Thursday, May 11, 2006

Broken and Inflamed...

Is my heart right now about all that is brewing at Germantown Baptist Church. I love this church, and God has used it to bring such joy and comfort to me in a big, new, scary, secular place like Memphis and pharmacy school. It was a shock for me coming from the Bubble of Union, and this church was a lifeline. I have been fed with Biblical Truth, blessed with the presence of Holy Spirit during worship services, and given the experience of true fellowship among believers in that place. All of this occurred under the leadership of Dr. Sam Shaw. God could have used anyone He chose to grow that church exponentially as He has since Pastor Sam got here in 1998. But He used Sam...because Sam has been obedient and responsive to the things God has laid on his heart. Is he perfect? NO! Is anyone? Does that mean we just shank all positions of Biblical leadership simply because no one is perfectly fit to lead them? NO! And handicap grace? What does Paul go over and over again? God's power is seen in man's weakness? He uses the fools of the earth to shame the wise? No one is adequate apart from the grace Christ died to afford us.

My point is, and I have a few of them, all of the people that voted against the new Constitution and Bylaws were NOT voting against Sam. The "Save GBC"ers are highly misinformed if they believe that to be the case. It is unfair and incorrect for them to speak for those they have not spoken to. And then to tell that to the media! Absurdity.

Here's one of the articles that has come out recently in the Commercial Appeal:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/germantown/article/0,1426

Please check it out. I hate that I'm leaving my church home at a time like this. But I'm not going to fail to protect and preserve it. There are rumors of people working to ask for Pastor Sam's and most of the staff's resignation. One key staff member has already resigned. And I'm mad about it. Who will fight for them? Who will defend them? They are the people God has used to grow the church in width and depth, to give the church true vision for outreach and evangelism, and to carry the church on to fulfill God-sized missions that man would never think possible. And people want them GONE? Just because they're not comfortable with a guitar instead of an organ? Or because the person sitting beside them in the church pew doesn't look just like them? Does the congregation own the preacher and his job? Is that what Paul preached in the New Testament? Does he who has the biggest tithe get the loudest voice? Is that where we are? I'm mad. I'm disappointed in God's people...in the Body of Christ.

My prayer is that God will come in power, that He will bring His justice swiftly. I pray that He will love those who are astray back into the fold. I pray that He will give me a heart that is burdened and constantly praying for those deceived. I pray that He will bring His Light and His Truth in power, and the wolves in sheeps clothing would be revealed. I pray to Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals, that He will do what only He can in the hearts of men.

Please pray... for my church, for the staff, for the divisive ones, against the Father of Lies, for God's glory to be seen and His Kingdom to be furthered. Eternity depends on it.

7 comments:

Jonathan said...

I am not a member of GBC, though I do no people who are and was wondering if you attended any of the information sessions on the new CBL. I'm curious as to another opinion on what happened in the weeks before the vote.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of GBC, have been for over 20 years. I too am sad for our church, but the decision to make the CBL a referendum on the leadership was made by SAM. Just before he called for the vote he declared that his vision for the church was contained in the proposal. I was stunned. ALL this mess has points to the leadership being out of touch with the membership. The "anti-elder" sentiment was known by Sam since 2003. As for growing the church, the membership has experienced a net +300 in 8 years. Sure, a lot have joined, but al lot has left. Is this his vision, membership turnover? Get rid of those who question his leadership so he proceeds unchecked? I wonder how many of the fully devoted followers of Sam will stay if he leaves? Are they fully devoted followers of Christ or fully devoted followers of the staff? As for Biblical church leadership, the CBL leadership team either created a third office in the church (most theologians agree elders = pastor so in fact we have 32 elders now), and since all "elders" would not have been pastors and all pastors would not have been elders, and I find no scripture to defend this new office, OR they were proposing to elevate a group of men ABOVE the rest of the church to lord over the membership, again I find no scriptural basis to back this position. GBC has not "shanked" anything except a VERY flawed document that could have put a vibrant God centered church at risk. The leadership publicly stated that this was their vision for the church. The vote was DECIDELY against this direction.

The problem is many of the pro CBL members put and are putting their faith not in Jesus, the Father, but Sam the man.
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand."

So LEW, ask yourself, who are you following?

kcMay said...

Whoever "Anonymous" is... we need to keep them in our prayers. I find it interesting they left their name off such critisisms!

Psalm 56
O God, have mercy on me.
The enemy troops press in on me.
My foes attack me all day long.
My slanderers hound me constantly,
and many are boldly attacking me.

But when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.

O God, I praise your word.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting ways to harm me.

They come together to spy on me--
watching my every step, eager to kill me.

Don't let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, throw them to the ground.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat.
This I know: God is on my side.

O God, I praise your word.
Yes, LORD, I praise your word.

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.

For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.

The Williams said...

lauren, i heard about what was going on at GBC from a friend here and i'm so so so sorry. i will definately be praying for your church and pray for God's restoration of the entire community there. i know several people who have been to GBC and are still there. my prayer is that God will have mercy on all who have fallen short of what they should be doing and those who don't even care about what is going on. i pray that you will have the wisdom and discernment that you need to give wisdom to others as well. may God's peace be on you now and forever, and may you grow from all that is going on here. love you girl.

Jeremy Todd said...

Lauren, my prayers go out to you and to all of the GBC family. As you know, I have family and close ties to GBC and love it very deeply. I have grown to love and appreciate the example Pastor Sam and the entire staff have shown and continue to show.

As a minister of the Gospel I know what it is like to be doing exactly what God wants you to do in leading a church and have people unwilling to follow. Mind you not because what is being done is unscriptural, but because it is not as it has "traditionally" been done.

I don't know who Annonymous is, but I do pray that this individual and others like him or her will be opened to the truth. It is ok to not agree on every issue. That is one of the things that has made us distinctly Baptist, but in times of disagreement it must be done in love. A love that only discusses the issues and that is not a back door attempt to remove the very staff members who seek only to minister and nurture those they are serving.

The staff members of GBC have done nothing to deserve the attacks that they and their families have and continue to receive. The only thing they are guilty of is loving a church so deeply that they would risk everything in order to see "Her" grow and mature.

Continue to love, support and encourage the GBC staff and their families. To do so will minister to them more than you will ever know.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the fully devoted followers of Sam will stay if he leaves? Are they fully devoted followers of Christ or fully devoted followers of the staff?

I will be leaving if Sam Shaw if forced out. I am a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. God, not a congregation, selects a leader for a church and throughout Scripture commands us to submit to the authorities He has ordained. I do not by any means agree with Dr. Shaw on every issue, but it is not my duty to Christ to agree with those whom He has placed over me; it is my duty to Christ to submit to those whom He has placed over me.

For some edifying reading I suggest you study and pray over the application of Numbers 16. If I may point to verses 3 and 11:
3-"They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'"

11- "[I]t is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?"

Replace "Sam Shaw" and "the staff" for "Moses" and "Aaron" in verse 3 and "Sam Shaw" for Aaron in verse 11 and you have the situation at GBC.

I love many people at GBC and will pray for all of them if we leave, but there are a lot a people there in serious rebellion against God.

May God have mercy on us all.

Anonymous said...

For those browsing across this page looking for background on the issue being discussed, there is a blog that has a lot of stuff posted about GBC, the recent vote concerning the elders, and staff shakeups following the vote. It is at http://www.toddpennington.com/thepigpen/?page_id=25.