both sides of a question, which gives to each its due weight, or force and importance."
I've been doing a lot of thinking on balance as pertaining to the ministry and being a pastor. I've learned a lot and am trying to keep learning a lot. Growing up in the ministry as I have has allowed me many unique opportunities to watch first hand the ministry....people. I've learned there are many different types of people. I've learned there are many different types of pastors. I've learned there are many different types of stands about everything.
I've also learned just how many "camps" there are in just the Independent Baptist arena centered around these different stands. There is one group that says "dress however you want" who is opposed by the "high standards and nothing else" crowd. There is the "repentance means change of mind" crowd opposed by the "repentance is a work that must be accomplished before salvation crowd." There is "be loyal to and obey your pastor or else" crowd opposed by the "the pastor is just one of the guys" crowd. There is the "music better come from the Pirate guy" crowd opposed by the "Legacy Five is performing at our church" crowd. Then there are the following: "We use a screen and no song books/those liberal churches using a screen," "Nonessentials don't divide/everything is essential," "mission boards/no mission boards," "you need a little righteous indignation/all anger is wrong," "pre,post, a", "open, close, closed," and the list goes on and on. Area churches keep their distance from me because they "have heard" what I believe, but not many have ever ask.
I've watched men change over the years. I hear of others today. I read about pastors and their wives who I've had speak at my church just a few years ago now tearing down what they preached was right at this church. So what is the balance? With all these voices, what is right?
I've tested the waters with some different camps since becoming pastor. I've been with the fundamental crowd, BAPTIST crowd, Bob Jones crowd, Southern Gospel crowd, sacred music crowd, Baptist are the only ones going to Heaven crowd, and have been contacted by the ecumenical crowd too. I've hung around Ruckmanites, Hyles worshippers, John R. Rice groupies, Sword, Revival Fires, Fairhaven, Heartland, and West Coast. I've had Pastor Brandenburg, Ev. Ted Alexander, Missionary David Cloud, Pastor Jeff Fugate, Pastor Mike Allison and Kenny Baldwin at my church. I've been removed from mailing lists, put on black list, made fun of by the fundamentalist and hated and scorned by What Fundies Like.
All the while wondering, "where do I fit in and with who?" You know what? I gave that up a while ago. I really don't care. I've learned this, all that matters is the Bible. I don't follow a certain man, camp, or philosophy. 2 Peter 3:17-18 reads,
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."You know what God wants? He wants us to steadfast and growing in the Lord. He wants us to beware of lies and crowds that are in error because He is coming back soon! The Lord wants us to be balanced. The picture above says it all. Stand upon the Rock! Take Truth and lay it out and just stand upon it.