Monday, January 22, 2007

With great power...

...comes great responsibility, or so we all have learned from our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Although, when you think about it, you hopefully learned that from reading the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. In verse 48, Jesus is quoted as saying "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."

The leadership of Bellevue Baptist Church has shown responsibility today in terminating Paul Williams fron the Bellevue staff as of today. The release from the church website reads thusly, and like so:

Bellevue’s Investigative Committee presented its report and recommendations regarding the moral failure of a Bellevue minister to the Personnel Committee on January 20.

On Sunday, January 21, the Personnel Committee reviewed the report and voted to terminate Paul Williams’ employment at Bellevue effective Monday, January 22.

The Personnel Committee will present a full report and its recommendations to the church on Sunday, January 28, following the 6:30 p.m. evening Worship Service.


There are some for whom "a full report and its recommendations" might not be enough.

I am one of them.

Even the most copious of reports will have the potential to leave questions unanswered. Even the most sweeping of recommendations can miss something of significance. For this reason, I urge Pastor Gaines and the Bellevue leadership to call Bellevue Baptist Church into a business meeting "following the 6:30 p.m. evening Worship Service."

Speaking of Luke, there's a line from the motion picture "Cool Hand Luke" that sums up in a single sentence a prime difficulty that will remain even after Mr. Williams' dismissal. I quote the actor who brilliantly and indelibly delivered that line, Mr. Strother Martin, thusly and like so:

"What we've got heah... is... a failure... to communicate!"

As I have stated previously, the only way available to put the difficulties of the past few months in the church's collective rear-view mirror is to talk openly, soberly, and frankly about them, and so work through them in a spirit of mutuality. A business meeting will allow the forum to do that; a report, with no ability for congregants to pose questions from the floor, will not.

--Mike

5 comments:

Andrew said...

What we've got heah... is... a failure... to communicate!"

As I have stated previously, the only way available to put the difficulties of the past few months in the church's collective rear-view mirror is to talk openly, soberly, and frankly about them, and so work through them in a spirit of mutuality. A business meeting will allow the forum to do that; a report, with no ability for congregants to pose questions from the floor, will not.



Good words Mike...I guess we'll see.

RM said...

In a perfect world you might be able to have a business meeting that would honor God and answer questions, but not at Bellevue with the current mindset. If you actually have a business meeting (which you haven't had in years) it will turn into a fiasco you will NEVER live down. It will be worse than a tag team match at the wrestling center.

In a large church, personnel matters should be handled by the personnel committee. That is the responsibility the church has given them and they should be allowed to fulfill their responsibilities. People should also remember that Biblically deacons have never been given the responsibility of running the church. They are to be servants.

People shouldn't blame Steve for everything going on around there. Remember Adrian ran the church with committees too.

Mike Bratton said...

RM said...
In a perfect world you might be able to have a business meeting that would honor God and answer questions, but not at Bellevue with the current mindset.


We have seen the worst of many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of their perspective on the issues facing Bellevue. It is time we saw their best.

And it is time they saw ours.

If you actually have a business meeting (which you haven't had in years) it will turn into a fiasco you will NEVER live down. It will be worse than a tag team match at the wrestling center.

Then, in all sincerity, we might as well shutter the buildings and sell them as soon as possible. If the congregation is so riddled with spiritual immaturity that a business meeting turns into Wrestlemania, there are bigger problems than those surrounding Mr. Williams and his dismissal.

In a large church, personnel matters should be handled by the personnel committee. That is the responsibility the church has given them and they should be allowed to fulfill their responsibilities.

This ceased being merely a "personnel matter" quite awhile ago, wouldn't you agree?

People should also remember that Biblically deacons have never been given the responsibility of running the church. They are to be servants.

And this applies how, exactly?

People shouldn't blame Steve for everything going on around there. Remember Adrian ran the church with committees too.

