October 7, 2011 by
Over the past few months we’ve received many responses to our request for input about Sovereign Grace Ministries, and we’ve learned much from your comments. Thank you for that. I can say with complete certainty that my perspective of this situation is the better for it. We also spent a portion of our recent board retreat discussing your feedback as we prayerfully evaluated what God is saying to Sovereign Grace Ministries.
I’d like to make another request of you now. This one requires even more on your part than the first. Let me explain.
As I detailed last week, on November 8 we begin the next phase of our listening process with the help of Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AOR). In brief, we are inviting anyone who desires to see change in SGM to serve us in the following way:
- Attend or listen to AOR's November 8 seminar about conflict resolution (I’ll be there learning with everyone else),
- Provide written, confidential feedback on SGM for AOR to collect and assess, and
- In some cases, participate in a follow-up interview with AOR staff
When that’s done, AOR is going to provide us with an assessment of where there are unhelpful patterns, unresolved conflicts, and other issues to address in our family of churches. (We’ll share their written report on this blog.) And they’ll help us take appropriate action in response—whether evaluating policy, pursuing reconciliation, or otherwise. We are also working hard to bring in men who used to pastor in SGM churches so that we can hear their analysis and learn from mistakes we have made. We think this will be a significant opportunity to work through past problems that have been insufficiently addressed. And it will be immensely beneficial to the future health of our churches and we are eager, very eager, to learn and grow from it.
Let me quickly say: I realize this could hit some as unworkable—“I need to do what?” We are sensitive to that and we realize this requires something from those who want to provide us their feedback. However, our hope is that this process will enable us to hear from as many people as possible, learning from—and when necessary, seeking reconciliation with—all that we can.
So here is my request: if you’re a part of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ short history and you have a perspective you think we need to hear, please prayerfully consider participating. We are doing a number of things to assess SGM right now: praying, studying God’s word, seeking advice from leaders in other movements, and reviewing our history. But we also want to listen to the people in our churches, and that means we need your help. Please come and be part of the solution.
If you can participate in Gaithersburg, you can register now. For everyone else, we'll provide seminar audio and request for telephone interviews around November 10.
Update on October 17
“Getting to the Heart of Conflict” seminar no longer required
After receiving feedback from a number of people, Ambassadors of Reconciliation has decided not to make the teaching component a requirement prior to receiving feedback or meeting with people. Those who request interviews with AOR are still encouraged to attend the live seminar or listen to a recording of it, but are not required to. For more information, including clarifications about confidentiality, see this letter from AOR president Ted Kober.