In a whole load of different ways, over the past week or so, I’ve been caused to reflect upon what I am convinced is the biggest issue facing our generation of Christian leaders in Britain: character.
I’ve had the privilege of spending some significant time with a number of people I respect: among them my regional team leader colleagues, individuals like Rick Lewis, as well as some good friends who, whilst not holding formal church leadership roles, are real examples of Christian integrity. What strikes me personally is the same question I pose groups of leaders when I’m the one doing the majority talking – ‘what is it in others you know well, you most admire?’ Character is way ahead of competency every time.
The dark-side, however, leads me back to the same conclusion: character is the big issue. As Baptists, we have been naïve. For some reason, we’ve not seen coming around the corner what has afflicted other denominations and tribes: the encroaching web of legal disputes. Why did we ever believe we were somehow made of different stuff? We shall continue to maintain our conviction that Ministers are not employees of Churches, but it will be a hard battle to win in an environment where the judge may well not be as heavenly as our Father.
If Jesus is Lord of the Church, at point do we practise civil disobedience in support of our convictions? What I don't know the answer to yet is: who do they put in prison of a whole church acts in such a way as is deemed illegal? I have been known to offer to go to prison on behalf of our Ministerial Recognition Group, when some began to get worried about a particular decision, but so far I’ve only been a visitor!