Whoever you are, I would ask you to consider refraining from referring to both Pastor Gaines and Pastor Rogers by their first names unless you were a personal friend to both gentlemen.

Having said that, I agree that Pastor Gaines should not have to shoulder all the blame for the current state of affairs. However, I believe Pastor Rogers would have agreed that Pastor Gaines, being the pastor, must ultimately shoulder the responsibility.

The buck must stop at the pastor's office.

--Mike

RE said...

It will be interesting to see if Bellevue does in fact have a business meeting called after Sunday's evening service. I don't really expect one though. We'll see.

I came across this dedication page in the book written by Dr. Adrian Rogers called "Standing For Light and Truth", published in 2003. It is as follows:


" This book is warmly and gratefully dedicated to the following men who have served as deacon chairman since I have been pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. To be the Chairman of deacons at Bellevue Baptist Church is a great honor and a tremendous responsibility. The deacons at Bellevue Baptist Church have incredible fellowship. They do not see themselves as managers of the church, nor men appointed to oversee the pastor. They present themselves with a Christ like spirit to serve the churhc. Bellevue Baptist Church is operated under this philosophy: The church is pastor-led, deacon served, committee-operated and congregationally approved. That works wonderfully well for us.

The following men are some of my dearest friends, and I thank God for them. Some are already in heaven but are still held in my heart. Would to God every pastor could have deacons like these:

Jeff L Arnold, Bryan Miller, Chuck Taylor, Harry Smith, Steve Tucker, Gene Howard, Dr. Robert Vincent, David Perdue, Jim Glover, Charles Brand, Roland Maddox, Jim Angel, Bob Dawkins, Robert Fargarson, John Crockett, R. L. Sorrell, Paul Stovall, Dr. Dewey Burton-deceased, William B Mills-deaceased"


There you have it. Some of the men listed as Dr. Rogers's dearest friends are now being maligned in some form or fashion.

It also gives an insight as to how Dr. Rogers saw Church government. It seems like it was more a "philosophy" not a set of bylaws. It also helps us see the mindset of the deacons who served with Dr. Rogers over the past 32 years. "They do not see themselves as managers of the church, nor men appointed to oversee the pastor"

Mike Sense said...

RM, you are incredibly off-base.

Firstly, do you really see it fit that a "personnel committee" handle matters in the church, however deacons have no business? Did you intend on actually penning that? Though you could make a case for deacons not having their hands in affairs of the sort (a weak, naive case at that), I am pretty sure 1 Timothy 3 doesn't mention personnel committee's.

Also, your idea of personnel committee's handling issues is scary. In my humble opinion having a plurality of elders with the reaffirmation of deacons is optimal in situation like these. Having been part of a major church row in the past 4 years, elders are incredible important. You see, personnel committee's are interestingly and usually chosen by the pastor...once again, a woeful thing. When those who surround the pastor and help him lead and give guidance in situations like this are his friends and chosen by him, it is safe to say that constructive dissent is weakened.

And your trivialization of deacons is appalling. The Bible I read shows an active deaconship in which they are assisting leadership in way that they are asked. If elders are not present RM who else is there to help guide and encourage the pastor? And diakonos (servant in greek) does not solely mean "meals on wheels". Timothy, who did not just serve Paul food, was called this. While this is certainly debatable, I think your description is off.

Mike- I hope that you all have a business meeting as well. I am not encouraged to hear that a "report" will be given. This, as it did in my old church body, cuts off questions in which people HAVE to answer. And tell me, why shouldn't they? If there is nothing to hide, then why in the world would they mind??? If there is truly a spirit of love and cooperation (which I am not sure of), then it should be an amazing place to dialogue and see problems out.

Mike, brother...it has been a long road and I have not agreed with you on some things...however, I urge you to press on and love your church. Though I have no tangible connection to BBC, I want to encourage you. I see you as having integrity so I pray that this will continue and that you will persevere in the current tumult that has consumed your Body.