That other guy's ministry.
By Paul StanleySeptember 14, 2018
I know, it has been a while. What's a guy to do? I am of that generation where social media and blogging and so forth is not always at the front of my mind, so I forget. But anyway, here is my current thoughts on what I see happening around us.
I got a call from a brother in ministry last night, just looking to talk about a situation going on in his church. His worship team has a very talented young man who plays in a secular band. He is very dedicated to the worship team, but also plays more than 150 shows a year in local venues including bars and clubs. Oh, and by the way, he has a beer or two while playing.
On the team is an older guy who is also dedicated to the team. But he cannot fathom how this young man can play secular music (of the devil in his opinion), in bars, where people drink alcohol (an obvious sin in his mind). He is adamant about his stance and is so infuriated (yes, right choice of word), that he has railed angrily at the team for giving in to sin and has walked away from the team. And the poor shepherd is left holding the bag, once again.
I am sure that just by reading this you have already taken a side. But let's talk about a couple of things. I have learned and am learning, that we cannot be so quick to judge another man's walk with the Lord. Now unless it is a blatant sin, and not just your opinion of sin, you may want to learn to mind your own business. If a brother or sister is a Christian, but is living a lifestyle that grates against the grain of scripture, you have the right to lovingly and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to approach them. If, however, they are doing something that you just do not like, but there is no real sin involved, who are you to say that they are doing something wrong? Cannot God put this guy who plays in bars purposefully in the path of someone who is unsaved and at the bar to hear about Jesus? And cannot this same God, who lives in all of us as believers, convict this man if he is indeed in sin?
I have friends who make their own beer. Once a month or so, they gather and give it away, but at the same time discuss issues of the kingdom with people who probably never have darkened the doorway of a church. I have heard many well-meaning believers coming against them, and even threatening to leave the denomination if they are not forced to stop. I have been to this outreach and there is no ill activity, no drunkenness, no raucous behavior. They talk about Jesus. And yes, they discourage anyone with an alcohol problem from drinking and to abstain and they never allow more than two beers and they offer rides home to anyone who participates. I have invited the naysayers to come and look for themselves, but so far not one has done so, but they continue to complain, convinced it is wrong and sinful.
Likewise, I have been accused of being morally selective because I do not address every moral issue from the pulpit. I am not called to address every moral issue. I focus (not necessarily from the pulpit), some of my energy on things like religious freedom, constitutional rights applied to the church, morality issued before the Supreme Court such as gay marriage or abortion. Those are important to me and in my opinion impact the church greatly. At the same time I have a friend whose focus is immigration and immigrant rights and so forth. I do not agree with him on some things, but who am I to say that what he does is not of God. His ministry looks different than mine, and I may not see things the way he sees them, but we serve the same God, and we are both doing God's will in different areas of our culture.
I guess my point is that in such a large world, with multitudinous issues in which Jesus' church can be involved, don't be so quick to judge the other guy's ministry. If God has called him to that, then so shall it be. You stick to what God has told YOU to do. I have seen ministries to prisoners, bikers, illegal immigrants, homosexuals, the pornography industry, drug addicts and street gangs. Any one of those ministries may seem strange to you and you may think it is a sin to go and sit with those people. But you need to understand that Hell is a real place, and regardless of how self-righteous and smug we all can be, you better remind yourself that it is our job to be an ambassador for Christ, to the LOST and unsaved. These people are made in the image of God just like all of us. God desires that they be saved, Jesus' pleads through us that they come to the cross. But how can they hear if no one tells them, and how can they understand if no one goes to them. It is because they live in sin we go to them, not to join in, but to draw them out!
This is exactly why we need to die to self, and live for Jesus!
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