Pastor’s ponderings

During this spring term of my seminary journey I find myself taking two classes: The Prophets and Church Finance and Administration.  Initially they sound totally unrelated.  However, over these past several weeks I have found they are related in so many ways, and ways that are reflective of the church today.

            The ancient prophets, as found in the Old Testament, were messengers for God in times of national crisis.  When things weren’t going according to God’s design, God sent these prophets to proclaim to the nations and their leaders that correction must occur, otherwise something unfortunate may occur in the near future.  Often, the prophets pointed to three primary problems: the people’s turn toward false idols, their reliance on religious ritualism instead of relationship, and a lack of focus on social justice.  The prophets were known to proclaim these facts in the face of the masses of people, the temple priests, and even the kings, for they knew that it was the right thing to do.  They did not hesitate in their task; when they saw something going awry, they stepped in to deal with the difficult situation.

            Ironically, that is a lot of what my other class has been about.  We often think of church finance and administration as the “business” side of the church – paying the bills, making sure the building is taken care of, etc.  However, my professor for this course has pointed out that this “business” is actually something quite different – it is about how to deal with people, especially difficult people that don’t understand what is happening or want to do things their way instead of how God intended.  This professor challenged us that dealing with church finances and administration is intensely spiritual because it is about reminding ourselves who we are doing it for and why.  In some sense, as church leaders, we must also be prophets speaking into the “business” context to redirect us back to the spirituality of what we have been called to do.

            We all have difficult tasks to face, even in the life of operating the church.  Yet, we must keep our focus in the right place in order to be successful at what we have been called to do.  If not, we are doomed to be conquered by the outside world, exiled from the spiritual places, and outcast just as the early prophets warned their people.  Perhaps we all need to ponder how to prevent his from happening in our world today.

                                                                                                Pastor Steve

“The spirit in which we do things determines our success.”

Dr. William H. Whitaker, II

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