Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Dark Night of the Soul

Two nights ago I received an email letting me know that we were not going to be called to the last church we had applied to almost eight months ago.

I was broken.

Not because I was told no by some church search committee, and not because I was really desperate to move where the church was located.

I was broken because it was the last in a long string of no's: "No, we're not ready for someone like you. No, we want to say yes but the Lord is telling us no. No, your ministry is somewhere else and they will be blessed to have you."

I was broken because just as a year and a half ago a no meant a leaving of all that I knew and now this no  means an even deeper leaving...the leaving of the pastorate.

This was our watershed moment. Our moment to see what the Lord wanted the Greenwoods to do next. It was either leap back into the comfortable and familiar saddle of the pastorate or get on a new horse with a new unfamiliar saddle and ride into the unknown (pardon the western illustration).

So, I cried. I got angry. I mourned. I grieved. I was and still am...broken.

Almost all of it has been stripped away. No money. No job. No home. No comfortable. No familiar. No normal. (I am thankful that my health, my family, and my wonderful helpmate all remain)

I still want to be a pastor, but for the next season the Lord is calling us to something new. Something scary. Something undone and untried. Something that seems...not not seems...is impossible without the hand of the Lord.

Being a pastor...loving people...teaching people...being there for people...I delight in it. Is it hard? More than most know. Is it for everyone? Not at all. Am I incapable or unqualified? No, I do not believe so...but I am disallowed...for now. How long? Who knows but in His time and through His grace maybe once again down the road.

So, what now? Well, there is a plan. There is a path. There is a journey.

In the days ahead, many of you will read about it. Many of you will have a chance to be a part of it. Many of you will have the chance to dream the impossible dream (song reference...it's in your head now...sorry about that) with us and pray with us the prayer that never fails (Jane Karon Mitford reference).

Only you, my loyal blog readers, will know the depths from which we have come to set out on this new adventure.

But I want you to know that just as St. John of the Cross penned mighty truth in The Dark Night of the Soul, so there is truth here. All is not dark. We will press through. We will be where we are supposed to be and be better for it. The pain will not last. The loss will not defeat us. The unfamiliar will eventually become familiar and this dark night of the soul?

It will lead to joy, and it will lead to Light.

But until then...pray for us.

Monday, August 24, 2015

That Woman

There she is
that woman over there
The one that is surrounded by eight tiny feet

Working, toiling, striving
pushing forward, pressing on,
part referee, part coach

How does she do it?
Day after day, night after night
I am amazed by that woman

I hear her correct, no, now she encourages,
no wait, now it is counsel, and now just a hug
So many things, flowing from one to the next

She captivates me
She draws me
She walks beside...me

She manages her home, but it's not really her home
She manages her life, but it's not really her life
She manages her children, but they're not really her children

Her home, her life, her children
each hers but not really hers
in different ways but all the same

My life is rocky, yet that woman is a rock for me
My life is uncertain, yet of that woman I am certain
My life seems without purpose, but that woman offers me one

"Choose us," she says
"We are still here." she offers
That woman speaks wisdom into my chaos

I can not seem to thank her enough
I can not seem to appreciate her enough
I find that being with her...that is enough

So, we wait...together
we pray...together
it is enough to be...together

She offers me wisdom
She offers me her heart
She offers me even more

She loves me
And I love that woman
That woman is my wife

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Difficulty of a Godly Marriage

(so after a really long delay...we continue...)

"It is the hardest thing I do in my life."

I have said that sentence to countless numbers of people.

What was I talking about? I was talking about pursuing a great, Godly marriage.

It just is. The effort I put into having a great and Godly marriage is the most demanding thing in my life and the hardest thing I do every day.

Why is it so hard? Because, once you understand the purpose of marriage, anything less is unacceptable. I can not claim to be a Christian, be married, and be striving for anything less than an amazing, God honoring marriage.

If marriage really is primarily about illustrating the love story of Christ and the Church (see previous blog post), then how can I settle for anything less than the best I can muster each and every day?

As a husband, it demands all that I am (for Christ gave Himself up for the Church).

So, why is it so hard? I mean, if God wants Christian marriages to reflect the greatest love story of all time, why doesn't He just kinda...make it happen? Let's be honest. None of life works that way, right? The best things in life are almost always hard. They're time consuming, effort inducing, and down right exhausting. But...and here's the good part...they're worth it.

So, what is the secret to a great, Godly marriage?

