A few days ago I was reflecting on my ministry over the years. In the process of doing so, I reflected on what I thought to be my strengths and weaknesses. Being “dear old Ted”, I found an ample number in each area; in fact I found too many negatives to suit me, and decided that all I was ending with was a personal crucifixion.
Looking back on the beginning of my ministry I probably said some things in a “holy boldness”, as I thought, and as the years went by, I probably said things in such a manner as not to cross swords. In reflection, considering my congregation I think I found a balance. It was the word that I hung on the wall behind my desk, just in case I needed to move one direction or the other.
Looking at problems that plague our churches in this hour, I am convinced that they are run more like a business than a church. My beloved wife said quite often, I am glad that we are at the end of our ministry as over against the beginning.
A little thought ran through my mind of recent; it was something that was written in 1 Corinthians 4:14… “I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”
The church at Corinth had a multiplicity of problems, thirteen as I recall. In dealing with those problems the apostle had to return to its history. He was the messenger used of God to establish that church, to which he returned on two additional occasions.
He was determined to deal with those problems piece meal. Naturally, you always have those who say the equivalent of: “And who is he that he thinks he is able to dictate to us. In fact he is writing to us “boldly”. But, if he should return, he will be “milk toast” in the manner in which he speaks to us.”
In no uncertain terms, the Apostle writes and assures them, “clean up your act before I arrive, because you will see just how staunch I can be.” (I hope you did not get upset with my rendition in the vernacular.)
It is important that we consider our tone when dealing with a problem. I would say to the congregation in a business meeting, “Watch your tone or I will ask you to sit until you can say it with love emanating from every word.”
No one, get that, no one in a meeting should aspire to think themselves more important than another. A good illustration is the widow who gave “two mites”. Before the Lord it was equal or above what some others thought they had given. (Luke 21:1-4)
We have to learn to converse, like the Apostle to the Church at Corinth, with boldness and love, no matter how we see the others weakness.