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    Elders' Blog - Entries from December 2012

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    WedWednesdayDecDecember19th2012 Every Day Is Regifting Day
    byDon Whipple Tagged Christmas Generosity 0 comments Add comment

    The fruitcake, the Colts underwear, or the battery powered windshield scraper — what do you do with the present that you received but don’t want? Or what do you do with the present that you received but you already have one — or several – like the crock pot, the panini maker, or the kitchen towel set? 

    You regift! It’s such a common practice that the online dictionary defines “regift” as "to give (a gift received) to someone else." The practice has gained sufficient momentum as a cultural value that December 16th is listed as National Re-Gifting Day (along with being Boston Tea Party Day and National Chocolate Covered Anything Day)! While no one ever wants to get caught regifting, especially recycling presents back to the original donor, it has become a joyful way to designate some gifts as those that just keep on giving!

    Christianity is all about regifting. Celebrating Christmas should be as well.

    “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” is the summary response to an extended portion of Scripture teaching us about generous gifting and regifting (2 Corinthians 8-9). Look at two blatant regifting phrases from these chapters that summarize all grace giving:

    You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way… (9:11)

    They will glorify God because of your submission flowing from
    your confession of the gospel of Christ… (9:13)

    Everything we give, any generosity we display, or any grace we extend to others is made possible because God gave first. Our best and only option is to regift. As recipients of God’s lavish grace, we are expected to regift.

    So whether it is love (Eph. 5:2), forgiveness (Eph. 4:32), or money (2 Cor. 9:8), we take what God has given to us, we wrap it up in our attractive submission to Christ, and we pass it on to others. Patience, kindness, forbearance, mercy, acceptance, encouragement, our presence, understanding, sharing the weight of a heavy load—each of these can only be regifted in direct proportion to our recognition and receipt of those same gifts from God in Christ. 

    Until you are able to set aside the disappointment and discontent that you have directed toward God, you will not recognize that he has given you so much to regift. Open you heart to God’s inexpressible gift in new ways this Christmas.

    All the elders, staff, deacons, and their families join me in extending a special Christmas blessing to you as you celebrate the fullness of grace that has been given you in Christ, regifting it to your family and friends this holiday season. 

    Join us in praying that God will allow our generosity through the Blessed to Bless year end offering to reflect to many in various places around the world his amazing grace toward us. 

    By the way, I think I heard (remember how well I hear) that Tom Humphrey, Bill Davis and Paul Briggs absolutely love fruitcake! It is among the more famous gifts that keep on giving. Show them your love. 

    Merry Christmas!
    FriFridayDecDecember14th2012 KSBC Leadership: 2013 and Beyond
    byDon Whipple Tagged Church Leaders Vision 0 comments Add comment

    Who doesn’t enjoy and appreciate a gift—especially gifts that really meet a need or effectively improve our quality of life! The scriptures (Ephesians 4:8-16) teach us that Christ gives to the church gifted people as pastors and teachers to train us to be a strong, loving and growing body in Christ.   

    We are excited to continue the growth and development of our leadership team at every level but especially the pastoral leadership. We are announcing that the elders are seeking the congregation’s affirmation regarding the appointment of Abraham Cremeens and Drew Humphrey to the position of Associate Pastor upon their graduation from seminary in June 2013. Let me briefly provide some defining values that compel us as elders in this direction and a description of the appointment process we envision.

    Defining values that drive us toward these men for pastoral leadership include:
    • Each has an unusual giftedness, desire and competency for pastoral ministry. Their 3 years with us have given us a view into their theology, family, marriage, character, strengths, and weaknesses. While they will have a learning curve, we believe they will be a blessing to our church family and community.
    • They possess a fresh vision for adult discipleship, leadership development, youth and family ministry, corporate worship, and reaching lost people in our community. We are excited to complete the seminary/intern phase of their training so we can begin to benefit from their perspectives in a greater way.
    • They share a strong commitment to the gospel and the health of the church that is able to lead our church for many years to come. They are younger. I am older and that condition is progressive! The average age of our elders is closer to 50+ and while we believe we are just coming into our prime, it is wise to provide for the future health of our church by developing and empowering younger leaders.
    Please help us determine God’s direction by participating in the appointment process in these ways:
    • Please read the job descriptions and completed questionnaires by each candidate to become better acquainted with them and how they will serve in pastoral ministry. You can find these documents here or by contacting the church office. 
    • Plan to participate at our January 6th Family Gathering when we will have a time of interaction with the congregation, Drew, Abraham and the elders in the format of a Q&A. 
    • After that congregational interaction, the elders will wait at least 2 weeks for congregational response of concerns, questions or affirmation. Any significant concerns that bring to light possible reasons for not proceeding with the appointment will be evaluated and addressed by the elders along with those who raise the concern. If there are no irresolvable issues we anticipate an Elder vote in late January and a report to the congregation at the February family gathering.
    Please make this process of appointing Associate Pastors a matter of regular prayer. The faithful ministry of godly pastors is a significant part of our church being effective in leading people in a growing relationship with Christ.   
    ThuThursdayDecDecember6th2012 Redeeming Church Conflicts
    byDon Whipple Tagged Church Community Conflict 0 comments Add comment

    The title of this blog post is the title of a book I am reading, the subtitle of which is “Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care.” While we are experiencing some changes as a church and some evaluation on the part of some church members as to how they fit at KSBC, the case studies mentioned in the book of churches in conflict are far more developed and painful. However, the book is helpful whether we consider ourselves in conflict presently or not. Close and committed relationships like those found in a church family are always prone to be tested by conflict, disagreements, and misunderstandings (Phil. 4:2-3). Here’s a helpful quote from the introduction to the book:

    One of the most common emotions people feel when facing serious church conflict is hopelessness. Often this is because conflict puts blinders on our eyes and tempts us to isolate ourselves into self-protective groups who agree with us. In our passion to defend our position, we develop tunnel vision that clouds our judgment as we focus our time, energy and emotions almost exclusively on temporal matters. Things of heaven, theological truths about God and his church, even a passion for bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved, all begin to fade from focus as positions become entrenched in daily battles and we experience despair.

    This is a wise and helpful warning both for ourselves and for our understanding of those we are trying to lovingly encourage that may be experiencing some form of conflict. Helping entrenched people is what we do and who we are—after all, we are the church. The book suggests three “best questions” (Prov.20:5) to guide us toward redeeming our conflicts and disagreements.

    Redeeming conflict question #1: Can we pray? Right now. Together. About this. Let’s think about God and talk to him together about the feelings and tensions being experienced.

    Redeeming conflict question #2: What are you learning about God? Right now. Through this. Talk about the one who is bigger and stronger than you. Don’t be distracted from the purposes of God who is behind the scenes of every detail of your life. Include with this one what is being learned about church, the role of church leadership, and the commitment of membership.

    Redeeming conflict question #3: How can this conflict advance the cause of Christ? Right now. Because of this. Through you and your response. People are watching you with the potential of glorifying God in heaven as a result of your choices and responses.

    Better to be somewhat prepared don’t you think? Just in case you happen to be in the neighborhood of church conflict, take a deep breath and start asking questions. Wonderful, marvelous grace—we grow to value Christ as we point each other to our trustworthy heavenly Father by listening well and asking “best questions” such as these. 

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