If you think my little ol' blog is going to be able to drop all that wisdom on you in a few paragraphs, I'm sorry to say you are in for a let down. :-)

What I can tell you is that day in and day out my wife and I are committed to loving (I mean real deal, fully committed, all in, Biblical, agape kinda love) each other, working with each other, and never letting down or giving in. Some times and even days love is that amazing feeling. You know that butterfly in the stomach kinda thing? But honestly, many days are filled with multiple choices. I choose to love. I choose to pursue. I choose to not let my hurts or selfishness or anything in between diminish the testimony of the marriage I have been given. I choose marriage.

When we got married, we married as followers of Christ. We both believed that since we were both committed to never getting a divorce and we both loved Jesus our marrieg would be great from the start and never waver. Two years into our marriage we were both wondering if we had spoken too quickly about the not getting divorced part.

You see, no one sat us down and told us that marriage would be hard. That we wouldn't always agree, get along, want to do what the other one was doing, or that we would sometimes just simply want some alone time. No one was honest about the effort a great marriage took.

No one said it would be difficult.

But marriage? A real, great, Godly marriage? It's difficult.

So, why do it?

Because I couldn't imagine my life without my wife. I have learned more from her directly and about myself because of her than any other person. Being married has shown me dimensions about myself I never knew existed. I have seen selfishness, control, pride, arrogance, and immaturity. But I have also seen grace, forgiveness, joy, peace, contentment, and love. (Just to name a few in both those lists)

As you read through Ephesians 5 which I used in my last post, you will see that Jesus is purifying His bride the Church. You see that Jesus demonstrated His love for the Church by laying down His life. You see the Church learning to submit and respect the authority of Jesus. And on and on. Basically, you see a process. You see transformation. You see growth.

It is no different between a man and a woman. Marriage is a journey. It is an adventure. It is transformational. Painful at times? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely. Difficult? Sure. But it is also so much more.

Exciting. Unpredictable. Interesting. Challenging. Enjoyable.

These are also terms that describe a great, Godly marriage.

I believe without the dynamic that occurs between a man and a woman you lose the wonder, the complexity, and the witness of marriage. In our society, we are going to great lengths to minimize the differences of the genders and to even try to eliminate them all together (take for example Target's recent decision to eliminate grouping toys together by gender).

Yet, Scripture is very clear that marriage is designed to be between two people. It is also very clear that those two people are to be of opposite genders. All of this matters because changing the number or the gender makeup of a marriage affects the struggles and realities within that marriage. Multiple partners create different realities never intended to be dealt with within marriage. Likewise, same genders eliminate an entire host of realities and replace them with others that also were never intended to be dealt with within marriage.

Believe me, the pursuit of a great, Godly marriage is already all encompassing enough without adding extra partners or changing gender realities.

I am honored to be married to my wife. It is my privilege to love her, serve her, honor her, provide for her, and treasure her as the priceless vessel that she is. I have benefited from her love, her support, her counsel, and her personality. It has made me a better man, husband, and dad. I am more like Jesus because of my wife and my marriage to her. She, likewise, is becoming increasingly like the Church as she grows as a woman, a wife, and a mom.

That my dear readers is the ultimate point. That is the highest and truest purpose of marriage. To make us more like Christ and His Church.

What about you? Can you say the same? Is your marriage transforming you? Are you becoming more like Jesus and/or His Church because of your marriage? If you are putting in the demanding effort that marriage calls for, then you will find yourself saying yes to those questions. If you lean towards saying no, let me gently challenge you, encourage you, or call you (pick whatever offends you the least) to dig in deeper. Push harder. Make the extra effort.

A great, Godly marriage is difficult...but all things are possible if you tap into the right power source.

There is always hope for His mercies are new...every morning.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Purpose of Marriage




     [26] Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
     [7] then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. [8] And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.[15] The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. [18] Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”[20] The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. [21] So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. [22] And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. [23] Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [24] Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [25] And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
     [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.[28] And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [31] And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
 
                                                        (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7-8, 15, 18, 20-25; 1:27-28, 31 ESV)


“What is the purpose of marriage?”
 
Procreation. Reproduction. Sex with the intention of having children.

For many, that is the primary purpose of marriage.

Whether you arrive at that conclusion logically, biologically, historically, sociologically, or any other “ly,” it is understandable how you get there. Indeed, even within the Judeo-Christian faith systems, the high view of procreation within the bounds of marriage has been there since the beginning. God did indeed instruct the first humans formed and created to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Over the past week, I have made it my personal goal to read all 103 pages of the Supreme Court opinions from the marriage decision announced June 26th (I encourage all to read them, but I would have to do another post to speak to what I read and learned They can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf ). Both the majority and the dissent acknowledged the prominence of procreation throughout history as playing a major place of significance within marriage.

