One thing I’ve learned over the course of serving Baptist congregations of different sizes and stripes is that every member has an opinion. In fact, when you get Baptists together, you’ve probably got more opinions than you have individuals gathered, which is why Baptist life can be messy at times, but in a beautiful sort of way. In my experience the only time congregational life gets ugly is when someone or some group tries to stifle the Spirit’s leading among the body so that they cut off conversation altogether.
Of course, that has never been the practice of Mountain Brook Baptist Church. A staunchly Baptist bunch, our church has always valued the importance of hearing everyone’s sense of God’s direction as we have sought a way forward into the good future God has for us to know. Consequently, we’ve seen how God has led us to consensus over and again at critical moments, and our willingness to engage in authentic dialogue is one of the primary reasons we have been able to sustain such a strong witness over these many years.
Now, our church faces another opportunity to seek the Spirit’s leading. Our Pulpit Nominating Committee has asked the congregation to come together for a conversation that will generate a profile of what our church needs in our next Senior Minister. While some such committees might assume they know enough about a congregation’s culture to be able to accomplish such a task, I think it’s commendable that our Pulpit Nominating Committee would want to have members of the church weigh in on the front end of their process so that every member might feel heard. Therefore, this invitation is for you to do just that – to be heard.
The Pulpit Nominating Committee’s first congregational forum will take place this Wednesday, June 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall. A boxed meal will be provided for attendees, and childcare is available as well. However, to prepare for everyone’s needs, the committee is asking you to register your participation. You may do so at this link.
While some might think that inviting the church to speak to this important matter could get messy, I choose to believe that it will allow both the Pulpit Nominating Committee and those participating to sense the Holy Spirit’s movement in our midst, which is absolutely essential for the best outcome. When the Spirit leads and the church follows along, beautiful things come from it, things no one could ever make happen on their own. That’s why your voice needs to be heard. Only then can we together hear the voice of the Spirit and be confident that we are moving in the right direction, one that will guarantee that for our church the best is yet to come.
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2).