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#1 Goad

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:02 AM

A mission church on an Indian reservation is hosting two middle class urban churches for a mission trip. The two urban churches will spend five days camped on the reservation to witness, and do light construction work on the mission church building. The two visiting churches have prepared the trip for over a year. They also planned to bring a total of twenty youth from the two churches to hold a three day vacation bible school for reservation youth ages 7-13. The mission church will benefit by having the church building remodeled and the vacation bible school will reinforce the mission church’s presence in the community and create new contacts for ministry. The visiting churches will benefit by experiencing mission work and outreach ministry.
Ten adults and twenty youth from the two urban churches arrive safely and settle in the church building which will be their home for the next five days. They spend the first day planning, praying and worship together. Day two of the trip begins with construction work and vacation bible school from 10am-2pm. Day two is extremely successful with over forty reservation youth attending vacation bible school. On day three the mission pastor receives a call from one of his parishioners. His 17 year old granddaughter from a neighboring town on the reservation has struggled with alcohol and family problems for the past year. The previous week she attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. She was treated and stabilized at the local emergency room and then transported 250 miles by air ambulance to a large hospital. She continued medical treatment and was transferred to the hospital psychiatric unit and evaluated. She was released with a recommendation for follow-up at the reservation clinic for counseling and to remove the stitches. The grandfather told the mission pastor his granddaughter came home last night is now open to Christianity and wants help from the church. The Mission pastor disqualified the girl citing the bible school is not for her age group. The pastor also suggested she find a minister in her home community.

Is this response biblically defensable? What were the pastors options?

#2 Travis Richey

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:13 PM

There was a time in my not too distant past that I would have very quickly weighed in on a question such as this with a definite point of view and verdict. However, as I have been a part of and witnessed the powerful and damaging effects of judgementalism, I now attempt to be patient and wait, and not jump to what for me are often times wrong judgements.

Proverbs 18:17 says, "In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines."

If I were placed in a position of having to make such a decision as to the rightness or wrongness of someone else's actions, I would want to hear all sides, and points of views, and the reasons for courses of action that were taken....or not taken. As Paul Harvey always reminded us, many times there is a "rest of the story" not seen at first glance.

#3 Goad

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:44 PM

There was a time in my not too distant past that I would have very quickly weighed in on a question such as this with a definite point of view and verdict. However, as I have been a part of and witnessed the powerful and damaging effects of judgementalism, I now attempt to be patient and wait, and not jump to what for me are often times wrong judgements.

Proverbs 18:17 says, "In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines."

If I were placed in a position of having to make such a decision as to the rightness or wrongness of someone else's actions, I would want to hear all sides, and points of views, and the reasons for courses of action that were taken....or not taken. As Paul Harvey always reminded us, many times there is a "rest of the story" not seen at first glance.



#4 Goad

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:30 PM

The question and senerio was posed as a Bible class project. The intent was not to pass judgement on the pastor but stimulate Bible based perspectives on Christian decision making. Your point about the unknown is well taken. The poll was a bad decision. I believe the correct answer is yes and no. If the pastor prayerfully sought Divine direction and was led by the Holy Spirt in his decision then he made a good decision. However if he based his decision on a carnal mind and common sense then his decision is questionable. We dont know. Having said that, given what we know about the situation what does the Bible say? What are the biblical principles to take into consideration? Every pastor must weigh his or her priorities when faced with tough situations. If our priority is souls we decide this way. If our priority is financial we decide another way. If our priority is public favor another direction is taken. The question posed has produced a history of mixed responses. My favorite is: The pastor made a good decision because since the decision to not take the opportunity to minister to her was made, the Lord used the decision to protect the girl from spiritual harm. The girl is now on her way to salvation through another ministry, "All things work together for the good...."

#5 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:24 AM

The question and senerio was posed as a Bible class project. The intent was not to pass judgement on the pastor but stimulate Bible based perspectives on Christian decision making. Your point about the unknown is well taken. The poll was a bad decision. I believe the correct answer is yes and no. If the pastor prayerfully sought Divine direction and was led by the Holy Spirt in his decision then he made a good decision. However if he based his decision on a carnal mind and common sense then his decision is questionable. We dont know. Having said that, given what we know about the situation what does the Bible say? What are the biblical principles to take into consideration? Every pastor must weigh his or her priorities when faced with tough situations. If our priority is souls we decide this way. If our priority is financial we decide another way. If our priority is public favor another direction is taken. The question posed has produced a history of mixed responses. My favorite is: The pastor made a good decision because since the decision to not take the opportunity to minister to her was made, the Lord used the decision to protect the girl from spiritual harm. The girl is now on her way to salvation through another ministry, "All things work together for the good...."


Hi Goad.

This is an interesting dilemma to be sure. My first response would be to help this young girl, but yielding to the the Spirit is always the right way in my mind.

I agree with Travis regarding the hearing all sides, and, though not as intensive, I'm reminded of Solomon and the two women arguing over the baby. He heard both sides, asked a question, sought God, made a declaration and decided based on the results. It just so happens that we get the chance to look back on that example and see Solomon chose well.

In the grand scheme of things, we don't have the perspective of God who already knows the outcome of whatever decision is made. So all the more reason to know the word, seek His face humbly, and act as He leads us. Speaking as a confirmed control freak this is a truly difficult position to take!
Marvin Harrell
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