Commitment to the Local Church

joelWe in the cell church world believe that both cell and celebration are the church. The natural result of this conviction is to encouage active participation in a cell group as a prerequsiste for membership.

Yet some might ask, “why membership?” Or, “why must I belong to one local church?” Why not just float from congregation to congregation, belonging to the body of Christ at large? Why do we even talk about commitment to one local church?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately in my attempt to explain to an uncommitted family in our cell group why it’s important to join a local church. In my first conversation with the husband, I stumbled and bumbled. I didn’t want to appear legalistic or overbearing but ended up giving him fuzzy, unclear signals. The next morning, however, the Lord spoke to me clearly and reminded me why each believer needs to be committed to a local church.

Scripture says in Hebrews 13:17, Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” God reminded me that He has ordained the local church to “watch over the souls” of believers. The local church is God’s vehicle to take care of believers. When a person joins the local church, he or she is placing himself under God-ordained leadership. The person is saying, I will receive spiritual direction from the local church leadership, and I will also contribute to the local church (e.g., tithing, using his or her gifts, etc.).

I live in California. We have a lot of illegal immigrants in this part of the world. An illegal alien can’t receive the full benefits of the government, nor can he or she truly contribute to the nation. Those who hop from church to church are a lot like illegal aliens. They neither contribute to the needs of the local church, nor receive the full benefits of pastoral care and discipline. They are constantly wandering (like one couple who attended our church for 1.5 years without ever saying, ‘this is my church’).

The next week after the cell, I told this husband that he and his family needed to make a decision to join one local church and submit to the pastoral leadership. I told him that if he and his family made a decision to join our local church, he wasn’t making a life-time decision. He could always leave later on. But if and when he did leave, I would then encourage him to once again find one local church. I even told him that I didn’t feel comfortable taking his family through the training track unless he was called to be part of our church. Why? Because as his pastor, I wanted to know that I had the spiritual authority to minister into his life.

What do you think about this? What has your experience been in this area?

 

Joel Comiskey

22 thoughts on “Commitment to the Local Church

  • Let me preface my comments by offering thanks to the JCG bloggers, as I read it all the time, and it greatly helps me to ponder some of the issues you bring up. So, thanks!

    I think one thing we must do is preach/talk about what the Bible teaches on “the one-anothers” and what the Bible teaches about submission. As we are living in a me-centered society, that attitude has unfortunately affected the church to some extent. I mean we want our freedom, and don’t want to deal with anyone who might possible think how we’re living is wrong. But as I’ve searched the scriptures I’ve seen some very strong commands (esp. Jesus and Paul), and I can’t help but think about how I would react to them. For example in 1 Corin. 3 we find the church is divided and boasting about who they follow: Paul or Apollos, but in vv. 21-22 Paul states, “So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (NIV). Paul didn’t care so much as to who was feeding the flock, but about their fruitfulness from the spiritual milk they had been eating. Because I know my denomination isn’t the only way (but that Jesus is), I let people know that, then I show them what the scriptures say, and then I issue a challenge for them to stop living up to the low expectations that they’ve set up for themselves, but to live fully in Christ, in all things. I mean just about every church has a formal document that lays out the measurable commitments of membership, but the “membership” we find in Christ (as revealed in the Bible) is so much higher! He wants our very best, not the same old habits found when we carry out thoughtless religious activities.

  • In other parts of the world where most folk belong to a “communal” culture — in contrast to our North American individualist values — becoming a follower of Jesus is understood from the start to entail joining a new community. This action remains consistent with Acts 2:41, “Those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls”. In that way, all quickly become “members one of another”.

    In some ways, the Western, abstract, theological categories of Universal Church and Local Church, have proven harmful, enabling a biblically-baseless detachment of fellow believers. The Cell Church has an inherent advantage of reflecting the social reality of the churches described in the NT. Those were “clusters of households” who shared recognized members, elders and deacons.

