It is not always easy to identify the issues, challenges, and even the opportunities in a given church but when we do how do we categorize them?
There are financial challenges, evangelism opportunities, lack of members with a sense of ownership issues, etc.
How do you view these problems/opportunities and their corresponding solutions?
Try this next time. When you are in the mood to evaluate ask yourself, “what are the spiritual challenges and opportunities in our church?” The question is important because it will force you to consider the issues you are facing and the corresponding solutions in a very different way.
Its not that every issue or opportunity is spiritual. Like someone once said, “a burnt out lightbulb is a burnt out lightbulb.” We shouldn’t turn every issue into a spiritual mountain to be climbed. But not asking the question “what are the spiritual challenges facing our church?” is to ignore the reality that many of the issues you are facing may indeed be an indication of a spiritual challenge that needs to be addressed.
As leaders we should be wary of “God talk” while at the same time not shying away from the question rooted in our belief that life is a spiritual battle.
Today Haddon Robinson shared with us a prayer that has been on his desk for the past few years. It is Thomas Merton’s prayer from “Leading Lives That Matter.”
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
I am entering the home stretch of my Doctor of Ministry studies which means Haddon Robinson is finishing his career at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. I am part of the last cohort Haddon is overseeing at GCTS. This past week has been around the clock in class and in the library so it has been easy to lose sight of the fact that the end of a career of ministry and life changing influence is right around the corner. There are scores of us who have been influenced by the life and ministry of Haddon Robinson. No doubt his influence will continue through his book “Biblical Preaching”. But all good things come to an end.
This past week Dr. Robinson took the time to reflect on this with the rest of the class. He is clearing out his office library at Gordon. With great glee we raided his shelves with his full permission. I loved taking his “What’s your big idea?” picture off the wall in his office and it will now hang in my office as a constant reminder of his influence in my life. Getting rid of his books has not been a problem for Haddon but he spoke openly about the personal challenge of clearing out his files. Knowledge that has been collecting over the years in file folders only to be tossed. He noted to us how difficult this has been. I can only imagine!
I was struck at his words when he told us, “they teach you how to prepare for death but no one tells you how to prepare to live when you are old.”
So thankful for this experience.
3 Responses to “Honouring Haddon Robinson”
- Darryl Buckle Says:
June 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Reply
That’s brilliant Earl. Make sure you post a pic of that picture in your office. Great legacy from an amazing communicator!
- Charlie Worley Says:
June 18, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
I had Haddon for 2 D.Min. classes at Denver in the late 80s and his impact for the Kingdom is great and continues to grow. I thank God for him and his faithfulness and love for God’s Word.
- Rob Daley Says:
June 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Reply
Thanks for the update. I was part of the first D.Min class with Dr. Robinson at Gordon Conwell (96) and he was an amazing Christian, professor, and mentor. I thank God for the privilege of having studied under him.