Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the Road

My job (and passion) is local. I am the local pastor of a local church. So, I don't travel much. However, last night, I returned from a trip to Belize. I hope to write more on that later after I formulate my thoughts. However, let me say that I loved meeting the Americans and the Belizeans there who are serving Christ. It is a difficult work. Yet, there are people there committed to serving Christ and His church.
Tomorrow morning, I will be traveling to Montana. One of the adjustments to being in the West is that our presbytery ( the "local" grouping of our PCA churches) encompasses three states. So, I will be flying to a presbytery meeting. That is much different than what I have been accustom to for the past 20 years.
On my trip, I finished Gordon McDonald's Who Stole My Church and Nate Larkin's Samson and the Pirate Monks. Both were interesting reads. McDonald does a good job of demonstrating the church's need to change, but not excluding the older members. He makes a wonderful case for older and younger generations working together. In facing change, one of the things that I appreciate about being a Presbyterian is that our Confession allows us to change without losing our anchor or our rootedness. I appreciate both our confessional nature and our tradition--not because they keep us from changing, but because they allow us to change without losing what is important. Frankly, I am fearful for churches do are not confessional in nature as they go through cultural shifts. Without the confessional grid, I am not sure how they are going to distinguish the baby from the bath water. Of course, confessionalism in and of itself is not a perfect safeguard (look at our mainline churches), but it is helpful.

Speaking of managing change, I saw this blog post on trends by D. A. Carson. I found point #4, "There is a trend in our churches to be consumed by social concern" to be particularly helpful. I believe he strikes the right balance for the church on this issue.

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