  • I totally agree with brother Comiskey. In our society in Quebec where post-modernism in the norm, people don’t want to be accountable. We do not receive new members if they do not want to be part of a cell. We lose many people by this approach, but some are prepared by the Lord and join joyfully in cell and celebration. And they are most of them a real blessing to the churches by their involvement

  • Isn’t spirituality without commitment and sacrifice so close to hypocrisy that it should not be encouraged? To summarize a long discussion, here are the points I think I would want to raise with someone who resisted membership:

    “Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
    19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

    We are here to make disciples rather than members; to us, someone who is not a disciple can not really be a member because they are still essentially a visitor – as they have made no commitment to be anything more than that. The issue is not membership – it is whether you are going to be a visitor or a disciple.

    We follow Jesus in a pattern laid down in the New Testament. Some call it a discipleship system, others call it an equipping track. It’s a matter of learning what Jesus commanded and then learning how to fulfill those commands, including the command to make disciples yourself. Following Jesus is so much more than membership, but if the first steps in the journey are the commitment to membership, why would there be a hesitation to complete those steps to reach the more important steps?”

    As an aside, I was astonished when light dawned reading Yongii Cho’s books to realize that, with people waiting in line an hour or more to get in to the sanctuary, a convert’s first contact with Yoido Church was NOT by attending worship but by FIRST attending cell meeting. If you stop inviting people to worship and instead invite them to cell meeting, they will start their journey with you in the cell and if they stay in the cell, it is guaranteed that they will eventually join you in worship.

    Institutional church: worship first, then (maybe) Sunday School or cells or some small group that nurtures Christians. The Yoido surprise: seeker friendly cells first, seeker unfriendly worship afterward. Cells are for lost people, not simply to absorb worship overflow. What would happen if all the energy devoted to inviting people to worship was devoted to inviting people into cells?

    But as for membership, shouldn’t the minimal requirement to be on the equipping track following Jesus as Lord, if you have one that clearly defines those early first steps?

  • Thanks for your responses. I sensed deep conviction in all of them. I appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one who has deep convictions about commitment to the local church. Your comments have encouraged me.

  • Joel, While I believe the principles you raise are to be followed, perhaps our Western experience restricts our interpretation to living those out. Which “leaders” does Hebrews want us to follow – denominational? Why does the local church have to be restricted to one meeting in a certain building? In comparison, if the Church is the family of God, why does my family have to be restricted to only those living under my roof? Also, how do you explain the millions of mature believers, and clergy, that are leaving the traditional church, in part because of the faulty leadership in those churches, and now found true meaning to their faith and real relationship with Jesus Christ? Are they all disobeying Christ?! I believe in Cells and Celebration, but let’s be careful our limited experiences don’t put God in a box any longer. We’re in danger of missing what God is doing, just as the temple leadership did when Jesus walked among them.

  • I had an experience once with a member of mine (I though this couple was our member). He handed me a registration form with pastor’s recommendation attached because he wants to enroll to a Bible School. I heard about this guy who doesn’t want to submit to anybody. So I asked him about this. He said to me, “Pastor, I am not a member of this church. I am merely attending and want to learn from you about the G12 system, because I want to establish my own church.” I told him that, “If you do not want to submit to the authority of a pastor how can you handle a church? You need to submit to someone whom God ordained to minister to people.” To make the story short, I told him that he cannot build a church without trying to submit to authority. This couple left the church and find another who is willing to cuddle his idea about submission.

  • My journey into small group life began in earnest in 1993. It was at that time that I first heard of the cell church concept. It did much to confirm what I was sensing as I searched scripture for a simplier expression of church. As time went on, working with cell groups and with transitioning program based local churches, I began to see that, for me, it was house church that was the expression of church that closest matched what I saw in scripture. So for me the question is no longer about the co called local church, regardless if it is cell based or not, the end result is always a local church focus. Where as the simple Christ is the Head house church model seems to be what is “happening” as I travel the globe as a missionary Bible teacher. So for me its all about a commitment to the Lord Jesus, to His Person, to His Lordship, to the Holy Spirit and then one can be church at home and focus less on doing church as a so called local church. So my journey has taken me home, as it did Paul at the end of the book of Acts. God Bless AE/e

  • Joel, I agree with you very strongly. I feel that membership is permission-giving. When a person joins a spiritual community, he or she gives that community permission to encourage, challenge, rebuke, teach, reprove, etc. him or her. Without that permission, a person is only a guest “checking things out”. That’s okay for a season, but sooner or later a person must end the courtship or get married! Anything less cheats everyone else…

  • It seems that the issue would be clarified by defining what “submitting” means in this context. Some might argue that the concept is a general one. i.e. the moral teachings from the pulpit.

