Sunday, May 21, 2006

PARTNERS

I recently heard Dr. James Garlow speak in response to the DaVinci Code and was reminded of a book he wrote when he was the minister of lay development in Oklahoma City. Simply titled, “Partners in Ministry,” Garlow fluently addressed the topic of laity and pastors working together in his book.

It has been a joy to work alongside Pastors Gary Hashley and Peter Newland this past year. Their passion for sharing the Gospel and biblical teaching denotes exemplary pastoral leadership. The joy of partnering with them and their families in relationship to worship development was an exhilarating experience.

With their departure, it is time for me to leave the dance as well and to seek an opportunity for my family to worship and partner in ministry elsewhere. With our resources in worship development stripped now to a mere few people, I believe others need to wrestle with the reality of providing meaningful worship experiences at Nortonville Chapel.

This entire situation seems considerably more complicated than first appears. However, the responsibility of church leadership to partner in ministry has failed. Some have failed to support their pastors—some have failed to make decisions that would promote the wineskins to stretch and grow in order to contain the cataclysmic power of the Holy Spirit—and some have failed to fulfill their role as elders and deacons of a new testament church.

I also believe we have witnessed a failure of church governance in that many issues would have been resolved through the design of sufficient by-laws that enable appropriate decision making by church leadership. Research shows that 43 percent of forced-out ministers said a "faction" pushed them out, and 71 percent of those stated that the faction numbered 10 persons or less.

It appears that a small group of people were planning to ask for a pastoral resignation at the recent congregational meeting; which seems, at least, inappropriate if not contrary to most church by-laws which would require 2/3 of the voting membership to even approve such a motion. Although doubtful, I hope church leadership responds with appropriate disciplinary action to this group.

I am discouraged with behaviors that fail to promote unity: the turmoil surrounding the Nooma study and one of the most effective small groups in which I have ever participated; the inappropriate response to a meaningful women’s retreat that discouraged planners to consider a future endeavor; unacceptance of various musical forms used in worship even when a blended design was encouraged; allowing a staff member to remain employed when they chose not to attend; and a failure of the church board to communicate openly and frequently with the congregation.

We will miss many wonderful people in our departure. As I watched my mother hang on to life this afternoon in the nursing home, I again realized that life is about cycles—some short, some long. This has not been a long tenure, but one that has allowed me to partner in worship development and for my family to enjoy many wonderful relationships as we grew in God’s grace.

1 Comments:

At 11:01 AM, Pastor D. said...

Kirby please take these comments as constructive rather than destructive.

I wholeheartedly agree that laity and pastors must work together and since I am not a “do it all yourself” kind of guy if things are going to get done they will be done in a team effort. Scripture is quite clear that we all are to use the gifts God has given us as we worship and serve together.


”With their departure, it is time for me to leave…” I hope this does not mean you were following the man and not the Lord.

“With our resources in worship development stripped now to a mere few people,” What better time to stay and help bail the water than when the ship has been shot full of holes. Of course it is much easier to jump ship.

When you say “church leadership to partner in ministry has failed” I assume you include pastor Gary and Peter in this since they were the leaders of the leaders.

“Research shows that 43 percent of forced-out ministers said a "faction" pushed them out, and 71 percent of those stated that the faction numbered 10 persons or less.” I would tend to think that 43% is a low number if the truth be known. It is almost always a very small faction usually one or two men (or women pulling the strings) who want things their way and they have sufficient means or charisma to undermine every thing the pastor attempts to do so that it appears every one is out to get him. I have personaly been “forced” out ultimately because of two men. Yet in all honesty I could/should have handled things differently but then hindsight is 20/20. I have grown and learned much through it all.

”It appears that a small group of people…” Was this a fact or just an appearance?

“Although doubtful, I hope church leadership responds with appropriate disciplinary action to this group. Did you personally meet with the board to relay this concern?

I am discouraged with behaviors that fail to promote unity: the turmoil surrounding the Nooma study and one of the most effective small groups in which I have ever participated; the inappropriate response to a meaningful women’s retreat that discouraged planners to consider a future endeavor; unacceptance of various musical forms used in worship even when a blended design was encouraged; allowing a staff member to remain employed when they chose not to attend; and a failure of the church board to communicate openly and frequently with the congregation.”

These words of yours are quite scathing towards the Nortonville Gospel Chapel and they raise at least a couple of questions in my mind.

1. There are usually two perspectives to any disagreement/misunderstanding. Did you bother to seriously research from both perspectives? If not you have done the body of Christ at NGC a very serious diservice and I would encourage you to deal with the Lord and those you have accused.

2. As said earlier, did you personally meet with the elder board at a formal meeting to discuss your grievances and concerns with an open heart and mind? If not then you were a part of the dissention and not a peacemaker.

3. How dare you air the failings of brothers and sisters in Christ to a lost world via the worldwide web or by any other means!!! Without a doubt there is a place to air those failings but they are ALWAYS within the family and NEVER to the outside world. In this case it does not matter if you had received every perspective out there on these things you were 1000% wrong and sinful to open the failings of God’s children to the world. We are here to proclaim the love and grace of the sinless Lord and Savior not turn the lost off by the escapades of us not so sinless Christians. Let me encourage you for your sake (for God cannot be pleased) to refrain from the public sharing of believer negatives (of which there are many) and repent for the damage you may have already caused to the Kingdom of God.

Without a doubt there is much work to be done by the Lord here at NGC and if you can shed some constructive light on what you see as needs I am all ears. We are here not only to point this body to the One whom it is all about (Jesus) but to point others to the Savior as well. If I can be of any spiritual assistance to you please do not hesitate to call or write.

One last word, the folks here have been very gracious in any discussion we have had concerning Pastor Gary and his ministry here. I have been very pleased with the LACK of any mudslinging towards his ministry. I have sensed a love for him and his family existed by most. Perhaps many of the nay-slayers on both sides have moved on.

In His love and service forever

Dr. Dennis Snyder
Senior Pastor Nortonville Gospel Chapel

 

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