ learning both the language, culture, custom, and traditions of the Bible as well as those of our particular culture. We do this so that we can most effectively communicate the timeless and unchanging story of Jesus in ways that are culturally appropriate and Biblically accurate.

Fight well my friends.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Interviewing Well

Dear Jeff, Jayme, Jabin, Jannah, and Bryce,

The following is a rather long article that I’ve written for you re: the interview process and applying for ministry positions, particularly of those in the church. Dozens of pastor’s from multiple denominations and across the nation responded to five questions that I asked them; we have collated their answers and summarized them for you here. Each one of you have been a great joy to work with and, in all honesty, you will be greatly missed. I have every hope for you in your future ministry and know that you will do well. We love you guys and hope this is beneficial for you.

Question #1 - As a pastor or ministry leader, what questions do you expect the interviewee to ask you?

Four major themes emerged out of this question:

  1. Direction and Vision

Of the many answers that ministry leaders gave, what they most want you to ask them is “What is their vision and direction for the church?” Words like vision, values, direction, and calling were all used to find out what the preferred future of the church was and, often, what is the preferred future of the pastor. Simply this; they want to know that you care about where they are going.

Interestingly, there was no one ministry leader who would like you to ask about their theology or the theology of their church. My understanding is that our theology informs our philosophy of ministry which then directs our vision and methodology. That said, when you ask ministry leaders about their vision, values, and direction you are inadvertently asking about their philosophy and theology. However, do not assume anything; remember that interview’s are given to clarify.

  1. Practice

Ministry leaders also want you to ask as many questions as possible about how the church and the position you are applying for actually operates. They want you to ask questions about job descriptions, church governance, church budget, office and work hours, staff accountability, vacation time, staff policies, schedules, decision process, staff environment and relationships, dress code, etc. One issue, one that I am sure you are wondering about, is the question of money, salary, and benefits. We will address the topic in greater detail later but, to ease your curiosity now, the general consensus of ministry leaders was to not ask. Allow the church to broach the topic in their timing; not yours.

  1. Expectations

Of great concern to ministry leaders when interviewing potential staff was that the interviewee finds out the written and unwritten expectations of staff, their spouse, and their families. This has much to do with the practice of the church but is actually deeper seeded into the culture of the church. As such, it is absolutely vital that you become very aware of the church culture and the ministry expectations that it actually practices; the last thing you want to get into in your new church is a culture war! Policies are relatively easy to change or work within; cultures are far harder.

  1. Evaluation

Ministry leaders also would like you to ask them to give an evaluation of where the church is at currently. What is the spiritual climate of the church? What success are you currently celebrating? What is the most difficult issue that your church is currently dealing with? How does the church see itself in the city? How does the city see it? These questions, and many others, are not only helpful for you but actually help the pastor make clear and accurate statements about the realities of his church. When you humbly ask thoughtful and provocative questions of the state of the church that force the pastor to self-evaluate, you are doing him a great service as well as showing that you can do the difficult work of asking the right questions.

Question #2 – As a pastor or ministry leader, what questions should potential staff ask that you don’t want them to ask?

This question we posed to pastors not so that you could terrorize them but rather so you could be aware of appropriate questions that should be asked within a spirit of humility and wisdom. Two main issues arose:

  1. Staff Relationships

Multi-staff churches can be a very rewarding, encouraging, and fulfilling place to work when the staff operates well together as a team and are involved in each other’s lives. Conversely, there is not much to be gained and much to be lost when a multi-staff church is actually a collection of superstar individuals. Churches with mediocre people building extraordinary teams are far better off then churches with superstar players who never pass the ball. That said, staff alignment, healthy relationships, and well checked ego’s are vital to every team atmosphere.

So why are pastor’s afraid of you asking about inter-staff relationship dynamics? Though the reasons vary widely, I’ll give you a few ideas why this may be: (1) The inter-personal stuff is so bad that they want to hide it from you as long as possible, (2) There may be an existing paradigm of boss/employee mentality, (3) Possible difficulties in talking about current relational dynamics within the staff to someone unknown, (4) Fear of ‘over promising and under delivering’ on things like accountability, mentoring, team atmosphere, and discipleship, and (5) You might be the first additional staff which would make you the (un)lucky guinea pig.

Fearful or not, the question and discussion of staff relationship dynamics must be dialogued for the simple reason that you will spend many many hours a week in staff/team settings praying, brainstorming, problem solving, caring, and ministering. The following quote is from a college prof in the Midwest that states it well: “I want them to ask all the questions – even the tough ones. Better now then get surprised later. In my opinion – some ‘old school’ types – will not want too many pointed questions relating to employee relationship. To them, team ministry is a foreign concept. But you are better off discovering this now – than regretting this later. So I would ask specifically about the nature of the relationship between you and the lead pastor.” My advice? Ask and watch.

  1. Church Struggles

Once you have completed the honeymoon at your new church with your new computer, new cell phone, and new jokes, you will be faced with the ugly side of church. And, even though a Forbes Magazine survey found that clergy is among the best jobs anywhere, there is still a dark side that haunts every church. And this, my friends, is what you should ask, even though they don’t want you to ask it; “What are the historic, current, and on-going struggles of the church?” This is like sticking a hot probe into a fresh wound for some pastors while, for others, is a refreshing chance to share struggles and concerns. Upon hearing church struggles you would do well to ask yourself if you would be an asset or liability to the ongoing health of the church. For some, even though you may be very talented and cutting edge with oodles of leadership potential, you will not be a good fit for the church if you add to the problems rather then alleviate them!

