Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On Electing a Pope

Pope Benedict stunned the world by announcing his resignation to his College of Cardinals. This has been unheard of for six centuries, leaving pundits buzzing about the why's and wherefores. His   apparent reasons suggest it is for the good of the church and the implication of his action suggests the need for more youthful vigor.

While the pundits continue to speculate, I suggest we give this good man credit for having social sensibility. We have too many politicians and others who cannot relinquish their political power, even when no longer able to give the service they are paid or elected to do.

Although we live in a time when the only good considered is what is good for me, and the common good is considered some kind of weird anomaly, Pope Benedict, as the administrative leader of the Roman hierarchy, has faced that time in his life when he is no longer able to pursue the common good of Roman Catholic issues that the church needs and that he would wish to give. I commend that!

The search for a new Pope among Roman Catholics is a little like our search in the Church of God, as we each seek a new administrative leader. Taking a cue from Pope Benedict, I would wish that the Church of God Reformation Movement, as some still refer to us, would not forget that we began as a very youthful Movement following a charismatic leader (D. S. Warner).

I would hope that we will not discount for potential leadership some that we consider "too young." By the same token, I would not discount some potential leaders because they are females, ethnics (black or Hispanic). Nor should we discount some that we may feel lack adequate educational attainment.

I am not sure we have anyone out there who is adequately prepared to administer the Church of God Movement in these uncertain times. Then I have to remember that when the youthful Daniel Warner invited Enoch Byrum to take over the management of his Gospel Trumpet office, Byrum was 25-26, an untested administrator and a "wanna-be" student, with no publishing experience whatsoever. Enoch brought his younger brother along, a 15-year-old farm boy who had yet to finish high school.

After more than a century, we look back at the Byrum brothers and acknowledge that their contribution to the life of the church and the publishing company is "unmatched" in its importance to our history as a Movement. Enoch, like Moses leading the people of Israel, successfully led the church through some of its most threatening moments. Between them, the brothers assumed ownership of the publishing company and protected it for the church, enabling the Gospel Trumpet magazine to represent the church for some 116 years.

I recall how J. T. Wilson enlisted a young Missouri school teacher, newly called to ministry and barely into his first pastorate after a few months of evangelistic meetings, to come and help him develop a new department of biblical training at the Gospel Trumpet Company. I just finished re-reading the memoirs of Archie Morrison, aka Dr. John Morrison, tracing his exit from the Ozarks to a Delta, CO pastorate, to Anderson, IN.

If one cares to read the story, go back and re-read AS I RECALL THE WILSON-MORRISON YEARS by Linfield Myers. I saw something in that book as Myers, a young local banker crossed paths with a young industrial engineer who in a manner of speaking put Anderson, IN on the map. Wilson's years with Delco-Remy saw Anderson reconfigure from a small farm community to an industrial center for the auto industry, and become a General Motors town.

I drove through Anderson only recently, and although it still has industry, the old "General Motors aura" is no more. The wheels of industry are essential to our economy and economics change and communities rise and wane like the tides of the sea. Today, the most valuable asset of Anderson, IN is ANDERSON UNIVERSITY, the net result of Dr John's 39 years as America's longest tenured college president. When J. T. Wilson invited that young (hardly qualified in any sense of the word) Morrison to come in 1919 and take over his dream of a liberal arts institution that would train the church's gospel workers and ministers, no one foresaw Morrison's successful 39 years of leadership, nor did anyone dream that when the economic hopes via General Motors were long gone, Anderson University would still be there as the lynchpin of that community ... a gift from the church.

Do we have anyone with enough qualifications to lead the church of which Anderson University is an integral part? I guess it depends on how you look at it. Having served 45 years of pastoral service to the church, I know that no one is indispensable. I have learned that God always has someone in the wings that He can use to do the job at hand, if  that person is teachable, passionate about service, and sensitive to contemporary issues.

The other ingredient in the recipe is the people themselves. Our most successful leaders did not come "ready rolled"; they (like Jesus) grew in wisdom and stature; they matured as they grew into the job at hand. Any church, denomination, or local congregation that wants a successful leader must be willing to grow in the same maturity by helping ... allowing ... enabling the leader to grow into the position. The progress and growth of  the Church of God, aka  Reformation Movement, will depend upon our mutual ability to listen, discern, and hear the voice of God ...

from Warner's World, this is walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

No comments: