Passion to Work Together

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 14:4

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Around the turn of the millennium, I had recently read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. This book was recommended to me by my brother-in-Christ Jeff. He had read it and thought I would be interested.

“Interested” turned out to be an understatement.

The Lord used this book to change my life and change the way I am a pastor.

Along with The Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley, Wild and Heart inspired me to start True Men Ministries. I had begun to write devotions just prior to reading this book, but now my devotional writing took off!

I also began a men’s Bible study at my church. And then I asked a group of men to be my “band of brothers” and we went through John Eldredge’s video based small-group study Band of Brothers.

“Men want a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” – John Eldredge in Wild at Heart.

This touched something in my heart that God used to make me come alive as a Christian man. The Lord has used it to inspire me to be a better husband and father and pastor.

The Band of Brothers group led directly to the founding of True Men Ministries and our first major event would be to offer Band of Brothers to the men of our church body’s district.

I set up the event to take place at a Lutheran camp in the late fall and started promoting it in district newsletters and emails.

It was soon after the promotions started that I got a phone call from a brother pastor in a neighboring church.

At first I was excited! I thought he wanted to sign up his men’s group for the event. But instead, he was calling to question me about using John Eldredge’s materials for the event. After all, John Eldredge is not a member of our particular denomination or church body.

Did I say “questioning”? It was more like an interrogation and after about 10 minutes of this, I had had enough. I could barely get a word in edge-wise. He didn’t really give me an opportunity to explain how I was going to use the materials. He wouldn’t give me the chance to tell him how I would make sure that anything that was not in agreement with our particular confession of faith would be pointed out as a different viewpoint and not actually endorsed by me or our church.

Another 10 minutes went by and I finally told him that I had to go and hung up on him.

The next day I got a call from my ecclesiastical supervisor informing me that this brother pastor had lodged an official complaint against me with his office.

I couldn’t believe it! This new start and direction of ministry was not getting off to a good start! I was being accused of promoting materials that were not in line with our official church’s teaching!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I would never willingly promote something that wasn’t in line with what God’s Word says. I also wouldn’t teach anything that was contradictory with the confessional statements of my church body (The Book of Concord).

I must admit that I appreciate the zeal of my brother pastor who had interrogated me and lodged the complaint. I’m just as zealous in my passion to reach men and their families with the message of what God wants for them!

The fact that Jesus Christ bled and died to save us from our sins inspires this kind of passion in Christians! And I don’t want to stifle this in any way, shape, or form.

I do pray that we can figure out how to work together with our different avenues of passion. I pray that we can see that different opinions and different practices do not necessarily make us enemies.

Instead of judging one another, I pray we can support one another and build each other up. And if we cannot agree with one another on everything, we will trust that God loves us all enough to keep up in the one, true faith as we serve him the best we can!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for different opinions and practices in the Church. I pray that even though there are differences, we can all be together in proclaiming the Good News of salvation by grace alone through faith alone as revealed in Scripture alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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