    If a person is part of the fellowship, seeks advice, but not all the elders agree exactly in their counsel, what then? – well we could say then follow the highest leader.

    But I’m not convinced that there wouldn’t be the inherent risk of then following one man. Jamestown is an example of what could go wrong if we’re doing something because Jim Jones “said so.”

    When Paul wrote to the Galatians, He was apparently writing to a group of churches in Galatia. Since no local church is perfect, and going to more than one church meets a greater Varity of individual needs {I go here because I like the pastor, but they have no youth fellowship for my kids, would I be free to also go to another church that had a better youth ministry?

    It gets deeper. The pastor is not the pope. making him one could cause some harm. If he tells me “Not to go to the other church,” Then what about my kids?

    It really does come down to what we mean by submit. I have had friends who were completely committed to the local pastor, who ruled their individual lives like a king.

    They came to “dread” disagreement with the pastor. Their lives turned into a nightmare of legalism because the took the pastors opinions on par with scripture.

    Now isn’t that what the reformation was all about – the authority of scripture was not held as the highest authority – a man was.

    I do believe personally that there ought to be commitment to the local church, but I don’t believe that this means ministry in other churches has to therefore be rejected.

    It is a given that many people wander because they fear commitment. That seems dangerous to me and non-committal seems to me to be wrong. If a person wants to indulge in more one church, it seems to me he should be free to do that.

    I’m arguing not for the wanderer, but for someone who is committed, having the freedom to show real commitment to more than one church if he finds such an arrangement beneficial to His family of which He Himself is the head.

    I believe in commitment to the local church. I also believe in freedom. Some leaders have used their authority to turn the church into a personality cult. Some do not. It depends on whether one’s commitment is stronger or weaker.

    Wandering is out. I don’t believe that it to be responsible. The key is whether they come back again. If not – they become wanderers. But if they heighten their involvement, I see no problem with flexibility.

    Any other philosophy seems to put churches in competition with each other. We forget that the church is also the universal body of Christ, and we are not to count sheep as our own. Balance is critical.

    Both extremes i.e. the wanderer, and/or the personality cults are to be avoided). A good rod of measurement seems to be whether your actions heighten you commitment, or lowers them.

    A person belonging to a very large technically could be a “wanderer” simply because the church is to large. Is he any better than a person who attends several smaller fellowships?

    What is the motive – greater service, or avoidance of service. That is the real issue. Lets say so, and not fall for a “bait and switch” that dodges this bullet . Don’t let the forest blind us to the trees.

  • First the natural, then the spiritual. If you have ever transplanted any type of fruit tree, you will learn that when a tree has been transplanted it usually takes upwards to two years before any fruit is seen and enjoyed. If someone is floating around to different churches there no chance of a proper root system developing. No fruit is seen. Jesus spoke very harshly about not bearing fruit in fact he uses the term “Much fruit!”

  • Dear Brother,

    I am thankful to your message about the importance of the Local Church.
    I think think that the local church is only place for Spiritual grow as far as the ministry of making disciples for Christ is concern.

    Referring to early Church we see that the local church had strength to make the difference to people within their area even far from their area. This is much explain in the book of Acts. If we neglect the local church we neglect to take care with Christians and they can end up confuse by false teachings from outsiders. The healthy local Church is the life to Christinity.

  • Thanks for all these excellent comments! I’m in Germany right now, so I’m needing to skim. One thing I took out of an earlier version of the newsletter was the following:

    ” I told him [this person in the cell] that I didn’t feel comfortable taking his family through the training track unless he was called to be part of our church. Why? Because we as a team at Wellspring wanted to know if we had the spiritual authority to minister into his life.”

