I am very grateful to David Riley for having
accepted to give the message this morning,
while I am on a camping trip with our
Adventurer and Pathfinder Clubs. David is
our Men’s Ministry coordinator, and I will
devote this Pastor’s Page to a theme
specifically important to men but also to
you and to all, and which is at the very
heart of my ministry and personal mission:
Emotional Safety In The Church.
“God is our refuge and strength.”
(Psalm 46: 1a)
Emotional safety in the church is taken for granted as an
outward expression of the safety that we have with God.
Through an integrated and correct understanding of the
gospel, we may know that we are fully known, accepted,
and unconditionally loved by our Heavenly Father, who
loves and never uses bait-and-switch methods.
This is wonderful to us because
no real and long-lasting spiritual growth can occur in our
lives without the safety of this acceptance and love.
“Therefore, we will not fear.”
(Psalm 46: 2a)
But decades of church experience and observation tell me
that the reality in the church is often very different. Instead
of acceptance and safety, danger and fear are seen, hidden,
and lurking everywhere – fear of not measuring up, of not
being conform, of being different. Such are amplified in an
organization like the church because, besides common
unclarity and ambivalence about the gospel, the church has
idealistic pretensions, some “high” standards of specific
behaviors as indicative of growth, and it maintains formal
and informal punitive structures that are conducive to fear.
People in it hide and are afraid about their private life, food,
relationships, behavior, and a multitude of other areas of
unsolicited counsel and scrutiny by the church people.
Therefore, they cannot muster the support and help that
church fellowship was intended (but is unable) to provide,
through emphasis on various religious beliefs and practices,
and select defined outward behavioral expectations. The
counterproductive effect is that, notwithstanding good
intentions, the safety which alone can be the context for
true and long-lasting personal growth is absent. Therefore,
true growth often never occurs. Very sad.
My dream is that we would work at making emotional
safety in Lubbock Church a growing reality. I communicated
in my very first Pastor’s Page that this would be what you
can personally count on as the best intention of your
Pastor. I have no expectations, I am confidential, I mind my
business and respect yours, I’m not nosy, I support your
growth, whatever shape it takes. This remains my truest