Sunday, January 31, 2010

Consider the Inside as Well as the Outside

One of the very helpful nights to me during this transition (this series begins with October 1, 2009 post) was when an eldership agreed to meet with me to tell me why they didn’t want me to be their preacher. We met – at my request – in their building, for them to tell me why I didn’t fit in that congregation and how, from their viewpoint, I could be more effective in my preaching and teaching during the “try out” Sunday. That facet of truth, early in the process, helped me to do a better job of “trying out” with several other congregations.

God teaches in His word that we are to be more concerned with the inside than with the externals. I remember having preached that principle (I Samuel 16:7), but I also recall being so impressed years ago with a new church building and a large Sunday morning attendance that I agreed to move to a congregation where there was clearly not a basis for a good working relationship between me and the elders of that church. They hired me at 9:30 one Wednesday night. After thinking about the heart of the situation as well as the externals, I resigned at 6:00 the next morning. Solomon wrote, “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a wide house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 25:24).

I am thankful for the experience of the months of evaluation of myself and where I needed to be. It was a good opportunity to learn and to test God’s principles.


Daniel said...

What evidence would make you believe you could have a "good working relationship?"

Jerrie W. Barber said...

1. Checking references with people who have worked them in the past.
2. Verbal and written agreements that we would grow together, learn together, and have mutual evaluations on a regular basis.
3. Observation and reflection during the negotiation-discussion time. Were the working agreements worked out together or were they one-sided?