  • Good point and excellent comments. To me membership is kind of like a family. There is someone in charge but everyone is expected to help, do their part and care for one another. If our 3 year old thinks he should have a steak knife, then it is the responsibility of any other member to make sure that does not happen and kindly explain why. However, like it or not they will not happen. I have used that illustration to explain to our 19 year old why she should not be out at 2:00 am hanging out with her friends. It may not seem fair at 3 or at 19 but it will make sense later. That is the job of a family, to look after each other’s best interests, or at least God’s best interests which happen to be the same.
    Of course people are welcome to stay with our family for various reasons but long term you must work within our family structure and boundries to stay.
    At our church we say, “Membership shows you are on board with the direction of our ministry here and committed to accountability here. That is why you must be a member to be a group leader. You can serve in most areas without being a member but leadership is not one of them.” We tell people we are here to make disciples and if the way we do it fits with the way God is leading you, and then jump in. However if you feel you we must change to do things the “right” way or you know a better way this may not be the right church for you. Like rowing a boat, if you row in different directions we are not going to go anywhere. If there is something you feel you must say, unclear about, or just a major question we have a pastor you can talk to. We want people to use the gifts, talents and abilities for the Lord’s work. So if this is not the place to help or encourage you to do that, then find a place to serve the Lord to the fullest. We must be faithful to the call God has given us and we want you to be faithful to the call He has placed on your life.
    That is probably enough. You can probably tell I have taught our membership class and meet with people to clarify this issue.

  • I”m really confused here ! I’m “the husband” Joel is referring to. As I read all the comments I can’t help but wonder if the responses would be the same if you actually had all the facts. I am more than willing to be corrected, counseled etc. But what Joel doesn’t state is that we have only been coming to his church for about 4-5 weeks. What Joel also seems to be forgetting is he is the one that asked us to come for about two months before we commit. You see we have been “members” of another church for the past four years. Members! fully committed, involved in ministries, all of us, including our two teenage children. We had been feeling like maybe God was calling us out of this church. Nothing was wrong with the church. It just seemed (through praying the last six months) that God may be moving us. When Joel heard we had visited another church he asked us to come check out his. Not really sure about how to go about doing this (we hadn’t actually missed our service, when visiting the other church. we went after our service, so this would be different) Joel suggested we talk to our pastor and just be honest with him. He asked us to attend his church for about two months before making any kind of decision and see if this is the place God is leading us. After attending one, maybe, two weeks Joel asked us to consider allowing him to take us through the training track. When I talked to my wife she quickly reminded me of what a big commitment that would be and we should wait! After all we had just begun asking God “is this the place for us?” “should we be leaving our church?” etc. After all these were serious questions and we were being careful not to jump ahead of God. However I have been getting quit a bit of pressure from Joel ever since! He has asked me several times to go through the training track. The only reason the conversation that Joel spoke of where he said “I don’t feel comfortable taking them through the training track unless I have the authority to minister to him” is because one of the many times he asked me if we would do this. I told him it had only been a few weeks and what if we don’t stay? Does he still want to take us through it. THAT is the conversation he fumbled and stumbled through a few weeks ago! Actually now that I have read what Joel has written it makes me wonder WHY he asked us again (right before he left for Germany) if we would begin the training track when he gets back? I guess that’s a question for Joel, If your not comfortable with it why do you keep asking?! It is now coming up to that “two month mark” and quite honestly I am feeling incredibly pressured and so is my wife. Especially after reading this! Not to mention frustrated! It’s unfortunate because we all really like the pastor which by the way isn’t Joel it’s Eric. He is a great teacher. I am personally challenged every week! The cell group has been a great added addition by helping me apply what I hear on Sunday. My family was feeling very complacent . We weren’t growing! We weren’t being challenged. We wanted more but didn’t know how to obtain it. This seemed like an answer to prayer. Is it? I DON’T KNOW. The pressure is causing me to re-think.

  • I waited a few days to comment on this tremendous subject and it is great to see how this discussion is developing, some very good points have been made.
    First I want to say that I do believe that as a Christian we should make a commitment to a local church, to be under Godly authority and to be in a position to serve and utilize our gift to help build God’s kingdom.
    Discipleship requires discipline which has become an unpopular concept to some in our culture.
    Our spiritual dicisions must be based on a free will choice, one that has been given serious thought. Allowing people to make that choice and giving them the information they need to make a Godly dicision is one of the great challenges minsters face.
    I believe from what I have read that this is a great opportunity for both the minister and this family to gain wisdom in how to deal with this situation and really come together. I have confidence in Joel’s heart to do what is right before God and for the people who are under his authority.
    He may seem like he is putting pressure on you and maybe he is. If you feel that way then talk it over with Joel and see what kind of response you get.
    I think that you will be able to work through all of this and make the right dicision if you communicate your heart and how you really feel.
    Ministers are people who are learning and growing every day and we don’t always handle things as well as we would like.
    But I would hate to see you be pushed away from a spiritual opportunity that could be a tremendous blessing to your life and to your spiritual growth.
    You will be challenged, Jesus promises that!
    What ever dicision is made you have to believe in it enough to make a true commitment. Otherwise you will never see the fruit in your life. Unity in the Body of Christ is a strong focus of the Holy Spirit’s work on earth at this time and this looks like one of those challenges to me!
    God bless you.