It is understandable why many people choose procreation as their primary answer to this important question. Yet, there are many other answers to this question as well. Some are markedly better than others, but the variety is still there. Many in our culture answer this purpose question from very different points of view because of different backgrounds and assumptions about the place and purpose of marriage as they have seen it lived out in their own lives and those around them.

Some selected answers are: (The purpose of marriage is…)
-          To fulfill me.
-          To make me a better person.
-          To share my life with someone.
-          To raise children together.
-          Offer our children stability and normalcy.
-          To not be alone.
-          To show another person how much I love them.
-          To show commitment to another person.
-          To “make an honest man/woman out of him/her.”
-          To have legal rights to certain things.
-          To gain the financial benefit from that status.

There are undoubtedly many other answers, but these are just a few of the ones that came to mind. They most likely came to me because each of them is either directly listed or directly implied in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court case. If you are like me, then, some of them sound better than others. Some of them are probably in your top three answers. If so, then maybe you can understand the thinking of the majority on this issue. But are any of them the truest and highest purpose of marriage?

No. They are not.

The fallacy of each of those answers is that they make marriage about the individual(s) getting married and/or their children. Is the purpose of marriage really all about me? Is it about my children? Is it to show something about who I am or how I feel to another person? Is it so I can get some benefit that I can’t have as a single person?

If any of those are indeed the primary purpose of marriage, then marriage is selfish, self-gratifying, and meaningless outside the meaning it affords to the participant or those closest to him/her.
I say that those things are not the true meaning or purpose of marriage. Marriage rises far above such petty things. Please allow me to show you how. 

[22] Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. [24] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.[25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [28] In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, [30] because we are members of his body. [31] “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [32] This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. [33] However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
 
                                                                                                           (Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV)
 
Wait…what?! Chris, did you really just reference the Ephesians 5 passage? That Bible passage about wives submitting and husbands ruling their wives?! Oh, come on! That’s the purpose of marriage???
(Where is that little “X” at the top right hand corner…)

Before you roll your eyes up into your head and close the blog page, please read just a bit further.

Yes, it is true I just listed the Ephesians 5 text, but did you read it? I mean really read it?

So many people in our culture think they know what Christianity teaches when it come to husband and wife dynamics but sadly they are almost always mistaken. Likewise, many from within the church also think they know what Christianity has to say about the topic, yet they too are almost always mistaken.

I would propose to you that within this passage is the most glorious, most often overlooked, and most under-valued purpose for the covenant of marriage.

In order to rightly understand this passage, we must read it and seek to understand what it teaches us primarily about Jesus (husbands) and the Church (wives). Yet, Paul frames it in terms of a marriage relationship.

So, how does it say husbands and wives are to relate to each other?

The husband is the head (leader) of his wife.
The husband is the Savior (hero) of his wife.
The husband accepts full submission from his wife.
The husband lays down His life (in love) for His wife.
The husband leads his wife to spiritual cleanliness through the washing (studying) of the Scriptures.
The husband honors and clothes his wife in splendor (outward actions) because she is His
greatest treasure.
The husband leads his wife to purity and spotlessness (inward holiness).
The husband loves his wife like he loves himself…completely/fully/perfectly.
The husband provides for his wife because she is his responsibility.
The husband cherishes his wife because she is his responsibility.
The husband is in perfect unity with his wife.

The wife is led by the head (her husband).
Being one with her husband, the wife is connected to her husband (the head of the body)
physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The wife submits in everything to her husband, as to the Lord.
The wife respects her husband.

Now, this post is already getting quite lengthy and my purpose it not to teach on the dynamics of husbands and wives but to demonstrate the purpose of marriage. But, as you review the above list, I hope you see the tremendous challenge laid out for both husbands and wives. I also want you to ask yourself, “Why?”

Why does Christianity command husbands and wives to relate to each other in such ways? The answer to that question leads us directly to the purpose of marriage. Paul says at the end of the Ephesians passage that marriage is a mystery and that mystery refers to Christ and the Church.

See, the bottom line is that marriage isn’t about a particular man and a woman at all. Marriage isn’t about me. Marriage isn’t about you. Marriage is all about Jesus. It is about making Him known in this world through this physical, tangible, visible, and relate-able thing we call marriage.

Marriage bears witness to the wonder of Christ and the Church. Read the list over again and see what Christ (the bridegroom) has done, is doing, and will do for His bride, the Church, and see how the Church is to respond.

