Life Chain 2009
October 4, 2009 is the day Christians from around Rockwall will unite at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Interstate 30 to form a “Life Chain”, a silent witness to pregnant women who may be considering aborting their babies. Wanting to engage many fellow believers in Jesus Christ (Christians) in this one and a half-hour exercise, I sought permission of my pastor to set up a poster in the lobby of our church to publicize the event, hoping to recruit believers from my own congregation.
Here is an excerpt of the response: “We will, of course, continue to preach an uncompromising prolife message, but we do not promote activities that may be perceived as political or events where we do not have any control over the content of the message.”
WWJD? Far be it from Jesus to offend anyone! According to the leadership of my church Jesus was WAY out of line when he rebuked Pharisees and Sadducees and even called them “whited sepulchers”. The way Matthew wrote, he left no room for doubt about the nature and substance of a fetus – it is a child! What was Jesus’ attitude toward children? He revered them, wanted them close to him and proclaimed them the very composition of the kingdom of heaven. You see, like it or not, Jesus by default is a member of the church, in fact He is the church.
Words Have Meaning
One dictionary says a leader is a person who leads – someone with “commanding authority or influence”. That same dictionary describes a politician as “a person engaged in the art or science of government: one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government”.
Every heard of church government? Who conducts the business of church government? Are you with me? Yes, the head of church government is, by definition, a politician. My pastor is a politician and a leader. He says he doesn’t want to be perceived as “political” – I say, “It’s too late, because by definition you are a politician”.
Talking about “going beyond our walls” is very different from actually “going beyond our walls”. As in a classroom atmosphere, where teachers have the liberty to advance philosophies and theories that may not stand up in the real world, so it is with the local church. Out here in the real world, people who dare to lead place their lives and reputations at risk.
All this reminds me of a company training session thirty some-odd years ago. Our instructor inaccurately described critical features of a major product. When corrected by our knowledgeable team leader, the instructor indifferently shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “So what?” The team leader said to him, “You need to come out into the field where you can lose your job.” I invite ALL church leaders to come out into the field where you can lose your job. Clearly, Jesus’ model for leadership is to publicly exercise “commanding authority and influence”. His command was “go”, not “ya’ll come”.
My Little Role
Our annual church leadership training espouses ideas like “leading up”, “leading where you are”, etc. I am not a politician – I make no policies with respect to church or civil governments. I desire neither fame nor political office. My myopic perspective is really very simple: I see the world around me going to hell in a hand basket and I KNOW what Jesus would do. In a very imperfect way, I seek the goal of Jabez’s prayer: influence in my community by the hand of God.
Influence derives from two Latin words en and fluere – to flow in. You cannot be influential if you are not there. By “there” I mean outside the church walls.
I wonder if God is as frustrated with contemporary church as I am.
Broadly speaking to all church leaders: what is your role? Are you a statesman for the Kingdom or a herdsman? A great darkness comes upon our nation. Forthcoming legislation will make unlawful any statements that declare unholy behavior like sodomy or pedophilia evil.
A few church leaders boldly call out evil in our society, openly challenging “wickedness in high places”. Locally, Pastor Stephen Broden is an acting statesman for the Kingdom of God who publicly speaks against evil in civil government while equipping Christians to be salt and light in the nation.
Pastors and Priests: what will your role be? Will you be a statesman or a herdsman?
In the revolutionary years of our fledgling nation, preachers served the roles of Fox News, Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh and internet news sites. Americans heard more about current events from preachers than any other source. Preachers educated the people on what they were fighting against (tyranny and idolatry) and what they were fighting for (the Kingdom of God). When the British Parliament passed the 1766 Declaratory Act, preachers understood its blasphemous assertion that the British King superseded the authority of God. The American Revolution was a spiritual event.
In modern-day America, the state follows the Declaratory Act of 1766 in that it imposes limits on churches organized as non-profits under IRS rules. Current legislation will further limit and criminalize admonitions against sodomy, pedophilia, and a host of other evils.
A few things from my point of view: (1) revival is for the church not the lost, (2) God’s judgment comes on the church before it falls on the unbelievers, (3) with respect to community leadership, I see very little difference between churches and I know of none in my community that fulfill a leadership role outside the “box”. I sense our nation rapidly approaches a point of no return and the only hope our nation has is for the church to be the church God intended it to be. Bill Hybels rightfully says, “The local church is the hope of the world.” A life preserver is only relevant to a drowning man. At this moment in time, US citizens hear debates about socialized medicine, same-sex marriage, one-world currency and pros and cons of abortion. I think the fear of appearing “political” could be better characterized as a fear of man. It is not possible to separate civil and spiritual leadership. We are, today, engaged in a spiritual battle whose importance overshadows the American Revolution. Now, as then, the struggle to save America is a spiritual event.