Mordecai’s exhortation “For Such a Time as This” was extended to Esther whom he had raised as his daughter after her parents' death. We often quote this as an individual faces a difficult decision. Every pastor in America has had to make difficult decisions in recent weeks, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there will be several more in the immediate future.
The fact is that every pastor has been called of God to under-shepherd a part of God’s flock as its spiritual leader. But not every pastor is comfortable with the reality that along with the call to proclaim from the pulpit “thus sayeth the Lord” there comes a responsibility to step up as a leader and make difficult decisions. Those decisions will need to be bathed in prayer, backed with wise counsel, communicated clearly, and implemented well. If those basic steps are not taken and decisions are not made, then a pastor will find that the broader context of what Mordecai told Esther will likely come to pass.
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Forgive me for getting “down and dirty” with what I am seeing, but American Christianity is at a critical crossroads. We cannot and will not survive with a “business as usual” mindset. If you think your church can get back to normal church life by simply outlasting COVID and surviving the “current” racial tensions, I am suggesting you will be very disappointed. There were significant indicators that the average American church was not healthy in February. I would suggest that if you have decided to simply wait out our current challenges, then “relief and deliverance will arise…from another place.”
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know we have to correctly define reality and get a better grasp on the Biblical basics of how to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples. In doing a re-read of J. Robert Clinton’s book The Making of a Leader, I ran across the description of an epiphany moment that Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators, had.
"Dawson picked up a hitch-hiker whose speech indicated he was not a believer. Within moments he discovered this man was one of his “converts” of the previous year whose decision had not been followed up and who had virtually died on the vine. Shaken, Dawson responded that there must be countless such persons who had sincerely, perhaps with tears, called on the name of the Lord, but whose lives had not been changed. What was wrong?
My prayer is that the current challenges will startle you and begin a journey of self-analysis that will help you choose a better path for your future and by that a better future for your church. Heartland Church Network exists to connect, support, and start churches passionate about changing the world. We are here for you!
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.