Question #3 – What questions should the interviewee simply not ask?

There are a myriad of questions that pastor’s recommend you don’t ask including things like moral/cultural issues such as positions on alcohol and other areas of Christian conscience (1 Cor. 8 & 10; Romans 14 & 15). Additionally, I would recommend that you don’t ask if you can move into the Lead Pastor’s office, if you can take weekends off, or ask how old their daughter is. Beyond these, the major ‘do not ask’ issue revolved around your pay check.

Over and over again, pastor’s clearly and emphatically said, “Do not ask about the money.” One pastor commented, “I once asked what a position paid just ballpark and they ended the interview right there, so approach that one carefully.” Before a church wants to get into salary package, vacation time, stat holiday’s, health benefits, pension, salary review process, moving expenses, housing allowance, book and meal allowance, mileage, continuing education and conference budget, general budgets, etc., they would like to get a feel and sense for who you are, your heart, and what calling you have. While the details of church finances and personal finances are important details that do need to be clarified before accepting a position, they are not the primary issue. Primarily, churches are looking for the right pastor/leader for their church’s particular culture, vision, and community; they want a pastor who loves Jesus, has a clear call to generous and sacrificial ministry, and who recognizes the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit to direct his ministry steps.

Question #4 – What should the interviewee expect from the church when interviewing?

Two subjects’ surface in this question; one minor, one major. The first, though minor in comparison, is the question of who covers the cost of out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the interviewee. It is generally accepted that the church will cover all related travel, accommodation, and food expenses to and from the interview. Keep in mind, however, that this is not an all-inclusive paid holiday to the other side of the country…church budgets are generally meager and it is some sacrifice to them to bring you out. Please do not waste kingdom resources in airline tickets and hotels for churches or cities you never intend to pastor in.

The second expectation that you should take into an interview with you is that the church and its leadership be honest with you. This is huge! Honesty and frank openness in all matters of church life including all of the touchy issues of money, process, finance, morality, standards of holiness, etc., are of elevated importance. Additionally, you should expect that there be full disclosure of church/community demographics, vision, values, mission, and philosophies of biblical leadership and ministry. What you should not expect is that all of this information be made available to you in a first or even second interview. What this requires of you is that you spend plenty of time listening, asking honest questions in a spirit of humility, and then listening some more.

Question #5 – What should the church expect from the interviewee?

Every pastor who responded to this question said the same two things: the interviewee should 1) be honest, as we are honest with them, and 2) be prepared. When you go into an interview you should expect that a church should hold your confidence and, in return, that you should be fully honest about who you are, what you struggle with, how you operate and function, etc. This should go without saying, but when you are applying to work in a church, don’t lie! Sadly, often is the case where churches are deceived by what the interviewee has not said or who has somehow led the church leadership to believe something that wasn’t all-together accurate. It will go far better for you and your church if honesty and forthrightness begin at the very beginning of your relationship.

Second, when you go into an interview, prepare yourself. How prepared (or ill-prepared) you are often gives a good indication of how prepared you will be in ministry and, as is often the case, how effective you will be. Blaine Bartel wrote, “If you sweat in preparation, you will not bleed in battle.” You will inadvertently hijack the entire interview process if you have not already done the difficult and time consuming work of self-reflection and evaluation, are unable to articulate your philosophy of Biblical leadership and ministry, or have inaccurate knowledge about yourself, the church, or the city and culture the church finds itself in. Additionally, you should be polite, prompt, quick to provide additional references, hold the churches confidence, and be respectful of the church, its culture, and its leadership.


As you graduate from Bible College and begin to look for ministry positions in churches or other ministry organizations, keep in mind that the interview is both a ‘business-as-usual’ event as well as a spiritual exercise in listening to what God would have for you and your potential church. You would do well to spend much time in prayer and reflection regarding the things you believe about the Church, its role and mission, its leadership, its practice and influence, and how you fit. The clearer you can articulate and communicate these things to prospective churches the better it will go for both you and them. It has been an honor to serve with you these last few years and I will miss each one of you deeply. We pray for you regularly and are looking forward to many more years of ministry together in churches and ministry settings across BC, Canada, and the world. If there is anything that I or any of the team here at CLCC can do to help you along your ministry journey, we’ll gladly step up to bat. We love you guys.

Grace and Peace,


Friday, January 04, 2008

Emergent leaders call for ‘missional re-understanding of Jesus-followership and Christ-focus imbued with passionate creativity and emotional authentic

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — At a recent conference-like "gathering" of emergent church leaders, various factions sparred over competing visions for the future of the movement.
Leaders on one side called for "deepening and continuously beautiful efforts toward emotionally true self-divulgence and confession." Other leaders countered with a call for "a theological re-purposing of our objective and subjective missionality within a framework of God-love." Because few in attendance actually understood what either side meant, both ideas were tabled.
The sides did agree that emergent leaders should continue to take every opportunity to make casual, cool cultural references to popular television shows, movies and Internet phenomena to introduce quasi-intellectual spiritual points about the state of the American church.
They also pledged to maintain their reputation for being "more spiritually honest than the millions of people who attend institutionalized churches every week and blindly go along with the programs, sermons and mindset that make American Christianity the colossal failure it is today."
After toasting themselves with various hyper-cool micro-brews, the audience adjourned to begin 7- and 8-hour theological bull sessions in their hotel rooms and local bars.
Conference organizers say they will meet again to do the same thing next year. •

*story from Lark News