Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Best Thing About My Faith Family

I have a great job! But it’s so much more than a job. My work is my calling.

design[1]A friend recently asked me about my favorite part of our work. I didn’t have to think twice about my response.

My favorite part of the ministry in which I am involved is not the meetings. I love my colleagues and my leaders but I’m not a big fan of sitting around a table and working through an agenda. I’m not especially fond of traveling. Crowded planes and long car rides wear me down. Dealing with bankers and attorneys and real estate agents can be taxing (sorry friends who serve in those roles). And, honestly there are a few things about my faith family that are difficult. There are politics. There are egos. There is conflict. Of course, these things are evident in all organizations.

But the best part of our faith family is the people. My wife and I have the distinct privilege of serving in a leadership role for our denomination. As part of our responsibilities, we travel to a variety of places and meet a lot of great people. Every place we go, we are reminded about how precious the people in our movement are. We meet so many hard working, faithful and competent people. Pastors, church leaders, church members…every place we visit we find a consistent batch of great folks who love God and are working hard to build His kingdom. I refer to them as the backbone of the church. They are by far the best thing about our faith family.

I find it interesting that a few people choose to leave our group. I have a couple of friends who have decided that they can do better. That is between them and God and I hold no ill feelings toward them. But unfortunately, the reasons I hear from my friends who leave are, in my estimation, shallow. The aforementioned difficulties usually make the list: too many politics, too many egos, too much conflict. I see what they are saying and I agree that these are problems. But here is my point:

The quality of the people makes the challenges well worth it!

I’m not blind – I see the problems. And many people I know are working hard on and making progress toward engaging solutions. But rising far above these issues in my mind are the men and women who make up my tribe. I refuse to throw away relationships with so many awesome people because there are organizational challenges. The more I travel and the more people I get to meet and work with, the more I am convinced, I’m in the best family on earth.

I’m thankful for my faith family; it’s a privilege for me to serve in this capacity. By the way, I am a part of the Church of God.


Is it Time to Boycott the Boycotts?

boycott-1A powerful way to get what you want is to refuse to support. It works with companies, in friendships and in families. We are seeing an increase of people who are making strong statements about their values by cutting ties with those who disagree with them. We refuse to buy products, patronize businesses and support companies. In a manner of speaking, it works, but there are some results we should consider.

It’s getting more difficult to keep up with the list of banned companies. If we continue on current trends, we may run out of things to boycott.

Think about this- companies whose practices or policies are in opposition to our convictions can become the enemy. But here is the problem: they are not the enemy.

Coffee companies, theme parks and state governments are not the enemy. Our enemy is the devil. We are reminded in the Bible, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Another issue that will arise out of a boycotting mentality: communication breaks down. Once the conversations end, the possibility of agreement ends. Burned bridges are hard to rebuild. If we refuse to engage with others, we give up on the possibility of reaching people. Rather than coming to a place of understanding, even if the understanding is disagreement, we come to a place of hopelessness.

One more issue to bring up here: when we have a mentality of boycotting, we get used to being in control. Vendettas and revenge can make us feel powerful. If someone doesn’t do what we like, we can, through our withdrawal, control them. Well, we can’t actually control them but we can end the relationship. Is that the goal? I hope not.

Finally, what goes around comes around. Pastors who train church members to boycott in order to bring change shouldn’t be surprised if church members boycott the church in order to bring change. If we live by boycotting, we may die by boycotting. If we cut ties with others who disagree with us, we should expect those who disagree with us to cut ties with us. Soon, we will live a completely isolated life. It’s neither healthy nor logical to expect everyone to agree.

Let’s not get caught in the trap of boycotting. It may work for us to feel like we are in control, but we are not.

And if you don’t like my ideas, you can always boycott this blog site. Just kidding!