This week a few of our staff have been on the Baptist Churches SA Pastors conference. This was an opportunity to connect with other Pastoral leaders, gain insight from guest speakers and hear what is influencing our churches across the state. Several speakers highlighted we are living in complex and challenging times. Now our churches are wrestling with the growing implications of same sex relationships, gender diversity, the royal commission on institutional abuse. For instance, youth groups are now grappling with how to run camps with young people who identify as transgender. I wonder what you would advise? Who is to predict what will follow next? Of course, you don’t need a PhD to conclude we are in complex times. All of us are feeling the shifts in ethics and morality, worldviews, culture. The question before these church leaders is how might we best respond to this?
There is a myriad of responses to this question. This is appropriate and necessary. There are no single silver bullets here. I look forward to Karl Faase’s reflections on this kind of question when he speaks over the weekend of Sunday 18th August (make sure you get along to hear him). Here are the points I am gaining as we work through the beatitudes, see how they resonate with you:
- Our weakness means we rely more on God’s strength
- We should sorrow over our world’s pain and confusion and be in prayer for God to act
- We act out of faith in God, not fear or anxiety
- We hunger for more of God, so God satisfies our deepest longings and becomes our greatest wisdom
- Do good to all people, regardless
- God’s mercy and kindness is what leads sinners to God
I acknowledge this doesn’t address specifics situations such as camps and transgender young people. But it orientates my approach as a leader in our church. Could it inform your approach as you wrestle with your own complexities?