Monthly Theme: Curiosity
Reading time: two minutes
Satan’s not that clever. We know his strategy.
He wants to pit pastors against other pastors. He loves it when pastors don’t get along.
Jesus has a different strategy: unity in Christian leadership. He never sent the disciples out alone, but bound them to one another, with plenty of time to talk and learn and bless and grow on their journeys.
Paul describes it well. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:25-27)
Talk to each other. Communicate well. Don’t give the devil a foothold.
Disagreements among pastors are the devil’s base of operations. He can move in there and cause trouble for generations.
But he hates it when we talk, listen, learn from each other, build unity, and move together in mission like we’re on the same team.
My suggestion is that we get curious about each other. I like to call it “Intellectual Wellness.” Listen and learn. Listening is much better than blanket judgments and uninformed criticism.
We all have beliefs and we all have opinions. When we can distinguish the difference between the two, we’re more likely to have productive conversations that lead to unity and understanding.
We also have stories. It might be good to hear those, too!
As pastors in the Church, we have a responsibility to INFORM one another’s beliefs.
Theological and doctrinal conversation is critically important. Ecclesiastical supervision is for our benefit. When pastors are engaged in scripture study and theological education with one another, the devil flees.
My experience in our church body is that there is a wondrous and holy agreement among us on matters of the faith. The Koinonia Project showed time and again that when we sit together and talk theology, we agree far more often than we expected!
One of my greatest joys in leading Grace Place Wellness Retreats is observing pastors around tables for a week finding the joy of agreement in the faith despite a wide variety of backgrounds, ministries (even seminaries!) It happens every time.
As pastors in the Church, we have the opportunity to DEBATE ideas and opinions.
Open, honest conversation reveals that our points of disagreement with other pastors are very often not over matters of doctrine and belief, but over opinions and individual perspective on Christian freedom.
A healthy curiosity about our peer’s opinions can usually clarify the difference between matters of the faith that are not debatable and ideas or opinions that are.
We owe it to one another to have conversations that will help us discern the difference, and then enter into a healthier debate.
And as pastors in the Church, we have the duty to RESPECT each other’s stories.
Your story is your story, and yours alone. I have no business judging or criticizing who you are, where you’re from, or what you have experienced on your journey.
But I am greatly enriched by hearing your story.
Check that: WE are greatly enriched when we hear each other’s.
Let’s stay curious.
Thanks for reading.