Why the church being the church is a gift to society.
in Manhattan might be famous for its recently retired preacher, Tim Keller; and many Comment readers will know Redeemer as the home base for Kuyperian endeavours like the Center for Faith and Work. But in a recent conversation, Dr. Keller and Comment editor in chief James K.A. Smith discussed how the nitty-gritty work of pastoral care and church discipline is fundamental to the church's witness in a globalized world. Here's the first part of that conversation. The rest can be found in Comment's upcoming Fall 2017 issue, A Church for the World.
“Most elder conflict I’ve seen isn’t between elders. It’s between one of the elders’ wives and another elder.” I was talking to a friend about being a pastor’s wife, and I tried to comprehend the bold statement she made. Is that true? I wondered. Could an elder’s wife really cause that much conflict within a team of elders? I wrestled with the idea and soon realized my friend’s observation was not far-fetched. While most elders’ wives I know are encouraging and supportive of their elder boards, some incite turmoil and unrest. Let me explain.
You don’t need to be anything more than a casual observer of American (and Western) culture to know that something significant is happening. Charlottesville, Ferguson, Baltimore and a host of other cities that have seen events which symbolize the problems this generation is struggling with will, sadly, likely give way to a list of more cities and events yet to come. Terror attacks in North America and a host of global cities seem to happen weekly. In addition, the current political division is as bad as it’s been in a long time.
So how do we respond to the situation we’re in? While some in our culture believe the church is part of the problem, I believe it’s key to the solution. Jesus is the love we keep missing as human beings. He is who we all really long for, and in Christ, we find our unity. So how does the church better function as part of the solution rather than as part of the problem? Here are four ways Christians and the church can bring hope to the increasingly fragile culture around us.
I have no idea how much “a pastor” works. I’m sure a few pastors don’t work enough, while many others work way too much. I did some reading recently about why pastors leave the ministry, and the authors cited an interesting study. In the 1950s the average pastor worked 69 hours a week, while in the 1990s the average pastor worked between 48–55 hours (Hoge and Wenger, Pastors in Transition, 226). That’s a significant drop, and a healthy one if you ask me.
Seed to Oaks is an organization that exists to mobilize the local church to the front lines of social change. They work with local churches, non-profits, government agencies and businesses to pioneer efforts that address systemic injustice. If you're someone who imagines a world where every local church is restoring its community, this event is for you. Join us as we seek to help local churches understand their own neighborhoods and develop strategies that accelerate their ability to disciple the poor out of poverty.