The church is both a healing community and a mission community. Most churches focus on the first aspect. They try to comfort people and help solve their problems. Seoul Baptist Church has focused on the second aspect. I believe that when churches become mission communities, reaching non-believers, helping them receive Christ and live their lives as light and salt of the world, healing naturally follows.
When a church wants to become a mission community, its members must become one. No matter how talented and dedicated the individual members are, their mission cannot be accomplished unless the church unites around their leader. This leader is their pastor.
I’ve heard some church members say that they’ll retire when I do. As I said in one of my Pastor’s Corners, Christian workers don’t truly retire until they stand before God. However, it is possible for older people to yield some of their responsibilities to younger people. For those who are considering doing this, I ask them to do so before I retire. Otherwise, people may think that they’re quitting because of conflicts with the new pastor. This speculation may unsettle some people.
Our church is a special group with a special task: restoring the New Testament church. If we were part of the military, we’d be the Marine Corps. If we were a military unit, we’d be special commandos. Our church asks its members for commitment and sacrifice, and some people may not like it.
Some of these people may be hoping that our church will become less demanding when the pastoral leadership changes. But unless the purpose of the church – reaching non-believers and making them disciples of Jesus – changes, the church won’t change, regardless of who becomes senior pastor.
I’m a little concerned that these people may raise their voices to bring about the changes they want, causing trouble for the church and hurting themselves in the process. I urge these people to abandon hope that our church will become a comfortable place for them and become active members now. If they cannot do that I urge them to find a church they like and serve there instead of being spectators as many of them are now doing. God will be more pleased when they do that.
If you decide to retire or move to another church, please do so by the end of March. That will leave me 3 months to deal with the aftermath and deliver our church to my successor with a clean slate.
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