November 17, 2011 by
I wanted to take a minute now that the craziness of our conference is over to talk directly to our friends, including those with critiques for us. Actually, I wanted to ask you a favor. Could you please pray for us?
See, here's the thing. In listening to AOR, our pastors and even hearing Ted Kober’s message at the conference, we’re freshly aware that we're a young movement that's still trying to figure a lot of stuff out. We don't have a long history like the Baptists or the Presbyterians or the Methodists. We've only been around for about 30 years! Relatively speaking, we're still new kids around town (and that’s no “Get out of jail free” card for making mistakes—just a reminder that we should expect to have a lot to learn). But, over those 30 years God has blessed Sovereign Grace with a significant amount of growth. We're really grateful to God for that growth—it’s been thrilling to see the gospel fruit in new churches and new friends in many parts of the world! But we’re learning that our growth has outstripped some of the ways we do things. And it’s not just that. As we've grown we’ve made mistakes. Plenty of mistakes. Some of those mistakes have hurt people. In fact maybe you're one of those people. If so, we still want to hear your story. And if you’ve been hurt by things we’ve done wrong, we want the opportunity to say we’re sorry.
Right now we're in a time of identifying the different areas that Sovereign Grace Ministries needs to change. We’re pursuing as much counsel in this area as possible and we’re doing a lot of diagnosing. We've read your e-mails and heard many of your critiques. We're not ignoring you or trying to shut you out of the conversation. On the contrary, the whole Group Reconciliation process led by AOR is designed so that we can listen to those who have a perspective and learn where we need to grow. We need others to help us during this time. That’s why I want to thank God for the 75+ people that actually came and met with an AOR conciliator during the conference last week. Your investment in helping us understand your experience is really important to us.
Many others were invited to interviews by AOR just to share your many positive experiences in your Sovereign Grace Church. Thanks for adding your voice and providing us encouragement and perspective in this season.
But to both groups, may I make an additional request? Could you please pray that God would help us in this process? These next couple of months are going to be very important as AOR interprets what they are hearing into what we might learn. And we desperately want God to help them….and us! We want to be a ministry that better glorifies Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. We want to care for people even more effectively. We want to plant churches more strategically. We want to avoid the mistakes that we've made in the past. I think your prayers will help make a difference.
Here are some specific ways that you can pray for us:
- Pray for the phone interviews which will now be conducted by AOR for those that could not make the conference. Pray people share information that would serve us in identifying areas where God has already blessed us as well as important areas where we need to change.
- Pray that we may be reconciled to any people who are hurt.
- Pray for the board, that God may help us understand the steps forward that will best serve SGM churches and the Mahaneys in this season.
Again, if you feel that you have something to say that Sovereign Grace Ministries needs to hear, please set up an interview with AOR (the deadline is November 30) so that we can truly address the problem. You can do so via an online form, or just by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And by the way, thanks for your ongoing patience with us.