August 2017 Newslet­ter Arti­cle

An asso­ci­a­tion pas­tor recent­ly com­ment­ed that folks may not ful­ly under­stand or appre­ci­ate the des­ig­na­tion, “bi-voca­tion­al pas­tor.” He may be cor­rect. First, and most obvi­ous, shep­herd­ing is

cer­tain­ly not a 9–5 job and we should appre­ci­ate the inter­nal and exter­nal strug­gle of hav­ing a desire to give more in the feed­ing and care of your flock, but pos­sess­ing only a finite amount of time and men­tal and emo­tion­al ener­gy to accom­plish all your work. This is cer­tain­ly no small obsta­cle.

Sec­ond, and maybe the thing we real­ly miss about being bi-voca­tion­al, this method of min­istry is a pow­er­ful expres­sion of the doc­trine of the priest­hood of the believ­er. Ear­ly on in the life of the Church our lead­ers did us a dis­ser­vice by sep­a­rat­ing the “sacred” work of the cler­gy from the every­day life of the com­mon per­son. We devel­op a priest­ly class, like the Levites of the Old Tes­ta­ment, but under the New Covenant, every­one in Christ is a roy­al priest­hood. God does not live in a build­ing, each believ­er is the holy of holies in which God dwells. Full of the Holy Spir­it, every­where we go, we are Christ on earth. Through Christ, God is redeem­ing all things. Those that have adopt­ed a king­dom agen­da are com­mit­ted to being redemp­tive in every­thing they put their hands to do, every­thing our Lord gives us to do. King­dom work­ers do not live com­part­men­tal­ized lives. Whether we eat or drink, repair cars or set bones, grow things, sell goods or ser­vices, help peo­ple man­age their resources or infor­ma­tion, teach or gov­ern, or what­ev­er we do; we do all for the glo­ry of God. We are cowork­ers with the new Adam, to reverse the curse and defeat the work of Satan inev­ery place and in every way, “as far as the curse is found.”

Our pas­tors, who work “in the world,” have a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to bridge the gap between the sacred and pro­fane and bring the redemp­tive pres­ence of the Holy Spir­it into places that des­per­ate­ly need the Christ in us. They not only pre­pare ser­mons, they are ser­mons. Con­trary to being less “min­istry,” bi-voca­tion­al min­istry is as real as it gets.

On anoth­er note, our under­stand­ing of the aton­ing work of Christ makes all the dif­fer­ence in how we under­stand our call­ing and the work of the Church. At this year’s South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion our denom­i­na­tion affirmed the cen­tral­i­ty of the doc­trine of Penal Sub­sti­tu­tion­ary Atone­ment. I’ve writ­ten a report on what we said and why we felt the need to speak out on this top­ic at this time. Find my report at http://www.dbachurches.com/blog/

 


July Newslet­ter Arti­cle

Suc­cess­ful finan­cial investors don’t jump at the sight of every shiny new pen­ny. They don’t react to every change in the mar­ket. They play the long-game. The overnight suc­cess is rare. More often, wealth is built through wise incre­men­tal invest­ments over the long haul.

As I write this, I’m at DBA Children’s Camp in Adri­an. I see the long-term strate­gic val­ue in hav­ing a local Asso­ci­a­tion camp. The kids that attend our children’s camp meet here year after year and build Christ cen­tered long-term local rela­tion­ships with oth­er kids and adults in our area. The coun­selors here are like fam­i­ly. Many of them attend­ed camp here as kids. The strength of our camp is in the rela­tion­ships that are devel­oped, local long-term rela­tion­ships.

Surge camp is upon us and I expect to find the same long-range spir­i­tu­al invest­ment plan­ning at Surge that I expe­ri­enced at our children’s camp. In fact, this year’s theme at Surge is “Lega­cy.” Jeff McCormick will be our camp pas­tor and I’m con­fi­dent he will teach us about the eter­nal impact of a life well lived, a life in step with the truths of the gospel. Please pray for Jeff and our Surge Camp lead­er­ship as they min­is­ter to our youth this year.

As South­ern Bap­tists we need to be con­sis­tent and in step with the truth of the gospel. At the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion this year we addressed sev­er­al impor­tant issues. One of the issues addressed was the anti-gospel mes­sage of white suprema­cy. I wrote a piece on what tran­spired, which is online at http://www.dbachurches.com/blog. Socio-eco­nom­ic and racial seg­re­ga­tion, or even par­tial­i­ty, with­in the church is cer­tain­ly not in step with the truth of the gospel, but some ships take a long-time to turn.

God has his eye on the long-game. Over time, the influ­ence of Satan and the ways of this world will prove false. The truth of the gospel will become evi­dent as the Church faith­ful­ly walks in step with the Spir­it of God. If we will make choic­es that shape our church­es and our Asso­ci­a­tion in such a way as to reflect the truths of the gospel, I know we will shine as lights to this world. I’m pray­ing that God will give our Asso­ci­a­tion the wis­dom, vision and for­ti­tude to keep in step with the Holy Spir­it and adopt a long-range spir­i­tu­al invest­ment strat­e­gy that will ulti­mate­ly accu­mu­late siz­able king­dom div­i­dends.

From the Desk of Bro. Bil­ly