READ: Acts 15:22-35
- Acts 15 records one of the most important moments in the life of the early church. As we’ve seen, extending beyond the Jewish community has been difficult. After a bout with persecution, which scattered them, it appeared the church would move out of Jerusalem. And, they did. But they kept coming back. Even after the marvels of Acts 10 and 11, it was the Jerusalem church that wanted to approve God’s actions.
- The presence of the apostles makes sense of that. But, and this matters, when it came to determining the doctrine of salvation for Gentiles, even local church elders were involved. The story elevates the place of local leadership in the key decisions being made in the church. And it was a fight—a real, in-your-face, heated confrontation. And that should give us hope. These are real people with real passion and real conviction fighting over the future of the church. It shouldn’t be any other way.
- Somehow we have lost the ability to have good fights (I’m using a word that may cause difficult mental images). We can’t have hard conversations. Everyone seems to polarize everything and we’ve grown accustomed to “safe spaces” where certain topics/words are not allowed. That must not ever characterize church leadership. Leaders bring all their convictions to the table because what is talked about there is of eternal consequence.
- What kinds of concerns do you believe warrant a good “fight” among leaders?
- Why do you think we have lost the art of hard conversations?
- What can you do to help people recover the ability to disagree while speaking the truth in love?
PRAY: Thank God for Madison Park’s leadership. Pray that we continue to cultivate the capacity for hard conversations. Ask God to continue to use us to serve our region.