“After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?” “I am,” Jehonadab answered. “If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.”
“Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men” (2 Kings 1:10, NIV).
Elijah’s confidence about his identity as a man of God is immediately proven true.
There are times when I seek this confidence, what John Wesley might describe as assurance.
In what ways are you confident and assured of your faith?
John Wesley focused on outcomes and fruitfulness in ministry. He initiated practices in his ministry and among Methodists which he saw bearing fruit in God’s kingdom, despite the fact that some of these practices did not make sense to him. Wesley writes in his journal in 1739:
“Saturday, [March] 31. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scare reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the savings of souls almost a sin, if it had not been done in a church.
Mon [April] 2. – At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city, to about three thousand people.”
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about practices that bear fruit despite not making sense to you?
There is no group, connection, cluster or network of churches that doesn’t have issues. Being connected is part of who we are as Christians. There is no use complaining, but great value in working in God‘s kingdom and renewal within the church. I ran across this advice in a post by Matt Judkins from Tim Keller via DJ Chuang’s blog and found it valuable enough to pass along to you.
I wonder where you’d go to find a truly missional denomination? I don’t know of any. For missionally minded churches, any denominational connection will bring you into relationship with some other churches and ministers who downright embarass you. This will be true of any ecclesiastical body with more than 5 churches in it. I don’t think that going independent and only staying connected in to a missional ‘network’–which has no disciplinary authority–is the answer either.
My counsel: 1) inhabit a denomination with a historic tradition you admire (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist) 2) stay in a denomination if it gives you space to follow your calling, 3) don’t be marginal to it–be active in the denomination, but 4) don’t be too absorbed in all its workings and especially not in its politics.
I agree with Matt and would clearly add Methodist as a historic tradition. As John Wesley admonishes us, “You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”