Where There's A Will, There's A Way
The April meetings of the General Executive Council left more folks than normal with some degree of hope. This is good.
The task ahead of us is formidable – finding a better way to do what Baptists need to do as a family.
The ABC-USA President has called together a meeting in late May of Board Presidents & CEOs and REMC officers. The GEC will again go to work in June and Sept. The hope is that something may be set in place in time to be presented to the Biennial in 2007. This is a big mountain to get over.
Can the ABC family become a fellowship characterized by commitment to mission, and fluidity of trust, communication, actions & responses? Can we respect our right to have differences? Where is the boundary?
Can we effectively put in place administrative structures nationally and regionally that are under positive, constant review? Can we keep our structures lean? Can we be clear about what we are doing and why?
How do we meet our mission with as few administrative players as possible? Can we create a culture that continually pushes the focus of the mission action to front line missionaries and local churches while providing appropriate systems for motivation, education, support and quality control?
It is boring to hear people bad-mouth Valley Forge. Many of the critics haven’t taken the time to really find out the phenomenal amount of work that is generated from that place by dedicated persons of faith. Are there problems there? Of course. There are problems in regions and local churches, too.
I was driving to an Association meeting yesterday, listening to a Canadian interview program on my satellite radio. The fellow was talking about self-righteousness. We expect others to meet our expectations, never realizing we are not meeting theirs. In our ABC family, we tend to think that someone else is dropping the ball, not us. The reality is we are all failing each other in some way or other.
Let me say a word about bureaucracies. Their natural tendency is to grow. This can be good or bad. But you’ve got to watch them.
But we also need to grow up and realize that it takes people to make things happen. Americans want the best government in the world but don’t want to pay for it. In ABC, it takes people God has gifted with administrative and bureaucratic skills to make things work. I believe that excellent bureaucracies make it easier to get a job done. They are the oil that makes it possible for machinery to run smoothly. Denominational organizations, mission agencies, and local churches are most effective over the long haul with really great system support.
In the ABC we have the capacity to resolve enough of our conflict so that we can move ahead. The only question is whether we have the will (and enough of the love of Jesus) to keep at the task.