Jesus is the head (leader) of the Church.
Jesus is the Savior (hero) of the Church.
Jesus accepts full submission from the Church.
Jesus laid down His life for the Church.
Jesus leads the Church to spiritual cleanliness through the washing of the Scriptures.
Jesus honors and clothes the Church in splendor (outward actions) because she is His greatest treasure.
Jesus leads the Church to purity and spotlessness (inward holiness).
Jesus loves the Church like He loves Himself…completely/fully/perfectly.
Jesus provides for the Church because it belongs to Him (His responsibility).
Jesus cherishes the Church because it belongs to Him (His responsibility).
Jesus is in perfect unity with the Church.

The Church is led by the head (Jesus).
Being one with Jesus, the Church is connected to Jesus (the head of the body) physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The Church submits in everything to Jesus, the Lord.
The Church respects Jesus.

Readers, marriage has a higher purpose. That purpose is to make known to the entire world in a real life-all around us kind of way the redemptive story of Jesus. That story plays out as a living illustration between a husband and a wife: one man (the groom) and one woman (the bride).

So, when marriage is re-defined by five people on one court, the ripples on society (while very significant), the threat to our way of law (equally significant), and the lasting damage to an institution which is the foundation for every society (also significant) all pale in comparison to the diminishing of the greatest living illustration of the presence, power, and purpose of Jesus in the world.

Marriage has a purpose: a purpose much greater, much more significant than just procreation. Yet, maybe in a way it really is all about procreation...spiritual procreation. For none of us can claim the right to be a part of God’s family. All who come to faith in Christ do so at the invitation of God and find themselves invited to be born again, to become as little children, and to grow up into the faith.

Messing with marriage is a serious thing. I believe it is serious not solely because it messes up society or hurts children or destroys a timeless institution but because it diminishes the testimony of God to a hurting and sinful world. Yet, God is still God. He is not surprised. He is not threatened. He is not rocked back on his heels. He still speaks. May we find ourselves seeking His grace in the days ahead.

[4] Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

(Hebrews 13:4 ESV)
 
Lastly, if I might just add one thing which I haven’t heard anyone else mention in all of the many blogs, articles, and news pieces in the last two weeks. Well, honestly, I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone say it at all. That one thing is this:

If it were not for Judeo-Christianity, there would be no marriage.

Let that sink in for a minute.

So, when people talk about the history of marriage and how far back it dates and all that stuff, just tuck away in the back of your minds that, without Judaism and later in a completed and comprehensive way Christianity, marriage wouldn’t even exist.

It belongs to us. It was handed down to us by the God we love, the God we serve, and the God we proclaim through it. So, if it seems personal to Jews and Christians...

…it is.

*next post…”The Difficulty of a Godly Marriage” then “The Hope for Marriage Moving Forward”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Death of Marriage

I am not angry. I am not bitter. I am not fearful. I am not surprised.

What I am is sad and broken. I am in mourning.

Why? Because marriage died last week.

But she didn't die of a heart attack. She wasn't suddenly hit by a SUV with 5 people inside. She had been dying for a while. She was ravaged by many illnesses. Selfishness. Independence. Entitlement. Careers. Divorce. Adultery. Pornography. Media. But the worst was the slow loss of purpose. This was the cancer that had spread to her bones. By the time many of us thought to try and help, she was failing too quickly. Some of us visited marriage in the hospital. We saw her failing health. We even held her hand sometimes. We watched her waste away before our eyes. We saw her purpose for being finally stripped away and then they pulled the plug...and she died. Right there. In front of our eyes. She died.

I am broken with grief. I am so very sorry that I didn't see it earlier and do more...because I could have. I could have helped her. I could have done a lot of things, but I didn't. Not really. What happened to marriage is my fault. It is the Church of Jesus' fault. It is not our culture's fault. We are to blame.

To all of America and even the world, I am deeply sorry. We have failed you. And though you may not yet realize it, pain is coming. Pain like you have never felt before. Pain that could have been prevented but will now ravage our country. What will be propped up and called marriage will look good on the outside but will not satisfy you. It will promise you wonders that marriage could have never fulfilled but will leave you even emptier than marriage did even as she was dying. It will do so because the true purpose of marriage is not to be found within ourselves.

And marriage? True, healthy marriage isn't about you. At all.

That is why she died. No one defended her from the attacks of selfishness, self centered-ness, and self determination. No one reminded her of her purpose. No one explained to the world in which she existed exactly why she was brought into being. 

And that was my job. It was the job of each of us that claim the name of Jesus Christ.

So, as an act of honoring her, I will endeavor to do what I should have done in days past.

