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Letters to the Editors

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Archives / 2018 / September



Letters to the Editors


In appreciation

Thank  you  for  the  May  2018 issue. Pastor Jacques François’s article (“No more sparklers!”) was dynamite. I will keep it in my church office to look at whenever I fear that my latest sermon may be lacking in explosive quality.

I also appreciate the tributes to Billy Graham. And I noticed that there was only one citation of Mrs. White in the whole issue. Thank you. I think that if she (good teacher though she was) is not bound to be footnoted in every single article, your magazine will reach non-SDA people more gracefully.

—Pastor Robert Hellam, Church of the Oaks

Well done

Thank you for the two-part article regarding the Cornelius Code by John McVay (March and May, 2018), especially the "postlude". Well done and certainly thought-provoking!

—John Wagner, retired Adventist educator, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

I don’t recall ever reading more creative and engrossing articles than “Cracking the Cornelius Code” parts 1 and 2 and “The Next Great Thing?” by Dr. John McVay in recent Ministry issues (March and May, 2018).

The only thing I would emphasize concerning these masterpieces is that the Holy Spirit brought those porkers, old goats, slithering serpents, and birds of prey to Peter. Peter was spending significant time in prayer and the Holy Spirit prepared him to be ready to receive the Gentiles who were being led by the Spirit. I agree that we should not sit by in idleness concerning today’s generation, but if we go about trying to convert those who are held captive by Satan by any other means than the Holy Spirit’s baptism, we are likely to flee naked and bleeding like the seven sons of Sceva.

—Jim Kilmer, retired church growth coordinator, Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Spokane, Washington, United States

Christian leadership

I just read your interview with Josmar Arrais (“To lead is to serve: An interview with Dr. Josmar Arrais,” March 2018). The views that Dr. Arrais expresses are among the most Christ-centered views of leadership that I have read. It is indeed a pleasure and a blessing to read such views in a day when leadership continues to be viewed more as a function of position and power. Thank you!

—James A. Tucker, PhD, McKee Chair of Excellence in Learning, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

The interview with Dr. Arrais sets forth in clear and reasonable form the fundamentals that define competent leadership. It is an excellent summary of those commonly accepted behaviors and practices valued by contemporary, responsible, and respectable organizations.

The publication of Arrais’s interview in a magazine for clergy leads the reader to conclude that the article is directed to clergy and those who are employed by a religious organization. It is a boon to those in a parish when a pastor

  1. When a leader does not practice the leadership qualities Arrais associates with competent leadership, what then?
  2. When a leader is not trusted and does not respect colleagues, including those whose specialized skills are ignored or denied, what is one to do?
  3. When a leader uses his or her authority to control and manipulate others, what are the viable options to change behavior?
  4. Arrais emphasized Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership model. When this model is absent in a leader, what action is called for?
  5. When a leader is deficient in the skills Arrais identifies, might it be productive for the individual to employ a skilled management consultant to guide him or her to implement the leadership characteristics Arrais identifies?

There is an urgency to Arrais’s statement, “If we confuse leadership with management and control, yes, we risk overemphasizing goals and results.”

Arrais ends with an urgent appeal to pastors and leaders, “Give, up once and for all that search for position and power.” When a leader disregards this admonition, expect upheaval and unrest to follow. Might the disaffection and distrust of leadership evident among congregations, and those who pastor them, have some relationship to the matters identified above?

Thank you for the invitation to share my thoughts.

—Lawrence Downing, DMin, retired pastor

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