  • Dear Joel, I’m a mate of Craig Adams in Brisbane. Craig reckons you’re a bonzer bloke that don’t mind admitting it if he’s mistaken. Maybe I’m wrong, but I want to engage with you on this.
    My first point is that the institutional church has been totally discredited to the point that all the wonderful achievements (abolitionism, factory reform, the inclusive principle which informs human rights declarations) of past Christians are forgotten in the public mind in favour of an image of corruption and evil at institutional level, of pedophilia and cover-ups etc. Secondly the public’s identification of great Christian heroes like Jas. Dobson (who has helped millions of families), with institutionally harmful political leaders has fouled the image of church leaders in the public mind. So the greater public thinks the local church needs bulldozing and tithe-pumpers laughed out of town.
    My second point is much more important. When Jesus (Hebrews 1, first sentence) came, he wanted to give us a more perfect revalation. So what did he affirm and what did he attack? He affirmed those parts of the OT which could not be institutionalised, and he attacked and then destroyed the institutions which had been. The temple’s veil was rent from top to bottom. He declared “Elvis(sorry,), “God has left the building”. He withered the fig tree, symbol of Jewish identity. Imagine Martin Luther King shooting an American eagle, or a priest urinating in the baptismal font. Front page stuff. No wonder His friends bolted, and anyone He had helped kept low. He declared, “This mountain shall be cast into the sea.” Which mountain? He was right in the temple mountain when he said it. The sea was a universal metaphor for death (see eg. Jonah). “You pharisees will even cross the sea to make a convert”, He said. He called the priests and temple authorities, whitewashed tombs full of filth, snakes, etc., accused them of racketeering and parasitism and attacked both them and the institutions they ran, announcing that He would destroy them, “not one stone will be left on another” And within a week He carried out His plan, which left Paul able to tell the Collossians, “On the cross He discarded the cosmic powers and authorities like a garment, he made a public spectacle of them and led them as captives in His triumphal procession. Allow no one therefore to take you to task abour what you eat or drink, or the observance of festival, or new moon, or sabbath.” So for Paul, the centrality of Jerusalem was smashed to bits, and the autority of the institutional religion was gone with it. That’s my second point, or rather Jesus’ point, and Paul’s.
    Therefore, (watch this!) every attempt to reinstate the things that Jesus attacked and destroyed on the cross, including visiting God in special buildings on special days, obedience and subservience to parasitic professional tithe-pumpers, every attempt to re-raise these things is an attack of the cross of Jesus and His magnificent achievement.
    So is the writer to the Hebrews in the verse you cite, trying to reinstate the very things that Jesus attacked and destroyed? No rather he was giving local advice in a context of immediate concern for people, not giving an ekklesistical principle for all time.
    It was not long after Paul were off the scene that Christians began reinstating priestcraft and the very things like buildings where you visit God, that Jesus attacked and destroyed, and the recognosable shape of Catholicism began. The institutional protestant churches are just hyphenations of that attack on the achievement of Jesus.
    So what’s left? Jesus will always draw people to Himself. Jesus will always draw His followers together, as even in gaols in Soviet bloc times. Jesus will always want his followers to plan and carry out the same sorts of provocations against institutional evil that He did. We say ” broken for you”, and give thanks that His once-for-all achievement avails for us. But in the light of his one request of his followers, “Take up your cross and follow me” I think that he means us to be broken also, by provocations as tough as his were, which goad the systems we oppose into manifesting their systemic cruelties, and holding them up to be mocked, as the things He opposes must be mocked for His sake.
    Joel I’ve put this a bit strongly, but it’s to stimulate discourse, and not because I’m sure I’m right. I’ve been wrong plenty of times and this could be one of them. What do you think?

