Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A New Direction for OKpreacher

Over the last six months I have been in a crisis of calling, identity, and faith. I and Mrs. OKpreacher left our church in Texas to move back to Oklahoma to plant a non-traditional Baptist church six months ago. I felt that being a Baptist was important because of our message and our commitment to missions and therefore this church had to be Baptist in it’s identity. I thought I had everything figured out for the support and partners we needed to begin this church, I wasn’t even close. As we experienced four months of consistent family sickness and long hours of work to just get by, frustration sat in. “Where is God?” and “How did we get here?” where the questions running through my mind. We were alone.

Since I have been a long time blogger, I stayed up on reading what was going on in our convention and my heart was broken. To hear statements knocking a desire to work with other Christians around the world for the gospel of Christ because they weren’t Southern Baptist made me sick. There were other issues that caused me to oppose leaders of our seminaries. I disagreed with them on the issues of closed communion, a ban on private prayer language, a ban on teaching moderation concerning alcohol, and that women can’t teach theology at a seminary. Because I hold these views it is clear that I’m an outsider in the eyes of our seminary presidents and this lead to my crisis of religious identity.

I need to mention the Biblical truths I stood upon as I went through this crisis. First, God is God and He is still in control. I held to the fact that God has no labels and my identity isn’t founded in being Baptist, but my identity is founded in Christ Jesus. I stuck to the fact that God is at work building His Kingdom for His glory. I can’t be concerned about what Baptists are doing, but what God is doing. Lastly, I held to the fact that, just like Abraham, God’s got the next step planned out.

Here are things as I see them. I can’t plant a church that would be supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. I have realized that if I’m going to be effective in ministry I need some supporters and teammates. I’m not a “Lone Ranger” minister. I see two options for me. Option one is I can pastor a Southern Baptist church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions. Option two is I can pastor or serve a church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions, but isn’t a Southern Baptist church.

God has me at the point of were I can let go of my Baptist Identity, so that I can do more for His Kingdom. If God wants me to stay Southern Baptist so be it, but my new direction is to stay focused on His Kingdom and His Righteousness. My call, identity, and faith are all in Christ Jesus as Lord.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were never alone and have you been building support by communicating your feelings and thoughts? Have you been allowing those around you to share in what you are feeling? Are you sure you are not allowing your fears, disappointments affect your decision making? What did you expect church planting to be like? What will happen when you are working with those who do not agree or approve of what you think or teach?

7/11/2007  
Blogger OKpreacher said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thankfully we were never truly alone because of the presence and promises of Christ, but we did experience times of feeling very alone.

For time sake I will only answer a couple of your questions.

I expected church planting to be hard, but to be able to have some support as we began this journey. I thought I could be a lone ranger minister if need be, but I have realized that I need help.

When people disagree with me or my teaching I will throw them out of the church. Just kidding. Depending on the disagreement, I hope to be able to unite everyone together under the Great Commission and Great Commandment in submission to the Lordship of Christ.

I don't mind working with people who disagree with me on non-salvation issues, but I also won't force myself on a group of people that think I'm unfit to be a missionary or a minister of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for the questions and sorry I only had time for a few answers.

Keeping it real,

OKpreacher

7/11/2007  
Blogger absonjourney said...

It is possible to plant a SBC church without worrying about the opinions of a few. You just have to do it without SBC money...

Now that sounds fair doesn't it? :)

Call me next time you are in Oklahoma, we have a lot to talk about.

Ryan Abs

7/12/2007  
Blogger OKpreacher said...

Ryan,

I am very happy to see you in the little world of blog. I add a link to your blog so hopefully more people will read your challenging articles.

I will give you a shout soon and your suggestion is an option that we have prayed through, but for other reasons, besides money, have found it lacking. Tell you more when we talk.

Keep praying for us and know that I'm praying for you. You are a hero of the faith.

Keeping It Real,

OKpreacher

7/12/2007  

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