I will present the glorious and wonderful purpose of marriage.

Intro and Disclaimer to the SCOTUS Marriage Ruling

As I have mentioned before, I blog mainly to process my own thoughts. It is, for me, like an on line journal. I am not very consistent, but when I need to process something, I enjoy this as a way to help me do so.

Do I enjoy the fact that some people read my musings? Sure, I do.

Do I enjoy it even more when they let me know their thoughts? Absolutely!

Would I do it if neither of those things happened? More than likely.

So, please understand that when you read my blog posts you are stepping into my mind and my heart. I don't have all the answers and I don't presume to. I am simply a man, husband, dad, and follower of Christ trying to process this life and the world in which I was placed.

When you write, they teach you to write to a particular audience. Writing on this topic is more complicated though because, while it is my own thoughts and processings (I think I made that word up), I am aware that many people from many different walks of life with many different opinions will read it.

Please hear me say upfront that I am not intentionally seeking to offend or condemn anyone. There is, however, a high probability that some of you will end up being offended. There is also a probability that some will walk away feeling condemned. That is not my heart in writing all that is ahead of us. I do, however, embark on this journey to try and bring clarity and whatever small measure of insight I can into this discussion. I am not seeking to offend and certainly not condemn, but I am openly seeking to find conviction and to address what I believe has been horribly absent from this whole discussion.

My desire is that, as I process all of this in the coming post, I will find myself convicted of my failings first and foremost. I then hope that those who claim to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ, as I do, will also find a measure of conviction. Lastly, for those who are currently outside the fellowship of the Church, I hope you hear the heart of the Christian Gospel and even an invitation to enter into the greatest love story in all of creation. If you find yourself joining with me in any of these ways, then we will all be better for it.

The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Let us all meet there to wrestle with the topic at hand.

A servant of Jesus,
Chris

Friday, June 5, 2015

Deep or Wide vs. Deep and Wide

Discipleship.    Evangelism.

Depth.    Width.

"Our pastor is a fantastic teacher."    "Our pastor is more of an evangelist."

*It is better to be a mile deep and an inch wide than a mile wide and an inch deep*

Polarized.

Is anyone else tired of the constant tension between these two camps in the Church?

How did we get here?



1 Corinthians 12:4-31 says (italics mine):
 
[4] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties of service, 
but the same Lord; [6]and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who 
empowers them all in everyone. [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the
common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of
wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
[9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one
Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to
another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of
tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are empowered
by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

[12]For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
[14]For the body does not consist of one member but of many. [15] If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [17] If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? [18] But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. [19] If all were a single member, where would the body be? [20] As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. [21]The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  
[27]Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. [28] And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? [30] Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?  [31] But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
It seems Scripture is clear in putting forward the idea that we need different people with 
different skill sets in order to be healthy. So, why then do we insist on an either/or way  of thinking?
 
Some close friends of ours were recently let go from a ministry position. What was communicated to them 
(according to their side of the story, so author is admitting both his bias towards his friends and the one  side-edness of the communication) was that, while they were good at helping people go "deeper" (insert  discipleship), what the church needed was a way to be "broader" (insert evangelism/outreach) and bring in  more people. Is it wrong to want more people to come? No. Is it wrong to want more people to hear the Gospel? No. But 
I would say and I believe Scripture would agree that it is wrong to be forced out of a ministry position (where 
you were doing well) because you were doing what the Lord has gifted you to do for the Body. To let someone 
go who was effectively helping people grow in and deeply form their faith just to gain someone from the other 
end of the spectrum is not wise...it is foolish.
Those are Bible words and how the Bible describes our actions. They are not character judgments or personal 
attacks. 
 
It doesn't need to be either/or.
 
What should have happened is the church should have recognized the gift they had in people succeeding in their
gifting and come up with creative ways to bring new people into the ministry who offered a different skill 
set/gifting. It would have added to the depth and effectiveness of that church, made use of the Body, and 
created a renewed sense of appreciation and celebration instead of feelings of pain and incompetence. 
 
We must be honest about our strengths and our weaknesses. But we must also be affirmed for our strengths and 
compensated with support for our weaknesses. The divide is a tiresome one. 
 
You can be deep and wide.
 
Most often, depth leads to width much as erosion does in natural processes. Width, however, leads to more width
and often at the expense of effective depth.
 
But even with those realities, they can and should find ways to build on each other and bless each other.
 
What kind of church is your church? How can you help move it towards a healthy balance instead of a polarized
choice?
 
May we learn from Scripture not follow the trend of our culture.