  • Dear friends in Jesus, here’s an email I sent around here in Brisbane, Australia:

    Dear fellow Jesus-followers,
    I had a yarn with Craig Adams about Joel’s email, and asked if he minded if I gave a contrary opinion. Craig was fine with that, and said that Joel was a great bloke who loved a good discussion, and didn’t mind a bit being confronted with a contrary opinion. In fact Craig said that he had challenged Joel on one really important point about outreach through ‘cell’ groups, and that Joel had ended up over time, changing his mind. So two gracious men there.

    So what I did was to go to Joel’s website via Craig’s email to all of us, I read all the comments others have posted there, and I added my own. You can read it there, if you want. The comments seemed to reveal a pretty heavily institutional culture in those US churches, for example:

    Lots of emphasis on ‘authority’ and ‘submission’ and ‘being covered by authority’
    Lots of emphasis on loyalty to one group, and tacit disapproval of visiting other groups.
    A tacit competitive spirit between leaders for ‘sheep’
    A formalised protocol of reluctance to accept someone else’s ‘sheep’ unless they make a formal institutional transfer.
    Equating ‘discipleship’ and ‘growth’ with doing courses in formal settings.
    Desperately thin theology, using single ‘proof’ texts to justify existing structures and practices.
    Little emphasis getting to know Jesus for His own sake and not just for our needs or to ‘grow’ ourselves.
    Departmentalized culture, unquestioned bureaucratization of the people of Jesus into separate age groups, etc.
    Emphasis on the one hour on Sundays as ‘worship’, which is a deliberate insult to the definition of worship given by Paul in the whole of Romans 12, where it’s about how you treat people 7 days a week; that’s the only definition you’re going to get from the New Testament of Jesus, who abolished the institutional temple-worship definition of worship, if you believe Paul at all.
    I suggest if you want to see for yourself, you might visit Joel’s website, read everything there, and sort out what you think. I’ve been wrong plenty times before, and I need all the help I can get to follow Jesus, so if you’d like to help us all, please leave your comment at Joel’s website too.
    Isn’t it great that we can be so madly different, and still see Jesus so clearly in each other!
    Mac Campbell, Philosophy, University of Queensland.
    email: mackangbai@gmail.com
    blog: emergenttheology.blogspot.com
    also: criticalscholarship.blogspot.com

  • Pienso que es muy importante que todos los creyentes, reconoscan un pastor y una familia para poder interactuar adecuadamente, quien a su vez los pastorea y reune en un cuerpo vivo. podemos pensar que todos somos creyentes e hijos de Dios, pero estamos agrupados en hermandades, como un padre tiene muchos hijos. Saludos

  • I appreciate all the comment that have been given on this blog–even those who disagree with the idea. I am definitely not talking about the INSTITUTIONAL church, whatever that may be. I would say the same thing about a HOUSE CHURCH or connected group of house churches. The bottom line is that SCRIPTURE is our final authority and Paul and others talk about God raising up pastors and leaders–not just at a universal level, but at a local level. If Paul was referring to the spiritual/universal level, how could the pastor watch over your soul? This means the pastor will know the sheep. I outline a lot of this in my book PLANTING CHURCHES THAT REPRODUCE.

  • I’ve just returned from ministry and vacation in Germany and Spain. It was a great privilege to have my entire family with me.

    I also had a chance to talk to Humphrey, the life group member, who I refer to in this blog.

    I had not seen his blog entry before today. As I read his blog and talked to him personally, I realized that I did two things wrong:

    1. Blogged about “members of my cell group” without getting their permission.I did apologize to them for this. I recognize that this was hurtful to them. I had shown Humphrey my newsletter before sending it out and he did approve the newsletter. However, I did not think to mention the blog I had written and I should have.

    2. Pressure. In his blog, Humphrey highlights the fact that I had placed pressure on him/them. I really appreciate his honesty, and I apologized to him today for the pressure I’ve placed on him. I really need to be careful about this. Human pressure goes nowhere. I need to allow God to work in His time.

    This blog is wide open, and we appreciate the honesty and openness of those involved.

    Joel

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